Under the Chrysler umbrella falls the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM brands and almost always all four of these different makes are sold at a single dealership. Normally this isn’t an issue but when there are very similar models, one branded a Dodge, the other a Chrysler, problems can arise. Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said, “We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid.”
Fortunately for Chrysler Group Jeep and RAM are more or less niche brands. RAM offers only trucks, and Jeep offers SUVs and crossovers. But take a second to look closely at Chrysler and Dodge. The Grand Caravan and the Town and Country, both great minivans, but they are virtually identical except for the logo in the steering wheel. Same goes for the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. I’m sure there are a few others, but you get the idea.
The idea being called, “Project Genesis,” has one main goal. To find those models that are incredibly similar and get rid of one of them. Marchionne recently announced the next step in this process. Dodge will be removing the Grand Caravan and the Avenger. By 2014, when the next Chrysler’s next full-size minivan is due out, Dodge will launch a new crossover, which will be targeted at minivan buyers. This one crossover will hopefully be able to fill any void left over by the departure of the Grand Caravan and the Avenger.
With the Grand Caravan beginning at $23,995 MSRP and the Town and Country beginning at $29,995 there is no telling what Chrysler plans to do to make up the $6,000 difference. Will the offer a lower end model more inline with the outgoing Grand Caravan or will they hope buyers will see the added value in upgrading to the Town and Country? We do know that the goal is to convert would-be Grand Caravan buyers to the new crossover, but there will always be those die-hard minivan buyers out there.