America Falls Out of Love With the Minivan
The best-selling Dodge vehicle in North America, the Dodge Grand Caravan has been selling so poorly that the plant that manufactures it will be idled.
The Windsor factory in Canada will go quiet for five weeks from July 8 through to August 5, with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) saying it will be performing a maintenance check and making a few improvements here and there, mainly to gear the plant up for another new minivan to be manufactured there.
The original plan had been for the plant to idle for two weeks, but FCA said that "Windsor’s downtime has been extended by three weeks to implement improvements or maintenance projects to support new model production. Regular production schedules will resume on August 12."
Jobs have also been cut, with a shift at the plant to go along with 1,500 jobs. The introduction of a third minivan to the production line—the Chrysler Voyager—was apparently not enough to save the shift.
The numbers behind FCA’s tactics are sobering, with the sales of the Grand Caravan falling by 15 percent in the first half of 2019 to 59,732. Still a respectable number for half-yearly sales figures, but well below highs in 2012, which saw 140,000 units sold. Sales won’t reach this peak again if projections stay the same.
Another FCA minivan built at the same plant, the Chrysler Pacifica, also slumped in sales this year, with only 38,490 units rolling out of dealerships so far, down 29 percent on last year.