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Say Goodbye To The Durango: More Model Shake-up News At Chrysler

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On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Say Goodbye To The Durango: More Model Shake-up News At Chrysler

Last month, we heard some word about outgoing and incoming models at Chrysler from Sergio Marchionne. It turns out, Chrysler's model shake-up won't be limited to the Town & Country and new crossover. A new report indicates that one classic Chrysler-group SUV will be heading into the sunset while an old name from the past will be making a return.

According to Automobile magazine, the Dodge Durango will join the Chrysler Town & Country on the chopping block. It will disappear from Dodge's line in 2016.

Though the Durango has been a recognized name and once strong seller in the SUV segment since its introduction in 1998, the move isn't all that surprising. Fiat has been adamant about better distinguishing Chrysler's overlapping brands. It split up Dodge and Ram so that Dodge could be a car brand, but it's hard for Dodge to cement that branding while simultaneously stocking Chrysler's largest SUV on its lots.

Fiat/Chrysler has already axed Dodge models like the Nitro and Caliber, in part for being redundant with Jeep products. The Durango, however, isn't redundant with anything in Jeep's line. Though they're based on the same platform, the Durango is about 10 inches longer than the Jeep Grand Cherokee, offers more cargo capacity and carries up to seven passengers to the Cherokee's five. The Durango has long filled a niche between full-sized SUVs like the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition and mid-sized SUVs like the Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer.

In dropping the Durango, Chrysler won't be abandoning the larger SUV market because it is reportedly developing a Cherokee-based Grand Wagoneer at Jeep. The Grand Wagoneer will simultaneously give it a full-sized SUV while solidifying Dodge's move away from trucks to cars, vans and smaller crossovers. So it looks like Jeep will be the home of Chrysler's bigger, more rugged utility vehicles, leaving Dodge and Chrysler to smaller, more efficient crossover models.

Interestingly, while the Durango will make the leap over to Jeep, Automobile's report indicates that Dodge will continue to produce the Journey, with a sporty SRT model to come. Though it looks more car-like, the Journey is actually quite close in size (a little larger, actually) to the Grand Cherokee.


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