As part of its plan to reduce duplication, Chrysler Group has settled on offering only Chrysler Town & Country and eliminating other minivans in the Chrysler model lineup.
There will also be changes to the Dodge model lineup. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan will be replaced in 2013 by a new crossover model.
During the first three quarters of this year, Chrysler sold 71,917 Town and Country minivans and 85,830 Grand Caravan minivans in the U.S.
In addition to the Grand Caravan, Dodge will also lose the Avenger mid-sized sedan. As a result, Chrysler will also eliminate the Avenger’s sibling, the 200.
A new mid-sized sedan built on a Fiat platform will fill the void left by the 200. Marhionne has indicated that the company may retain the 200 name for the new model. Dodge will reportedly get a new crossover model based on the next generation Town and Country platform.
Chrysler is planning to add a new full-sized minivan to its lineup in 2014, and a second crossover model will be added to Dodge’s lineup sometime after 2014.
Marchionne said, “We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid,” and vowed, “We’re not going to create the confusion and conflict in the showroom.”
The elimination of model duplication has been a primary goal of Detroit’s Big Three automakers since the near collapse of the domestic auto industry in 2008-2009. It was also one of the primary pillars of Chrysler’s Project Genesis which was put in place by the company’s former owner, Cerberus Capital Management. Another goal of Project Genesis was the elimination of dealerships that offered only one or two of the automaker’s four brands – Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.
Approximately 2,300 of Chrysler’s U.S. dealers now represent all four brands. The company now says that high volume dealerships in metropolitan areas will likely not be forced to comply with Project Genesis.
In a surprising departure from his five-year product plan announced in November of 2009, Marchionne now says that neither Chrysler nor Dodge will offer a subcompact model in the foreseeable future. The announcement means that the Fiat 500 small car will be the only subcompact in the company’s U.S. lineup.
Marchionne said, “Our assessment has been that subcompacts would have limited purview.” He also said that he has not ruled out introducing new subcompact models in Mexico and Canada.
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