End of an Era

Dodge Grand Caravan production ending, leaving brand minivan-less for first time since '83

The Dodge Grand Caravan has gone largely unchanged since 2011.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The first minivan rolled off the assembly line at FCA at Windsor Assembly on November 2, 1983. Since that Plymouth Voyager entered the world more than 15 million minivans have been sold. As of last year, FCA held a 54 percent share of minivan sales, selling twice as many minivans as any other manufacturer over more than 35 years.

The Dodge Caravan was introduced alongside that Plymouth and launched the same year. And now, Autoblog has received confirmation from FCA that the model, now known as the Dodge Grand Caravan, has reached the end of the road.

2020 Dodge Grand Caravan 15 million Dodge released this graphic in 2019 to celebrate the 15 millionth sale of a minivan.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Now in its fifth generation, the Grand Caravan is 12 model years into its that era. It was introduced in 2008 with exterior styling by now-Global President Product Design Ralph Gilles. Though it's received tweaks here and there over the past few years, the last major update to the Grand Caravan came in 2011. New trim levels and innovation changes have helped the model evolve over the last half-decade.

The fate of the Grand Caravan was sealed when FCA introduced the modern Chrysler Pacifica in 2016. The model, with its higher price point and fresh technologies (including a hybrid powertrain) were clearly the future. However, the Grand Caravan production was already paid for and selling the models was a bit like printing money. Without anything to replace it in the FCA lineup, the Grand Caravan production continued.

In 2019, because of its. involved powertrain, the model was outlawed from being sold in California, the number one vehicle market in the country.

Last summer, Chrysler introduced for the Voyager, a low cost version of the Pacifica. It was then that run of the Grand Caravan was clearly growing to a close.

There's till time to get a Grand Caravan if you're in the market. It's like that they'll will remain on dealer lots as the second half of the year draws to a close.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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