Cain's Segments: Minivans Up!

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
cain s segments minivans up

The story basically writes itself. America’s minivan segment, which declined faster than the overall industry before becoming mostly stagnant as the U.S. automobile market regained strength, enjoyed a sales boost in January 2014 even as the overall market decreased in size.

Eight minivans combined for a 13% year-over-year sales increase last month as four nameplates – up from just one a year ago and one the year before that – crested the 7000-unit barrier.

Minivan volume increased by 3764 sales in January 2014. Growth which was slowed only by the Mazda 5’s slight 80-unit decrease, the Nissan Quest’s 25% drop, and the Toyota Sienna’s slight 1% decline.

Even the Volkswagen Routan generated more January sales in 2014 than in 2013. Yes, that Routan, the Grand Caravan copy that was cancelled ages ago and oft-ignored before cancellation. In fact, as Volkswagen sales tumbled in January; as every single continuing model other than the Beetle Convertible reported a year-over-year decrease, Routan sales rose to the highest level since last February.

This is utterly inconsequential. The Routan owned just 1% of America’s minivan market in January 2014 (just 0.4% in calendar year 2013). Its Windsor, Ontario-built twins from Chrysler and Dodge, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, grabbed 43% of January’s minivan buyers, up from 39% a year ago.

Indeed, Chrysler/Dodge minivan market share in January 2013 was particularly low, which, in part, leads us a greater understand of January 2014’s segment-wide improvement. A year before last month’s 13% increase, minivan sales dropped 7% in January 2013, a decrease which assisted in making last month’s increase appear more substantial. Yet, the category’s total last month was also higher than what the same vans managed two years ago in 2011, when 31,685 were sold. Dodge Grand Caravan sales were down 10% from that period, however.

Ignoring the identical twins’ combined total, the Honda Odyssey led all minivans in total sales in January 2014. The Odyssey was the top ranked minivan in 2013, as well, although it trailed the Toyota Sienna by more than 1000 units a year ago.

The top four leave very few crumbs over which the remaining quartet can battle. The Kia Sedona, Mazda 5, Nissan Quest, and yes, the Volkswagen Routan produced one out of every ten January 2014 minivan sales, down from 12% in January 2013.

No matter the vehicle type, January is not a month on which to base trends. It is traditionally the lowest-volume auto sales month of the year. Weather is believed to have been more of a deterrent last month than is typically the case, as well. In 2013, January was responsible for just 5.5% of the minivans sold over the course of twelve months.

Meanwhile, sales of SUVs and crossovers increased approximately 5% in January as sales of passenger cars tumbled 9% and pickup trucks decreased a little less than 5%.

MinivanJanuary 2014January 2013% ChangeChrysler Town & Country7056 6525 + 8.1% Dodge Grand Caravan7290 4965 + 46.8% Honda Odyssey7879 6760 + 16.6% Kia Sedona442 363 + 21.8% Mazda 51800 1880 – 4.3% Nissan Quest735 978 – 24.8% Toyota Sienna7696 7781 – 1.1% Volkswagen Routan359 241 + 49.0% —— — — Total 33,25729,493 + 12.8%
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2 of 17 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Feb 06, 2014

    The Chrysler twins have traditionally skewed heavily toward fleet. This I'm not sure about, but I believe that Januarys tend to be a bit fleet-heavy (if only because the retail buyers are busy avoiding the cold and licking their Christmas spending wounds.) With Dodge getting 62% of the lift for the month, I have to wonder who was doing the buying.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 06, 2014

    I remain a fan of our 09 Sedona, and am impressed that Kia intends to continue fighting in this segment by offering a redesigned model soon. (For those who don't know: the 06-13 Sedona is an all-Kia product, not the rebadged Ford which preceded it.)

  • Daniel J The Two Tier system was done on purpose. The UAW and the auto companies couldn't just shaft employees who, in essence, signed up before the financial meltdown. To stem their compensation, anyone who joined after got paid lower.This was done on purpose. The auto companies benefit because they cut costs and they also hope that eventually the new employees might dislike the deal the UAW make and possibly defect from the union when these same employees could join a non-union shop for more money.The UAW was hoping for the opposite, that these new employees would be mad at the auto companies and side with the union when it was time to re-negotiate.At this point, are the current Tier 1 employees going to take a cut? Can the auto companies afford to give the Tier 2 employees the same amount of money as the Tier 1?
  • Redapple2 UAW - Already overpaid. Relevant question. What are the transplants paid? Honda, Toyota, Nissan, VW. What about Tesla? What about Tier 1 and 2 auto suppliers. UAW should have been smashed when GM and FCA went bankrupt.
  • Redapple2 TV screens to run everything instead of knobs. Turbo 4 that poorly does the job of a V 6. I think i will turn away from new product and preserve what I have for 15 years. I m reaching that point.
  • Redapple2 Air tags are cheap, if you must
  • Teddyc73 "While this may simply be the result of electric sales reaching peak saturation until technological improvements, emissions regulations or novel designs move the needle forward" You mean until Democrats using their lies about the climate change hoax further sabotage the oil industry forcing us into EVs.