November Sales Snapshot: MPVs/Mini Vans

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Semantics! What do you call the Flex? Ford thinks the mini-van label is taboo. So is a FWD Flex more of a CUV than an AWD Sienna? What’s the Mazda CX 9? I happen to think the Journey is a replacement for the discontinued short-wheelbase Caravan. Does it really matter? Chrysler is still dominant, especially when the Journey is included. The Odyssey is the bestselling single nameplate, but obviously the Chrysler twins have it beat. But the Chrysler off-shoot VW Routan is croaking. And the Flex is not exactly flexing any serious sales muscle. And I included the Mazda CX 7 here to confuse you further because I forgot it with the CUVs. Rather than argue about it, let’s just come up with a new name for the whole category that included CUVs and MPVs. Chart follows:

Rank by YTD Nov 09% changeYTD 09% changeHonda Odyssey6406-5%91167-29%Dodge Caravan817135%82103-30%Chrysler T&C7214-3%76093-31%Toyota Sienna748832%75509-30%Dodge Journey543493%4695410%Ford Flex2025-8%34083190%Kia Sedona1895-15%266257%Mazda CX 9194013%18495-23%Mazda 51095-27%16866-12%VW Routan540-60%13848457%Nissan Quest227-34%8310-53%Lincoln MKT6481722Mazda CX 72209103%1800530%
Paul Niedermeyer
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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Dec 07, 2009

    The Caravan SE has 175hp and weighs over 2 tons? I’m not one to insist on rocketship-like performance but I can’t imagine this vehicle is purchased by people who also test-drove anything else. They did, but they have different priorities. Think about the bran flakes analogy: you could buy premium, organic granola and high-quality yoghourt for breakfast, or you could buy the economy-size box of bran flakes. The granola tastes better and is better for you, but costs five times as much. Similarly, consider the Toyota Sienna and Dodge Caravan. Despite the excellence of it's powertrain (you can get a Sienna into the low seven-second range, which is nuts), the base Sienna is CA$30K and dealers don't budge much on that. The base Caravan ticks most of the same boxes and can be had for half the price of the base Sienna, if you're good at bargaining. Think about that: put ten thousand dollars (or more, if it's used) on the hood of the Dodge and line it up next to the Toyota. Imagine you're a family with three kids and an upside-down mortgage. Which one do you want more?

  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Dec 07, 2009

    So, apparently the gratuitous-eye-candy-sales-analysis-babe photos have gone on haitus? Do we owe this a.) to political correctness? b.) to complaints from the BnB re: near-NSFW level of photography? c.)reappraisal of subject matter seriousness?d.) advertiser reticence? e.) all of the above?

    • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Dec 07, 2009

      f.) the reluctance of milf's to pose with minivans and compete with the C&D advertiser's floormat milf?

  • TrailerTrash TrailerTrash on Dec 07, 2009

    What's to argue about. This is silly. A Flex is designed to do more than a mini van. As is a Traverse. The Flex is rated to tow a minimum 4500 lbs , and with the ecoboost more. The Traverse is rated even higher! There is no minivan any thinking person would use consistantly to tow. Not one. Instead of using sales data, why didn't you show power and tow stats? The Flex is more wagon than minivan.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Dec 07, 2009
    A Flex is designed to do more than a mini van. What, you mean like give people in the rear seat leg cramps and force them to buy rooftop boxes? Most minivans tow 3500lbs, and crossovers like the Flex or Traverse are really nothing more than front-drive minivans with a butch nose, smaller cargo space and normal doors. Even if they're rated higher, you'd be risking a nasty repair bill (especially if you don't pop for a tranny cooler) to consistently tow that much on a vehicle equipped with a front-drive transaxle and a unibody chassis. Instead of using sales data, why didn’t you show power and tow stats? Most people who buy minivans and crossovers don't tow anything more than their passengers and luggage, and a minivan---any minivan---will do that better than even the best crossover. If you tow anything respectable with any regularity, buy an Explorer, 4Runner or (if you really need it) an Expedition, Sequioa or Yukaburbahoe.