Patrick Rall's picture

One of the Chrysler minivans to see an end soon per Marchionne

During an impromptu question and answer session with Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, the boss commented that either the Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Caravan lineup would be coming to an end in the near future as the company works to diminish redundancy among their brands.

Like the other American automakers, Chrysler has plans in the works to have all of their dealerships servicing all brands under the company umbrella in the near future and when that project comes to volition, it won’t make any sense to have the same basic vehicle marketed under two different names. Over the past 10 years, Chrysler has done a good job of offering at least a fair amount of different sheet metal helping to differentiate two brands sharing a similar platform but in the case of the Dodge and Chrysler minivan twins – very little separates the two shy of the badging.

Marchionne went on to say that there is a definite need for a mini-minivan or smaller “people mover”, similar to vehicles like the Ford C-Max or the new Toyota Prius V, but there are no set plans as to which of the company brands will benefit from this new compact family vehicle. We can expect this new smaller people mover to possibly share underpinnings and/or styling with something from Fiat’s European works, where these compact minivans have been popular for some time. Fiat is being pushed as affordable luxury in the US and Chrysler follows similar marketing routes so perhaps a lightly redesigned and rebadged Fiat-turned-Chrysler would make for a good compact minivan for the Pentastar’s luxury arm?

On one hand, Chrysler has made strides over the past few years to become a luxury brand and the idea of a luxury minivan can seem far-fetch but at the same time, with over 112,000 T&Cs sold in 2010 the Chrysler minivan was the bestselling vehicle in the segment. On the other hand, when I had a chance to sit down with Dodge brand CEO Ralph Gilles at the 2010 LA Auto Show, he hinted to future targeted trimlines of the Caravan lineup - like the possibility of a Caravan R/T a.k.a. the Man Van. If these upcoming trimlines are being developed right now for the Dodge minivans, it would make sense that the Chrysler variant would be headed out when the company begins making moves to gather multiple brands under one dealership ceiling.

Sergio Marchionne will be in attendance for an event at Chrysler’s Windsor Production Facility to celebrate the start of production for the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan; as for now the two are both alive and well.

Other Chrysler News:
The Mopar Ram Runner makes its 2011 Detroit Auto Show debut
Images of the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible leaked
HPP and Mopar show the sinister side of the 2011 Chrysler 200 at the Detroit Auto Show

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Comments

This would be very annoying from a person that loves minivans. I love the town and country line and style... not that I don't like the grand caravan for the sporty side. I'm glad I got the 2011 t and c, so we shall see what happens.