When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida late last month, it hit the state with winds of 150 miles per hour. They are strong enough to knock down trees, tear roofs, and take one billboard back nearly three decades. Wind pared years of advertising to reveal “The New” 1996 Dodge Caravan with a friendly reminder to “See Your Gold Star Dodge Dealer” marked underneath.
The 1996 Dodge Caravan was an important model for the company. It was the start of the third generation of models, with the first debuting in 1984 and changing the automotive industry forever. Now it has competitors, and should stand out. This is the first year Dodge has added a driver-side sliding door, available options, and its Easy Out Roller Seat. The automaker designed the seat with wheels and a track system to make its removal and transfer outside the van much more manageable.
The billboard shows an optional sliding door on the driver’s side of the van, showing a clear path through the vehicle. Dodge updated the van’s styling, complementing the sharp second-generation exterior design. Car manufacturers are also overhauling the interior and dashboard. The billboard, located in Cape Coral, Florida, is located near the Cape Coral dealership Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. A look at the area on Google Maps reveals a law office ad on a billboard in May.
Dodge ended Grand Caravan production in 2020, pushing those customers to the Chrysler Voyager, the entry-level version of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Even though it’s been more than two years since Grand Caravan production stopped, Dodge has sold 26 Caravans through the third quarter of 2022, one of the few zombie cars from the brand. Dodge sold 89 Caravans through the same period in 2021.
Hurricane Ian has devastated several communities along the Florida Gulf Coast. The storm surge also caused thousands of vehicles to be flooded and destroyed. According to Cox Automotive, the storm damaged or destroyed as many as 50,000 cars. The hurricane death toll so far is more than 100, with one county, Lee, counted nearly 60 of them.