• Aug 13th 2007 at 3:05PM
  • 30
Just 12 years ago, minivans made up 8.5% of the overall vehicle market here in the US. Since that time, a string of SUVs and then later CUVs have cut into those vehicles with the magical sliding doors. In the last couple years, GM and Ford have abandoned the minivan segment all-together and concentrated on crossovers like the Buick Enclave and the Ford Flex. In 2006, minivan production fell below 1 million units for the first time in 15 years, and this year is looking much, much worse. The proliferation of CUVs in the past year and the end of the Uplander and Freestar have contributed to minivan sales shrinking an astonishing 22% in 2007.

At first glance, Chrysler's pending launch of the new Town & Country and Caravan appears to be as poorly timed as Toyota's introduction of the all-new Tundra. Both products would have sold in higher numbers only a few years back, when buyers were less afraid of purchasing a vehicle with less than perfect fuel economy. On the other hand, with improved styling (only so much you can do with a minivan), an even better interior, and more flexibility, Chrysler's new minivans may just help turn the tide.

[Source: Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      The entire concept of the CUV eludes me. They should all be lumped together as minivans. Chysler or some other automaker needs to spin the minivan into the CUV Segment. The two vehicle types are fundamentally the same, with sliding doors and styling being the only appearant difference. THeyre all usually unibody, fwd v6's with three rows at least optional. I always thought they were tricking soccer moms into the CUVs with the name and styling. Theyre really all too similar. Picture a Pacifica w/ Sliding doors, Is it not a slicker (looking) T&C?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Minivans will prevail, because you can`t beat praticality. All pionts considered the minivan excells. People have gone to CUV/SUV for style sake. Cuvs are just station wagons anyway.
      I thought about a trailblazer as replacement for our minivan. There`s nowhere the room in the Trailblazer or the fuel economey or the ease of manuverablity. Cuvs are small inside too with no advantage over the minivan SUVs are better for towing and 4x4 for winter driving. Minivans have respectible tow ratings and go good in the snow.
      Perception of the mom mobile is the only thing hurting the minivan.
      The swiss army knife of vehicles will stick around.
      The big loosers are Ford and GM for failing to build a good van.
      The new Chrysler looks like a winner!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Station Wagon--> Minivan--> Sports Utility Vehicle--> Station Wagon.

      The circle is complete.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Minvan pleases me most for a family hauler. I could go a different way and get a car that has looks or image that pleases others. In reality other people could care less about me. SO shop to please yourself . The great ease of use with the best compromise in all areas the minvan experience will be my little secret.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i'd take the minivan over the gas guzzling suv, and the high priced cuv any day. I thought i'd never say that, but now its true, just bought a 2003 voyager for the family a few months ago and its a great vehicle, I mean how many suvs/cuvs can hold 7 people, then if needed hold a washer, dryer, and a stove??
      • 8 Years Ago
      After five years of Chrysler attaching truck front ends to cars, they finally attach a truck front end to a truck. NICE! PS, minivan sales are down largely in part to GM killing the Astro/Safari and Ford killing the Freestar/Monterey. Moreover, owning a minivan is just not "cool" and that is not helping matters in places like style-conscious Los Angeles. Kids are saying to mommy and daddy, "I want an Escalade with chrome wheels..." This is the times we live in and that is our future.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice looking redesign although it really is just a return to the more squared off look of the original Voyager-Caravan.

      Let's hope this marks a trend for Chrysler to being weeding out the bloated, ugly Diamler-influenced designs.

      • 8 Years Ago
      To kill a minivan: kid-haulers a dying breed

      Then why is GM trying to get Chrysler to build its minivan?????

      Those sliding rear doors will never dent the car parked next to you @ mall !!!
        • 8 Years Ago
        That's the whole reason I got a van, I don't need my kid slamming the door into someone else, and well what other car offers power doors? Besides on a Phantom....
      • 8 Years Ago
      Who cares what people think, Mom mobiles etc. Minivans are practical, drive well and are good value for money, Chrysler does a great job with Minivans.

      Ford got out of the biz because it couldn't make money
      selling primarily to rental Fleets.

      Gm dumped the Astro which was a decent van in my opinion, I've owned a Astro cargo vans for 12 years.

      I believe GM's Uplander is gone too, what an ugly looking van it was.

      Gm and others do make smaller Minivans available in Europe and other markets, they just don't choose to sell them here, what a shame, some are terrific vehicles more compact and fuel efficient.

      When will GM and Ford realize that there is a market here for vehicles they already sell in other parts of the world, it wouldn't take much effort to bring them here, many of us are tired of driving around in a gas hog, me for one.

      Search for GM's Vauxhall Zafire, and Vivaro.
      Nissan's Primastar.
      Toyota's hi ace and
      Mazda's Bongo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm amazed at the number of positive comments about the minivan, especially Chrysler's. There may be hope for the Pentastar yet. My only complaint about the new T&C is that you can get the 4.0 litre engine on only the Limited model, which starts at $36K. They should have made that an option on Touring edition. I'm not sure that the 197 horses in the 3.8 litre would be quite enough oomph for my tastes. What I don't understand is why my Sebring's 2.7 litre has 200 horses and the T&C 3.8 litre has only 197. What gives?
      • 8 Years Ago
      "At first glance, Chrysler's pending launch of the new Town & Country and Caravan appears to be as poorly timed as Toyota's introduction of the all-new Tundra."

      Chrysler Corp sells about 22,000 to 27,000 a month, and that's with an old model and decreased production, do the math. any model that sells 264,000 to 324,000 per year is not chump change if you go back to the intro of the minivan, surprise! the numbers are nearly the same.

      As to the Tundra, we all know what it is and why it's not selling that well.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Great post. So much for the minivan being "dead".
      • 8 Years Ago
      Guess I didn't get the memo on minivans being ugly (oh, uplander). My wife and I have no kids, we don't own a business, and we don't own our home so we don't do yard work. However, when my malamute was going through arthritis and thyroid problems, all it took was two test drives to realize the van was the only option. That was 4 years ago. Now with a St. Bernard, and another Malamute, I couldn't imagine not having a van. I can follow 4x4's up most hiking trailheads here in Colorado, cruise up 7% grades on I-70 at 85+MPH, move, haul trash, blend in with traffic when the State Patrol appears, pick up family at the airport, and leave the damn thing open without fear of someone stealing it... My Dodge has been severely abused but maintained, 2002 with 175k and kicking strong. Only non-routine repair was the column shift broke and stuck in drive when I was using it as leverage while detailing the dash. My fault. I LOVE MY VAN, and will absolutely buy another one soon. A Chrysler/Dodge at that.
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