1984, the Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Voyager pioneered the minivan concept. U.S. sales of the Grand Caravan peaked at 300,000 in 1996 & 1997, then hovered around the 100,000 to 150,000 range. The Caravan lived through five design updates, the most current dating back to 2008. It remained virtually unchanged for its remaining 12 years.
As far as the mobility industry was concerned, the Dodge Caravan was the gift that gave many the blessing of affordability and mobility. It was the means that allowed customers with average incomes to afford their first wheelchair van. But what was going to happen now that the Caravan would be discontinued? The Chrysler Pacifica had already replaced the Town & Country, but the Pacifica’s MSRP was about $8,000 higher than the Caravan. $8,000 is a massive jump for many to afford!
During the delayed termination of the Dodge Caravan, which Dodge continued to build longer than anticipated, Chrysler finally announced its replacement. Chrysler was going to build the Chrysler Voyager, a lower-cost version of the Chrysler Pacifica, to help fill the need of its large category of business being left aside. The first year of this replacement would be 2020. The year the Dodge Caravan would be discontinued. It was great news! However, this is where it gets interesting.
With the production of the Chrysler Voyager, the mobility industry could again provide customers with an affordable option once driven by the Dodge Caravan. While not exactly priced the same as the Caravan once was, the costs were closer than the Pacifica, and the vehicle was safer and much more technologically advanced.
Everything again seemed good in the industry, then Chrysler made another announcement. After the 2021 model year, they were going to discontinue the production of the Chrysler Voyager as a vehicle for sale to the general public. After the 2021 model year, Chrysler Voyagers would not be available for sale on a local car dealer’s lot. A huge blow and scare once again to the mobility industry, or was it?
After making the dramatic announcement, Chrysler quickly added that while it would end production of consumer sales, it would continue to build the Chrysler Voyager for its fleet customers. These customers are mainly rental companies, but BraunAbility and VMI are also considered fleet customers. This end of the Chrysler Voyager will not affect the mobility industry unless a manufacturer does not have fleet status. Then that manufacturer will no longer be building a new Chrysler Voyager wheelchair-accessible van after the 2021 model year.
Mobility dealers like Superior Van & Mobility, who are dealers for both BraunAbility and VMI, will continue to have the Chrysler Voyager wheelchair van for many years. And, to make things even better, the chassis price was reduced further for the 2022 Chrysler Voyager LX, making it less than a comparable Dodge Caravan SXT in 2020! It’s a huge win for the mobility industry and its customers.