Don’t mourn for the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan just yet. Chrysler Group has denied a report from Bloomberg last week that 2012 is going to be its last model year, according to a source. Under Chrysler's 2009 product plan, the Grand Caravan and its Chrysler Town & Country minivan line mate would stay in service until 2014.
Chrysler sent a statement to Automotive News to say that the company “hasn't wavered” from its five-year cycle plan for two minivans. It said that no change will take place until 2014 for the Grand Caravan and Town & Country. Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said last week that its next minivan would use a new platform in 2014 as planned.
Last month, Marchionne was asked by analysts at a conference call about development expenses for the next minivan. He replied that the company is currently studying the minivan issue but that most of it will take place in 2013. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that Chrysler's product planning office has something up its sleeve. Chrysler had presented a minivan concept named the 700C at last January’s Detroit auto show.
This was meant to measure public reaction to its style. Marchionne had said that there’s a need for “one” new minivan. In the past, Chrysler had numerous single-brand dealerships so having twin minivans was useful since one signature product could then be placed on nearly every lot.
But it doesn’t make much sense to have two minivans now since most Chrysler dealerships carry all of the traditional brands. The Dodge is priced lower than $30,000, while the Chrysler sells for over $30,000.
The minivan creator Chrysler is introducing a new style to the segment with its latest model -- the 2013 Town & Country S. The newest “S” model of the Chrysler Town & Country was launched at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show together with the 300 sedan and the 200 sedan and convertible. It had both interior and exterior modifications like any of those top of the line models that showcase standard equipment.
President and CEO Saad Chehab of the Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, said that the latest Town & Country S is meant for consumers who are always on the go but the company still wanted their car to be a head turner. While the Town & Country has a standard uptown look, the brand new “S” has a downtown style to it, added Chehab. He also pointed out that it is more appropriate to reveal this car in Los Angeles considering Town & Country S is the epitome of the '313' in the '310.
The 2013 Town & Country S comes in Billet Silver, Deep Cherry Red, Brilliant Black or Stone White—and its modified trim gives a different feel to the usually bright exterior of the minivan. A black chrome grille is mixed in with black-background signature badges of the Chrysler both at the rear and at the front. It also has an "S" model badge, a black fascia step pad at the rear, 17-inch aluminum wheels with black-painted pockets and polished face and headlight bezels that are blacked-out (availability is delayed).
The inner part of the “S” showcases a plain black interior that is exclusive to the Chrysler Town & Country S. It begins with the leather seats dubbed as the Black Torino, embroidered with an “S”—and cloth seat inserts in Ballistic black. The seats also mark grey stitching as well as the door armrests. A Piano Black gloss accent can be seen on the instrument panel and on the black steering wheel wrapped in black leather.
The signature Chrysler Winged badge on the wheel complements the black overall feel of the exterior. To complete the interior of the Chrysler Town & Country, it has upper consoles, a black center console, a black headliner, and an “S” in the instrument cluster.