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Minivans: 13 million and counting

by Bill Cawthon on

27 Years - 13 Million Minivans

From Chrysler, the company that invented the minivan (unless you’re a Francophile, in which case you think it’s Renault) a reminder of a major milestone: the 13 millionth Chrysler Group minivan rolled off the line at the Windsor Assembly Plant in August.

That’s where it all started on November 2, 1983, when the first minivan rolled off the Windsor line. In this first generation, including the Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, the minivan was known as the “Magic Wagon,” was garageable, had front-wheel drive, could carry a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood, seated seven and knocked the auto industry for a loop. Ford and General Motors spent billions of dollars and an untold number of man-years trying to unseat the Chrysler minivans before both ultimately gave up and left the segment. The Dodge Caravan is still the best-selling minivan in history.

Today, the fifth generation is sold in more than 80 countries worldwide. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country remain the leaders in the segment, capturing better than 75 percent market share in Canada and a 43.3 percent share in the United States where the Town & Country and Caravan are first and third in year-to-date (YTD) sales. In Canada, the Grand Caravan is the second-highest-selling nameplate in the country based on YTD sales.

This announcement was actually in Chrysler Canada’s monthly sales report released September 1, 2010. For some reason, Chrysler didn’t emphasize it and it got overlooked. Thanks to Ed for the reminder.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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