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Fiat Chrysler to abandon sub-$25,000 minivans
Larry P. Vellequette
January 31, 2015

DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler plans to abandon the bottom end of its minivan lineup next year as the redesigned 2017 Chrysler Town & Country replaces the existing model and the Dodge Grand Caravan.

That means that Fiat Chrysler's sub-$25,000 minivan -- the Grand Caravan's American Value Package starts at $22,390, including shipping -- will disappear.

Instead, the redesigned Town & Country will start around $26,000 and climb to $45,000 and up, depending on features, Chrysler brand head Al Gardner told Automotive News.

"The reality is that the [American Value Package] is a very difficult price point to get if you're going to build the technology, the content, the vehicle, the platform that we want to build," Gardner said.

CONTINUE AT AUTONEWS.COM
 
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Makes a lot of sense from a planning and development perspective, but also know it will probably hurt them in the marketing and "internet search" perspective.

Nevertheless, depending on if the final product is eventually discounted/offered with incentives, it might not make a difference.

Still, you have to wonder if this doesn't present an opportunity for another brand to offer something under the $25,000 threshold now that Dodge's version of the minivan will be eliminated? Could Kia or Hyundai or Toyota offer a stripped-out version to appeal to those former Chrysler/Dodge customers?
 
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I think this will push people eve more so towards 3 row CUV's
It's possible, but think that three-row SUVs/crossovers are pretty pricey and can command a loft starting price.

Looking at the segment in general, and knowing how expensive minivans can get, I wonder if the creeping price jumps will eventually mean we'll see a "new" category of such people haulers make it to the NAFTA region?

Though it was a "failure" sales-wise, the Mazda5 was a mini-minvan that certainly was an interesting choice for those who couldn't afford a full-flavored minivan. What's more, products like the Opel Zafira (and Meriva), Fiat Multipla, Ford S-Max/Galazy, and even Chevy's own Orlando all offer either unique packaging or flexibility to families. Ford's own Transit Connect can be outfitted for people-hauler duty as well (though I'm sure the take-rate is low) and Mercedes will soon be offering the smaller-than-Sprinter Metris van in a passenger version.

If things get too expensive, could we see some of those products make it Stateside? I know that there plans to offer the Zafira at Saturn before the division's demise; could they be revived?
 

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Do many people even buy those lower end minivans anyway? Funny how Chevy is introducing their "L" low end vehicles to draw more people in and Chrysler is going in the other direction.
In Canada we have the the Grand Caravan Canada Value Package starting at $19,990. I see quite a few of them around as the are very base stripper models without body coloured door handles. If I had to guess I would say that they make up around a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the Volume in Canada.

It's a rather amazing deal when you think about it as it still has power windows and AC.
 

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Still, you have to wonder if this doesn't present an opportunity for another brand to offer something under the $25,000 threshold now that Dodge's version of the minivan will be eliminated? Could Kia or Hyundai or Toyota offer a stripped-out version to appeal to those former Chrysler/Dodge customers?
They could, but I think perhaps the mini-minivan or European MPV-types could swoop in.

We have a few options at this point. There's the Ford Transit Connect, Mazda 5, and Ford C-Max. None of them I presume are high volume but that could eventually change too. All of the Asian minivan options have base prices of 26-29K already, and at 30K the T&C has the highest base MSRP. They'll likely offer a trim level below that next time around but minivans are really still a few grand cheaper than most base 3-row crossovers of similar scale. And I think we'll see further streamlining of this segment in the future. The Big Three of minivans are Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota. Nissan has failed to make a go of it with the latest Quest. We'll see how well Kia does with the new Sedona, but I am not expecting much. Another sub-segment that could be created may come from future entrants in the NA market. SsangYong with a vehicle like the Rodius, or various Chinese or Indian brands could sell similar things.
 

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Minivans were once inexpensive alternatives to SUV's and crossovers, so this move is kind of the ending of an era.
Indeed; the T&C/GC are really the last traditional American minivans on the market anyway.
 
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In a way this is the end of the old Detroit. Old Detroit used to offer decent cars for cheap prices. They wouldn't win any car magazine comparisons against the Japanese or Germans, but they'd give the average Joe what they wanted. Now Detroit is making slick, competitive and tech laden vehicles that can't be sold for those same cheap prices. But then again, old Detroit wasn't making any money......
 

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In a way this is the end of the old Detroit. Old Detroit used to offer decent cars for cheap prices. They wouldn't win any car magazine comparisons against the Japanese or Germans, but they'd give the average Joe what they wanted. Now Detroit is making slick, competitive and tech laden vehicles that can't be sold for those same cheap prices. But then again, old Detroit wasn't making any money......
Domestic makes will always be held to an impossible standard. The press chides them for making vehicles too expensive, yet they often criticize the lack of features/ high "fit and finish" quality found in the foreign competitors.
 

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In a way this is the end of the old Detroit. Old Detroit used to offer decent cars for cheap prices. They wouldn't win any car magazine comparisons against the Japanese or Germans, but they'd give the average Joe what they wanted. Now Detroit is making slick, competitive and tech laden vehicles that can't be sold for those same cheap prices. But then again, old Detroit wasn't making any money......
Domestic makes will always be held to an impossible standard. The press chides them for making vehicles too expensive, yet they often criticize the lack of features/ high "fit and finish" quality found in the foreign competitors.
......and so it goes. Both statements so very true, seems like it's a never ending saga/battle.
 

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I want some of the smaller MPVs they have in Europe. Minivans don't need to sell for less if they offered MPVs here.
 

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Minivans were once inexpensive alternatives to SUV's and crossovers, so this move is kind of the ending of an era.
The gap is narrowing, but there's still a gap.

Model year 2015 6+ passenger crossover SUVs:
Ford Explorer $30,700.
Chevy Traverse $31,000.
Honda Pilot $29,900.
Toyota Highlander $30,700 ($29,400 if you accept the 4-cylinder version)
Nissan Pathfinder $29,500
Mazda CX-9 $30,000

2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SE $21,400, SXT $27,200
2015 Kia Sedona L $25,900, LX $28,100
2015 Honda Odyssey $29,000
2015 Toyota Sienna $28,600
2014 Nissan Quest $26,200.

So Honda and Toyota price their minivans kinda high, but for everyone else the minivan is cheaper as well as much more spacious. We have a minivan and a Ford Flex, and we cross-shopped a Chevy Traverse. The minivan kills the Flex and Traverse for cargo capacity when you're using all three rows of seats. We use both vehicles around town but the minivan for grocery shopping and vacation. If I had to give up one vehicle, it would be the Flex - that's not to say it's bad, just that a minivan is more practical for a family of six that can't afford a Suburban.

(Edit) I'm a crash safety nut, though. It's been a while since I looked, but I think the Traverse/Acadia/Enclave have outstanding safety ratings. I know the Odyssey and 2015 Sedona do for minivans. So if I was shopping, I'd check those first. But maybe some other SUVs and minivans got added to the list since I looked. safercar.gov, iihs.org.
 

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In Canada we have the the Grand Caravan Canada Value Package starting at $19,990. I see quite a few of them around as the are very base stripper models without body coloured door handles. If I had to guess I would say that they make up around a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the Volume in Canada.

It's a rather amazing deal when you think about it as it still has power windows and AC.
Don't look now but the Canadian dollar is only worth 79 cents US so if a minivan is sub-20 grand in Canada it would be less that $16,000 US.
 

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But just because they raised the price doesn't necessarily mean one won't be able to buy the minivan for the same price - Chrysler might just put that money on the hood either because they want to or because no one is buying do to the to high price.
 
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