Lifestyle pickup and sport Caravan

2015 dodge caravan

Though the architecture for the next-generation Chrysler minivans has been finalized, the actual vehicles have not, as Chrysler wrestles with customer desires and market issues. CEO Sergio Marchionne has said numerous times that he intends to whittle the two minivans, which were nearly identical from 2008 to 2010 and are now differentiated largely by price and features, down to a single van. This could make it easier to continue winning the #1 sales position over Toyota and Honda; while Chrysler has always had the highest combined minivan sales (Dodge plus Chrysler), Honda has (though not in 2012) grabbed the #1 sales spot for Odyssey over either Caravan and Town & Country.  But which would be turned into a crossover, and which would stay the minivan?

In Canada, the Dodge Caravan is king of the minivans; in the US, the Dodge is more of a fleet standby, with Chrysler Town & Country getting most of the retail sales. While the company could opt for a split solution — Chrysler Town & Country in the US, Lancia/Chrysler Voyager in Europe, and Dodge Caravan in Canada — that would be messy, as the crossover in the US would likely be the Dodge Caravan. It would complicate near-border ad campaigns, production, and more — since styling would also need to be different.

One solution, of course, would be keeping both as minivans, but making the Dodge much more of a Dodge — increasing its sportiness in look and feel, and making it a niche vehicle in the US, with more options in Canada. In both countries, the Chrysler minivan would be what it is now — an upscale, conventional minivan. By giving the Dodge more of a performance emphasis, the company could also bias the Chrysler towards comfort rather than cornering.

That brings up the resurrection of the Dodge Dakota as a lifestyle pickup. While it would take quite a bit of work to build a pickup truck using a minivan chassis, if engineers started with that goal from the start, they could work out ways to adapt the chassis and, equally important, the platform (dimensions) to accommodate a “lifestyle pickup.”

The idea of a reasonably sized vehicle with a pickup form, an El Camino (or Rampage) for the modern age, has been bouncing around Chrysler since the launch of the final Dakota, and building one at the minivan plant has been discussed internally as a possibility for some years. These days, though, there’s a single minivan plant, and it’s not as likely to spawn a pickup, given capacity constraints and hopes that the next-generation vans will sell well enough to keep Windsor humming full-time. A pickup might be sketched out, though, to take up the slack if the minivan market fails. JackRatchett accordingly developed this drawing of a possible “lifestyle pickup” based on the Caravan above.


AMP version.

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What do you think of the “Chief” blue?

Jeep is set to launch a new color, “Chief,” according to James Mooney — who backed up his assertion with an image from the Jeep brochure available on-line.

The color hasn’t hit the Build & Price system yet. It seems to hearken back to the popular bright blues of the 1990s, but without the metallic glitter; similar colors were also available in the 1970s, and we have seen a 1920s Chrysler in a slightly more aquamarine,

Read the full story: What do you think of the “Chief” blue?  »

Mopar pushes for authentic parts


Mopar has started a campaign to inform owners of their right to request authentic Mopar collision parts.  The “Right to Request” ad is on Mopar’s YouTube page and at

Dealers and body shops are being sent guidebooks that show the superior fit, finish, performance, safety, and warranty coverage of OEM Mopar products.

Ross McGinnis, Vice President of Parts Sales and Field Operations,

Read the full story: Mopar pushes for authentic parts  »

FCA inventory under control


FCA has gotten inventory levels under control in the US, according to Automotive News.  The company has 73 days of stock, versus GM’s 79 days and Ford’s 80 days. It’s above any major import’s inventory, but the wide range of pickups tends to swell American lots.

As the car market drops, dealers have 19,900 Chrysler 200s and 16,500 Darts on their lots;

Read the full story: FCA inventory under control  »

Rendering the Grand Cherokee

DarkSky envisioned a somewhat Range Rover-influenced 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, keeping roughly the same body shape but altering the front. This design makes the front end both more conventional and more aggressive, while separating it from the Cherokee and Compass alike.

This goes along, somewhat, with the photos recently seen on a Jeep display, assumed by many to be a Wagoneer. Once the size is corrected for,

Read the full story: Rendering the Grand Cherokee  »

Where are Wranglers sold?

2015 Jeep Wrangler Altitude

The Jeep Wrangler is an American staple, but it’s sold around the world. Recently, as part of a recall, FCA revealed the sales distribution of the 2016-17 Wrangler.

The great bulk of vehicles — 182,743 — were sold or distributed to the United States. Around 10% of those, 18,011, were in Canada. Accounting for around 20% of the Canadian number were 3,087 in Mexico. Finally, 20,948 were sold outside North America — a bit over 10%.

Read the full story: Where are Wranglers sold?  »

What do you think of the “Chief” blue?
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FCA inventory under control

Rendering the Grand Cherokee

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