30th anniversary minivan

Allpar announced the  2014 Chrysler Town & Country  30th Anniversary Edition last week, but now has a price as well: $35,695.

The 2014 minivan includes suede-and-Nappa-leather seats in all rows, glossy black steering wheel bezels and interior trim, third-row power folding seats, power folding mirrors, “granite crystal” paint with polished black-pocket wheels, Super Center Console, and logos in the gauge cluster, radio splash screen, and key fob.  The Driver’s Convenience Group is also standard, bringing heated first- and second-row seating, a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals, keyless entry/starter, and bright door handles. Finally, the 30th Anniversary minivans have third-row power folding seats, power mirrors (US only), and 30th-anniversary stereo splash screens, badges, and key fobs.

Chrysler claims a better deal than Toyota or Honda. The Toyota Sienna XLE with DVD runs $35,329, but Chrysler has remote start, stowing roof-rack cross-bars, rear heated seats, folding rear seats, “keyless go,” rear parking sensors, blind spot monitors, and a heated steering wheel. Toyota does have a sunroof and eight-person capacity Chrysler does not.

The Honda Odyssey EX-L is also comparable in price, — exactly matching Chrysler’s price. The Honda includes forward collision and lane departure warning, eight-seat capacity, and sunroof; the Chrysler adds the rear DVD player, and all the features it boasts over the equivalent Toyota. Chrysler also has standard fog lights and power third-row windows, which the Honda does not.

dashboard

According to Chrysler, while the Town & Country has a “major content advantage,” the company is doing poorly in sales of over-$33,000 minivans, where the biggest profits are. While Chrysler and Dodge tend to be in third and fourth place in sales most months, with one or the other sometimes hitting #1 or #2 (and the two combined topping the minivan charts), Chrysler has just a 20% share of the high-end minivan market. Honda sells literally twice as many, with a 43% share of that market, and even Toyota is doing better with a 34% share. Dodge Caravan has just 1% of that share; all other minivans combined account for another 2%.

Over half of all minivan sales are above $33,000 in price. If the math holds, Dodge is dominating the lower-end minivan market, with Chrysler getting a share of it as well, despite the Town & Country’s high-versus-Dodge starting price. Just 8% of the minivan market is for vehicles under $27,000.

The next generation of minivans is due in calendar-year 2015 or 2016, and reportedly does away with the company’s longstanding suspension architecture; it will also, according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, bring back all wheel drive.

Chrysler is just one of two minivan manufacturers to be able to boast a 30th anniversary edition in 2014 — the other is Renault, whose Espace minivan was developed with Matra, based on work done with Chrysler Europe in the early 1980s. Thanks, oh2o.