Chrysler’s 2017 Town & Country Is the First Hybrid Minivan
The grocery getter ditches the faux wood paneling for an outlet.
The crossover may be king, but Fiat Chrysler of America still has faith in mom’s minivan. Despite initial reluctance to add electric cars to the FCA lineup, FCA’s Sergio Marchionne announced a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the next generation of Town & Country. The CEO believes the Town & Country will be a sound testing platform for the new drivetrain.
Reupping the Town & Country is not a no-brainer. Domestic competitors Ford and General Motors have long-since left the minivan segment. But FCA, who invented minivans with the Dodge Caravan in 1984, feels they can still sustain adequate sales to legitimize the production of the Town & Country (as well as new variants of the storied Caravan).
According to Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands for FCA, minivans still make up 3% of the automotive industry—enough to warrant investment. However, FCA has no plans to introduce the hybrid drivetrain into the less expensive Caravan. Instead of having the Caravan upgrade alongside its segment sibling, it will not get a refresh. It will, however, continue production in Windsor, Canada, to fill out the lower price bracket until FCA decides the Caravan has run its course.
The next generation Town & Country is expected to make its debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show in January. Although the next-gen T&C will go on sale at the beginning of 2016, don’t expect to see the hybrid version until later this year.