Minivans sales to stay down?

In February 2013, U.S. Chrysler Town & Country minivan sales fell by 10%, while Dodge Caravan fell by 18%; Caravan still managed to beat Sienna, and Town & Country still beat Odyssey. Sources told us that overtime is being cut at the sole remaining plant in Windsor (for many years, two plants were devoted to minivan production), and that a small amount of downtime is being considered for the summer.

The vans, once Chrysler’s sales leaders, are still a major product, but their total sales are now exceeded by Ram trucks, L-series large cars, and mid-size J-cars. Crossovers and “cute-utes” have lessened the demand for minivans, even as competition from Toyota and Honda has become stronger. Without major product changes, which do not seem to be in the works, Chrysler seems to be adjusting sales through incentives and advertising, reducing profit margins.

Adding nine-speed automatics could boost sales, but production of the ZF-based transmissions will take a year or two to reach the volumes that would be needed; early production is reserved for Cherokee, then for the upcoming Chrysler 200 replacement.

With minivans looking at lower profit margins, they are at a disadvantage to other vehicles competing for a limited number of V6 engines (Jeeps, Journeys, mid-sized cars, Rams, and large cars). Assembly lines can only be added so quickly. We do not expect V6 and transmission production to be sufficient for Chrysler’s needs until 2015 or early 2016, and even then, there might be limits, depending on the popularity of Cherokee and midsized cars.

There does not seem to be any relief for the minivans until calendar-year 2016, when the next generation “RU” bodies will start rolling out of Windsor. By then, moving to a single model, whether a Dodge or Chrysler, may be less of an issue, depending on how customers and competitors act in the meantime.


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FCA profits shot up — driven by US


FCA’s adjusted operating profits shot up in the third quarter, with profits in North America rising from 6.7% of sales a year ago to 7.6% of sales. North America once again drove profits for FCA as a whole, but the Europe/Africa/Middle East region returned to profitability.

Net income went from a $420 million loss in the third quarter of 2015 to a net profit of roughly $660 million in this past quarter.  

Read the full story: FCA profits shot up — driven by US  »

Ram leading in van growth

With a nearly 47% year-over-year increase as of the end of September, Ram leads the market in commercial van sales.

Nine months into 2016, Ram has sold 39,214 ProMasters — 26,544 full-size ProMasters and 12,649 compact ProMaster Citys.

In September, monthly sales of Chevrolet and Ford vans fell, while Ram van deliveries were up more than 10%. The big ProMaster outsold every full-size van that didn’t wear a blue oval or a bow tie.

Read the full story: Ram leading in van growth  »

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?

2017 Ram and Jeep diesels are reportedly being delayed — but the same is true of diesel engines from nearly all automakers, as the EPA rushes to crack down on diesel emissions cheats.

So far, according to Automotive News’ groundbreaking report, only Jaguar and BMW have been given permission to sell diesels in the US. Others have to wait, pending testing clearance, thanks to Audi-Volkswagen cheats.

Read the full story: What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?  »

Canadians get cheaper Pacificas

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

Chrysler Canada is now selling a complete line of Pacifica minivans in Canada, with the base LX and Touring models added to Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, and Limited.

All 2017 Chrysler Pacificas are made in Canada at the award-winning Windsor Assembly Plant; the plant built 70% of all full-size minivans sold in Canada last year (including Caravan and Town & Country).

The LX lists for C$37,995,

Read the full story: Canadians get cheaper Pacificas  »

Ram Commercial’s relaunch

ram commercial video

Ram’s “Ram Commercial” division made its full public debut yesterday with a multidimensional ad campaign, four years after being established.

The campaign covers television, print, digital, video and social media. The first ad, “Time,” showed up on yesterday’s NFL game, showing the “surprise and delight” of small businesses with Ram vans. Print ads will appear in magazines including Forbes, Professional Builder, and Remodeling.

Read the full story: Ram Commercial’s relaunch  »

FCA profits shot up — driven by US

Ram leading in van growth

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans
Canadians get cheaper Pacificas

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