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Impact of the Pacifica

by David Zatz on

What was the impact of the Pacifica replacing the Town & Country in 2016? Let’s look at Dodge and competitors to find out. First, the FCA US sales:

  • Pacifica: 62,366 (partial-year sales)
  • Town & Country: 59,071 (partial-year sales)
  • Dodge Caravan: 127,678
  • Total Chrysler brand: 121,437; total FCA US, 249,115

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

Dodge often leads Chrysler in minivan sales, but has a higher proportion of fleet sales and a lower price, so Chrysler’s lower sales are more profitable. Let’s put these numbers into context:

  • Toyota Sienna: 127,791
  • Honda Odyssey: 120,846

The best selling minivan this year, by the slightest of margins, was the Toyota Sienna, thanks to the Dodge and Chrysler split. Because there were two Chrysler nameplates, the Odyssey ended up in the #3 position, though Honda sold fewer minis than Chrysler.

2016 minivan sales

The Caravan rose by 26% this year over last year, while the combined Chrysler minivan sales rose by 24% — about the same. 2015 was a bad year because of factory downtime, but by post-2006 standards, it was a good year.

One could say there was no point in replacement the Chrysler Town & Country, at great expense, with a minivan that likely costs much more to build; but the Pacifica sells for higher prices and has fewer incentives, and the old vans are only salable for so much more time.

The Pacifica’s gas mileage is superior to the Caravan, and the plug-in hybrid version should provide both much-needed CAFE relief and some good “green” publicity for the company. It’s possible, too, that as people see and hear about the Pacifica, it may take off.

minivan sales

I will admit I was somewhat cynical about the effect the Pacifica was having during its early sales days; but the more I look at the numbers and think about it, the better it seems, as it sets Chrysler up for the future. That’ll be doubly true as it spawns a crossover — assuming that’s still on.

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