The Dodge Grand Caravan has generated 53% of Canadian minivan sales in 2014 – 62% if you exclude the mini-minivan trio – and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided enough is enough. They’re killing off the Grand Caravan.
In theory, yes, Chrysler’s two competing vans are unnecessary. But what if the strategy works? What if the two best-selling minivans in both the United States and Canada in April were the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country?
Chrysler owns the minivan category in North America with its Canadian-built products, and the decision to concentrate on the Town & Country because the Grand Caravan doesn’t fit with Dodge’s attempts to become a “performance” brand seems risky. (Perhaps, conversely, crafting this performance image doesn’t fit with the Dodge image which the Grand Caravan has helped to create.)
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Minivans aren’t the dominant family force they were two decades ago. But the Grand Caravan and Town & Country aren’t regular minivans. Combined, 3.3% of the new vehicles sold in Canada in April were Grand Caravans and Town & Countrys. Only the Ford F-Series and Chrysler’s own Ram P/U outsold the tandem in April.
Sales analysts and car reviewers aren’t automaker executives. We, the ones who call for diesel-powered Scion FR-S wagons and Aussie imports, don’t always know best. In this case, it’s not about knowing what will be best, it’s about looking at a long-term success story and wondering why an automaker would forsake the format that has brought them such consistent success over the span of three decades.
FCA has released a five year plan, and much of their stated goals are wildly unrealistic. (Annual U.S. Alfa Romeo sales of 150,000 units by 2018?) One would have thought FCA would know that over the next five years they ought to dance with the girl who brought them to the dance. Or, to be more accurate, the girls. Plural. Two vans.
Incidentally, Canadian sales of full-size minivans rose 15% to 8324 units in April and are up 8% to 25,773 year-to-date. The Kia Rondo led mini-minivan trio (Orlando, Mazda 5), was up 104% to 1506 after a very low April 2013. They’re also up 40% to 4300 units through four months.
It’s not as though the Fiat takeover of Chrysler hasn’t resulted in some odd branding choices before. SRT is a brand unto itself, they decided. Very shortly thereafter – as in, this week – they decided SRT wasn’t really a brand. SRT is a performance arm, and the Viper, the only SRT-branded product, should be brought back into the Dodge fold.
You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly Canadian auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. This table is now sortable, so you can rank minivans any which way you like. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.