The End of an Era: Dodge to Cease Production of the Grand Caravan
It’s the end of an era as Dodge announced that it’ll cease production of its Grand Caravan minivan this coming May (2020). The Grand Caravan revolutionized the automobile industry when it first made its appearance 35 years ago. Availability of the model throughout the end of 2020 will vary from state to state, depending on individual emissions rules. The minivan will not be available in: California, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. As a vehicle that defined a generation, it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the Grand Caravan.
Although the minivan has been replaced by spacious SUVs nowadays, it was a staple during the 1990s and early 2000s in suburban America. Chrysler began developing what would become the minivan in the late 1970s, engineering and designing a vehicle that would handle like a traditional car and be six-feet-tall or less to fit inside a typical garage of the time. By 1984 Chrysler debuted the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan models. Both minivans featured front-wheel-drive, a sliding door for rear passengers, and a flat floor.
In response to the Caravan’s instant popularity, other automakers such as General Motors and Ford released the Chevrolet Astro and Ford Aerostar models. Unlike the Grand Caravan and Voyager, these new models from Chevy and Ford featured front-wheel-drive instead. While Ford and Chevy models underwent various name changes and transformations over the years, the Dodge Grand Caravan remained a constant presence in its segment. The last generation — the fifth — of the Grand Caravan debuted in 2008 and went on to become one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) best-selling vehicles. In 2019, Dodge sold 122,000 units in the U.S. alone — but even that’s a considerable decline when we look back to 1996 when the brand sold over 300,000 units.
Employees at the automaker’s Windsor Assembly Plant will bear the brunt of the impact as FCA readjusts employees. However, production will be redirected towards the all-new Chrysler Voyager and Chrysler Pacifica models. The company also plans to shift employees to open full-time positions as they become available in order of seniority. Additionally, employees who qualify will be offered retirement packages instead. The Pacifica model is very much the way of the future for parent company FCA.
Since 2018, Chrysler has partnered with Google spinoff Waymo — the remnant of Google’s first autonomous driving project. Waymo has bought up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans for use during Waymo’s pilot program for its ride-hailing service. Residents in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona can currently rely on Waymo’s minivans to make short trips around town. Waymo recently announced that they’ve raised $2.25 billion in outside investment funds. Waymo plans to use the money raised toward building and expanding its self-driving technology.
Whether you’re looking to get behind the wheel of the very last Grand Caravan or the latest Chrysler Pacifica, Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has got you covered. Visit us at Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, check out our new car inventory, and schedule your test drive today! Follow Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on social media for the latest automotive industry news.