By on March 6, 2015

2014_Dodge_Grand_Caravan_RT_1198940

Although the Chrysler Town & Country will be FCA’s main minivan nameplate going forward, the Dodge Grand Caravan will stick around longer than many people have expected.

Speaking to the Windsor Star, FCA Canada CEO Reig Bigland said that the Grand Caravan would continue to be produced past the introduction of the new Town & Country, stating

“The Dodge Grand Caravan is still here, it’s going to be here throughout all of 2015, 2016…I’m not going to give any time frame, but at the launch of the next-generation Town and Country we will continue to have the Grand Caravan and I have not speculated as to when or even if the Dodge Grand Caravan will go away,”

Previous comments by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne suggest that the old model Grand Caravan will disappear by 2017, as regulatory concerns will make it impossible to sell in North America. The strategy of running two different vans on two different platforms has been something that hasn’t been explored in the automotive media.

If this is indeed the case, then it would allow FCA to sell the all-new minivan with the latest technology at a more premium price point while retaining the volume that comes from selling both vans. Both vans would ostensibly be built at the Windsor, Ontario plant, with a new flexible architecture eventually accommodating an all-new crossover vehicle built on that platform.

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31 Comments on “FCA Canada CEO: Reports Of The Grand Caravan’s Demise Are Exaggerated...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Congratulations TTAC posters, you convinced them!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I think it was more Sergio looking at the drop in cash flow from dropping the Avenger that convinced him to keep the G.Caravan alive a little longer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new G.Caravan on the T&C architecture appear after 2017, though I wouldn’t rule out a base AWD version with a Jeep grille, to go along with the upscale Wagoneer.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not up on marketing and whatnot, but after 2017 having a base “Caravan” level trim on T&C at the current Caravan’s price point could work just as well.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Sales doesn’t want to give up the 60+ month streak.

      “I’m not up on marketing and whatnot, but after 2017 having a base “Caravan” level trim on T&C at the current Caravan’s price point could work just as well.”

      The issue there is that the new platform is more expensive and it wouldn’t be able to be sold at the same price point as the current VP vans. It could probably still undercut the competition’s entry price by a few thousand, though.

  • avatar
    dwford

    But will they rename the current van the Grand Caravan Classic?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “as regulatory concerns will make it impossible to sell in North America.”

    I thought Sergio didn’t see the need to spend all of the additional money to create a lower margin clone of T&C, what regulatory concerns?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      CAFE, mainly.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I fail to understand, at least in this particular case. The model is still being produced as a Chrysler, why does it matter if “Dodge” sells a clone if they are owned by the same corporation?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          They’re both sold at the same stores, so there’s no need to make separate variations that increases costs (however marginally). There are maybe 2-3 standalone Dodge or Chrysler dealers in North America that don’t carry the other brand. The other aspect is that the Dodge and Chrysler brands are being moved away from each other, Chrysler going mainstream and Dodge going more performance. The minivan fits better with the Chrysler brand going forward.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            So let’s just make a performance Caravan! Who else wants a modern Dodge Caravan Turbo?

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            DR. I think that if they just went ahead and sold the TC as a hybrid only with v6 and 9 speed combo this would be the price justification difference. Just give the Dodge the v6 nine speed non hybrid. Of course the TC would have the better interior and inner workings.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    One problem with that strategy is that continuing to sell the older platform at a lower price along side the new one will cannibalize sales from the newer one, making it look like a sales dud out of the gate. That’s partly what happened with the Dodge Dart versus the Avenger. That also happened with the Chevy Malibu versus the Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The compact Dart was introduced while the mid-size Avenger was being discounted as a discontinued model. Buyers took more car for the same money. With a base Caravan vs. a loaded, near-luxury T&C on a new platform, you don’t have the same dynamic.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I suspect that the initial wet dream of Marchionne and company was that all of those Grand Caravan buyers would faithfully pay more money for the same vehicle with slightly more bling and a “better” name plate.

    We all know how well that works for Cadillac and Lincoln.

    People buy the Grand Caravan because it is cheap. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      dude I totally agree with you however I dont believe that all of a sudden the got religion. For all the credit that Serg gets we forget that Chrysler saved Fiat and not the other way around. He is still using Chrysler’s cash for Fiat.

    • 0 avatar

      Marchionne also thinks the Fiat nameplate has relevance beyond the 500 and that people other than those who get 3-week presser demos for free care about Alfa-Romeo.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Never forget that Sergio is a finance guy and a hell of a deal maker, but not a car guy. Chances are, he’s thinking fewer, more upscale cars with higher margins instead of high volume, low margin manufacturing with massive plant and equipment investment and a huge labor force. IOW, he wants to be BMW, not GM or Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Speaking of Alfa, I trolled autotrader to see how many 4Cs are available in the US and holy dealer markup, Batman! I forget what the Launch Edition MSRP is – maybe around $75k? Those listed on AT were at, or over $100k asking price. Several of them have been driven into 3 or 4 digit odo readings!

        Good luck, Fiat dealers!

  • avatar
    udman

    The Grand Caravan Classic (or whatever it’s going to be called) is likely going to be sold mainly to Fleets and the Municipalities. They will offer a price advantage to large fleets like Rental Car Companies, Taxi and Transport operators, State and Local Governments, as well as the Handicapped and Wheelchair Accessible Markets. There really is no need for any of these outlets to have the newest gadget filled features, or the trendiest styles, just basic transportation appliances. Makes perfect sense… and if they can still claim to be producing the least expensive Minivan in North America, so much the better…

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Out: Panther Love

    In: RT Rapture

  • avatar
    billyjoejimbob

    So if I read this correctly, when the Chrysler minivans get a new body style, the Dodge version won’t get it but will continue production on the old platform? Interesting, that could work.

    Would be like if when the new for ’82 GM F-Bodies came they could have given Camaro the new style but let the Firebird soldier on with the old ’70 to ’81 style, bucket lights wouldn’t then exist on on F-Body, Burt Reynolds would have driven a screaming chicken adorned T/A named KITT, David Hasselhoff would be a nobody, Baywatch would never have existed and Pontiac still might.

    These Fiat guys are onto something here.

  • avatar
    86er

    Sounds like some reassuring words from Reid to calm panicky dealers.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    This is good news! The Grand Caravan is just as much an American staple as the Mustang, the Suburban, the Charger and so on.

    Hopefully the refresh in 2016 will still maintain the great looks Chrysler is generally known for. The concept Town and Country (or 700c) looks like an Acura, but worse.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    This sounds a lot like the Saturn Vue/Chevrolet Captiva Sport/Equinox situation over at GM. Marchionne is cleverly hedging his bets with the upcoming, brand-new, more expensive Town & Country by keeping the cheaper Grand Caravan in production where it will likely continue being a staple of rental (but not commercial) fleets and Canadian consumption. The commercial fleets will be switching over to the Promaster City (aka Fiat Doblo) with the demise of the Ram C/V which was based on the Grand Caravan.

    And since there won’t be a Grand Caravan version of the new Town & Country, they won’t even have to mess around with adding a ‘Classic’ tag to it.

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