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Chrysler's Departure Will Be Kia's Gain

Chrysler's announcement that it will no longer produce the Dodge Caravan comes at an auspicious time for Kia as it gets set to roll out the 2015 Kia Sedona. One has to wonder why Chrysler is giving up on this market.

As one commenter noted, Dodge sold about 10,000 Caravans a month last year and sold 13,000 in April. In the first four months of 2014, Dodge has sold 45,000 Caravans. It's the best-selling vehicle in the Dodge lineup. Yet, FCA, the newly named parent company of Chrysler, has decided to pull the plug on an affordable, family-budget friendly minivan that was also popular in rental fleets.

Enter into the void the Kia Sedona that was introduced at the New York Auto Show in April. Last month, Kia sold about 627 Sedonas or about 5 percent of what Dodge did with the Caravan. To date, Dodge has sold more than 20 times the minivans Kia has this year.

And yet, Chrysler is abandoning that market. Kia will be thrilled to get even half of the monthly sales of the Caravan and odds are it will. Neither Honda with the Odyssey or Toyota with the Sienna will be able to compete from a pricepoint with an entry-level Sedona.

Plus, this being Kia, the entry-level 2015 Sedona should be fairly packed with technology and other desirable features. As the Korean automaker announced at the launch, "Following the philosophy that has guided Kia’s recent succession of highly successful redesigns, the Sedona advances value to new levels of sophistication with a host of segment-leading new technology and upscale features, all of which will be offered in a new premium trim level – SXL – which will be available when U.S. sales are scheduled to begin in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year."


Steve (not verified)    May 7, 2014 - 9:43PM

To be fair, Chrysler isn't totally abandoning the minivan. They will still sell the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and will probably offer less featured versions of those along with a lower price to make up for the missing Grand Caravan.

Dave Suton (not verified)    March 3, 2015 - 8:52AM

If I want to drive a kia, then guide me twords the nearest airport rental counter giving out smelly dirty Korean rattletraps. Same with nissan. Everyone of those I have rented had screws all over the floor from who knows where.