Confirming longstanding rumors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it will end production of the Dodge Grand Caravan in 2016 as part of a broad product and brand realignment that will leave the U.S. side of the automaker with only the Chrysler Town & Country in its model line-up.
That’s a big shift for a manufacturer credited with inventing the modern minivan in 1984 and who once offered the family-friendly vehicles under a variety of different badges. But it reflects not only the changes coming as Fiat Chrysler (FCA) rejiggers its brand strategy, but also the long and steady decline of a once-popular market segment today largely disdained by American motorists.
Minivan sales shrank by 4.0% in 2013, according to industry data, to 532,357. That’s still enough volume that the industry can’t completely write off what critics have dubbed “mom-mobiles,” but it’s a far cry from the 1.4 million minivans manufacturers like Chrysler sold at the segment’s peak in 2000. (more…)