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New and old minivans to coexist?

by David Zatz on

In an unconfirmed report, longtime source “Cdnautowrkr444” wrote that the long-anticipated move to having a single corporate minivan, most likely assigned to Chrysler, will be delayed for some years. In addition, presumably as a safety mechanism to avoid losing volume, the current Grand Caravan will continue in production for two years.  The source (who we will assume to be a “he”) wrote:

“The current Grand Caravan will be built till 2017, at which time a base model town and country will be built on the new RU platform.”


He was clear that the new generation minivans, coded RU, would indeed start production in 2015, presumably for the 2016 model year. The Caravan, which is extremely popular in Canada due partly to its value packages, would continue to assure full factory use, until a low-level version of the new Chrysler minivan is available.

This plan remains unconfirmed by other sources. Chrysler has maintained two generations of the same vehicle before: the original Jeep Grand Cherokee was meant as the replacement for the XJ Jeep Cherokee, but Cherokee continued alongside Grand Cherokee for years. The original Jeep Liberty was also to run alongside the still-popular Cherokee, though that plan only lasted for months.

Some observers believe that the new Journey, based on the new minivan platform rather than the 200 (as it is now), will also start up in 2016 or 2017; others have noted that the next generation of Grand Cherokees is due around 2017, which would be a convenient time for Dodge to transfer the Durango name to a different vehicle, such as a full size minivan-based crossover, if desired.  Many expect the place of the Durango, as an extended-length Grand Cherokee, to be taken by the Jeep Wagoneer.

Dan Minick pointed out that 2017 is also the year in which the Fiat Scudo van ends production at the Sevel North plant in France; Sevel North will be shared by Peugeot-Citroën (PSA) and Toyota from that point on.

There has been no official word from Chrysler on the continuation of the “RT” body minivans, plans for Durango, finalization of Journey-replacement plans, or even which brand will continue to have a traditional minivan. The Windsor plant has been confirmed for next-generation minivans, and the plant has an extended shutdown scheduled for the end of 2014 through early 2015. In January 2013, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the minivans should be ready in around that time.

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