Respect for the Minivan Please

Posted by: David Kiley on May 25, 2007

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There’s hardly been a vehicle more maligned in the new century than the minivan. It’s not justifiable. Ask anyone with a couple of kids, and they’ll tell you that a minivan is the most versatile machine to drive. That’s the case especially when the kinds are in car seats. The egress into the second row, the height of the seats…it all beats trying to contort a one year old into a center-latched car seat in most passenger cars.

Still, as Ford gets ready to launch the Flex “people mover” in 2009, and GM is out with its full-size crossovers, the disgust held for minivans at those two companies is palpable.

So, it was with great curiosity that I looked at a survey of consumers by Autobytel.com
The survey revealed that:

79% Say Minivans “Get a Bad Rap and Remain Appealing and Useful
51% of Family Utility Vehicle Intenders Say They’d Be Most Likely to Buy a Minivan.
Only 27% Say They’d Be Most Likely to Buy a Crossover SUV
73% Say Large SUVs are Less Appealing Than Minivans

The study makes you wonder if GM and Ford were polling mostly their own buyer base about minivans. If that was the case, then I can well imagine a plurality saying they hate minivans if the Ford Freestar and Chevy Venture was their benchmark. GM and Ford just didn’t try to be a leader, or even competitive, against Chrysler, and then Honda and Toyota, and now Hyundai and Kia.

Reader Comments

MarkT

May 29, 2007 2:10 PM

big surprise that Ford & GM don't make Minivans now having produced some of the worst incarnations of them through the last couple of decades. With the quality being so poor, no wonder buyers finally stopped purchasing them. Families want minivans, just not low quality low tech gas guzzlers from the GM/Ford, sales of Toyota/Honda units are up. Yet another sector that these antiquated behemoths can't compete in, can it be long until gas guzzler trucks are the target of manufactures that can move with the times?

Lindsey

June 1, 2007 4:13 PM

Anyone who's knocking minivans clearly hasn't driven or owned a Honda Odyssey. It's a great, versatile vehicle that is about as comfortable as a family car can get. The big three need to stop knocking sectors where their not competitive and get in the game.

The Odyssey and Siena are great cars, and everyone I know who owns one is happy with it, but there are places they could be improved on, and U.S. car companies need to step up to the challenge.

Glenn Reid

June 4, 2007 3:33 PM

Normally, I have no use for "Minivans" but after spending 10 days in Northern California at my daughters, I picked up a Chrysler Town & Country 3.3 V6 van at SFO Airport. I did 1500 miles in temps. from 65 to 98 F at Bodie. I climbed 5 mountain passes Sonora 9300. This rig handled like a Mountain Goat. Returned 20-26 mpg. Now I have alot of respect for minivans, And so did my 6 passengers.

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