The Canadian division of the FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) - we can still call it that for now, despite yesterday's announcement of the Stellantis name - had some great things to announce today, namely the fact that the Grand Caravan name would remain in Canada in 2021 despite the discontinuation of the Grand Caravan minivan as we know it.
Confused? Actually it’s as simple as… the Stellantis name! In fact, FCA, aware of the impact of the Grand Caravan nameplate in Canada, decided to keep it to designate the new base-model variant of the Chrysler Pacifica coming for the 2021 model year.
This means that although the Dodge Grand Caravan model is disappearing from the catalogue at the end of this year, the name will remain – but with Chrysler. The Chrysler Grand Caravan will be reintroduced as a more "economical" alternative to the Chrysler Pacifica, which has been on the market for a few years now.
For 2021, the lineup will include two versions of the Chrysler Grand Caravan and five Chrysler Pacifica models. The Pacifica is benefiting from mid-point changes for the coming year, including a new fascia treatment and major interior upgrades.
We should point out that the Chrysler Grand Caravan will not benefit from those changes. It will take on the look of the 2020 Pacifica and be presented as a more simplified version.
Will it be cheaper? Certainly, but we'll have to wait to find out exactly how much, because while the prices of the two 2021 Chrysler Grand Caravan trims have been announced, we're still waiting for the prices of the 2021 Pacifica variants. And the word ‘cheaper’ is being used strictly as a relative term here, because the base price of the "new" Chrysler Grand Caravan will be $37,995 CAD. For the SXT configuration, you'll have to add $2,000.
But wait, you hear us saying. Hasn’t part of the appeal of the Grand Caravan with the buying public always been its more attractive base price? Yes, that's true; but FCA retorts that the majority of models sold in 2019, or 49.3%, were Premium Plus versions priced at $43,945. The CVP (Canadian Value Plus) base model at $32,845 meanwhile accounted for 20.3% of sales.
There will surely be incentives to make the price points of the new Grand Caravan more enticing, but there was no mention of those, and anyways that's another story.
Nevertheless, we can see the logic in FCA’s strategy, and holding on to such a widely recognized name retention shouldn't hurt. Although, our neighbours to the south arrived at a different conclusion: FCA there has opted for the Voyager name for the new entry-level version of the Pacifica minivan…
Didn’t we tell you this was all very simple?
Actually, there’s a method behind the name-calling madness: Since 2010, some 90% of the minivans sold by FCA in Canada have been named Grand Caravan, while in the U.S., the proportion is much lower, around 50%.
And that’s the story of the minivan-naming game by the Canadian division of what will soon be called Stellantis.
We'll return to FCA’s plans for the coming year with a second report detailing the product offering in 2021, for both the Grand Caravan and Pacifica.