The Truth About Cars » chrysler minivans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:05:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » chrysler minivans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Chart Of The Day: U.S. Minivan Market Share In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-u-s-minivan-market-share-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-u-s-minivan-market-share-2014/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909258 Minivan sales in America have grown 6% this year even as last year’s top seller, the Honda Odyssey, has suffered a 4.5% year-over-year volume decline. A slight uptick in Toyota Sienna volume has helped, but decreased sales from the Nissan Quest and now-cancelled Mazda 5 haven’t helped. Minivan volume from Chrysler and Dodge, however, has […]

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2014 Chrysler Town & CountryMinivan sales in America have grown 6% this year even as last year’s top seller, the Honda Odyssey, has suffered a 4.5% year-over-year volume decline. A slight uptick in Toyota Sienna volume has helped, but decreased sales from the Nissan Quest and now-cancelled Mazda 5 haven’t helped.

Minivan volume from Chrysler and Dodge, however, has grown by 27,414 units, or 17.1%. Chrysler is on pace for its best Town & Country sales year since 2006; Dodge is on track to post its best Grand Caravan sales year since 2007.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Cain’s Segments July 2014: Minivans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cains-segments-july-2014-minivans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cains-segments-july-2014-minivans/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 12:48:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893514 The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan during the month of July 2014, although Chrysler’s minivan duo combined to own a far greater portion of the market. 44.8% of all July minivan sales went Chrysler and Dodge’s way, up from 38.1% a year ago. The Grand Caravan/Town & Country twins rank first and second in the […]

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2012 Toyota SiennaThe Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan during the month of July 2014, although Chrysler’s minivan duo combined to own a far greater portion of the market.

44.8% of all July minivan sales went Chrysler and Dodge’s way, up from 38.1% a year ago. The Grand Caravan/Town & Country twins rank first and second in the minivan category through the first seven months of 2014 and have jointly increased their market share to 49% from 43.6% during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan have all sold fewer minivans (mini-minivans in Mazda’s case) this year than last. The Odyssey’s 7% decline equals 5530 fewer sales for Honda; Odyssey volume fell by 2355 units during the month of July. Honda’s share of the minivan segment has fallen from 25.6% during the first seven months of 2013 – when it was the minivan sales leader – to 22.3% in 2014. The Odyssey was America’s 30th-best-selling vehicle overall through the first seven months of 2013; 39th so far in 2014.

The Mazda 5’s most direct competitor may now be the Ford Transit Connect Wagon, sales of which aren’t broken out from the overall Transit Connect’s tally. Ford has reported 23,889 total Transit Connect sales this year, a 2.4% increase. 5 sales are down 13% in 2014, though July volume shot up 68% to 1547, or 3.3% of the category.

 

Minivan
July
2014
July
2013
%
Change
7 mos.
2014
7 mos.
2013
%
Change
Chrysler Town & Country
11,370 8,060 41.1% 81,246 67,439 20.5%
Dodge Grand Caravan
9,473 8,583 10.4% 81,539 68,055 19.8%
Honda Odyssey
10,906 13,261 -17.8% 74,203 79,733 -6.9%
Kia Sedona
775 1,068 -27.4% 4,351 3,630 19.9%
Mazda 5
1,547 922 67.8% 8,762 10,023 -12.6%
Nissan Quest
786 1,055 -25.5% 7,156 8,004 -10.6%
Toyota Sienna
11,661 10,608 9.9% 73,952 73,167 1.1%
Volkswagen Routan
1 155 -99.4% 1,103 1,021 8.0%
Total
46,519 
43,712  6.4%  332,312  311,072  6.8%

There are major changes planned for the structure of Chrysler/FCA’s Windsor, Ontario-built minivan lineup, yet the current results suggest a real move back to the status quo. Traditionally, when consumers thought, “Minivan?”, they also thought, “Grand Caravan.” This trend has only been emphasized by the disappearance of so many competitors. (Chrysler/Dodge combined for just 35% market share in the category a decade ago.)

Of the 1,187,790 new vehicles sold by the five Chrysler Group brands so far this year, 13.7% have been minivans. America’s third and fourth-best-selling minivans, on the other hand, generate just 8.5% and 5.4% of company-wide volume, respectively.

These are important products for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in North America, and the boldness with which the company is planning to completely alter a playing field they so thoroughly dominate lacks the caution one might see from the automakers which sell the third and fourth-best-selling minivans.

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Auto-Biography 23: Caravan of Love http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/06/auto-biography-23-caravan-of-love/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/06/auto-biography-23-caravan-of-love/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2007 11:51:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=4038 92grandcaravan.jpgUnless you live under a highway, an empty box has no intrinsic value; it’s what’s inside that counts. The Dodge Grand Caravan we bought in 1992 was little more than a big dumb box on wheels. But by the time I got rid of it fifteen years later, I’d filled the Caravan with a lifetime of family memories.

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Unless you live under a highway, an empty box has no intrinsic value; it’s what’s inside that counts. The Dodge Grand Caravan we bought in 1992 was little more than a big dumb box on wheels. But by the time I got rid of it fifteen years later, I’d filled the Caravan with a lifetime of family memories.

Needless to say, it all started with the birth of my youngest son. Since I delivered Will at home myself (the midwife was stuck in traffic), the memories of his delivery are all-too vivid. I’ll skip the details here. Suffice it to say, his arrival triggered a strong and sensible desire for three door transportation.

Harboring well-founded suspicions about Chryslers’ reliability, I had my eye on a Toyota Previa. But Stephanie had exacting specifications: our minivan had to have room for a large stroller behind the last seat AND the bass-viol of one of the school carpoolers. The Dodge Boys’ best vanquished the Toy.

Back in ’92, demand for Caravans outstripped supply; we paid close to list price. Today, our $22k would be worth $32k. I see new Caravans advertised for under $20k. That 40 percent drop in transaction price says a lot about Chrysler’s woes.

Anyway, I should have skipped the optional four-speed transmission and ABS brakes; I’d have saved money up front and endless trips to the dealer. I went through four rubber-band “Ultramatic” transmissions before receiving one (at 88k miles) that lasted the duration.

The Caravan’s Bendix ABS brakes were so notoriously unreliable (and unsafe) that Chrysler was forced to offer a lifetime warranty. Which I used on a regular basis, returning to the dealer every couple of years to have the ABS pump replaced.

The last time, just six months ago, was almost comical. I reckon it would have been cheaper for Chrysler to buy back the remaining ’92-’93 ABS-equipped Caravans rather than constantly replace the offending unit.

Don’t get me wrong: Chrysler’s minivans were a breakthrough in 1984. A big box with car-like feel, performance and handling was new and overdue. (VW’s van was the ultimate wheeled box, but lacked the requisite passenger-car characteristics.) The Dodge Caravan made boxes both palatable and madly popular, especially when the long wheelbase version and V6 came along.

It was the family bus, and I’ve always enjoyed being a bus driver. From our very first family vacation to dozens of school field-trips, from guided tours all over California and Oregon to canoe trips to Waldo Lake, right to this spring’s full-family trip to the Portland car show, every time I heard the Caravan’s sliding door slam shut on a load of passengers, I felt fulfilled.

Looking into the rear-view mirror and seeing a half-dozen sleeping heads keeled-over in all directions while streaking across the high desert at the ton made me feel wonderfully alive and perfectly useful.

My utility was obvious enough when I repaired the Caravan’s smashed-in front end using a come-along and junk-yard parts. My older son had the inevitable first rear-ender; the van wasn’t worth collision coverage. The Dodge ended looking up like a veteran boxer’s face: functional, asymmetrical and not very pretty.

During the same son’s amateur cinematography phase, the van was as a rolling camera platform, shooting from the opened side door. Unfortunately, a spirited braking maneuver sent the door crashing forward, never to close with again with its original precision.

My younger son and I yanked the seats out and turned it into an impromptu camper for rambling trips into the Sierras. The Caravan became the inspiration for a Dodge camper (soon to appear).

For the first eight years, the Caravan was Stephanie’s ride. When we sold the Jeep and bought the Forester, she fell in love with the Subie. Since I work from home or use my old truck for building projects, the van I never wanted fell into my hands.

As a tall not-quite-dead white man, I began to increasingly appreciate the roomy front seat real-estate. So I started using it as a dry and warm alternative to the breezy pick-up in Oregon’s long wet winters. Lumber, sheets of plywood and drywall, appliances, you name it, it all slipped readily into the big box. I grudgingly suffered its practicality on weekdays, knowing that the Forester was on tap for weekend recreation.

One day, a couple of months ago, I just couldn’t face the plodding Caravan any more. I had to have something that brought a smile to my face, even on the run to Home Depot. It had to be efficient and haul my gangly fifteen year-old son and his friends around without feeling their knees in my backside.

The solution was another box, but smaller and frisky: a (gen 1) Scion xB. I’m off to a running start, filling it up with memories.

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