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The cause of the problem is from a right rear hub and bearing assembly that might not be fully machined. Those affected by the recall will be notified by Chrysler so that dealers can replace the right rear hub and bearing assembly free of charge. The safety recall began this month, so concerned owners can also contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403 and reference recall number M13.
The Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan have ruled the minivan market for years, and are now poised to combine into one vehicle sporting the best features from each. The biggest problem with this merger however, is which name do you keep and which name do you scrap?
Chrysler group CEO, Saad Chehab, says that his Town & Country moniker should survive, and the Grand Caravan marque be put to bed. “It’s always been Town & Country that leads the way for the business of minivans, but there is a certain cache and there is loyalty that we’ve got to consider to move forward.” Said Chehab. “If we were to combine them into one minivan, Town & County has the natural fit to continue.”
This discussion erupted after Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was quoted saying that the Chrysler group needs a new minivan, and it would make sense to merge both the vans into just one market offering. Marchionne also discussed the likelihood of a small platform minivan to compete with the likes of the Mazda5 and Ford C-max. Whichever brand gets the new downsized minivan will also lose its current van offering, another factor that has to be considered by Chrysler when deciding which name to rid itself of.
The Town & Country is the stronger seller in the US between the two minivans, so it would seem likely that the Grand Caravan will find itself on the chopping block.
Saad Chehab believes that the Town & Country name is the one that will carry the newest generation Chrysler van to success, and if history truly does predict the future, Chrysler has nothing to worry about when it comes to the minivan segment.
[Source: Automotive News]
Canadians should get ready to kiss the Chrysler Town and Country goodbye, as Chrysler seeks to trim its minivan lineup down to a single nameplate – but the opposite will be occurring in the United States, with the Dodge Caravan getting the axe, as the Caravan will now become the exclusive minivan sold by Chrysler LLC in the Great White North.
The Caravan is wildly popular in Canada, accounting for 70 percent of the Canadian minivan market alone, and is the third best selling nameplate in the country. Unlike the United States, the Caravan is sold at a number of price points, from a sub-$20,000 base model to premium versions that breach Dodge’s usual $30,000 price ceiling. Caravans are popular as commercial vehicles, family haulers and even as police cars in a number of locales.
On the other hand, the Town and Country outsells the Caravan by a 2:1 ratio in the United States, which has a far smaller minivan segment. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that two minivan replacements would bow in 2013 – a large three row crossover, as well as a traditional minivan with sliding doors.
When the changeover occurs, the Town and Country will be the only nameplate left standing in America. But things seem to be moving in the opposite direction for the Great White North.
[Source: Detroit News]
Owners of Dodge‘s 2008 Grand Caravan, Chrysler‘s 2008 Town and Country (or Voyager) should keeping their eyes out for a recall letter to be sent out next month. Those who receive it may feel like they’re in familiar territory since this is the second recall for a similar issue on the 2008 minivans. Earlier this year a recall was issued because of the possibility that water from the air conditioner could leak onto the electronics, causing the airbag light to go off or even set off the bags.
The repair done to the affected vehicles earlier this year was a drain grommet replacement to help fix the leak. Unfortunately, Chrysler’s engineers have discovered that moisture may have caused damage to the chip circuit boards in the earlier recalled vans, causing issues with their performance. As a result, Chrysler is issuing yet another recall to those vehicles in order to inspect and possibly replace the circuit boards altogether.
Thankfully no reports of accidents or injuries as a result of this defect are known. The vast majority of the affected minivans are in the United States, with over 50,000 in Canada, close to 4,000 in Mexico and a little over 13,500 in other countries.
Do people still buy minivans? That’s what Polk Research wants to find out.
With a common aversion to minivans that lies somewhere between stubbing a toe on furniture and ebola, it’s interesting to see that from last year, minivan sales have actually gone up. From a nice, even 3 percent of light vehicle sales in 2010, sales of the minivan increased .2%. But then again, this is the tail end of a trend from 2007 that saw a high of 4.3%, and slipped sharply last year.
Manufacturers are well aware of this too. Out of these minivan sales, a whopping 92% come from just four models: the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country, and Dodge Caravan. The other 8% consists of the Kia Sedona, Volkswagen Routan and the Nissan Quest.
Those, of course, are the only minivans sold on the market today. Gone are Ford and GM, for example, among others: manufacturers have known that consumers have avoided minivans for years now, and as a result are replacing them in their lineups with SUVs. Polk’s data supports this: last year, over 40% of customers who ditched a minivan replaced it with either a midsize or a compact SUV. 21% went with a midsize car, and given America’s aversion to small cars as well as minivans, only 16% bought one of those instead.
Since 2007, the number of minivans available on the market has dropped from 15 models to 7. Of course, all of this leads to a neat, tidy little Catch-22. If manufacturers decide that consumers aren’t buying minivans, they’ll stop making them. But if consumers can’t find the right minivan to choose from, they won’t buy one. So which came first: the manufacturers who won’t build minivans because nobody’s buying them, or the consumers who can’t find one to buy in the first place?
Minivans are deeply uncool. For men especially, buying one carries the same emasculating stigma that wearing a pink shirt once held. But after a long period of poor sales (and having the segment ravaged by crossovers) minivan sales are on the rebound, thanks to some especially strong product.
On the other hand, right now isn’t a bad time to be selling Honda, Chrysler/Dodge or Toyota minivans, as those four minivans comprise 91 percent of the market; the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. Kia’s Sedona and the Volkswagen Routan comprise the other 9 percent, while nameplates like the Nissan Quest, Plymouth Voyager, General Motors’ minivan family and the Hyundai Entourage have all fallen victim to slumping sales.
On the other hand, minivan sales are slowly rising, posting a 3.4% gain for 2010. Sienna sales are up 72%, and some analysts think they could be higher if not for Toyota’s quality problems. With new versions of the Odyssey and Nissan Quest slated to debut later this year, the segment could see a resurgence as consumers shy away from fuel-thirsty and overly-large crossovers and SUVs.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Hit the jump to see Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” Sienna commercial
288,968 Jeep Wranglers from the 2001 through 2010 model years after a defect was noticed, where the front fender liners can come into contact with the brake lines, causing a fluid leak. The automaker said that no injuries have been reported relating to the leak, but according to NHTSA, “A brake fluid leak can cause partial loss of service brakes at the affected wheel, increasing the risk of a crash.”
Chrysler is also recalling Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from the 2008 and 2009 model years due to a sliding door hinge that can damage certain wiring, leading to a short circuit and a possible fire.
Chrysler recalled nearly 35,000 vehicle last week due to stuck accelerator pedals made by CTS Corp, the same company that made the fault Toyota gas pedals. Like the Jeep and minivan recalls, nobody had been injured or killed in the recalls, with only a few complaints (in the single digits) being reported.
The recent spate of preemptive recalls is likely a move designed to stave off any future law suits or bad publicity. Regardless of their motives, it’s good to see companies taking a more active role in product safety, rather than the dismissive or negligent behavior of previous eras. It’s somewhat futile to speculate whether an American car company would be treated the same way as Toyota would in the case of a massive recall, but one would suspect that the optics of the situation (struggling American automaker versus global, Japan-based auto giant) would alter things.
[Source: Bloomberg News]