Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan Going the Way of Model T

Image: Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan Going the Way of Model T

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 12:44 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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Car conglomerate Fiat-Chrysler unveiled that it will remove the Grand Caravan from its Dodge lineup as part of its newly released 5-year plan that seeks to better differentiate its brands from one another.

The iconic minivan popular among families with kids and pets was introduced in the 1984 model year, and the Town and Country — originally a line of station wagons — was merged into the line as a luxury variant of the Caravan in 1990.

The move seeks to position Chrysler as the corporation's mainstream brand that competes with Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford, while Dodge will be re-oriented as a more sporty, performance-based brand for younger buyers, according to The Associated Press.

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"Dodge is the American performance brand," Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis told reporters. "This is not a new strategy. This is a purification of the brand."

The Dodge Viper, associated with the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand for the 2013 and 2014 model years, will be the Dodge brand's "halo" product moving forward. This means the soccer-mom van, as well as the Dodge Avenger sedan — also being dropped — are the odd cars out.

Chrysler brand chief Al Gardner said that by making the two vehicles exclusive to the Chrysler brand by way of the Town and Country and Chrysler 200 sedan the company can effectively end the rivalry between the two divisions, allowing them to focus exclusively on competing with outside rivals instead of each other.

Along with the announcement, Fiat-Chrysler announced that the Town and Country minivan will be available as a plug-in hybrid in 2016, as well as a full-size crossover in 2017, The Detroit Free Press reports.

Chrysler's primary competitors moving forward are the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The company's total minivan sales were up 10 percent through 2013.

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