First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers' existence. It's a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle's front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is issuing two, separate recalls covering a total of 33,443 examples in the US of the 2014 Ram ProMaster, 2014 Jeep Wrangler, 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and 2014 Chrysler Town & Country because of potential problems with the tire pressure monitoring system in the vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least one man has reported that his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan stalled unexpectedly on the highway shortly after being refueled. The unidentified man who contacted NHTSA regarding the issue cited as many as eight similar instances reported by other drivers.
General Motors isn't the only automaker with ignition switch problems. Chrysler is fighting it too and is now announcing a recall of 695,957 examples worldwide of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008-2010 model years, plus the 2009-2010 Dodge Journey.
Chrysler is recalling 780,000 of its Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2010 to 2014 model years due to the possibility of circuits overheating, which can lead to a fire. Of the 780,000 total vans being recalled, Chrysler estimates that 644,850 are in the US, 106,980 are in Canada, 8,009 are in Mexico, and 20,638 are in other markets. All of the affected vehicles were built between August 25, 2010 and October 31, 2013.
It's fascinating the way that one change to a complex system can have all sorts of unintended consequences. For instance, there are hundreds of new Chrysler Town and County and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans built in Windsor, Ontario, sitting in lots on the Detroit waterfront because of the energy boom in the Bakken oil field in the northern US and parts of Canada.
It's frightening to think of how quickly the mice would have overtaken us if we hadn't stayed one step ahead of them with better mousetraps. We'll never have to worry about that in our relentlessly re-engineered world, though. Case in point: Chrysler has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an improved design of the already wondrous Stow 'n' Go seating found in the automaker's Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.
There are lots of ways to celebrate an important birthday, and all of them are well deserved. You can throw a big party, buy yourself something nice, or – if you're the altruistic type – do something for others in need. The latter is how Chrysler has opted to mark the 30th anniversary of its Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.
Volkswagen halted production of the Routan minivan in late 2012 due to low sales volume, but there were reports swirling around that it would live on and continue production alongside the closely related Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. But now VW says that it will indeed stop Routan production for good, The Detroit Bureau reports.
Dodge isn't going anywhere. Despite some rumor and speculation over the future of the crosshair grille and the cars that wear it, Dodge brand boss, Tim Kuniskis, sat down with TheDetroitBureau.com, explaining that the marque isn't going anywhere. His sentiments echo those of SRT boss Ralph Gilles, who told a group of enthusiasts in July that "Dodge is here to stay!"
It's been known by many names: the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Voyager, Lancia Voyager, Volkswagen Routan, Ram Cargo Van... but the bottom line is that Chrysler's minivans have defined the segment for 30 years now. In fact, Chrysler says it has sold 13 million of them since 1983, helped along by the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan that accounted for nearly half of all minivans sold in the United States just last year. So to celebrate
Are you hesitant to pull the trigger on a brand new Dodge Avenger in hopes that a new one will be coming? Well, don't hold your breath. According to The Detroit News, Chrysler will be extending production of the current Avenger sedan through the end of 2015.
Chrysler has issued a recall for some 2013 Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Ram C/V Tradesman vans built between May 10, 2012 and June 7, 2013. These vehicles may have a software error that would cause the wrong side (opposite side) airbags to deploy in a crash. With this defect, a left-side impact would cause the right-side airbag to deploy, etc.
Recent reports have suggested that Chrysler may soon phase out its long-running Dodge brand, and while the company remains mum on the subject, you can't blame analysts for thinking that's the direction the Pentastar's everyday brand is heading. After all, Chrysler has shown a willingness to shutter brands, having killed off Plymouth back in 2001, and it's putting big dollars behind its bid to build Fiat into a North American force. Chrysler also recently took the step of spinning off its trucks
Chrysler has slowed production of its Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans this week, Automotive News reports. The Windsor, Ontario plant will cut its three shifts from eight hours each to four hours each in an effort "to align production with market demand," a Chrysler spokesperson told AN. Chrysler also builds the closely related Routan minivan for Volkswagen at its Ontario facility, but has not built a single example thus far in 2013.
Chrysler has had at least two minivans since it started the family-friendly craze back in 1984, but we've known for some time that one of two not-so-mini vans (the Dodge Grand Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country) would not survive for a next generation. Last we heard, it was the Chrysler model that would be losing its sliding doors in place of a crossover design, but Chrysler execs have also said in the past that Chrysler would retain the minivan design and the Grand Caravan would become a CUV.
It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they're being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.