Are Sliding Doors the Kiss of Death?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
are sliding doors the kiss of death

What's killing the minivan? The Detroit News thinks it's sliding doors. Citing the sliding rear doors as the primary feature that distinguishes minivans from crossovers, they point out minivan sales are down 22 percent so far this year, while crossover sales are on the rise. Automotive marketer Wes Brown sees the sliding door as epitomizing the "less-exciting realities of minivan ownership" for the poor schlubs who are "stuck in a rut of having a family." Interesting thing, though– the first generation Mazda MPV and Honda Odyssey had regular rear doors instead of sliders. They were less than stellar sellers. The second generation of both models had proper sliding doors, just as God intended. Who knows? If they'd stuck with the regular doors and changed their marketing strategy, they might have been credited with starting the crossover craze. Either that or disappeared.

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  • Rick Korallus Rick Korallus on Aug 14, 2007

    Caution: if the pilot is going too fast, the door gunner will "shoot" the tail gunner. I witnessed this not once but twice in college! Luckily I didn't get hit and it wasn't in my vehicle. Robert and Frank: where is the article about the new Mercedes gas engine? Surely 40% better gas mileage over a diesel is newsworthy!!!

  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Aug 14, 2007

    Maybe part of the problem is minivan owners? We run ours into the ground before getting rid of them. Most people I know do the same thing. Our last minivan (Ford Aerostar) was traded in with over 215,000 miles (still ran great). We'll keep the Windstar that replaced it a similar amount of time. If the vehicles are not turned over as fast would this affect the sales numbers?

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Aug 14, 2007
    Maybe part of the problem is minivan owners? I think that the sales numbers tell you that demand is shifting somewhat away from larger vehicles with low fuel economy (large SUV's, large pickup trucks and minivans) toward somewhat smaller, more efficient alternatives. The fact that their numbers are declining while sales of other types of vehicles are increasing is a likely indicator of a shift in consumer tastes. The fact that the sales growth tends to be in more efficient vehicles is another indicator that fuel economy is a greater motivator than it used to be. People don't necessarily demand 50 mpg econoboxes, but the biggest fuel burners are increasingly being rejected in favor of more moderate vehicles.
  • Johnster Johnster on Aug 15, 2007

    The problem is the sliding doors. Definitely. When your vehicle has sliding doors you're not able to leave door dings in the cars you park beside and if you have an SUV that's jacked up off the ground, you can ding the roof pillars and windows of the cars you park beside.