Dodge to Focus on Performance; Grand Caravan Scrapped

The Dodge Dart compact sedan will be updated in 2016 in a move to inject it with more Dodge performance DNA.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

May 6, 2014

2 Min Read
Dodge Grand Caravan to be discontinued in 2016
Dodge Grand Caravan to be discontinued in 2016.

AUBURN HILLS, MI – The Dodge brand will focus on performance-oriented vehicles going forward, and in the process it will concede the minivan segment to sister-brand Chrysler when the Grand Caravan is discontinued in 2016, says Tim Kuniskis, Dodge president and CEO.

“Grand Caravan has been successful because it’s a great minivan, but it’s not a great Dodge,” he says at a business-plan review here today. “It makes sense to concede the business to Chrysler.”

The Dodge Avenger also will be discontinued, with the new Chrysler 200 to take its place in the market, Kuniskis says.

The Dodge Journey 3-row CUV will stay in the lineup but will undergo an update in 2016 so it’s better aligned with the Dodge brand’s performance DNA.

Kuniskis says there is room for growth at Dodge, noting the brand boasts customers that are six years younger than the non-luxury industry average and has the highest percentage of both Gen X and Millennial buyers in the industry.

According to the automaker’s data, Dodge retail sales have grown 133% from 2010 to 2014, outpacing the 43% industry average growth in the same timeframe.

WardsAuto data also finds an industry increase in sales of 43.9% from March 2010 to March 2014, but Dodge deliveries (including fleet vehicles) were up 105.3% during the period.

In April, Dodge sold 53,463 cars in the U.S., up 37.8% over like-2010, while the industry grew 41.2% during the four years. Factor in the daily sales rate for April, and Dodge deliveries were down 3.8% compared with like-2013.

Through the first quarter, relative to like-2010, Dodge sales were up 76.2%, compared with 46.9% for all light vehicles, according to WardsAuto data.

To further fuel this growth, Dodge last year launched a new Durango CUV and a refreshed Challenger performance car this year. Later in 2014, an updated Charger midsize car will debut.

The Dart compact sedan will be updated in 2016 in a move to inject it with more Dodge performance DNA, Kuniskis says. Plans call for new powertrain offerings for the Dart, but the executive is tight-lipped on details.

Chrysler executives have expressed disappointment with Dart sales and have admitted the initial 4-cyl. powertrain offerings (a 1.4L MultiAir turbo and 2.0L naturally aspirated Tigershark) have not met consumer expectations.

A new B-segment vehicle also is due in 2016, but the executive does not divulge details on the upcoming small car.

The Dodge brand also will better align itself with the SRT performance division, Kuniskis says.

“Dodge will guide, support and align the future direction of SRT,” he says.

“SRT will be positioned as the ultimate performance halo of Dodge and create a complete, balanced performance division.”

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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