Cain's Segments July 2014: Minivans

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

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 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.

MinivanJuly 2014July 2013% Change7 mos. 20147 mos. 2013% ChangeChrysler Town & Country11,3708,06041.1%81,24667,43920.5%Dodge Grand Caravan9,4738,58310.4%81,53968,05519.8%Honda Odyssey10,90613,261-17.8%74,20379,733-6.9%Kia Sedona7751,068-27.4%4,3513,63019.9%Mazda 51,54792267.8%8,76210,023-12.6%Nissan Quest7861,055-25.5%7,1568,004-10.6%Toyota Sienna11,66110,6089.9%73,95273,1671.1%Volkswagen Routan1155-99.4%1,1031,0218.0%—— —————Total46,519 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.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
3 of 93 comments
  • Mcarr Mcarr on Aug 18, 2014

    With 4 kids, I have a definite need for a minivan. 3 row crossovers do not have the interior space needed and full sized suv's don't get nearly the same mileage. I tried a Mazda 5 for a few years, it was a nice car, got great mileage around town and handled nicely, but there is just zero cargo space. Traded it for a 2013 T&C and it's been night and day. The T&C nearly equals the Mazda 5 highway fuel economy, which is amazing for such a large vehicle. It also handles very well, so well, that I don't miss that aspect of the Mazda 5 one bit. The T&C is way more luxurious too. The Toyota and Honda interiors feel cheap by comparison, and the price tag leaves you feeling dizzy and nauseous. This is my first Chrysler product, and if all goes well, it won't be the last.

    • Ktm Ktm on Aug 18, 2014

      I own a 2012 Mazda5 Grand Touring. I'll concede many of the points you bring up about the T&C when compared to the Mazda5, but I enjoy the handling aspects better and the GT is significantly more luxurious than a base T&C for nearly the same money. Leather, two rear captains chairs, Bluetooth, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, traction control, sunroof (without giving up headroom), heated seats, just off the top of my head. Now, saying that, is it a great people hauler? Only if you are carrying 4 people. I describe the Mazda5 as one of the best 4 person cars on the market, cross-platforms. The two rear captains chairs can go all the way back and even 6'-2", 275 lb individuals can cross their legs in comfort and leave you plenty of cargo room in the rear for bags. Fold the seats down and you get quite a bit of space for those Ikea, Home Depot, landscaping (15 two cu ft bags of wood chips) runs. The Mazda5's ride is firm on the 17-in. wheels and handles very well. It has a very tight turning radius (tighter than a Prius') and can do a U-turn on a neighborhood street without the need for a three-point turn. Visibility is great and it really drives like a car. However, it is down on power, the fuel economy is not that great when compared to the larger minivans on the market, and it only seats 6 but not very comfortably. If you seat 6, it has very little cargo space remaining so long trips are out of the question. For a family of 4 it is a great choice if you do not want something large like the T&C, Sienna or Odyssey, but there are compromises.

  • Taxman100 Taxman100 on Aug 19, 2014

    My wife just totaled our 2011 Routan. Like every vehicle, it had a few quirks, but we could drive it the 13 hours to Boston in one day, with no problems. We have two kids, and are considering downgrading to a used Mazda5, and banking the difference. My wife is terrible at parking a huge minivan in the garage (as my trash cans show, as well as hitting the garage with the passenger mirror), and our needs have changed - my Mother in law moved here, and this was our last trip to Boston, so the only extended road trips would be once a year to the beach. Currently she is using my old "back-up" car - a 2002 Grand Marquis, as the family truckster. I'd be content to just use it, but she wants something newer than 13 model years old to be our main car.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question
  • Buickman Elon is a phony.