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Oct 10, 2011

Chrysler plans to kill Dodge Grand Caravan, Avenger



2012 Dodge Avenger R/T


2012 Dodge Grand Caravan

As good as Chrysler's minivans are, there is only room for one. Chrysler Group plans to kill the Dodge Grand Grand Caravan for the 2013 model year and will go only with the Chrysler Town & Country.

Similarly, the Dodge Avenger compact is toast. Chrysler plans a new crossover that will replace the Caravan and Avenger in 2013.


So says the Automotive News, which got the product news straight from Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in Turin, where he also CEO of Italy's Fiat.

"We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid," Marchionne is quoted by the News as saying. "We're not going to create the confusion and conflict in the showroom."

In keeping with his war on model duplication, Marchionne has apparently decided not to add another subcompact. The Fiat 500, which off to a rough start when it comes to sales in the U.S., will have to carry the day.

 

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Eliminating duplicate vehicles was a guiding idea behind Project Genesis, a plan that evolved in 2008 under Chrysler's previous owner, Cerberus Capital Management.

With Genesis, Chrysler is consolidating four brands--Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram--under one roof, eliminating nearly all dealerships with fewer brands.

As of last week, 90 percent of Chrysler's 2,324 U.S. dealerships carried the four brands. Chrysler hopes to get more Genesis deals done this year. The company acknowledged that a few high-performing stores that carry only Dodge and Ram or Chrysler and Jeep are likely to remain open in metropolitan areas.

With the four brands under one roof, the company wants to eliminate duplication of badge-engineered siblings such as the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro, Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

Chrysler hatched the Genesis plan to simplify life for customers--who face an array of 18 nameplates--and for dealers, who had to train their staffs to sell and service them.
Key elements of the plan

Here's how Marchionne's product plan is shaping up:

-- The Chrysler brand will get a replacement for the 200 sedan in 2013. The 200 name may remain. The sibling Dodge Avenger will disappear and Dodge instead will attempt to cover the mid-sized segment with a crossover--the same vehicle that replaces the Grand Caravan.

-- A second smaller Dodge crossover is planned to replace the current Journey. That vehicle will arrive after 2014.

-- Dodge will cover the compact segment with a four-door sedan, expected to debut at the Detroit auto show in January. The model will replace the outgoing Caliber hatchback. The Chrysler brand will offer a "sort of hatchback," Marchionne said, built on the same underpinnings used by the Dodge compact sedan. That car will be sold in Europe as a Lancia. The Chrysler brand will share many platforms with Lancia.

-- The next-generation full-sized minivan, due in 2014, will be offered only by the Chrysler brand. The crossover that Dodge will offer in lieu of a minivan is meant to appeal to Grand Caravan customers looking for space, flexibility and sportiness. "A crossover is more in line for Dodge to cover that segment than it is for anybody else to cover that segment," Marchionne said.

Through September, 85,830 Grand Caravans and 71,917 Town & Country minivans were sold in the United States.

Chrysler has tried to differentiate its two minivans--with prices, for instance. Late last year, Town & Country models were priced above $30,000 and aimed at upscale competitors such as the Honda Odyssey. The Grand Caravan was priced below $30,000 and was aimed at value shoppers.

Chrysler Group planners are trying to be careful. If they eliminate one minivan, they don't want to eliminate those customers also.

Subcompacts on hold

Marchionne also said Chrysler has shelved plans to offer Fiat-built subcompact models for the Chrysler and Dodge brands, originally planned to debut in 2013.

"Our assessment has been that subcompacts would have limited purview," he said.

That means the mainstream Chrysler and Dodge brands will have no vehicles to compete with the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris. Chrysler Group's Fiat brand does offer the Fiat 500, but it is sold in a limited network of U.S. dealerships, about 150 by year end.

Marchionne said Chrysler would have to be "very, very careful" not to enter the subcompact market with a vehicle that it could not sell at a competitive price.

Marchionne is more open to offering Dodge or Chrysler subcompacts in Canada and Mexico.

"I can introduce them in Canada and Mexico [sourced from] other places in the world, but I would never center the U.S. as being the single largest driver of volumes. It won't happen."

More on this subject here:
SOURCE
 

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Similarly, the Dodge Avenger compact is toast. Chrysler plans a new crossover that will replace the Caravan and Avenger in 2013.

What? Isn't the Journey a crossover based on the Avenger? I believe the Avenger is midsize, not a compact. That title belongs to the Caliber!

"We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid," Marchionne is quoted by the News as saying. "We're not going to create the confusion and conflict in the showroom."

In keeping with his war on model duplication, Marchionne has apparently decided not to add another subcompact. The Fiat 500, which off to a rough start when it comes to sales in the U.S., will have to carry the day.

This makes no sense. The Journey is a midsize crossover so why another one? IMHO, a Dodge subcompact makes sense, but not a Chrysler. Fiats are sold in a stand-alone studio, not a Mopar showroom. The last time Chrysler made a crossover based on the minivan (Caravan replacement), it was called Pacifica, and we all know how that ended.

This guy has done wonders so far, but after reading this, I feel he is off the mark. Time will tell.

:cool:
 

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The next-generation full-sized minivan, due in 2014, will be offered only by the Chrysler brand. The crossover that Dodge will offer in lieu of a minivan is meant to appeal to Grand Caravan customers looking for space, flexibility and sportiness. "A crossover is more in line for Dodge to cover that segment than it is for anybody else to cover that segment," Marchionne said.

I think this vehicle is called the Durango. Although some refer to the Durango as a crossover, in all reality, it is not because it is not based on a car platform. None of this makes any sense to me, but only time will tell. At this point, it is all just conjecture!

:cool:
 
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