At a recent question and answer session at Chrysler's Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed product changes that many were expecting. Namely, the elimination of one of the company's two minivan models, and the discontinuation of the Jeep Compass. We now know which of the minivans will be discontinued. The Chrysler Town & Country will be cut in its current form, leaving the Dodge Grand Caravan to carry on as the Chrysler Group's sole minivan offering.
However, the upscale crossover slated to replace the minivan could carry on the Town & Country name. Some have suggested that it will resemble the Mercedes-Benz R-Class. Both the Patriot and Compass will continue to be produced in Belvidere through August 2014, alongside the new Dodge Dart compact sedan. Marchionne did not specifically say what the compact SUVs' replacements could be other than saying, "There are a number of candidates to take the place of the Compass."
Part of the rationale for the ongoing product consolidation and streamlining is the fact that 90 percent of Chrysler Group dealerships now sell all four brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. The need for uniquely-branded versions of a model is no longer necessary with all the brands sharing showroom space.
The CUSW chassis that underpins the Dart is expected to be the basis for as many as eight small and midsize cars and crossovers for the Chrysler Group and Fiat.