Despite the protestation of General Motors and Ford, we believed the Chrysler Group's take on the minivan market's current state given at the Detroit Auto Show. According to the boys and girls from Auburn Hills, the market for Soccer Mom-mobiles will likely hold steady, and they hope to enjoy an even larger piece of the pie with their new Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. But many automakers are picking up their ball and leaving the minivan market, and this interview with Robert Davis, Mazda North America's senior VP lays out the reasons why most automakers aren't willing to fight Chrysler in the segment.
Davis cites the fact that domestic automakers market minivans in such a way that it puts downward pressure on prices, which in turn hurts resale value and decreases the amount of money they can make for a company. CUVs like the CX-9, however, can command premium prices, retain their resale value better and are able to be sold with fewer incentives. Despite the fact that a new Mazda MPV was being developed for the Japanese domestic market (see the new model above, which happens to look great), Mazda officials decided against engineering a version for the U.S. market in favor of the CX-9, which is largely built using components shared with the Ford Edge CUV. The fact that Davis reveals the Edge and CX-9 have so much in common yet look nothing alike gives us hope that Ford can indeed produce two cars using the same mechanicals that aren't badge-engineered versions of each other.