After being introduced as the Dodge Caravan in 1983, after debuting a long wheelbase Grand Caravan in 1987, after entering its fifth generation in 2007 and going almost unchanged since then to become the oldest minivan in the segment, after being publicly sent to the slaughterhouse in 2011, again in 2013, and again in 2015 before being pardoned thrice by the automotive governor, this month it’s over for good for the best-selling Dodge and best-selling minivan in the U.S. and Canada. At least, according to Mopar Insiders, which credits dealer sources for the news that “the end of the month” will be a car shopper’s last chance to order the Dodge Grand Caravan in the states that don’t adhere to California emissions. Since the Grand Caravan’s 3.6-liter V6 can’t clear CARB mandates, Dodge pulled the model from the 13 so-called ZEV states in March this year.
Last summer, an analyst at AutoForecast Solutions told Automotive News that Dodge would cease Grand Caravan production at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada in May this year. The brief reprieve is said to be related to the coronavirus standstill, Fiat Chrysler not alone in revising its plans to make up for two months of lost production.
The new 2020 Chrysler Voyager is the official replacement for the Dodge, being a de-contented Pacifica that returns an old Chrysler nameplate to circulation and is built in the same plant as the Pacifica and Grand Caravan. The Grand Caravan’s numbers have come down this year, but Dodge still sold a strong 24,931 units through the first quarter of the year; the kid-hauler has sold less than 100,000 units in a year in the U.S. only twice since 1985, topping six figures for the last four years. In 35 years on sale here, the minivan has hurdled the 200,000-unit marker 19 times.
With the order books open until the end of the month and Windsor plant working a single shift and still finding its feet, Grand Caravans will continue to trickle off the lines after May, but not for long.