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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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