Seeds of a Minivan Boom?

By Matthew Askari | January 23, 2012
Minivans are experiencing a lull now, but we're just a few short years away from the next minivan renaissance. At least according to a report from Automotive News. Last year, just over half a million minivans were sold in America, a paltry number compared to the 1,371,234 sold in 2000, just over a decade earlier. A lot of reasons may account for the drop: families hanging on to their cars longer; minivans generally lasting longer; the rise and popularity of SUVs in the early and mid-2000s which are similarly versatile; that nagging "soccer mom" stereotype; and a lagging economy, must also be taken in to account. But as mentioned in the report, automakers may become more daring, and will ultimately take chances that will pay off. The Honda Odyssey is one good example—engineers gambled with a polarizing "lightning bolt" beltline, which was largely met with praise and positive sales. Chrysler, which debuted its 700C concept in Detroit earlier this month, has similarly promised its newest Town and Country will separate itself from the tired minivans of today.
But are we really on the brink of a minivan boom? A large obstacle will be the increasing trend towards crossovers of every size. Automakers are getting good at packaging wagon/SUV hybrid models, mini SUVs and more appealing, fuel efficient, full-sized models. Minivans will have to offer something that can't be found in the new crop of crossovers. And if they can pull it off, well we just might be on the brink of minivan mania. Source: Automotive News (subscription required)