Chrysler cannot decide which brand to be the sole source of the next-generation minivan.
The automaker has prepared four design concepts: a Chrysler crossover, a Dodge crossover, a Chrysler minivan and a Dodge minivan. Minivans are of utmost importance for Chrysler, as these vehicles helped the company avoid the financial collapse in 1983 and brought millions in profits leading the market for decades.
The automaker currently sells two minivan brands: the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan, but only one brand will sell the next-generation redesign, while the other will get the crossover. According to CEO Sergio Marchionne initial announcement, Chrysler was to keep the Town & Country, a model which outsold the Dodge in the US for years. Recently, Marchionne said that the Dodge will keep the minivan and Chrysler will receive a premium crossover.
It seems that the CEO cannot make up his mind, as design chief Ralph Gilles has four projects to create different minivans for each brand and crossovers. Chrysler remains faithful to the minivan segment, one of the most competitive and with the highest profit.
“We know not all of them will see the light of day, but we spend a lot of time studying scenarios, trying out designs that could work in each scenario so we’re ready whichever way it goes,” Gilles said. “Luckily the designs, even though they look completely different, they are very transferable.”
Chrysler’s first signature vehicle was the Plymouth Voyager, first manufactured in October 1983. From profits of $925 in 1983, Chrysler reached $2.4 billion in 1984, thanks to the minivan, which saved the company from a financial collapse. The Town & Country was the best-selling minivan until 2007, when the Honda Odyssey took the crown. In 2010 Chrysler got back on top, and this year the Dodge is leading the segment.