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Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the automaker plans to only offer one minivan in the future, eliminating either the Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan by 2013. Additionally, the company is working on a smaller "people mover," that will go to whichever marque doesn't retain the minivan.

"If our Project Genesis [a plan to have all Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep showrooms at a single dealership] goes to its conclusion, which is the plan, then it makes no sense to offer consumers two minivans differentiated only by equipment," Marchionne said in an interview with reporters at the North American International Auto Show.

The smaller "people mover" is being engineered from a new architecture that will underpin several new vehicles in the Fiat and Chrysler lineups. Though Marchionne didn't get into specifics, the platform is likely to be developed for the Fiat Giulietta, with Chrysler and Fiat engineers planning to expand and adapt the chassis to serve as the basis for a replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot, among other vehicles.

Inititally, Marchionne indicated that he would prefer to keep the Dodge Caravan and make the micro-van a Chrysler. In Canada, 80% of the minivan mix is comprised of the Dodge Caravan. But the Town and Country outsells the Caravan in the U.S. and other markets. "We will have to look at the branding, but we are absolutely going to one minivan." One consideration for Chrysler planners will be that it would be difficult to get the premium price points – over $40,000 for the top-of-the-line Town and Country – for a Dodge branded minivan. LIkewise, it will be difficult to get prices North of 30,000 for even a loaded Chrysler micro-van.

Marchionne also said that both the minivan, and the micro-van would be built at the company's Windsor, Ontario plant where the minivans are currently produced and designed to compete against the Mazda5 and Ford Grand C-Max.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      One thing of note, the popularity of the Caravan over the Town & Country has nothing do with branding and everything to do with cost. Canadians simply don't have as much money as Americans (Not to mention that they have 2000-3000$ tacked onto our cars even though the US and Canadian dollar is at parity.) So they buy less expensive cars. Quebec's #1 car for the longuest time was the Pontiac Sunfire because anyone who wanted a sport coupe really couldn't anything else.

      Drive around in Canada and it's jarring as to the sheer number of bargain basement cars on the road. Cars over 30k are somewhat scarce.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like a bold move, and I like it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      As much as I prefer the T&C over the Caravan, I think I understand the point of cutting the T&C from the line up. We know Marchionne has expressed interest in raising Chrysler's luxury status. For that to happen they need Chrysler shed it's family wagon image and move it on to Caravan, hence it's implied name.

      What upscale foreign luxury automaker has a minivan in it's line up? Chrylser's Pacifica probably would had sold 150% better had there not been a T&C in the line up.

      I'm all for them getting rid of duplicates.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a bad strategy....I would keep the T&C....better to compete with Odyssey, Sienna etc.
      Dodge should get the C-Max/Mazda5 competitor.....but where does that leave the Journey?
      Thought that was a Mazda5 competitor of sorts, though a bit large & thirsty to truly compete....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dodge should compete with Ford, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, etc. Chrysler should be moved more upscale to compete directly with the near-luxury and entry-luxury brands, such as Buick, Acura, Volvo, etc. Therefore, Dodge should keep the minivan, as a near-luxury company should not be selling a 'soccer mom' vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So they are going back to the Short wheelbase and the long wheel base minivans.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like what Marchionne has been doing lately, but I think this is a dumb decision.

      I see just as many T&C minivans as I do Caravans on the road. One is a higher-level vehicle (with probably higher profit margins), while the other is a more mass-market, probably higher-volume vehicle. Cutting either one would be bad.

      A better idea would be to FINALLY give them unique sheetmetal and interiors with unique identities - they should be selling in high enough volumes to warrant the extra expense to differentiate the 2 models and aim one high and aim one low.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am guessing it will be the Caravan that will downsize or get cut.... it only makes sense from a pricing standpoint to have the T&C be the more expensive and larger van
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see a compelling reason to eliminate either the Dodge or Chrysler version. They are fairly well differentiated already as a mainstream and a near-luxury/luxury vehicle. Then again I didn't see the rationale in taking the Dodge out of Ram either.

      If Ford finds a market with the C-MAX as itself, a mainstream Ford branded product, then Chrysler's competitor would most certainly have to be a Dodge which is their mainstream brand that competes against Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering that the minivan market is heading up as far as prices and options it makes sense, because there's not a whole that that differentiates the Caravan from the T&C. It also makes sense to be looking at something smaller, make the Minivan mini again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. The market is slowly heating back up again since they are slowly starting to shed the boring stigma.

        The only thing I disagree with is Marchionne's plan for keeping Dodge's Minivan and having Chrysler get a mini-minivan. His idea should be reversed in my eyes, have the smaller car be for the entry level brand that is Dodge and the bigger one be for the upscale Chrysler.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree as well; Chrysler T&C should be the "full size" minivan, while the Caravan name can be tapped fro the actually mini Minivan. Caravan has a strong market presence still, which is why it's such a hard choice as to whether or not drop it or the T&C (which is equally as strong). Take the best of both worlds, minimal inter-corporate sibling competition (one of the chief issues Chrysler of old faced, even back as far as the '50's and '60's) without losing all the marketing and goodwill generated by the Caravan name through near 3 decades.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, Clavius. Chrysler should keep the larger mini-van as that would be the one one would expect to have more premium accommodations and accessories. A Dodge mini-minivan would be something could be more sport oriented.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If Fiat wants Chrysler to be an upscale brand, they have to remove the minivans. Personally, I think Dodge should have bothe the minivan and the microvan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not necessarily, I think they want to move Chrysler more in line with Buick and Lexus and I know their is or could be a potential market for a luxury minivan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have owned a Chrysler Minivan since the first version..
      Looks like I have bought my last.one...
      Chrysler is going to become Fiat/US as they force us into
      smaller and smaller "people movers".
      Chrysler has lost its innovators and any sense of uniqueness.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uniqueness is one thing having a smart product lineup is another. The minivan is not going any where you will still have a product leader in its class but Chrysler will have the funds and the room for more competitive/quality products products across the board vs in just one segment!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The first generation Caravan was very similar in size to the current Mazda 5.
        The Mazda5 is 5+inches longer, but the width/height/track are with in half an inch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe we should laugh at your shortsightedness.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They're not getting rid of the full size minivan. They're just pairing down to one model, either the Dodge Caravan or the Chrysler Town & Country. Besides, the original SWB Caravan was shorter in length than a Mazda5.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uhhh, what?

        What in the world are you talking about? Fiat is by FAR Chrysler's biggest asset.

        Americans need to learn we don't all need to be rolling around in two or three ton vehicles. We don't NEED that big of a vehicle and it is essentially a waste unless you have 3+ children and need to tow. Europe has known this forever, and they also have reaped the benefits with small FUN TO DRIVE vehicles, and not our giant land barges.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fiat is Chryslers biggest asset????
        I guess thats why Fiats were so successful in the US previously.
        Obviously Americans needs to be more obedient servants to our socialist masters.
        Something the Europeans have grown more accustomed to over the centuries.
        No Thanks....I want big or fat or small or fast cars...if I want them...not because some jerk thinks that I have to "learn" to like them.
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