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FCA surfing the minivan wave

by Bill Cawthon on

Minivans, long relegated to the backwaters in automotive sales, were the hottest US market segment in March.

Year-over-year sales rose more than 39%, with the Chrysler Town & County and Dodge Grand Caravan leading the way. The Town & Country’s 148% surge propelled it to the top for the month; the Caravan’s 117% jump made it the runner-up.


The Toyota Sienna still has the year-to-date lead, but by a razor-thin 817 units over the Grand Caravan and 2,913 over the Town & Country. Both FCA minivans are ahead of the Honda Odyssey in both monthly and year-to-date sales.

For the first quarter of 2016, minivan sales are up 35%.

Traditional vans were also hot in March, with deliveries up by 29%. Ford took 54% of total sales, but Ram’s ProMaster and ProMaster City combined to outsell both Nissan and Daimler (Mercedes and Freightliner). The full-size ProMaster outsold Daimler’s total all by itself.

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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