Minivans Making A Comeback, Minus The Name

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
minivans making a comeback minus the name

Once the bane of soccer moms everywhere, the minivan segment is on the rebound in sales. However, the remaining stigma surrounding the name has some marketing reps doing their best to make sure “minivan” is verbotten down on Flower Shop Lane.

The Detroit News reports the marketers are throwing around alternatives — such as “people mover,” “MPV” and “family truckster” — in an effort to make the segment cool for all. Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell, however, has reservations on such re-labeling:

Nobody wants to be categorized as a minivan, but at the same time, they have to let people know about how they can utilize these vehicles. The harder you try to convince people it’s not a minivan, the more they are going to think it’s a minivan. Just call a spade a spade.

While the marketers are trying too hard to “ the segment, minivan sales climbed to over half a million in 2013 after a nadir of 434,000 in 2009 during the global economic superstorm’s early phase; sales peaked in 2000 at 1.3 million. Current offerings from the Minivan Three of Toyota, Honda and Chrysler dominate the market, though newer minivans such as Ford’s Transit Connect Wagon and Kia Sedona will add more choices in the coming years.

Though the segment had a homogeneous appearance for the past few decades, modern offerings seek to grab an ounce of individuality as far as what each minivan has to offer to families and young people. In particular, smaller minivans could bring new customers to a brand, leading to further sales down the road as situations change among those who enter the showroom for a “people carrier” over a hatchback.

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  • Stumpaster Stumpaster on May 29, 2014

    In my evil plans, if and when I end up replacing my 240DL with a new vehicle, I will test drive the CX5 and CRV and Camry and Accord and Passat and Sportwagon and XC60, and then bring my wife to the most sensible vehicle of them all. Not much else can provide for $20-22K a modern V6, good towing capacity, spare camping space, comfortable and very good looking front passenger space, decent mileage and decent ride. Town and Country. And then I will race her TSX wagon. Bwahahaha!

  • Pb35 Pb35 on May 29, 2014

    A 600 watt sound system and captains chairs? Where do I sign up? Oh, my wife won't drive one either so we soldier on with our 7 year old XC90. Or as I like to refer to it, the ticking time bomb.

  • Curt in WPG Curt in WPG on May 29, 2014

    We have an 08 Dodge GC and couldn't be happier with it. Sliding doors make child seats so much easier to use. I have a couple friends who laugh at our van but that damn thing hauls so much. Show me a pickup that can haul a 4x8 sheet of plywood in the box anymore where I can (and have) filled my Dodge with it. Sto-and-Go seating is a wonderful thing. I figure people who laugh at mini-vans are either compensating for something or just don't see how useful they are.

  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on May 29, 2014

    I was very impressed by Ford's civilian version of Transit Connect. The price was impressive most of all, but it's just such a great expression of a modern utilitarian people mover overall. To borrow from Jeremy Clarkson, bravo, the fat man from Turkey! This is masterpiece!