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.
This year’s winners of the prestigious Ward’s Top Ten were (in alphabetical order) the BMW 5-series electric motor, the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat V8, the Ford Fiesta three-cylinder, one-liter turbo, Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell vehicle, Mini Cooper 1.5 turbo three cylinder, the Ram 3-liter VM diesel, Subaru WRX four-cylinder turbo, VW Golf 1.8 liter [...]
We may have the first clear 2017 Chrysler Town & Country minivan spy shots, adding to a small “phone pic” shot posted some time ago. The vehicle, parked with the Chrysler Technical Center in sight, has camouflage and padding, but you can clearly see the openings for the side and front door handles. The photo gives some idea of the relatively length [...]
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has long expressed his desire to slash the number of Fiat and Chrysler platforms, emulating Volkswagen’s “back to the future” move of putting just about everything onto a single platform. Mr. Marchionne has allowed major exceptions; the combination of an over-ambitious plan and a grip on reality delayed the Jeep Renegade and some other cars, because the [...]
Some time ago, Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat Chrysler, said that the only way to reboot Alfa Romeo would be by amortizing engineering costs with Dodge. That’s gone down the memory hole, now. It had to. The Alfisti will have fitsies if they overtly share with Chrysler. The D-RWD platform is now Giorgio, an Italian name for something developed largely in Auburn [...]
The Ram 1500 faced down the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and new Chevrolet Silverado in Motor Trend’s half-ton truck shootout. The three contenders were put through a broad array of testing, including a 260-mile drive through California and Arizona. Measurements included: Testing without load: 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip (Ram was Limits-handling without load: closed-course cornering, braking, [...]