Will Alfa Romeo Replace Dodge in America?

The replacement for Dodge?

Killing off the Dodge Grand Caravan would be tantamount to Toyota dumping its Camry.

But, in what looks to be a major sign of big changes to come for Dodge, the Grand Caravan will apparently exist only on the used market come 2014.

According to the reputable and journalistically conservative Automotive News, Chrysler will kill off its mainstay minivan sometime in 2013. That would leave the Chrysler Town & Country as the only van under the Pentastar’s roof; a vehicle that consistently sells fewer copies than the Grand Caravan.

It doesn’t make sense. It’s known that Chrysler/FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to consolidate brands at dealers and eliminate duplication on the sales floor. While I appreciate any plan to end the much-maligned practice of re-badging at Chrysler, dumping a perennial best-selling icon like the Grand Caravan could be a troubling sign for the Dodge brand. With plans to bring Alfa Romeo to the U.S. (someday), could it be possible that Marchionne is laying the groundwork to phase out Dodge and replace it with Alfa?

Dodge Caravan: 1984-2013

The evidence deepens with news that the Dodge Avenger will also fade away after the Chrysler 200-replacement hits showrooms in 2013. If Chrysler and Dodge have trouble with duplicate vehicles, how could Alfa and Dodge possibly co-exist?

Ed Niedermeyer at The Truth About Cars agrees, saying,

After all, both brands cultivate a sporting image, but base most of their products on mass-market models. Both are on the “emotional” side of the brand spectrum, and both rely heavily on the color red in their branding. If the Avenger and 200 were insufficiently differentiated for Marchionne’s taste, how will Dodge and Alfa distinguish their shared Compact, Compact CUV, and LX-platform flagships? More importantly, why else spin off the Ram brand?

The Italian invasion of FIAT could very well wipe out Dodge. As the Grand Caravan and Avenger fade into history, their single replacement will come in the form of a crossover. I wonder if it’ll be based on a FIAT platform.

Things don’t look good, Dodge fans.

Would you mourn the loss of Dodge if it were replaced by Alfa Romeo?


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Used Dodge Grand Caravan
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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like Chrysler is moving in the right direction. The domestic auto industry practice of multiple copies and brands is an anachronism from the expansion days of 50-100 years ago, when these were real brands merged with the parent company. Frankly, if GM had phased out more parallel brands along with perennial dud Oldsmobile, they likely would not have gone bankrupt. Chrysler is the same and Marchionne understands that making multiple copies of the same vehicle is a complete waste of money. The idea that Alfa could replace Dodge is exciting, because Dodge is NOT exciting and Alfa is. The best thing Marchionne can do is eliminate duplication and weak products and produce a line of exciting, high quality vehicles. The fact that the Grand Caravan sells more than it’s twin is irrelevent, because all Chrysler needs to do is call the simplified minivan model the Town and Country and give it the same option range.

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