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    Rumorpile: Farewell Dodge Caravan?


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    June 20, 2013

    The saga of which Chrysler minivan will live on to fight another rages on. This week, a report from The Windsor Star says the next-generation Chrysler minivan will be only be the Town & Country when production starts at the Windsor Assembly Plant in 2015.

    This comes from Haig Stoddard, industry analyst at Wards Auto. Stoddard also says that a new seven-seat crossover with a Chrysler badge will take the place of the Caravan production in 2016.

    This is adding fuel to the fire to rumors that Dodge might be killed off within the next few years by Fiat. With the Caravan saying good-bye and the Challenger moving to SRT, that would only leave Dodge four models: Charger, Dart, Durango, and Journey.

    Source: The Windsor Star, Wards Auto

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I'm guessing FIAT's logic is to have a single car brand in the end, consistent with Hyundai or Mercedes, and have RAM be exclusively for trucks.

    That isn't a bad idea, although shuttering an identifiable brand like Dodge does seem like a waste. I thought FIAT initially intended Chrysler to occupy a higher-tier and have Dodge be the everyman brand.

    Edited by Señor Ding Dong
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    Great timing...as I read this article I'm listening to the latest Autoblog podcast and the hosts are debating this very issue--speculating if Dodge will be phased out eventually to be replaced by Fiat....there are points and counter points for each argument. The biggest hole at Dodge currently is a competitive midsize sedan...

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    bad idea. i really do think they can rid dodge and call it fiat. fiat does not have the history or equity in this country, but sergio wants to move fiat's HQ here so why would they keep dodge to compete? It's got to be an Italian penis wins over an american penis thing.

    Fiat = small Chrysler = midsize and larger.

    Ram = trucks

    SRT = expensive sh1t

    Jeep = crossovers that try hard to be like real jeeps.

    the Jeeps and trucks sold here in the US are the only thing that keeps chrysler viable in this setup anymore. No one would give a crap about Fiat here if not for how cute the 500 was.

    It will be sad if they axe dodge but that is what it looks like they are doing.

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    I think Dodge is toast. The Durango is basically a longer Grand Cherokee, they could easily replace it with a Jeep, or a 3 row Chrysler SUV. The Dart could get a new grille and move to Chrysler, and the Charger is already at Chrysler and no one buys the Journey anyway.

    Plus there is potential to expand the Fiat brand, or to bring Alfa Romeo here. I don't really care for Fiats or Alfa's, but Fiat may be thinking there are better profit margins to be had on selling European imports, and the current Dodge cars can be merged into Chrysler and then you don't have competition among Dodge and Chrysler.

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    I think Dodge is toast. The Durango is basically a longer Grand Cherokee, they could easily replace it with a Jeep, or a 3 row Chrysler SUV.

    There has been talk for years of a longer, larger GC--bring back the Wagoneer name possibly....seems like it would make the Durango redundant..

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    The Dart could be the "all new" Chrysler 100, and they would just have to change the front and rear fascias. It is a cheap way to make a new model.

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    Ugh... here we go again with this crap. I told you guys Fiat is not Dodge's friend. Who the hell would rather drive a Fix It Again Tony over a Dodge? Not many people in THIS country.

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    Fiat won't look at it that way. They will see themselves as the owner of Chrysler LLC or whatever that company out of bankruptcy is called, and Fiat will call all the shots. Fiat in their minds doesn't need all these brands that are basically all in one dealership anyway, they'll trim it down and streamline it. Fiat didn't buy Chrysler to keep everything, they bought it to raid it, get Jeep which is a valuable brand, get Ram trucks because pickups = profit in the usa, and most importantly get entry into the US market for their own products.

    I think Fiat's plan is to dump Dodge, align Chrysler against VW and Buick since there is a bit better profit margin there than there will be batting it out on price and volume with Toyota and Hyundai, and rely on truck and SUV sales for profit in the short term, while importing more and more Fiats and Alfas to the USA because car sales in Europe are at a 20 year low. But Fiat can't beat Ford or VW in Europe and they won't beat them here either.

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    Dodge isn't going anywhere, and the Caravan isn't likely going anywhere, either.

    Mr. Stoddard clearly has a second grade reading level or his informant must really like trolling him.

    Chrysler only has three models right now: 300, Town & Country, and the 200.

    Dodge has the Dart, Avenger, Charger, Challenger, Caravan, Durango, and Journey. The Dart just arrived. The Avenger will be replaced with a new model shared with Alfa. The Charger is due for a refresh very soon. The Challenger is staying at Dodge. The Caravan is getting a replacment. The Journey isn't going anywhere and will have a next-generation model coming out. The Durango is currently under review, but there's a good chance we'll see it and the new Wagoneer both.

    With only three models right now and none to be added to my knowledge other than a replacement for the 200 and T&C and a refresh for the 300, I could argue Chrysler is the brand getting the axe here, not Dodge. I could go even further and fortify that claim by bringing up the recently cancelled 100 model.

    Dodge isn't going anywhere and any rumors claiming that are pure bunk, plain and simple.

    Edited by black-knight
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    Agreeing with BK full on this one....

    And they can't replace half of dodge's lineup anyways....

    Fiat will stay on the smaller end, and Alfa could become the next "mini" brand

    Simply put, dodge is macho, Fiat is for "somebody"...

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    So lets take this from the flip side. Fiat wants to move their HQ here to the US. The Socialist Unions are bleeding the company dry, they cannot compete with their ugly poor quality products.

    Could it be that Fiat ends up eventually going away as they move to have a small Mini style of store within a store. Fiat becomes that eco box level for Dodge. Then you have Ram for Trucks, Jeep for Off road SUV's, bring back the wagoneer, kill the Durango and Dodge becomes the Entry level product line world wide for them from the 500 up to the Charger. SRT is the Performance Division and Chrysler is the Mid to higher Lux line.

    I could see Fiat being the one to eventually disappear. Due to size and the heavy discounts Fiat is doing on their ugly little 500, I only see value people, aka pure price driven people buying these auto's.

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    When this rumor really started to hit its stride last week or early this week, I think I calculated Dodge has accounted for approx. 37% of Chrysler's sales so far this year, including Fiat. How the hell could Fiat think they could phase out Dodge and not kill annual volume in the process? There is no way I can see them transitioning your typical Dodge owner over the Fiat or even the Chrysler brand. Maybe they can learn from GM. I do think GM needed to reduce brands but I'm betting they kept far less Saturn and Pontiac drivers in the fold then they anticipated.

    Case in point, prior to the two vehicles the wife and I have now, here is a list of the vehicles we bought or leased since 2005:

    2005 Saab 9-3

    2005 Saab 9-2X Aero

    2007 Saturn Aura XR

    2008 Saturn Vue XR

    2002 Pontiac Bonneville

    2007 Saab 9-5 Aero

    Here is what we currently drive:

    2011 Ford Flex

    2012 Dodge Charger R/T

    The wife is up next for a vehicle and while I could see her getting a Buick Verano Turbo or a Cadillac ATS, that's about it for GM products. I would gladly take a Cadillac CTS-V wagon but I don't think I could convince her to get one. :)

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    Dodge may have volume but how much of that is to fleet sales. Ford and GM dropped minivans, Dodge can lose theirs too, and the plan is for the 2016 van to by Chrysler only because it has a $31k base price, compared to $20k for the Caravan. Fiat is going to look for profit, not volume and sell vehicles with higher margins.

    I think Dodge is done after 2015 model year, they are weak on CAFE, and without the Caravan and Avenger, they have no mid-range products. The Dart will get revised to become a Chrysler 100, Challenger redesigned to the SRT Challenger, joining the SRT Viper. Journey dies, Durango is replaced by a 3 row Jeep SUV, because a Jeep Wagoneer can sell for $10,000 more than a Durango.

    Fiat can't survive with all these brands. Chrysler and Lancia will have overlapping products, similar to Buick-Opel, or the One Ford plan, but same product, different badge. Fiat-Alfa will expand offerings here, and SRT will stay for the Mopar fan boys because they can jack the price up on those. Jeep has always been a solid brand name with a loyal following, nothing to change there. Fiat didn't buy Chrysler for Chrysler/Dodge, they wanted Jeep and entry to the American market.

    When you look at Chrysler-Dodge-Ram-SRT-Jeep in the USA and Fiat-Lancia-Alfa Romeo-Maserati-Ferrari in Europe, that is 10 brands, that is what destroyed GM. Now a few of those brands are low volume and super high profit margin, so they are safe, but and Automaker doesn't need 10 brands.

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    Don't count on Fiat going anywhere.

    Dodge may have volume but how much of that is to fleet sales. Ford and GM dropped minivans, Dodge can lose theirs too, and the plan is for the 2016 van to by Chrysler only because it has a $31k base price, compared to $20k for the Caravan. Fiat is going to look for profit, not volume and sell vehicles with higher margins.

    I think Dodge is done after 2015 model year, they are weak on CAFE, and without the Caravan and Avenger, they have no mid-range products. The Dart will get revised to become a Chrysler 100, Challenger redesigned to the SRT Challenger, joining the SRT Viper. Journey dies, Durango is replaced by a 3 row Jeep SUV, because a Jeep Wagoneer can sell for $10,000 more than a Durango.

    Fiat can't survive with all these brands. Chrysler and Lancia will have overlapping products, similar to Buick-Opel, or the One Ford plan, but same product, different badge. Fiat-Alfa will expand offerings here, and SRT will stay for the Mopar fan boys because they can jack the price up on those. Jeep has always been a solid brand name with a loyal following, nothing to change there. Fiat didn't buy Chrysler for Chrysler/Dodge, they wanted Jeep and entry to the American market.

    When you look at Chrysler-Dodge-Ram-SRT-Jeep in the USA and Fiat-Lancia-Alfa Romeo-Maserati-Ferrari in Europe, that is 10 brands, that is what destroyed GM. Now a few of those brands are low volume and super high profit margin, so they are safe, but and Automaker doesn't need 10 brands.

    Well -- BIG SUPRISE HERE -- you're wrong yet again, but you'll see that soon enough.

    Your post also clearly indicates you have absolutely no idea how CAFE affects automakers.

    Also, there are very little to no circumstances surrounding Chrysler Group's brands and Old GM's brands that can be paralleled.

    You've lost the ball. Please, go home and stay there.

    Edited by black-knight
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    Isn't the FWD-based CUV the new minivan? Might make sense to drop the minivan and replace it with something else...

    Edited by ZL-1
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    I think the MiniVan is a dying product. Toyota, Honda and Hyundia might keep them alive in one form or another, but the CUV has replaced the MiniVan pretty much and I do not see it surviving here in the US unlike how the station wagon survives in Europe.

    Would make an interesting case study as to why the over all space and versitility has lost out to less room and lower gas mileage of the CUV?

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    Posted

    Which one sells more? I thought it was the Caravan....why would you kill the better selling product and hope cutsomers go to the one that doesn't sell as well?

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    Which one sells more? I thought it was the Caravan....why would you kill the better selling product and hope cutsomers go to the one that doesn't sell as well?

    Because the Town and Country has a base price of $31,000 and the Caravan's is $19,995. It is about profit per car, not volume. Chrysler Corp went bankrupt because they made no money, and Fiat bought them because they had Jeep and American dealerships. If Chrysler didn't have Jeep in the stable, they'd be with Saab and Pontiac.

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    Valid point... but then raise the price of the Caravan and make justifiable improvements. There's gotta be some room in there for a mini-van with a base price around $25k. The Oddy seems to start around $28k

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    One thing nobody has clearly answered in the Dodge is dead scenario is what happens to the Charger and Challenger? I have heard speculation that they both go to SRT or that Charger dies and Challenger goes to SRT but does that make sense? Are they going to dilute SRT by selling V6 Chargers and Challengers? I could see maybe selling R/T versions under the SRT name but even that doesn't make sense. If they do that, would be the purpose of having created a separate SRT brand? They may as well have just kept everything Dodge and made SRT a trim level like it used to be.

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