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The minivan that just won’t die

by David Zatz on

The plan for Dodge was so simple and clear: it would be all muscle. The old people movers would be pushed onto Chrysler. The only thing standing in the way: Dodge’s two best sellers are front wheel drive people-movers.

Dodge Caravan

The company has apparently been ambivalent, sometimes planning on Chrysler crossovers, sometimes planning on Dodge crossovers.  At least the plan for the minivan was clear: the new, highly regarded, top-quality-ranked Chrysler Pacifica would become FCA’s sole minivan after September 1, 2017.

Now that, too, has changed.

The Dodge Caravan has sold roughly evenly with its Chrysler counterpart in recent years, except in Canada, where just about everyone buys the Dodge. Sergio Marchionne joked that sales chief Reid Bigland would keep the Caravan going forever if he could.

Numerous sources have told Allpar that there will be a 2019 Dodge Caravan after all, on the current “RT” body. The main reason for dropping the Dodge, other than brand clarity, boosting Pacifica sales, and reducing parts inventories, was a passenger-ejection safety standard that takes effect on September 1, 2017.

The changes should not be too costly, since the basic body and chassis aren’t affected; it’s mainly a matter of redesigned side airbags, different window glass, and possibly new seats. According to some, including Automotive News, implementing those changes is the reason why the plant is temporarily pausing Caravan production.

The pause seems only to affect minivans for the United States.  According to the Windsor Star, quoting FCA Canada, Canadian and Mexican production is unaffected.

The 2018 Dodge Caravan will have its production launch in December, giving engineers and suppliers time to engineer and test changes and create necessary tooling and software. After that — yes, Virginia, there will be a 2019 Dodge Caravan.

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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