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When are the new minivans coming?

by David Zatz on

The first new Chrysler minivans since their 2008 redesign, which eliminated separate tuning for Chrysler and Dodge, are due to arrive in calendar-year 2015, after various sources claimed they would arrive in early 2015 and early 2016.

There will only be a Chrysler minivan, coded RU, to be followed by after some time by a Chrysler full-sized crossover, coded R-something (probably not RV or RX). This will be the second Chrysler minivan-based crossover, after the acclaimed but slow-selling Pacifica.

Both the minivan and crossover will include hybrid options, according to company plans.

Reliable source oh2o confirmed other sources’ input, when he wrote that the timetable was:

  • November to mid-February: Increased production for 2015 models to build inventory.
  • Mid-Feb to late May 2015: plant renovation [Allpar note: this phase appears to have been delayed by around three months]
  • Late May through mid-July: 2015 minivans build-out (final orders)
  • August 2015: Launch of the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country

Another source wrote:

  • June 2015: first RU minivan pilot
  • December 2015 or January 2017: First RU production

This indicates that the new minivans may actually start with the 2017 model year.

The plant will be able to build both RT and RU van at once, but whether the company plans to keep the old Dodges going for some time is a question (it has been suggested by some sources). This would relieve pressure on the company to have cut-price Chrysler RU models, and prevent loss of Canadian loyalty, while providing input to executives on whether they still need a Dodge Caravan. If Canadian Chrysler minivan sales zoom when the new generation appears side-by-side with the past-generation Dodge, they could single-nameplate the vans in both the US and Canada. If Canadian customers remain loyal to Dodge, which commands more than three quarters of Canadian minivan sales, the company will have some hard decisions.

Insiders have told us that the plant cannot currently pilot the next-generation minivan. This might indicate that it makes greater use of aluminum to reduce weight, but in all likelihood is simply a matter of different sizes and switching to an independent four-wheel suspension. One industry insider believes that the first Windsor vehicle to have extensive aluminum use will be the minivan-based Chrysler crossover, not the minivan itself.

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