Last post on Oct 23, 2006 at 1:11 AM
You are in the Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan
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Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town and Country, Van
Jan 04, 2002 (3:38 pm)
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.
#980 of 4276 eneth is correct:
Jan 04, 2002 (3:53 pm)
..."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?
Jan 04, 2002 (4:38 pm)
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?
#982 of 4276 eneth is correct: by carleton1
Jan 04, 2002 (4:39 pm)
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?
Jan 04, 2002 (6:07 pm)
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
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#984 of 4276 dmathews
Jan 04, 2002 (6:16 pm)
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.
#985 of 4276 Why do many Edmunds writers continue to belittle Chrysler?
Jan 04, 2002 (6:19 pm)
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?
Jan 04, 2002 (6:27 pm)
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).
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#987 of 4276 steveHost: Thanks for the link
Jan 04, 2002 (6:48 pm)
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.
Jan 05, 2002 (3:56 am)
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 ...)