Dodge to Replace Grand Caravan with Crossover, Debut Compact Sedan in January

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has revealed that the company will offer just one minivan in the future. A report from Automotive News reveals that the Chrysler Town & Country will continue indefinitely, but the mechanically identical Dodge Grand Caravan will be replaced by a crossover.

The decision comes on the heels of Marchionne’s plan to reduce the number of duplicate models in Chrysler’s lineup. “We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid,” he told Automotive News. The idea, called Project Genesis, was reportedly launched in 2008 when Cerberus Capital Management owned Chrysler.

Chrysler’s next full-size minivan will arrive in 2014, and at that time Dodge will launch a crossover meant to appeal to former van buyers. It will reportedly be “sporty” in addition to offering space and practicality. The company hopes it can retain customers by offering the crossover as a replacement to the Dodge minivan, while van purists could still buy the Chrysler version.

In addition, Marchionne revealed that in 2013, the Chrysler 200 sedan will be replaced, and it might keep the 200 name. At the same time, the 200’s twin, the Dodge Avenger, will be phased out — buyers will instead be directed toward the aforementioned crossover in Dodge showrooms.

Dodge also will launch a new compact sedan at the Detroit auto show in January. It replaces the Caliber hatchback and will be based on a Fiat platform. Chrysler will sell a “sort of hatchback” version of that car, according to Marchionne, which will then also be exported to Europe as a Lancia model. An earlier report suggested the Caliber production will cease on November 23, but the company has shied away from confirming an exact date.

The Chrysler Group doesn’t have any plans to launch a new subcompact model in the American market, which means the Fiat 500 – along with a few 500 spin-offs –may be its sole offering in that segment. Marchionne reportedly doesn’t think subcompacts would sell well enough in the U.S. to justify that investment.

“I can introduce them in Canada and Mexico,” he told AN. “But I would never center the U.S. as being the single largest driver of [subcompact] volumes.”

Source: Automotive News

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