FCA to Dealers: Better Stock Up on Grand Caravans Now

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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fca to dealers better stock up on grand caravans now

Chrysler’s minivans have been a never-ending beacon of purity and goodness for over thirty years. Less so lately, but the segment remains an important part of the FCA lineup. Intended to replace both the Chrysler and Dodge minivans, the Pacifica did not outsell either at launch. While Pacifica deliveries eventually eclipsed the Town & Country, it was really only due to the venerable model’s extermination. Meanwhile, Dodge’s Grand Caravan continues as the stronger seller and remains a popular option for rental fleets.

This has convinced Fiat Chrysler to extended the Caravan’s death date more than once, but it won’t last forever. In fact, it’s about to suffer a sort of prelude to non-existence as production will go on an extended hiatus in mid-August and won’t resume until December, when the 2018 models appear.

Why FCA is taking this course of action is unknown. The automaker entered June with a scant 22-day supply of Grand Caravans, accounting for a 11,967-unit inventory. That’s by far the lowest surplus of any of FCA’s models and far below the typical industry average. However, dealers reported to Automotive News that the manufacturer recently advised them to order enough minivans this month to last them through December. Orders for 2018 are supposed to begin in October but deliveries won’t resume until January.

Dealers were also informed that only the two lowest Grand Caravan trims will be available through August — the $27,090 SE and the $29,790 SE Plus.

There has been no word of exactly what is taking place at Windsor Assembly from either FCA or labor union Unifor. However, one might hazard a guess that the manufacturer is either facing logistical problems with suppliers due to the uncertain timeline surrounding the older minivan’s demise or — more likely — trying to nudge potential customers over to the Pacifica after deciding to hand over the majority of 2017’s Caravans to rental companies.

You’re welcome to speculate.

[Image: FCA]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Pdieten Pdieten on Jun 19, 2017

    If TTAC were around in the mid-'90s when Buick and Olds were still turning out cheap popular A-body sedans that directly competed with their higher margin GM10s, I wonder if the B&B would have said the same thing then that they do now about the GC.

  • Gtem Gtem on Jun 20, 2017

    A low-mile GC is definitely in the running for a family vehicle for me in the next year or so. They're still a bit of a mixed bag, but mechanically largely sorted now. My brother's friend has 150k fairly hard miles (mobile diagnostics in Staten Island) on a '12-'13ish Grand Caravan CV, still running great. Conversely we had a TTAC contributor whose 12k mile Town and Country blew its transmission up, and my favorite youtube repair channel always has a steady stream of fairly new GCs with a smattering of issues. A worn out balljoint there, leaking rear AC evaporator there, etc. Pricewise, I could get a one year old, possibly certified Grand Caravan GT with less than 30k miles for the same price as a 2 year old Sienna LE with cloth (read:stain prone) seats. I don't doubt that the Sienna would retain value much better and would statistically have fewer issues, but the Caravan definitely makes a strong value-argument for itself.

    • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Jun 20, 2017

      The DGC is a very low warranty cost vehicle, I would suspect even rivals the Sienna on a cost per vehicle basis. The high volume out there would ensure that shops see them frequently, but the advantage of remaining relatively unchanged for 7 model years is that everything is sorted.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.