Chrysler Group has extended the lives of the Dodge Avenger, Dodge Grand Caravan and Jeep Wrangler, according to a report by The Detroit News, citing supplier sources. The paper said that Chrysler’s product plan entails production of the current Avenger until 2015, an extension of one year; the Grand Caravan until 2017, an extension of 2 years; and the current Wrangler to 2018.
If the report is true, the product extensions might indicate that Chrysler and parent Fiat are trying to save money as they try to struggle with the continuing economic crisis in Europe as well as to prepare for Fiat’s planned acquisition of the remaining Chrysler shares it does not own.
The Avenger sedan had been expected to be terminated late this year or in the first quarter of 2014, as Chrysler prepares its Sterling Heights site to build the next generation Chrysler 200 sedan, which will be underpinned by the same platform that underpins the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee.
Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne has disclosed this year that the next Chrysler 200 will be unveiled in January 2014.
Once geared up, Chrysler’s Sterling Heights site – which boasts of two body shops – could build the redesigned Chrysler 200 and the older Avenger. Since controlling operations at Chrysler in 2009, Marchionne has sought to end the practice of building similar vehicles that will compete against one another in Chrysler showrooms.
For instance, Marchionne has said that Chrysler should have one minivan going foward, and not the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.