mostlycloudy
Monday June 1st, 2015 11:36PM

Chrysler to drop Dodge minivan in wider revamp

By The Associated Press
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chrysler Group wants to expand its sales with new vehicles - including a plug-in hybrid minivan and a new small Jeep SUV - and a more aggressive effort to differentiate its brands.

Chrysler is dropping the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and Dodge Avenger sedan, which it says compete too closely with the Chrysler Town and Country minivan and Chrysler 200 sedan.

From now on, the company said, Chrysler will be the mainstream brand that competes with Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford, while Dodge will be a sporty, performance-oriented brand designed to appeal to younger buyers. Chrysler's SRT performance brand - which includes the Viper sports car - will be consolidated with Dodge and considered the "halo" of the Dodge brand.

"Dodge is the American performance brand," Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis said. "This is not a new strategy. This is a purification of the brand."

The company revealed its future product plans Tuesday at an all-day event at Chrysler's Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters. Chrysler is in the process of combining with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. Outside, a new sign was unveiled, reading "Fiat Chrysler Automobiles."

Fiat completed its purchase of Chrysler in January. Shares of the combined company are expected to begin trading jointly on the New York Stock Exchange and in Milan, Italy, by Oct. 1.

Chrysler brand chief Al Gardner said Chrysler and Dodge had long suffered from an internal rivalry, with their minivans and sedans competing for the same customers. The company hopes to change that.

Chrysler will keep the Town and Country minivan, and will update it and add a plug-in hybrid version in 2016. Chrysler will also get a new compact car, the 100, which will compete with the Toyota Corolla, in 2016, and a full-size crossover to take on the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano in 2017. The crossover will also come in a plug-in hybrid version.

Dodge, which is releasing the sporty new Charger and Challenger sedans this year, will revamp the Dart small car and Journey crossover in 2016 to make them sportier. It's also planning a subcompact hatchback.

Dodge's U.S. sales will drop without the minivan. The company sold more than 124,000 Dodge Caravans last year. But it expects to make that up with its new vehicles. Chrysler's global sales are projected to more than double to 800,000 by 2018. That would bring the brand back to sales levels it enjoyed a decade ago, before the recession hit and it suffered from a dearth of new vehicles.

Chrysler Group says Jeep sales, which are expected to top 1 million this year, can grow to 1.9 million by 2018 with aggressive global expansion, particularly in Latin America and Asia. Jeep will also introduce new vehicles, including a compact SUV in 2016 - which will replace the Compass and Patriot - and the seven-passenger Grand Wagoneer in 2017.

Jeep currently makes vehicles at three plants in the U.S. By 2018, it expects nearly half of its total Jeep production will come from plants in Latin America, Europe and China.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 5 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 5 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 5 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 5 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 5 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 5 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 5 months ago )
Local/State News
Fort Gordon soldiers on their way to aid in the fight against the Islamic State
Fort Gordon soldiers on their way to aid in the fight against the Islamic State received an official send-off late last week and were expected to travel to the Middle East Sunday.
8:17PM ( 2 days ago )
Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.
5:08PM ( 4 days ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 5 days ago )
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 1 week ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )