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The integrated crossover plan (part 2)

by David Zatz on

In the first two parts, we talked about how the future minivans and future Durango may share more; and how the Wagoneer will displace Durango on the “enlarged Grand Cherokee platform;” and rumors that the next-generation minivans would be based on a variant of the current Durango.  We also talked the Dodge Journey midsize crossover, and whether it will be a sort of Dodge-d Cherokee or a mini-minivan.

Oh, and then there’s Dodge Nitro. The name has been trademarked. Does that mean anything? Probably not.

Durango is a real quandary. Some people suggested it could move over to the Ram 1500 and end up like the Chevy Tahoe. We have three reasons for thinking that will not happen.

  1. First, there are the rumors from Auburn Hills
  2.  Chrysler is having a hard time with its fuel efficiency targets as it is
  3. There is only one company has been successful with that kind of vehicle in recent years. GM has built an enviable reputation with those trucks, attracting buyers who would otherwise never dream of buying something American.  Ford tried with the Expedition and Navigator, and hasn’t really gotten anywhere; if Ford failed, with a large core of reflexive buyers and a superb marketing machine, Dodge is not likely to break in, even if they built something clearly superior.

Earlier, we suggested that Durango might converge with the minivans, perhaps keeping rear wheel drive (as the LH cars were designed to support either front or rear drive). However, let’s carefully look at the dates. Durango gets a refresh in early 2017, and continues to the end of 2018.

The Wagoneer comes in — in 2018.  So… the Durango name could move to a modified 300C chassis —just as Maserati is reportedly planning crossovers based on the Ghibli (I would guess there will be an Alfa Romeo version, too. This all assumes Durango won’t simply be dropped; sales may determine that.) If that happened in January 2019, it wouldn’t show up on the plan.

That would solve the problem of where to build Durangos: in Canada, where it can join Challenger, Charger, and 300C, to counter-act the slow decline in full-sized car sales (not made any easier for Chrysler by increasing competition).

Caravan. There was talk of an upcoming full size Dodge crossover, presumably to be named Caravan, based on the next generation Town & Country.

There is no full size crossover on the Five Year Plan for Dodge. 

Perhaps, Chrysler will take over the Caravan name, using it for their own full size crossover, and Dodge will making Durango their full size.   Or perhaps the Chrysler full-sized crossover will be called Voyager.  Chrysler has been calling its minivans Voyagers everywhere but North America since they first started exports, since they started selling them before Town & Country was created and after Plymouth left most of the world.

That plan sounds fairly rational. Let’s see if it happens. Stay tuned — for the next four years.

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