Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions

12930323435135

Comments

  • royallenroyallen Posts: 224
    For those readers interested in data rather than argument, check out Edmunds used car reliability ratings, Consumer Reports subscriber repair reports published each April (from surveys done the previous April) and www.carpoint.msn.com
    Interestingly, all three rate the '95 Caravan more reliable than the '96. On Edmunds it is 6.6 vs 5.2.
  • My '90 Ply GVLE died yesterday. The original transmission was replaced at 68,500 mile (fortunately under the old 7/70 warranty). The replacement trans went out yesterday after another 71,500 miles. It is, at the very least, "interesting" that these two units, manufactured several years apart, had nearly identical lifespans. Had it towed to the dealer....find out today if its repairable or the vehicle is "totaled".
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    4aodge,

    Given that the engineers who designed this round of minivans are substantially the same as those who designed the earlier ones, unless the cut-costs-at-all-costs mentality changed, you've still got to wonder about the current generation of vans. Had the 96-2000 generation remedied the poor safety record of the prior ones, there might be some reasonable projection to make - but it didn't; given the recalls for leaky gas tanks and now fuel rails, and all the publicity surrounding the very public fires that resulted (one of which killed an elderly woman in the South of the U.S., with a 3-day-old, $35,000 Chrysler Town and Country van), it's put up or shut up time - if this generation of vans has problems, Chrysler will finally have to throw in the towel (or rather, the German stockholders will force it to do so).

    Ford didn't learn much from the Pinto fiasco, and history repeated itself with the ignition lock fires, the Explorer and other issues - and it's on the ropes as a result.

    Chrysler's bad times aren't the result of foreign competition so much as its own past sins where safety and quality are concerned.

    For all those that during the 80s crowed how Chrysler and Ford re-invented themselves and were thriving while GM languished, there were those at GM who were actually doing something - quietly, behind the scenes - to improve things. I've not seen the same sort of widespread safety issue with GM vans - or GM SUVs (remember it's the Liberty that is rolling over in media reports, not the Envoy/Jimmy).

    Chrysler is being squeezed at the low end by the Koreans, and will be very pressed by GM in the mid-range - it's got a lot of ground to make up for before it sees daylight again. The Chrysler management who foresaw GM as its biggest threat, were GM to finally awaken, were absolutely, positively correct - and though they recognized the danger, they did too little, too late about the problems that produced all the safety-flawed minivans - and the company is paying the price right now.

    The buying public has a right to be skeptical about Chrysler Group's products - for every fan the company has, I'd venture to say there are five more people who fall into the skeptic category. And if the company doesn't do something about its poor image, it'll follow AMC into history.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    ..."For every fan the company has, I'd venture to say there are five more people who fall into the skeptic category..."
    ...Doesn't Chrysler/Dodge have about 16 % of the market share of all vehicles sold in the USA?
    Why can't some people move on? People seem to have forgotten the sorry little underpowered rolling junk cans made in Japan and now gladly buy Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. Why won't the trollers who trash DC forget about the past as they do with Nissan, Honda, and Toyota?
  • You grossly overstate the reaction of Chryco fans to the occasional mechanical problem. A generation of boomers have become brand-loyal to Chrysler because of their minivans not in spite of them. My wife doesn't care how much money I sink into keeping a 12 year old vehicle on the road...if her 2000 GCS was totaled tomorrow, she wouldn't even look at another product.

    Brand loyalty is an interesting and strong human emotion. Witness your fantasy of a GM renaissance. I left the auto show last week shaking my head and muttering, "poor Bob Lutz, he doesn't have enough years left to fix this mess." The styling (remember, people have to be attracted to a vehicle enough to buy it before they can experience mechanical problems) at every single GM booth (including and especially Saturn) was so pathetic as to embarrass me as an American. Oldsmobile? Why bother being there. Buick? Can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g? Pontiac? They think the Aztec is so cool they're coming out with more models copying that admittedly unique look. Chevy? The Vette is a knockout winner for everyone who can spend $50K on a two seat sports car but their idea of an original idea was to put Aztec styling on the Silverado and call it "Avalanche". They had one concept there that, I swear, looked like a miniature hearse. Cadillac? Have you seen the CTS in person? They are betting the farm on the "creased edge" look and, you heard it here first, it will fail miserably. If they stick with it too long, they will be the next Oldsmobile. To be fair, I did like the Tahoe/Escalade/Denali big SUVs but they're not going to gain market share with $50,000 trucks and Vettes. Did I miss something?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Carleton1 says: Why won't the trollers who trash DC forget about the past as they do with Nissan, Honda, and Toyota?
    Could it be because of the fact they are tired of the few "DC fans" who lurk at the other boards and continously trash the other brands? Could it just be payback? Of course carleton you wouldn't be one of those..........would you?
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,499
    Indydriver, you (and others) may be interested in Edmunds.com's recent "Running the Numbers on Market Share" article.

    On the other hand, I suspect most here aren't interested in a bash war between members about tin can cars :-)

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    As a friend, I have to stick up for Carl on this one. I have never seen Carl trash the Odyssey the way I have seen many owners, such as yourself, trash DC minivans. In his defense, Carl was actually going to buy a 1999 Honda Odyssey LX before he was intrigued by the many comfort and convienence features offered in DC minivans.

    There are some people here who bash DC minvians either beceause they want to feel better about owning something else or because they are just ignorant. Those are the ones who say Chrysler builds "death traps" and havn't changed their transmission over the last 15 years. Whatever Carl says, he always has either a personal experience or fact to back it up.

    Also, I would just like to say that Carl probably has more car buying knowledge than anyone else in the Vans message board. I don't think I've ever known anyone who has owned more cars than he has. And while he is only 67, it is true that you only get smarter with age. That is one thing I've learned for sure with living with BOTH of my grandparents.

    Anyway, Carl is not a troll. If Carl is a troll then I could name about 5 Odyssey owners who would also fall into that category. I mean common, didn't you read his nice review of the 2002 Odyssey EX he test drove and how much he said he liked it? Would a DC troll say that about an Odyssey? I don't think so.

    -Adam
    (16/M/CA)
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Here is part of the article "marketshare":

    "....while leaving the low-grade leftovers (like three-speed Dodge Neon automatics) for the Chrysler brands..."
    Last time I looked inside 2002 Neons, the automatic were all 4 speed. But, Edmunds loves to bash Chrysler so what can we expect?
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,499
    To see how other members take issue with our editorial content, please check out the December Letters to the Editors.

    (Point well taken about the 3 speeds, Carleton1).

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    It appears that people do love their cars and are quick to take issue when someone likes another brand better.
    I prefer the ECHO of all small sedans although the PT Cruiser is much more expensive and more comfortable and more attractive. The ECHO is a bargain if a person stays with the basics (PS, A/C, AT) where a comfortable 4 door sedan with the essentials has MSRP under $14,000.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    4aodge,

    DaimlerChrysler needs more people like you to spread the word about its products - hang in there. There just aren't enough fans out there, so spread the word. It is vital that they get people with positive experiences to help them overcome the (very steep) hill they built of public ill-will toward their products over the last 20-30 years.

    I do not love any car I've ever owned; that emotion is reserved for people, not mechanical conveyances. Nor could I ever claim to love a conglomeration of people working to produce a product; what we call a corporation is a nebulous thing not worthy of that emotion. Doens't matter whether it's DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Honda, Fuji - none of them are worthy of that emotion. Respect? Perhaps - the level of respect for an automaker is tied to one's experiences with its products.

    As for opinions on safety, I'll put my faith in statistical surveys and in the numbers that say Chrysler Group has had a poor track record in that regard. Honda hasn't been a safety leader, either - but its Odyssey design currently on sale has better crash data than the DaimlerChrysler vans, which should not be - remember the Odyssey is Honda's first real U.S.-style minivan effort, while we're on the fourth generation of Daimler vans. The DaimlerChrysler vans should trounce the Honda effort - and they don't, whether that's in performance, quality, or safety. That tells me Honda pays more attention to details when designing its vehicles - just as it does in sedans.

    The Honda Accord trounces the competition from DaimlerChrysler in sedans - and if D-C is not careful, it will eventually see its van sales slip away, just as it saw its sedan sales slowly eroded by the competition from Honda, Toyota, et. al. Except this time, it's got to face a re-energized GM, and it's going to be squeezed at the lower end both in cars and vans, by the Koreans - who admittedly don't have a stellar reputation for quality yet (but then again, they've got about the same reputation as Chrysler with many buyers ...)
  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    Each year manufactures buy vehicles from other manufactures and tear them apart. Reverse engineering I believe. They see what the competition is doing, what works and what doesn't. So, Honda has been able to learn from problems DC has had in the past (And DC from Honda to be fair) and benefited with a quality product.
    We enjoy our 02 T&C Limited and found it to be the best for our family.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    There are too many satisfied owners of DC minivans who can not be satisfied with any other minivan.
    Remember when Volkswagen had a virtual monopoly on small, imported cars? The GREEDY, arrogant, rude Volkswagen dealerships caused many people like myself to never again consider a Volkswagen which to us is the German word for JUNK.
    Comfort and convenience features of DC minivans are un-equaled by other minivans. Volkswagen was never know for comfort or luxury. People ridicule the separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger which is on most DC minivans...but very few luxury sedans lack this nice feature.
    People who do not have padded armrests on the front doors also do not know they are lacking a nice feature.
    True, there are people who love Japanese brands but got DC minivans as the offerings from Japan were ugly, inconvenient, gutless, and just unacceptable to the American public until Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda copied the DC formula.
    These people naturally migrated back to the brand they prefer. The question that has never been satisfactorily addressed is: "Why do these people feel a compulsion to trash DC minivans"?
    Most people out in the real world feel DC minivans are just as reliable as any other brand as contrasted to the fanatics who believe everything written by CR or even the few disgruntled former owners of DC minivans who are addicted to the Town Hall.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Perhaps a fair question to ask, then, is why those who've chosen DaimlerChrysler vans then choose to question the motives and comments of those who dare utter anything but hosannas over DaimlerChrysler minivans. Fans of Daimler vans seem to delight in aggrandizing their choice in vehicles by denegrating the opinions of others.

    Sorry, but the reputation of the DaimlerChrysler vans is very well reflected in the resale value of the vehicles, and in the steep slippage in market share DaimlerChrysler has undergone in recent years - people are even migrating to untested competitors (Kia Sedona); Kia could easily sell probably three times the number of vans it is bringing to the U.S., despite the relatively poor track record of that brand, quality wise.

    Maybe DaimlerChrysler is finally closing a 30-year quality gap - a quality gap that has existed not only with the imports, but with Ford and GM as well. That's great.

    The credibility gap that the company faces in restoring public opinion will take even longer to close - and the current crop of product, vans included, isn't going very far toward closing that gap.

    Chrysler Group is very much on its way to being an also-ran in the auto industry - which is not a good thing. The only product they've introduced to rave reviews in the past five years is the PT Cruiser - and remember that its designer now works for GM.

    The Detroit News said it best when it commented as follows about the 2001 DaimlerChrysler vans: "they should have been home-run products, but they're not".

    If Chrysler Group doesn't start hitting some home runs soon, not only will it be passed in sales by Toyota, but perhaps Honda and even Hyundai as well.

    All the denegration of the opinions of others will do absolutely nothing to change the market dynamics - dynamics that are clearly demonstrating where Chrysler Group is lacking.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    eneth, you have made some pretty good points regarding Chrysler's past reliability and safety records. However, I do not believe that the situation Chrysler is in now is mainly because of their questionable reliability and safety record. Chrysler was doing better in 1998 before it was bought by Mercedies than it is now, mainly because of all the harmful changes that were made to managment by the Germans from Mercedies. I have read countless articles about how Mercedies has totally changed Chrysler, both in good and bad ways. Chrysler quality has definetly improved since the merger in 1998. That is without a doubt. Every year the quality ratings for many Chrysler products, especially their minivans, has improved.

    As for whether or not Chrysler needs people like me, they really do. I know there are alot of Chrysler "mopar" fans out there, and I am one of them, but they need more people who have had positive experiences with DC products. I have a neighbor with a 1997 Town & Country LXi with 70k miles that has no problems and I also have a good friend with a 2000 Town & Country Limited with over 30k miles and they also have not experienced any problems with their van.

    I think Honda and Toyota will continue to steal sales away from the DC minivan market share, but that is to be expected. Despite this, I think DC will always sell the most minivans. They offer such a wide range of models from the luxurious Town & Country Limited to the base Caravan SE with prices and equipment that can appeal to almost anyone. I think enough people have had positive experiences with DC minivans to keep them comming back again, or as long as they are looking for another van.

    I really like the Odyssey more and more. I would really like a 2002 Odyssey EX-L with the gold paint as I saw one yesterday in San Francisco and I really thought it looked nice. I like the new rims on the EX and the new grille and rear end with the yellow tail lights. I also like the increased power for 2002 with the 3.5L V6. I should really stop by my local Honda dealership and ask them if I can test drive one.

    Anyway, I just got back from the Chrysler dealership for the PT Cruiser's 12k mile oil/filter change and I spoke with one of the salesmen there who was telling me about the Odyssey. He said that in 2003 Chrysler will, indeed, offer a slightly depowered version of the 3.5L 24-valve V6 found in the current 300m model in order to compete with the Odyssey. I don't think the torquey 12-valve 215hp V6 currently offered is enough to keep up with the Odyssey's 3.5L engine.

    -Adam
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    I think too many people assume "Mercedes ruined Chrysler" - and that in fact, it was the former Chrysler management (Eaton, et. al.) who knew what was coming, and who bailed out while the bailing was good. Chrysler was headed for a fall; it would have happened whether or not the takeover had come to pass - just as it did many times in the past (more than GM or Ford, Chrysler has a history of boom-then-bust, and the former management knew the bust was coming). Some of it had to do with the economy - but much of it was Chrysler's own making. Styling appeal will only carry you so far if the substance is lacking, and it surely was with most Chrysler products of the 90s. Chrysler Group is paying a price directly as a result of its poor management decisions and its underengineering - ironically, Lee Iacocca had pulled up Chrysler's reputation through the 1980s, only to have it fall again after his exit, with the release of the trouble-plagued transmissions, minivans with safety problems, poorly designed antilock braking systems, and other engineering gaffes that at one point were costing Chrysler over $800 _per unit_ in warranty costs - the highest such warranty costs in the industry.

    Eaton, et. al., knew what was coming, and new Chrysler's profit streak was about to end, as it would be forced to engineer more substantial products. And far from being duped by Juergen Schrempp, et. al., I believe they put one over on Daimler Benz, which might not have been so eager to take over had it known what the true problems with Chrysler were (you've got to wonder about the quality of the due diligence done by Daimler-Benz in taking over the U.S. automaker with the poorest reputation for quality, considering its jealous guarding of its own reputation - so the blame isn't entirely on the shoulders of the former Chrysler management).

    The one almost certainty is that this genearation of minivans will be Chrysler Group's last in terms of engineering - it is very apparent that all of Chrysler Group's front-drive platforms are going to be replaced by Mitsubishi (or Mitsubishi-Hyundai) platforms, and that the more expensive models will end up as Mercedes platforms - though it probably would have steadfastly denied that plan a year ago, it's becoming very apparent that DaimlerChrysler has accepted the fact that platform sharing is going to be inevitable to reduce costs and stay in the game.

    In that sense, what was "Mopar" is here and now - but it won't be tomorrow.

    It'll be interesting to see how the designs of tomorrow differ from those of today - and it's a very rocky course that DaimlerChrysler has ahead of it, because the competition from Toyota and GM will grow stronger every day.

    I just read an article about Toyota's plans for a Mexican assembly plant, which noted this: Toyota and DaimlerChrysler are separated by only 500,000 units a year now. All it would take is one more Toyota plant beyond that one, or one closed Chrysler plant, to close that gap.

    And if it escaped notice, Toyota is planning an expansion of its Princeton, Indiana plant (where the Sequoia and Tundra are built) to produce Sienna minivans - so Chrysler Group's lead in minivans will erode still further in the next couple of years.

    There's not much certain in these ecnonomic times - but this much is: Toyota has a laser sight set on DaimlerChrysler, and the next generation of Sienna will be one of the biggest salvos it has shot in that direction. Being able to back it up with a 250,000 per year production capacity won't make the going any easier for DaimlerChrysler.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I don't know how realistic such a dismal future such as the one eneth has described will come to pass for Chrysler. We will see what happens over the next few years. There are still some markets where Chrysler is still doing rather well.

    Of course, Chrysler still has the lead in the minivan market. The Town & Country has seen a huge sales increase over the years and outsells Honda Odyssey. The Dodge Caravan, despite a steep fall in sales, is still the best selling minivan by a huge margin.

    The PT Cruiser is still a hot car even after being on the market for over 2 years and price gouging is still going on at certain dealerships. Also, the new RAM 1500 has been redesigned and is sure to put a larger dent in the truck sales of GM, Ford, and Toyota.

    The line of Sebring convertables/sedans/coupes are doing alot better now than they were under the Cirrus and Stratus names. The Sebring convertable is still one of the most popular drop-tops in the country.

    Jeep has been doing pretty well, especially with the new Liberty. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the #2 best selling SUV in the country, right behind the Ford Explorer.

    So, not all is bad in the land of Chrysler. While it will most likey get worse before it gets better, there is still a light at the end of the tunel that gets closer everday. Only time will tell...
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    I'm not so sure the picture is that rosy. The Chrysler Voyager hasn't picked up where the Plymouth left off - lost sales. The Neon is selling poorly and the PT Cruiser, after an initial burst of interest, has started to trail off (you can now buy one easily just about anywhere, and I believe you'll find that it has not met with sales success in Europe - DaimlerChrysler suspended production plans at the Eurostar plant in Austria, because it couldn't justify the extra capacity - that's a long way from a year ago when demand outstripped supply).

    The Sebring convertible is a niche car and won't carry the day - sales numbers are too small.

    The Liberty has come under fire for early recalls that should have been fixed before production began, and is under fire from a couple of testing organizations for its tendency to roll over in sharp maneuvers - not an auspicious beginning for a new model, given that Jeep has been hurt by that problem before (with the CJ-5).

    Yes, the Grand Cherokee still sells well - at heavy discounts.

    About the best DaimlerChrysler can hope for with the new Ram is to regain what it lost in the last couple of model years - the real action in trucks is now focused on GM, which may wrest best-seller status from Ford for the first time in 20+ years. Remember that Chrysler Group is closing one of the two main production plants (Mexico) that makes the Ram - so supply won't be as plentiful as it was before (and they must know that, or they'd not have slated the plant for closure).

    Chrysler Group isn't taking anything away from Toyota - as I recall, Chrysler's sales were down about 9% overall for 2001 - and Toyota's were up about 7-8%, and in all categories.

    What Chrysler needs is a smash-hit, home-run vehicle to build some momentum. For a while, that looked like it was to be the PT Cruiser - but it's not showing much staying power (and isn't all that profitable for the company anyway, since it's at heart a small car). The 2001 vans _should_ have been a that smash-hit home run - but they're not; it's taken expensive rebates and low interest financing to get people to buy them at all - while Honda hasn't had to resort to that with the Odyssey.

    Chrysler has binned production plans for several new models because of production costs and is banking its sedan business on an automaker that isn't particularly strong (Mitsubishi). A resurgent Nissan won't make the recovery of that automaker any easier.

    Chrysler Group is still stuck with a product mix that is too dependent on trucks (so is Ford) - that market is more volatile than one with a broader product mix, such as is offered by GM. GM will only get stronger in the car business as the new Delta and Epsilon projects come online in Europe, Asia and in the U.S. - and GM's alliances with complementary automakers (Fuji, Honda, Suzuki, FIAT) will only make the going even tougher in the next five years.

    It would surprise me not at all to see that within the next five to ten years, most of Chrysler Group's cars disappear, leaving the trucks, vans and Jeeps - and DaimlerChrysler to focus on its Korean partner (Hyundai) for production of bread-and-butter cars and trucks, perhaps in combination with Mitsubishi.

    Chrysler is by no means done downsizing itself.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    The DC story is quite sad according to NBC news this evening. They say it looks like DC will lose 4 to 5 billion, Ford 2 billion, and GM will make a little bit. Not a great outlook for the country, as when the big 3 bleed, everyone bleeds.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Too many people own DC minivans, love them, and have had no problems. Former DC minivan owners who bought a DC because the original little underpowered boxes on wheels called minivans made in Japan simply did not satisfy American customers. Many of these people naturally will return to the Japanese brand now they make decent minivans.
    When Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda copied DC's original success with a Volkswagen idea, the Americans who had driven Japanese brand small cars started buying the Japanese brand that they loved as a car.
    Brand loyalty is important.
    I test drove a 2002 Odyssey EX-NAV-L 12/29 and was very impressed with the improved power, ride, and quietness over the 2001 Odyssey EX. The Odyssey is a nice minivan.
    However, the question still comes back to me: Do I want to give up the extra nice comfort and convenience features I get on a DC minivan? One leaky head gasket has not convinced me that my friends were not telling the truth when they said they had no problems with any of their DC minivans. Many are now driving their 3rd DC minivan based on past satisfaction.
    Most problems with DC minivans are for pre-99 models. There are simply not as many problems being reported in the Town Hall on DC minivans as there are for the Odyssey and Sienna.
  • Well, I tried to give Chrysler a fair shake. I bought a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport new in '99. The trans had to be rebuilt under warranty at 32,000 miles last September. It currently has 36,167 mile on it. I had it to the dealer last week to cover concerns I had under the warranty before it expired at 36,000 miles. Today the wife comes home and the check engine light is on. What kind of crap is that? I am now over warranty by 167 miles. Will the dealer cover whatever is wrong?

    Oh, I also bought a 2001 Dakota last spring. I think I need to dump both for a Ford or GM Product, which I was buying for the last 20 years. Never had these problems before.

    Dwayne
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Chrysler has had at least one critically-acclaimed car in the past 5 years: the 300M. As I recall, wasn't it Motor Trend's COTY?

    Also, here is one veteran owner of two Caravans over the past 10 years who will be looking elsewhere when my '99 GCS lease is up in 2004. By then, Honda and Toyota should have new generations of their vans out, Mazda's next-gen MPV may be out by the fall, a new Windstar should be available, and Nissan's new Quest might be ready (just saw an artist's conception of the showcar version of it in C/D, and it's one slick looking van). I'll also check out all the mid-sized SUVs and maybe some wagons. I'll still consider the Caravan in the mix, but it will still be the current generation, which I already know is not that much better IMO than my '99 GCS.
  • in this great minivan market share debate is that the ENTIRE SEGMENT is melting away, a NATURAL occurance, not the result of what you think about DC. The minivan is a classic textbook product lifecycle in automotive history. An exciting new segment created and brought to market by a small innovative group of automotive industrialists who became associated with the product and benefited disproportionately as any inventor and innovator should. Of course Chrysler's market share has been slipping over the years, but not for the reasons stated by eneth et.al. Once a new, successful market niche is create, guess what?, it attracts competition. In the case of the minivan, the competition was incompetent in its early competitive efforts. How many pathetic, dead models have come and gone since 1984 from GM, Ford, Toyota etc. in their billion dollar effort to wrest share away from Chrysler? What the manufacturers are starting to realize is that the popularity of the minivan segment is NOT permanent, it is melting away as do all automotive trends. Remember the station wagon?

    The first sign of the fall of the minivan market was the rising popularity of SUVs (didn't exist a few years ago). Now, the manufacturers are rushing to market with all kinds of new "cross-over" vehicles hoping against hope that they will hit on the next home run segment. They only wish that they could be as successful as Chrysler has been with the minivan idea. As far as DC's future, it cannot be based on the minivan because the market for this vehicle will erode and diffuse into new mutations, trends and fads. Do you think todays twenty-somethings want to drive minivans when they grow up? NEVER! The minivan will forever be associated with the late 20th Century and will be a thing of the past in another 10-15 years. So bring on the PT Cruisers, Crossfires, Neon SRT's. The company with the best CURRENT ideas will thrive in the future.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I doubt if the minivan concept will die entirely. There is no other vehicle that is as versatile as the minivan: seating for 7-8 in comfort, great cargo volume, compact size (for their interior room), better fuel economy than large SUVs, available 4WD (at least in the DC minivans), easier entry/exit than SUVs, and so on. They are still incredibly popular today, even with all the competition from SUVs.

    Even the minivan's popularity should wane, it could come back. Remember the death of the convertible, circa 1976? Now they're back again. Likewise 5-door hatchbacks--suddenly they are all the rage again, after being nearly wiped off the face of the earth (with the exception of Saab). Even station wagons are making a comeback.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    While I don't think minivans will be fadding away in terms of popularity or numbers anytime in the near future, I agree that the entire minivan market is maturing as time moves on. Whether you hate or love Chrysler, you have to give them credit for selling so many minivans over the last 15 something years. I think the number is now well over 9 million if I am correct.

    I am 16 years old and I can figure out why Chrysler is loosing market share in the minivan segment. ITS COMPETITION, just as indydriver pointed out. Its so simple and I don't understand why so many Odyssey owners don't get this. Or maybe it's because they don't want to aknowledge this. The more competitors you have in any given market, regardless of the quality of the product, the sales leader in that area will slowly loose profit to these many new competitors.

    As for Chrysler and needing rebates to sell all of it's vans, there is an easy response to that as well. Do you think that if Chrysler produced such a limited quantity of vans as Honda, they would need to offer rebates to move them off the lot? Of course not. That's simple logic too.

    Now, I don't know what's up about the master of doom and gloom otherwise known as eneth who continues to make the picture look as horrible as possible for Chrysler, which it isnt. It is obvious they are in trouble, and need some serious restructuring, but they are not on an endless pathway to complete destruction as you might want us to believe. And if they are gone in another 5-10 years, oh well. I was wrong. But only time can prove whether I am right or wrong and not someone who bashes DC minvians at any chance he gets.

    -Adam
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Sorry - but if you check the overall sales, you'll see that while the minivan market isn't growing, it isn't significantly shrinking, either. Yes, wagons are making a comeback and probably taking sales from the smaller minivans - and note that only the Mercedes arm of DaimlerChrysler competes there, unless you consider the PT Cruiser, which really isn't a wagon, but rather a 4-door hatchback version of the Neon.

    Rebates and zero interest financing? Honda hasn't had to use those on the Accord, which isn't production-constrained (and is the best-selling car of 2001, despite that).

    300M? Yes, it was critically acclaimed - but it hasn't sold accordingly. DaimlerChrysler needs at least one - and probably more - category buster, a car that will sell in large numbers, and that will draw attention to its other products. It had its best chance with the current generation minivans and blew it big time - overselling the previous model, overpricing the new ones, and overequipping those it produced. There's no question that DaimlerChrysler improved the vans quality wise, but everyone else has improved as well - the differences just aren't there to make a compelling reason to purchase a DaimlerChrysler van over an Odyssey or other model.

    I don't think Chrysler is on a pathway to complete destruction - there will always be Dodge trucks and Jeeps, along with probably minivans. However, Chrysler is assuming the same role in the DaimlerChrysler organization that AMC assumed in Renault (and then Chrysler) - it's competitive in trucks, but not in cars. One of the first acts Lee Iacocca took after buying AMC was to axe its non-competitive car lines, which is something I suspect is coming for Chrysler Group as well. Almost every platform now sold will be replaced from outside - the Neon/Stratus-Sebring by Mitsubishi/Hyundai, and the LH models by Mercedes-derived units. The coupe versions of the Stratus-Sebring are already Mitsubishi-based, and the next PT Cruiser will likely end up on a Mitsubishi chassis. That leaves the above models for Chrysler Group.

    Although fans of the old Chrysler Corporation would no doubt love to see it independent again, that will never happen - things have changed too much, and Chrysler Group is no longer a standalone automaker - it is part of DaimlerChrysler, and could no more stand alone than AMC could have after Renault decided to divest itself of that automaker.
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,499
    DaimlerChrysler: We'll Post Profits.
    Chrysler revival is working.

    And on that note, perhaps we can get now back to the topic please?

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And specifically with this statement:
    "....There's no question that DaimlerChrysler improved the vans quality wise, but everyone else has improved as well - the differences just aren't there to make a compelling reason to purchase a DaimlerChrysler van over an Odyssey or other model....".
    We have looked closely at all minivans and will be able to do it once more in a few weeks at the Annual Auto Show where all vehicles can be closely compared under one roof. Our choice is narrowed down to Odyssey LX, GC eL or T&C eL.
    We have compared the GC eL @$24,165 and Odd LX @$24,690. The Odyssey has more power, a 5 speed AT, and the Magic Seat. On the other hand, the GC eL has Triple Zone Temp Control, Complete Overhead Console with compass/outside temp/ trip computer, Remote Keyless Entry, heating coils at base of windshield, and padded armrests on the front doors.
    The great reliability of dozens of DC minivans owned by people we know is far more important to me than the few problems that are repeated over and over here in the Town Hall by disgruntled former owners of DC minivans.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Conversely, the poor reliability experienced by myself and my family and friends is plenty to suggest that the Odyssey would be a better purchase - despite the constant repetition of claims by others to the contrary.

    Everyone's entitled to express their own opinions - and should be able to do so free from denegration by others.
Sign In or Register to comment.