From its inception back in 1977, the Caravan has come a long way in the last forty-three (43) years. But I guess the main question on everyone's mind, is why is FCA killing off this once great model. We get it that Vans don't fit the sport mold of the current Dodge lineup, but with a name as strong as Caravan, Dodge may be killing off something that makes it a brand.
The Caravan has been around longer than any other Dodge Model, even the Charger cannot claim a total length of longevity as the Caravan. So why is Dodge killing of this famous nameplate in favour of products from segments which are declining. Well, for that answer you may have to ask Dodge themselves, as the Caravan may be the only product which will be able to survive past the ride hailing and green shift coming to the market.
We would like to answer that question, but this podcast is about the life and times of the Caravan and not the demise of the product and its brand.
The Caravan itself has been a product which has saved the brand its from and helped usher in a new way of getting around. Throughout its long illustrious life, it has brought many things to the masses and even helped create a new segment in the market. From cup-holders to swivel and go seating, the Caravan was there, but with the demise of Chrysler itself, the product was doomed for the wreaking yard eventually.
With new owners in hand, Dodge saw new life as a sport branded product, which had no need for the Caravan in its stable. FCA could have moved this product over to the RAM brand, but it seems trucks and minivans don't get along either.
Ever since 2013 there has been talk of the demise of the Caravan, but with some help from their Canadian friends, the Caravan has lived on. That was up until spring 2020, when FCA had finally had enough and has now put both the Caravan and its crossover replacement, the Journey on death's row.
Yes, the Caravan has led a strong and vibrant life, but could it really be saved from the axe, with FCA's new management views about Dodge. It seems like that answer will always be NO. But for us we see new life in the Caravan nameplate as a ride hailing product, if FCA gets their head out of the clouds. They could in turn utilize this nameplate for a future autonomous ride hailing product similar to that of Cruise from GM. But with management being bent on a one product at a time philosophy, that may never happen.
Whatever happens to this great name in the future, will be up to its new owners (PSA) and we hope they make good use of it.