New minivans: end of ’14

New minivans, described by Sergio Marchionne as having a completely new suspension architecture, are due for the 2015 model year; statements from the Chrysler CEO indicate that it will appear as either a Chrysler or a Dodge, with the other brand having a crossover based on the van. At this time, it appears that Chrysler will be the sole minivan brand, at least in the United States; in Canada it could be Dodge, since the Caravan has traditionally been a top seller in Canada, but it’s more likely that it will be Chrysler in both nations.

Earlier, we were told that Windsor Assembly would shut down  between the old and new minivans, and we can confirm that it is scheduled to shut for three full months at the end of summer 2014, after which 2015 minivan production will start. The company appears to be planning to run a high volume of minivans through, to keep dealers occupied while they wait for the new models, a strategy that nearly worked with the Liberty (where heavy discounting was used to take excess inventory off the lots, until there was nothing left to sell and the new Cherokee was still unavailable.)  Employees are reportedly being asked to reserve Saturdays for months in advance of the shutdown.

Chrysler’s minivan quandary is that by withdrawing one brand or the other, they risk losing sales; but by keeping both, they neatly divide the sales between brands so that Honda or Toyota will be the top seller.  In June, Honda and Toyota both beat Chrysler and Dodge, though if Chrysler and Dodge are combined, they easily hit the #1 spot. Likewise, if they keep both brands, it diffuses the Dodge brand, which is still aiming for sportiness, and may be focusing on the traditional American target of “muscle equals torque, preferably in the rear wheels.” A minivan-based Dodge Caravan crossover might be seen as more manly; though it wouldn’t fit in perfectly, regardless of styling, it would still be more compatible with what we believe will be Dodge’s future focus.

Years ago, there was talk of a lifestyle pickup based on the minivan platform, but this seems like an increasingly remote possibility, given sales of similar vehicles from other makers and the capacity of the sole remaining minivan plant. It is possible that the pickup was floated as a way to use extra capacity of minivan sales fell more quickly.

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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?  »

Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?

The last few days have brought numerous photos to the fore; but which will we see?

The big truck-based Wagoneer, so far as it’s based on the photos above, seems least likely, at least in that form. Looking at it after the two images were set to the same scale, you can see that the “new Jeep” is likely closely based on the Grand Cherokee, which is in line with past company statements.

Read the full story: Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?  »

The Renegade-influenced Wrangler

Reddit member “arcsreddit” recently shared this photo of a Renegade-fronted Jeep Wrangler was photographed, in part-size clay-model form (which looks incredibly real).  While it’s hard to criticize on its appearance, it could send the wrong message — that the Wrangler has been “Renegaded” and lost capability.

Sources have told us that the next Wrangler will be as capable as the current one, if not more so;

Read the full story: The Renegade-influenced Wrangler  »

Could we see a Chrysler SUV?

Chrysler SUV

With the Warren plant soon to be emptied of mainstream Ram production, FCA will be able to create derivatives of the popular pickups without fear of disrupting production. The question is, will they do it? If so, what will we see?

There has already been some speculation about whether the Jeep Grand Wagoneer would be based on the Grand Cherokee, as statements from Mike Manley would lead us to believe,

Read the full story: Could we see a Chrysler SUV?  »

Rendering the Grand Cherokee
2015 Jeep Wrangler Altitude
Where are Wranglers sold?

Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?

The Renegade-influenced Wrangler

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