By on November 14, 2016

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Windsor, Ontario, minivan factory will reportedly suspend Dodge Grand Caravan production in mid 2019.

Seats delivered from Magna International’s Integram Seating facility to the minivan assembly plant will no longer be delivered as of July 2019, according to a letter sent from Magna to Unifor. Automotive News Canada suggests that the Grand Caravan will be replaced by a crossover.

Budget priced, the Dodge Grand Caravan is currently America’s best-selling minivan. Together, the Grand Caravan and its Chrysler siblings own 45 percent of the U.S. minivan market. On its own, the Grand Caravan generates 56 percent of all Canadian minivan sales.

FCA’s strategy to date suggests the company does not want to offer competing products at different FCA brands. This strategy led to the demise of the Dodge Avenger, which wasn’t replaced when FCA redeveloped the Chrysler 200. How’d that work out? The 200, barely more than two years into its run, dies soon.

Similarly, FCA hatched a plan that resulted in the release of the Chrysler Pacifica, a replacement for the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, earlier this year. But the Pacifica’s launch did not coincide with the launch of a Dodge twin — the Grand Caravan persists in fifth-generation form. 47 percent of the minivans sold by FCA in the U.S. so far this year have been Chryslers; 53 percent have been Dodges. The Grand Caravan is on track for its best U.S. sales year since 2012.

2017 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Blacktop Package - Image: FCA

As for the Grand Caravan’s position in the Dodge family, it’s the brand’s best seller. Only four FCA products sell more often in the United States — Ram P/U, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler.

The Grand Caravan’s demise at Dodge would leave Dodge with two utility vehicles (assuming a replacement would be steered to the two-vehicle Chrysler brand), one full-size sedan, and one muscle coupe.

Yet Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo pointed out to ANC that FCA’s Grand Caravan phase-out plans have never been set in stone before and may not. “In 2019 there’s a plan to phase it out, but as you recall, they were supposed to phase it out in 2016, 2017,” Chiodo said. “As long as it’s selling, I don’t know if they’re going to make that decision.”

We asked FCA Canada for comment on the report of a mid-2019 production end for the Grand Caravan. FCA Canada’s head of communications, LouAnn Gosselin told TTAC, “We have not announced an end of production date at this time.”

Two months ago, FCA spokesperson Angela Bianchi confirmed the production of a 2017 model year Grand Caravan and the fact that the Grand Caravan would be discontinued, but said, “We don’t comment on future product plans beyond the current model year.”

Is there anyone outside of FCA that thinks digging a grave for the segment leader is a wise idea?

[Images: FCA]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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56 Comments on “Dodge Grand Caravan Dies In 2019: Report...”


  • avatar
    heavy handle

    They can replace it with a cheapened Pacifica if the market’s still strong.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    FCA announces lots of plans. So does an 8 year-old. Hell, so does Elon.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    If it sells well (because it is cheap) and the design/platform has more than paid for itself, why kill it? Just update it as needed/necessary (safety and infotainment tech advances, of course) and sell it. People go to their local FCA dealer, balk at the price of a Pacifica, and leave with a Grand Caravan. Or budget-conscious families end up leaving with a total base model Grand Caravan for cheaper than others will pay for a sedan with less room. Seems like a win-win to me.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree with your logic. However I think theirs is they’d rather lose a few bargain basement low profit sales to get a lower number of high dollar ones on the Pacifica.

      And if a customer doesn’t quite have the cash, FCA Credit is happy to oblige.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Eventually you end up where Ford was with the Panther-based Crown Vic. Sooner or later you won’t be able to update it anymore. It’ll be too primitive to build or to build parts for or to make compliant with the EPA that wants it dead.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Only took the Crown Vic 33 years to reach that point, I’d say the GC is looking young in that regard.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Here is a radical concept. Just improve the reliability of the Grand Caravan.

          The development costs on the Grand Caravan have long since been paid off. It has a significant market to itself, as an inexpensive, 7 passenger family vehicle. Few cross shop a new Caravan with an Odyssey, Sienna or Pacifica due to price. It would be a new Caravan cross shopped with a used Sienna or Odyssey.

          So why not put a few thousand dollars into better parts and better build quality. It would still be less expensive than the other minivans on the market and the profit margins would be similar or in a few years even better.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            This. No one buys a minivan because they want to, they buy them because they have to. So instead investing in a new, exciting (not) platform, much better to invest in improving what they already have.

          • 0 avatar
            Grant404

            @ Russycle “No one buys a minivan because they want to, they buy them because they have to.” No one? That would come as news to a lot of minivan buyers, me included. I’m on my third minivan (a Chrysler T&C) since 1994, and every one of them was purchased because I wanted it, not because I had to buy it. IMO, minivans are the most all-around versatile type of vehicle, and even though my kids are now grown, I have no plans on being without one in my fleet for the foreseeable future. It no longer serves as a daily driver in my vehicle lineup (it’s overkill for one person as a DD), but being a homeowner/DIY’er who occasionally has to haul things (people included), tow a utility trailer, make trips to the home improvement store, or for vacation duty, nothing else could take its place in my garage.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The original Grand Caravan dates to around 1986, so the end is nigh, even though the platform is more updated than the Panther was.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            It’s on its 4th generation. Surely it can’t still be on its original K-Car platform from its 1984 launch.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I do hope they realize that so far they’re only deleting cars, and at some point will have to add some back in.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    They should cancel the Ram trucks too, they aren’t even the market leaders!

    Seriously, please sell Jeep before you destroy it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The siren song of Jeep is destroying FCA. Jeep is a cursed brand – every company that owned it got in financial trouble, ever since the government stole the original idea from American Bantam, claiming the government owned all the design submissions for an utility vehicle.

      The strange thing is, several of the companies tried to survive with Jeep alone. Willys-Overland built other vehicles before WW2 only to drop them when given Jeep after the war. Kaiser bought them out just as they, too, were dropping their car line, and sold to AMC, which had far fewer models when Chrysler bought them out than when they bought Jeep, and under Daimler mismanagement, Chrysler reduced its model range.

      Now Sergio is doing the same thing, starving Chrysler and Dodge of models. The curse continues.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Dodge is supposed to be a performance brand, so a minivan doesn’t fit.

    Meanwhile, the Dodge dealers are also Chrysler dealers and there will still be a Chrysler minivan for them to sell, so the product itself is not disappearing.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yeah, but the Pacifica is a more expensive model. What was that Alfred Sloan said in 1924? “A car for every purse and purpose.” That was the GM plan, and they did pretty well for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Since Chrysler discontinued Plymouth, Dodge is now the low-priced brand. A lower-priced minivan fits just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Will there be a $20k Pacifica? Will someone be willing to buy a $50k Pacifica when a $20k one exists? These are significant questions that having the Grand Caravan stick around avoids having to answer.

      My gut tells me if the answer to #1 is yes, the answer to #2 will increasingly be no, leading the higher margin customers to Odysseys and Siennas even more often than they already are.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The average price of new vehicles in the US is over $33k.

        The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna both have base MSRPs of $29k+.

        Why should Chrysler be in the business of selling $20,000 minivans?

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Back around 2012 or so FCA was saying they were going to kill both the TC and Grand Caravan and replace them with a crossover.

    Then came the pacifica

    The dodge mivivan will live on. They’ll rebadge the pacifica and just call it the dodge caravan.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Kill off the best-selling minivan? Yeah, that’s a great idea. That Sergio, he’s a damn genius. The part that sounds like Fiat? keeping a model around for 12 years. It would have been smarter to bring out a new Grand Caravan last year, and dump the Town & Country.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      One thing we know about Sergio’s FCA is that they ran the numbers backwards and forwards, and this is the strategy that nets them the most money. Unlike most Mopar fans, they don’t suffer from “platform sentimentality.”

      That old Caravan is already obsolete, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s paid-for and they will keep pumping them out as long as the tooling holds-out. They have no doubt figured-out that 2019 is when it will be too worn to stamp paintable bodies.

      What happens then is anybody’s guess. If the economy is weak, I expect they will release a “value package” Pacifica. If it’s strong, they may just drop the low-rent segment altogether.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        It’s not even about worn out tooling; by that time frame the only vehicle in the FCA lineup using the old electrical and power train architecture would be the Grand Caravan. When the GC goes, 62TE production stops along with non PUG 3.6L engines. The new Wrangler should be out by then as well which then kills the old style “My Gig” radio headunit.

  • avatar
    Tour-Rider

    In time, with all these crossover vehicles, there will be but one vehicle… The Jetson’s car in a briefcase.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The only thing I gather from that report is the current Grand Caravan will be phased out and they won’t be needing seats for the current generation at that time.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Sell Jeep to Ford – NOW, before this Titanic sinks!

  • avatar
    JimZ

    it’s painfully clear that The Stronzo in the Sweater is just doing the bare minimum to keep the lights on until he can find someone to take the entire operation off his hands.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Nissan will buy it, kill off the other useless brands, and keep the lights on at Ferrari, RAM, and Jeep.

      -Titan can go away since nobody likes it, now they’ve got trucks.
      -Ferrari will always have a place making supercars, since the GTR is probably done fairly soon and it’s old now. Alternatively they can use Ferrari technique to make a new GTR at some point.
      -Jeeps crossovers are more successful than the Nissan ones, and they need something to replace the Juke/Rogue/other.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        FCA doesn’t own Ferrari anymore, they spun it off. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Then why is Sergio still chairman of Ferrari? They offered only a small percentage of the stock to the public, the rest was parceled out to FCA owners, and the Fiat founding Agnelli family got the lion’s share.

          If Sergio can’t find a buyer/merger partner to take the car business out of the Agnelli’s hands, parting out the company will be Sergio’s last resort. He’ll sell off Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, and leave Fiat with massive debt to go bankrupt.

          The Agnelli’s don’t want to see that happen to their old cash cow Fiat for political reasons, but they’re not an Italian based family anymore. They will let it happen to finally extricate themselves from the high capital, low margin business that cars have become.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            The Agnellis may own it but it’s not part of FCA at all. Any transaction between elements of FCA and Ferrari wouldn’t be internal, which is a very different thing.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Actually it sounds more like he was just looking for an easy way back into the American market. And maybe Jeep and RAM too. I can just see 5 years from now that CJDR dealers are now FJAR dealers, with Chrysler gone, and Dodge either gone or selling lower end rebadged Alfas.

      He’d be stupid to sell off Jeep, without it Chrysler was essentially worthless, and without it FCA will be essentially worthless.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I’ve said this many times before. FCA would be walking away from a lot of sales/volume when they discontinue this. Why not keep it going for a few more years. Keep the Pacifica retail-only and at least let it build some reputation a bit before dumping a bunch of stripper models to the fleets.

    Same to the Jeep Patriot.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I can’t see that date being “etched in stone” . In my years in GM going back to the early 80’s , I remember. many of those dates being revised numerous times . Two years is a lifetime in the ever volatile , vehicle manufacturing and marketing , world .

  • avatar

    As a minivan enthusiast, it makes me sad to see a minivan getting killed off for something less practical/efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “As a minivan enthusiast…” One of my least favorite things about the internet, I can never be sure if I’m encountering sarcasm or not. Regardless, I’ll admit it, I’ll be sad to see the GC go.

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    The fact that the Grand Caravan is Dodge’s top seller, just shows how badly the brand has been handled.
    I get that Sergio is trying to differentiate between the brands, but he needs a solid plan for each brand, and follow through with it. FCA doesn’t appear to have the money to handle all these brands, while actually giving them an actual identity.
    I think his plan of making all the FCA brands appear more diversified by separating Dodge sales and Ram sales could backfire on him, when it comes time for the inevitable takeover from another company. At this point the Dodge brand would be likely consolidated with the Chrysler name.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      back in the 80s they made a panel version work van of the caravan. FWD, space efficient. didnt really do all that well.

      now everything is euro inspired FWD tall vans. fiat doblo, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        And, the U.S. Postal Service has purchased a large quantity of the panel van Grand Caravan to replace is aging fleet of smaller postal deliver vehicles. I see the new van in my area regularly now.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    They could always make a Fiat 500 version of this Dodge Caravan and sell it at the Fiat dealerships. This would be as big a hit as the other Fiat brands. They should keep making this Dodge Caravan as long as it sells well. FCA needs to sell vehicles that people buy and why would they discontinue a vehicle that is selling regardless of how dated it is. There are always buyers looking for value.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I agree, Jeff. Especially that there are always people looking for value. With the economy as it is, there are still many people who can’t afford any new car at present. And, for those that are in a position to need a new vehicle purchase, the Grand Caravan is still both a practical choice as well as a good value. I think that almost guarantees it to continue to be a top seller at FCA.

  • avatar
    cornellier

    Just went to look at https://www.chrysler.ca/ and the site is down. How can they build cars if they can’t run a web server? Then again the Canadian immigration website was chronically down after the US presidential election. Perhaps the two are linked?

  • avatar
    zip94513

    The DGC is dead right now. None of the local dealers haven been able to get any for months.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    This is the perfect opportunity for Hyundai to update the Kia Sedona, rename it the Genesis Whatever, price it competitively and take all those sales that FCA is apparently willing to abandon.
    “Pacifica” still makes me think of Celine Dion, who I can not stand, so for me and millions of others, is a poisonous name for a minivan. or the flattened minivan that the first Pacifica was.

  • avatar
    jamescyberjoe

    It’s a horrible vehicle

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