Conspicuous by its absence.
Walk through the Dodge display at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show and you’ll find an array of Challenger and Charger variants. Examples include the Challenger Scat Pak 1320 and Hellcat Redeye, and Charger Daytona and Hellcat. A few Durangos are on hand as well. What you won't find are the Journey and Grand Caravan. We were curious as to why they were absent, so we asked Mark Trostle, head of Dodge and SRT exterior design.
The Journey, a three-row crossover that’s been on sale since 2008, is a dinosaur by today’s standards. However, it remains something of a bargain for some crossover shoppers. It can even be equipped with three rows of seats for less than $24,000. So why isn’t the Journey good enough to be displayed at Detroit? Put it this way: Trostle’s hesitation to directly answer says a lot.
"Obviously I can’t directly comment on things of that nature that we can’t address at this point, but we’ll have news updates later.” One of two things will happen: the Journey will be dropped entirely, or replaced with an entirely new model with or without the nameplate. We’ve reported on the Journey’s likely discontinuation before, but the fact that it’s not at Detroit is telling. Last year, Dodge sold a total of 94,096 Journeys.
The second Dodge model missing from the Motor City is the Grand Caravan. Given it just had a killer sales year in 2018, we were surprised it wasn't on show so asked Dodge for an explanation.
"We’re enjoying the sales resurgence, that’s all we can say about that,” was the short and sweet answer.
It's odd then that Dodge didn't want the Grand Caravan to enjoy some extra foot traffic that could translate into even more sales. One reason could be the much newer and better-looking (and more expensive) Chrysler Pacifica minivan that was on display; perhaps Fiat Chrysler wants all of the attention directed there.
So it boils down to this: the Journey’s Detroit absence could be taken as a sign it won’t be around much longer, and the Grand Caravan simply didn’t need to be there because it’s already selling well enough despite its own advancing age. Why bother taking up floor space?
But as we already reported, the crown jewels of Dodge’s current lineup are the Challenger and Charger, while the Durango is still more than holding its own against fresh competition. But don’t expect to see either today’s Journey or Grand Caravan at future major car shows.