FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) confirmed this week that it is ending production of the Grand Caravan and Journey models after the 2020 model-year. The move leaves Dodge without a front-wheel-drive family vehicle for the first time since 2008, and without a minivan for the first time in close to 40 years.
The current generation of the Grand Caravan dates back to 2008. The minivan was given a major revision in 2011, especially to its interior, but in recent years the model’s age was evident. That was also the case for the Journey, which debuted in 2009. To wit, the automatic transmission bolted to the model’s 4-cylinder engine has four gears. Four!
Still, both of these models had their share of success. Innumerable families in Canada and the U.S. used them for transportation, attracted in part by the reasonable price points attached to them.
The decision to axe the Grand Caravan and Journey shrinks the Dodge lineup by 40 percent. The lineup, as of 2021, will consist of the Durango SUV, the Charger sedan and the Challenger coupe. Of most immediate concern to the company, the Grand Caravan and Journey together account for 38 percent of the brand’s sales in 2020 to date.
For FCA, it’s true that buyers will have the option of going with Chrysler’s Pacifica, available in several versions including under the new Voyager name, basically a stripped-down version of the Pacifica aimed at budget-minded consumers. It’s this model that is the spiritual successor to the Grand Caravan.
Fun/disconcerting fact: Among FCA’s banners, only Jeep offers more than four models in its lineup. All of the company’s other brands (Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Ram and Alfa Romeo) feature four or fewer…