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Dislodging Canadians from Caravans

by David Zatz on

The plan for Chrysler to sell a single minivan under the Chrysler brand is a problem for Chrysler Canada: the country’s citizens prefer the Dodge Caravan, by far, to the Chrysler Town & Country (Americans are the opposite).

Sales of the Chrysler Town & Country rose in the first half of 2014, but only from 4,985 to 5,024. Caravan also rose — from 23,741 to 26,555.

The Canadian market is only around a tenth the size of the U.S. market, but it’s still Chrysler’s #2 sales area.

For at least a year, the company will hedge its bets, making both old Caravans and new Town & Countrys. If customers want the newer technology and the newer minivans, they will have to go to the Chrysler (or to Toyota, Honda, or Kia).

For Chrysler Canada, it’s a moderately dangerous game, which could be ameliorated by naming the new minivan-based Dodge crossover “Caravan,” which is, no doubt, the plan. One question is whether customers are attracted to the Dodge because it’s a Dodge, or because it has price-slashing Canadian Value Packages attached. With the new van, it’s unlikely that Chrysler will be sticking to its premium pricing, but it’s equally unlikely that they will be able to set the sticker price anywhere near as low as current base Caravans.

In Europe, only one Chrysler minivan has been sold — the Voyager, a Plymouth name attached to Chrysler trim. This practice dates back to the times when there was no Chrysler brand minivan at all. While Chrysler minivan sales in Europe are small, it is one of the company’s best selling American vehicles in that continent.

All Chrysler minivans are made in Windsor, Ontario.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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