By on June 19, 2017

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

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]

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18 Comments on “FCA to Dealers: Better Stock Up on Grand Caravans Now...”

  • avatar

    “only the two lowest Grand Caravan trims will be available through August — the $27,090 SE and the $29,790 SE Plus.”

    What happened to the 20Kish value package thing?

  • avatar

    I’m seeing an ad for $12,500 off right now. They usually are around $20,000 to start in Canada.

  • avatar

    The best minivan available for under $30K. My local dealers in NV & CA can’t keep them in stock except for the blacktop models which are slow to sell because they’re ugly.

  • avatar

    As I mentioned some months ago, there WILL be a Dodge version of the Pacifica. FCA can’t help but produce badge-engineered versions of specific platforms. I say Grand Monaco for the name, as there was a Monaco station wagon and the “Caravan” name is long in the tooth for today’s buyers.
    Make SAAB Great Again!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Is Marchionne some industrial spy engaged to destroy FCA? In the GC, FCA has one vehicle where they lead the market, as an older product the development and tooling costs have probably long since be paid off. Yet he is going to cut off supplies in the hopes that people will pay more for another FCA product than for a comparable Honda or Toyota?????????

    Not only that, but I personally have received permission to acquire a new GC come next spring. If they still have the Canada Value Package available and I can get it for less than $25k Canadian, all in.

    • 0 avatar

      @Arthur Dailey – they wouldn’t be the first to obsolete a better “bang-for-the-buck” product in order to push a higher-margin newcomer..

      Or, maybe they’re going to add a few refinements/updates that need some re-tooling?

      • 0 avatar

        The 5 month hiatus, may be way to see if would-have-been-buyers move to the higher margin newer platform, or jump ship entirely.

        At $20-$25 otd, this thing is THE best deal in automotivedom. Pair it with a Challenger, and sell it as the “American Family Value Package”, for the cost of just a minivan, or just a performance car, from just about anyone else…..

    • 0 avatar

      Margins are low after discounts. Eventually interest falls off and it will have to be discontinued in favor of something else.

  • avatar

    The platform engineering has most certainly amortized itself by now and – as long as FMVSS are complied with – abandoning a lucrative ‘value van’ segment is foolish. And I’m sure GC owners can move up to Pacificas as their families mature.

  • avatar

    My local FCA store is already “sales banked”. They don’t have room for any more stuff…..

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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