With a new management now in control at Chrysler, changes are taking place at all levels of the company. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Avenger models will be replaced by a single crossover in 2013. This is probably the most controversial and confusing change yet.
The move is an effort by Chrysler to eliminate duplicate models from its lineup. Given that the current Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are virtually identical, the latter has been placed on the chopping-block, ultimately leaving just one minivan in the group’s line-up. Starting the minivan craze, the Caravan is a volume seller for the Chrysler group and has a very recognizable brand name, making the decision to eliminate it — rather than its Chrysler counterpart — that more controversial. The next Town & Country, which will go on sale in 2014, will likely offer a lower-rung trim level in order to capture sales that could be lost with the Caravan’s discontinuation.
Similarly, the termination of the Dodge Avenger will leave the group with only one mid-size sedan, the Chrysler 200, which will get a redesign in 2013. Even so, we can’t help but to think that Dodge will still need a mid-size sedan for a more complete lineup. Moreover, it’s not as if the 200 is selling like hot cakes.
“A crossover is more in line for Dodge to cover that segment than it is for anybody else to cover that segment,” Marchionne said, stating that the crossover would provide a more sport-oriented lifestyle product for Dodge showrooms.
The new crossover that will replace both the Avenger and Caravan will be based on a Fiat platform. But despite what Marchionne says, we are left scratching our heads thinking about how it will fit into Dodge’s lineup, which already offers a family oriented crossover, the Journey.
Chrysler Celebrates 35 Years Of The Minivan With Special Edition Pacifica, Caravan
It’s been over three decades, since the American automaker gave birth to the minivan segment.
Chrysler introduced the first minivan — Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager — in 1984, and has sold more than 14.6 million minivans over the proceeding 35 years, twice as many as any other automaker. It chose to celebrate the milestone with 35th Anniversary Edition versions of the Chrysler Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid and Dodge Grand Caravan.
All three feature an all-black interior with Cranberry Wine accent stitching and special 35th anniversary badging.
Available on the Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited models, the Chrysler Pacifica 35th Anniversary Edition has Cranberry Wine accent stitching on its McKinley and Nappa leather perforated seats, steering wheel, door trim, instrument panel and door handles. Designers the 35th Anniversary logo has on the front floor mats.
Touring L trim models come standard with memory driver’s seat, eight-passenger seating, Mopar overhead DVD, 18-inch wheels. Going for the Touring L Plus adds a dual-pane sunroof and the Limited further adds 20-inch wheels.
The Hybrid Touring L comes equipped with the premium Audio Group with 13 Alpine speakers, Uconnect 4C Nav with 8.4-inch display and 17-inch wheels, while the Hybrid Limited tosses in 18-inch wheels.
Only the Grand Caravan SE and SXT models get the 35th Anniversary treatment, boasting 17-inch tech silver aluminum wheels, 35th Anniversary fender badge and a Bright grille.
Inside, they features Cranberry Wine accent stitching on the steering wheel, seats and door trim; a Piano Black console and IP accent; and a 35th Anniversary embroidered logo on the front floor mats.
The 35th Anniversary edition Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan go on sale in Summer 2019.
Chrysler 300 Sedan Will Be Discontinued In 2020
It will be the last Chrysler sedan.
Chrysler two model lineup will see the elimination of the Chrysler 300 in 2020 and the addition of a second people-mover.
According to , there is no replacement for the large sedan planned. Instead, we can expect a new model based on on the Pacifica by mid-2019, possibly a crossover.
A production version of the electric Portal concept is also planned and should arrive in 2020. Unveiled in 2017 at CES in Las Vegas, the concept featured retractable steering wheel and had autonomous driving capabilities.
The elimination of the Chrysler 300 in 2020 will end a 15 year run for the full-size sedan, which entered production in 2005.
It’s hard to imagine a Chrysler brand without a sedan, let alone a large one, but the segment is in a perceptible decline, leading several other automakers to also trim their sedan lineup, if not downright eliminate it.
With only three models in its lineup by 2020, will the Chrysler brand even be relevant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Mike Manley Becomes New Fiat Chrysler CEO, Marchionne Steps Down
Health complications has forced Sergio Marchionne to step down from his post as Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO. He has been replaced by Mike Manley effective immediately.
Marchionne had been recovering from shoulder surgery for some months, but a deterioration in his condition has rendered him incapable of running the automaker effectively.
FCA did not elaborate, but having served as FCA CEO since 2004, the former tax account oversaw a controversial tenure that included the acquisition of Chrysler during the 2008 global financial crisis, saving it from bankruptcy; the reintroduction of the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands to North America; spinning off Ferrari; and killing off Chrysler’s passenger cars,
Marchionne was expected to retire at age 66 in 2019. His replacement, Manley was previously the boss of FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands and assumes all powers of the CEO by the board of directors. John Elkann will become chairman at Ferrari, a post Marchionne was expected to hold in until 2021.
Is Fiat Chrysler better off without Sergio Marchionne? Share your thoughts in the comments below.