News Column

Dodge Says Goodbye to Grand Caravan

May 6, 2014

Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press

Dodge is discontinuing the Grand Caravan minivan after 30 years. (photo: Dodge)
Dodge is discontinuing the Grand Caravan minivan after 30 years. (photo: Dodge)

Chrysler will be the only brand selling a minivan from the combined Italian-American automaker, and it will become the mainstream source of passenger cars without overlapping Dodge, Chrysler chief Al Gardner said today.

A new compact sedan, the Chrysler 100, will be added in 2016 to compete with Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Chrysler not only keeps the minivan in its stable, starting in 2017, but it will offer a plug-in hybrid option on the minivan.

Dodge will discontinue the Grand Caravan minivan.

Chrysler also will introduce a fullsize crossover, also with a hybrid option, in 2017, Gardner said.

The new 200 midsize sedan is about to go on sale. Its companion, the Dodge Avenger, will be discontinued.

Debate has raged internally as to which brand would retain the traditional family vehicle that Chrysler created in 1983. The new van is expected to compete with the popular crossover segment. Designers created prototypes of minivans as well as crossovers for each brand as executives grappled with the decision.

For this next generation, the minivan and sister crossover will continue to be built in Windsor, . where the automaker has been making minivans since they were created in 1983. But Marchionne, upset with Canadian political criticism, withdrew a request for $700 million in subsidies in March which has put longer-term investment in the plant in question.

In 1983 Chrysler officials were nervous about how the boxy family-hauler would sell. Those fears dissipated as Chrysler went on to dominate the segment for decades.

Chrysler sold 246,307 minivans in 2013, up about 10%, and in February sales exceeded 18,000. Today the main competitors are the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Original headline: Chrysler brand to keep minivan, add crossover and small car

Meanwhile, production of updated models of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger will stay at its Brampton, Ont., factory outside Toronto. Some of the updated cars will be on sale later this year.

Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle

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Source: (c)2014 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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