When it comes to talk about larger vehicles in the Fiat-Chrysler line-up lately, that talk is mostly around the new Chrysler Pacifica and what It is doing for the minivan segment. One of the most popular larger vehicles that remains popular with the buying public but doesn’t generate the press is the Dodge Grand Caravan. What is next for the Grand Caravan now that the Pacifica seems to be stealing its thunder.
That’s the question The Ellsworth American is pondering. The Grand Caravan was originally supposed to be ending its production at the end of the year and the Pacifica would be taking over as the one-true minivan for Fiat Chrysler. It was all part of a plan to try to limit the various brands from undermining themselves in various segments. That plan has been walked back a bit though. Now the Grand Caravan will get another year on its life, but once that year is up, no one is certain what will happen next.
The Ellsworth American doesn’t have any major leak or idea of what is to happen next. What follows the recent history of the Grand Caravan is a love letter to time spent with the Grand Caravan and a reminder of why it may not be time to let go of it. If there was ever a writer making a case for a vehicle to stay on the market, it is in this lovely tale of a “final ride” with the Grand Caravan. Check it out and think if it may be a good reason to keep it around.
The 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan has been named by Kelley Blue Book as a winner of its 5-Year Cost to Own Award. This is the second time in three years that the Grand Caravan has been awarded in the minivan/van category.
The awards honor vehicles and brands that have the lowest projected ownership costs based on Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to On data.
“The original minivan, the Dodge Grand Caravan, remains the champ in 5-Year Cost to Own by essentially running the table on the key ownership cost attributes,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst. “It costs less to buy; it is less costly to maintain, and it depreciates less rapidly than its minivan competitors. Plus, it offers a variety of creature comforts unmatched by others in its segment.”
The 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the best-selling, most awarded minivans ever. Its affordability and versatility has made it one of the most popular minivans on the market. It has exclusive Super Stow ‘n Go seating allowing families that need to store additional things or have more seats for passengers in a matter of seconds.
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When Chrysler put out their five year plan, one of the most noticeable things that would be happening was the Dodge Grand Caravan would be getting benched. The reason, at the time, was that Chrysler wanted to do less in the brand family to compete against each other. Rather than have multiple minivans, they would concentrate on a single one. The winner of the minivan segment was the Chrysler Town & Country, meaning the Grand Caravan would be no more after 2016. However, Automotive News stumbled across a production document that shows the Grand Caravan may have some life left in it.
The memo states that the Grand Caravan is still planned for 2017, being produced along with the redesigned Town & Country. The new Town & Country is set to start its production at the Windsor, Ontario plant on Feb. 29th 2016. The 2016 Grand Caravan is slated to start this August and to end production in August 2016. The 2017 model of the Grand Caravan will then be almost immediately put into production on August 23rd, 2016.
Since the 2016 run will be brief, there is no slated changes for the newer Grand Caravan models.
Why does it seem that Dodge is going back on their plan to no longer produce the minivan? Automotive News thinks it may have to do with wanting to make sure there is no market loss as the company shifts over to the Town & Country. With the short production life, it may give Dodge the chance to cut production depending on how things go. It will also allow the Grand Caravan to continue to sell in Canada where it is the number 1 selling minivan.
Change is in the air for Dodge. Chrysler announced that two Dodge mainstays will be getting dropped from the brand due to their direct competition with similar models. Dodge will be saying goodbye to the Grand Caravan and the Avenger. Chrysler believes they are competing too closely with the Town & Country and the 200 sedan.
The company’s reason is to move Chrysler to the forefront. They have chosen for the main brand to be the mainstream brand and want to focus the Dodge vehicle more on sport and high-performance vehicles. Because of this, SRT will be consolidated with Dodge and their powerful creations will sport the familiar Dodge halo.
Dodge is planning on giving their current vehicles a revamp to match the new image for Dodge. While the Charger and Challenger are already going to be getting one with their upcoming new versions, the Dart and the Journey will be getting a revamp further down the line.
While it is said to see some popular models go, it does make sense for Chrysler. For a long while now, they’ve been directly competing with themselves with minivans and sedans. If this allows them to focus on one superior product, both the company and the consumer will be the better for it. Still, sad to see them go.