The recent change in China's longstanding one-child policy is projected to steadily grow the population over the next two decades, and could have a huge impact on minivan sales in that country.

According to Reuters, sales of three-row minivans like the Buick GL8 (related to the Chevrolet Venture of long ago) and Volkswagen Touran are among the fastest growing segment of the Chinese auto market, even though they make up just around 10 percent of the country's new car sales right now. Larger vehicles with more seats are more popular among some Chinese households who find owning two cars prohibitively expensive.

This is potentially good news for the minivan in general. Right now, the North American minivan market is dominated by the offerings from Chrysler, Dodge, Honda and Toyota as pretty much every other manufacturer has given up on trying to market a rival. Therefore, the U.S. minivan market has stagnated at about half of what it was 15 years ago.

In Europe, minivans or MPVs may be smaller than they are in the States, but they're also under threat from crossovers of all sizes. Renault may have popularized the compact MPV with the Scénic about 20 years ago, but it's now under sales threat from the company's compact Captur and Kadjar crossovers.

At least in the U.S., there have been signs of life in recent years with minivans, with the bursting-with-style 2015 Kia Sedona and forthcoming 2016 Chrysler Town & Country that promises numerous segment innovations. In fact, the strategy to market minivans in recent years has weighed far more on style and technical innovations, rather than practicality or ability to fit families.

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