Recent reports have suggested that Chrysler may soon phase out its long-running Dodge brand, and while the company remains mum on the subject, you can’t blame analysts for thinking that’s the direction the Pentastar’s everyday brand is heading. After all, Chrysler has shown a willingness to shutter brands, having killed off Plymouth back in 2001, and it’s putting big dollars behind its bid to build Fiat into a North American force. Chrysler also recently took the step of spinning off its trucks into the stand-alone Ram brand and relocated its halo Viper supercar under the SRT banner.
Couple that with long-held gossip that the full-size Dodge Durango utility vehicle and the Avenger sedan are both living on borrowed time, and you’ve got a dwindling product portfolio. That would leave Dodge with the Dart compact (a model that isn’t selling particularly well), the Charger (which has a mechanical twin in the Chrysler 300) and the Challenger, which could be supplanted by a rumored Chrysler/SRT Cuda. On the people-mover front, Dodge offers the aging Journey and the Grand Caravan, which is the twin to the bigger-margin Chrysler Town & Country.
Stories for some time have pegged Chrysler as only moving forward with one minivan, though there has been some waffling as to whether the next-generation MPV would wear the Town & Country badge or that of the Grand Caravan. A new report out of Canada – where the vehicles are built – says that the winner in the sippy-cup derby is the next Chrysler Town & Country, which will carry a 2016 model year designation. In addition, sources report that T&C production at the Windsor Assembly Plant will be joined by an as-yet-unnamed large near-luxury crossover for 2017, another long-rumored model that could be similar in concept to the long-defunct Pacifica. The brand for this new model? You guessed it – Chrysler.