By on December 19, 2014

2015 Kia SedonaDespite massive year-over-year improvements, the Kia Sedona continues to be a relatively low-volume player in America’s minivan segment. But are the gains made by the Kia significant enough to make life difficult for the top four?

Compared with November 2013, Sedona volume jumped 578% last month as a follow-up to October’s 251% gain. Through the first three-quarters of 2014, Kia USA had been selling fewer than 630 Sedonas per month. 2376 were sold in October; 3538 in November. The van’s market share through nine months was a paltry 1.3% as even the Mazda 5 and Nissan Quest were easily outselling the Kia. But in November 2014, the Kia Sedona grabbed 9.1% of America’s minivan market.

November was also notable for the name of the minivan category’s best seller. Toyota’s revamped-for-2015 Sienna was America’s top-selling minivan last month. November marked just the third time this year that something other than a Chrysler product topped the minivan sales charts: the Honda Odyssey did so in January; the Sienna in July.

Minivan
November
2014
November
2013
%
Change
11 mos.
2014
11 mos.
2013
%
Change
Chrysler Town & Country
8,055 11,288 -28.6% 127,331 112,551 13.1%
Dodge Grand Caravan
8,842 9,614 -8.0% 122,899 112,793 9.0%
Honda Odyssey
8,639 9,401 -8.1% 112,370 116,880 -3.9%
Kia Sedona
3,538 522 578% 11,570 6,578 75.9%
Mazda 5
407 667 -39.0% 10,854 12,717 -14.6%
Nissan Quest
483 768 -37.1% 9,148 12,006 -23.8%
Toyota Sienna
8,946 8,820 1.4% 112,814 111,737 1.0%
Volkswagen Routan
258 -100% 1,103 1,825 -39.6%
Total
38,910
41,338 -5.9% 508,089 478,087 6.3%

Of course, the Sienna only led the way in the strictest sense. Chrysler and Dodge combined for 16,897 Town & Country/Grand Caravan sales, well in excess of the 8946 managed by the Sienna and the 8639 sold by November’s third-ranked Odyssey.

The Odyssey was officially the best-selling minivan in America in calendar year 2013 but currently ranks fourth in the category through eleven months. Minivan sales in the United States are up 6% in 2014. Odyssey volume is down 4%. That just means fewer Odysseys in which to develop AMFS: Automatic Minivan Filth Syndrome.

As for the Chrysler twins, their U.S. volume plummeted in November but grew 11% to 250,230 units so far this year. The Town & Country has already topped 2013’s full-year total and indeed the full-year totals from any of the last six years, in fact. The Grand Caravan won’t match 2012’s 141,468-unit performance, but the year will end with more Grand Caravans sold than in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2013. Together, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan account for 49.2% of the minivans sold in America so far this year, up from 47.1% at this stage one year ago.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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69 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Minivans In November 2014...”


  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Well, I won’t argue that as a kid, I contributed to AMFS. A six-year-old me once found a Pop-Tart in the back of our Grand Voyager. Tasted fine.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Those 2002 chrome wheels just gotta go. What’s funny to me is, if you mentally graft a big center of grille Mercedes logo on it, I’d believe it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    What’s funny to me is, if you mentally graft a big center of grille Mercedes logo on it, I’d believe it.

    Corey, Compare the new Kia Rondo to the new Mercedes B Class. The styling cues and profile make them look like siblings.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    KIA Sedona just out designed Honda, Chrysler, and Toyoda. If any of you have a change. Go test drive a new SX limited model. Beautiful.. And it does not have the glass transmission of the Honda or you see one on every block Chrysler blandness.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve_S

      120k miles on our “glass transmission” so far…

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        No glass here in my 108k miles as well ( Pilot). The Kia does look well. I just hope it doesn’t feel and drive as agricultural as the last generation.

        • 0 avatar
          johnsha

          Pilot has a different Trans than Odyssey. all Honda 6sp trans have had double-triple the premature warranty failure rate of their 4sp & 5sp predecessors.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Being a ’14 Odyssey owner, I can believe the transmission problems. It never seems sure of what to do and when it does it, it can be rather jarring about it. Tends to be a lot of shift flare a light throttle acceleration and Honda still doesn’t do a great job with grade logic, especially on the downhill. I live with lots of hills, so the box gets a lot of work.

            Ours is a lease, I don’t think we will ever buy an Odyssey. I don’t trust that transmission right now at 5800 miles.

            Oddly, the Ford 5 spd auto in our Mazda 5 has excellent grade logic and is very responsive. But being on the 5 forums shows a lot of early failures(under 80k miles) in those vehicles too. There’s not enough of them to really make a big deal though. I changed the fluid in our 5 at 30k miles and it was brown. Mazda had no fluid change specified.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Not sure what you mean. Our 09 Sedona is an excellent, smooth-running car.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        You are very lucky. Make sure your service is up to date on the transmission. Every Odyssey owner that I know has had transmission issues.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      I can’t agree. They seem to think that turning their minivan into a CUV will lure CUV buyers, but I think it’ll just drive away minivan buyers instead.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        There’s a big enough niche that needs more space than a CUV, but don’t want to be seen driving what is a typical minivan.

        Don’t be surprised if the Sedona breaks 4k/month altho, demand for it is high in Korea.

        Last month, the Sedona did a good bit better than the best month of sale for the Quest.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The “glass transmission” issue was more or less sorted by 2004.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Isn’t it time to drop “mini”? There is nothing mini about these gargantuan vehicles. Mazda 5 excepted. A Sienna is 200″ long and over 78″ wide. A Highlander, with 7 seats, is 191″ and 75.8″.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah now they are just “vans” and our shag carpet van driving, mural painted, weed smoking forefathers would have been very happy to have standard engines that hoover around 300 hp even if they are of only 6 cyl.

      Let’s go down to the Chrysler dealership, grab a Town and Country and blare Steppenwolf “Magic Carpet Ride.”

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Except with all the glass, it’s impossible to adorn the sides with proper murals. Y’know, like some impossibly proportioned, muscle-bound vixen clad in leather and metal bikini riding an albino tiger and carrying a war hammer across the crest of snow-capped mountains with three suns setting in the background and some UFOs in triangular formation streaking toward the horizon.

        Think Rumple Minze ad…with some UFOs.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          The marvels of the modern age, we CAN get a mural on our window equipped minivan…. Just wrap it!

          There are plenty of places that do complete wraps that have perforations in them so you can see through them while having the illusion of a complete graphic…

          Personally, one of these Sedona with a H.R. Giger “alien” of some sort actually appeals to me…

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Chrysler will still sell you a Caravan with fewer to no back windows. Problem solved.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Except with all that glass, I can’t put a proper Rumple Minze-themed mural on the side.

        Pass.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      They’re still mini when you compare them to full-size half-ton-based vans like the Econoline or Savannah/Express: they’re well more than a thousand points lighter, a foot or so shorter (in height), have a lower ride height, hip point, etc, etc.

      Heck, considered over the past decade and a half, there’s actually not much physical growth in the minivan segment: the Sienna’s only put on 300lbs since it’s introduction in 1997 (excluding AWD and considering like equipment levels) and the Oddy and Caravan aren’t much heavier than their ancestors, if you exclude the Magic Wagon Chrysler and first-generation Oddy, or the later short-wheelbase variants of the Chrysler vans and the GM U-Bodies.

      So, yes, they’re still mini vans, considered in context.

      What we don’t have many of is successors to the Magic Wagon/Toyota R20/Honda RA1 Oddy. That’s more of what the Mazda5, Kia Rondo and Chevy Orlando compete, which just don’t sell in the US (so much so that the Orlando is Canada-only).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Spamblocked…

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Most people I know just call them “vans,” even if the official segment term includes “mini”.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    A family friend finally traded their 05 first gen Sedona in for a `15 SX-L. They never liked the second generation ones, so held onto the old one as long as possible. They took the first SX-L the dealer had, just to get those reclining rear seats, which one moved into place are quite comfortable. Personally I always liked the Swivel-N-Go seats Chrysler had, but guess it never caught on.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      08 is second gen. We’ve got an 05, last of the first gens, that I am continuously throwing parts at to keep rolling. It is not a well built vehicle, but it has a gargantuan amount of hauling space that makes it worth keeping around for trips to Lowes and the dump.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Fat fingered it, it’s an 05. And agreed it wasn’t well built; a bunch of us packed in there and took it to a Blackhawks game once, I thought the engine was going to seize up on how stressed it sounded.

        I don’t know how many repairs that they actually did to it, but they enjoyed it apparently. It was always clean, but it appeared to start rust pretty bad.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Strikingly handsome, that new Sedona.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree with you peteziess. Hertz, with their infinite sense of humor, gave me one for 3 days in Houston last week. BRAND NEW, 19 miles on the clock. Great looking, but nowhere near as good as a Chrysler van, IMHO. Lousy seats, wobbly ride and handling, not as much go, indecisive transmission, and that awful burning crayon smell that every new KIA seems to have. Gas mileage was on the bad side of awful in Houston traffic. Definitely a looker though – it was that maroon color that is popular on Optimas.

      On the other hand, I liked it better than the Cadillac SRX I had Monday and Tuesday of this week in Newport News. Gack, I sure hope the Saab version had better suspension tuning and fewer of those horrible touchpad buttons.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Heh, as always you’re demanding way more of a vehicle than I. If one looks good, lets me enter without cracking my temple on the roof and offers hutch- or buffet-worthy room behind the driver’s seat, I’m definitely interested.

        If the seats don’t cripple me and it “handles” by moving in the same direction as I’ve turned the steering wheel (EVERY time, mind), good to go. But I want my simple needs met for waaay less than these Sedonas will cost.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The redesigned Quest looks to be a complete flaming failure. Can you imagine working on the team to design a mainstream family vehicle that only sells 483 units in a month?

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I understand the notion that putting a giant center console makes the Sedona feel more like a sedan, but it’s a deal breaker for me. In our Odyssey we often drop the center tray to attend to the children at the back without getting out of the van. A truly wonderful feature, I couldn’t imagine living without it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Agreed. When I had a Sienna, I opted for the base trim because the upper levels included a fixed bin that made walk-through difficult.

      Now, with a larger family, I dream Sprinter dreams.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Really? I didn’t know actual humans could pass through with the center tray dropped. I believe I tried it once, but I don’t believe I’ve been flexible enough (or perhaps short enough) to perform that maneuver since I was a pre-teen. Not that it matters; the minivan filth on top of and under the center tray in the wife’s Odyssey completely precludes notions of lowering said tray.

      Chrysler used to offer lift-out enclosed binnacles for between the seats. They were nice and let you stash your minivan filth out of sight. I’m not put off by the console, just so long as they let me drive with my knees cons1derably further apart than my hips.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      The front seat pass-through to get to the rear seats without opening a door was one of the defining features of the original minivan. Its absence in anything but the most base minivans is just another dilution of the original concept.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Kia did a nice job on the Sedona. It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything approaching minivan lust, especially since we’re empty nesters now. But wow, what a nice looking ride. I can’t wait to see it at the annual car show next month…

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I love the new Sedonia – very demur but sporty styling.

    I think Kia is going to slip into 3rd once Dodge goes away (which is tragic if you ask me). They’ll be priced as the relative “value” van, beneath Honda and Toyota.

    I do wish you could cherry-pick your options. Heated, power seats, a huge sunroof, and a strong interface are all I want.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I’m guessing Ford doesn’t break out the Transit Connect Wagon figures from the Transit Connect ones? It has to be a low number anyway since the Transit Connect has been averaging about 3500 units a month (2200 last month) in 2014.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The Ford dealers I’ve been driving past seem to have at least one actual wagon model with seats etc in inventory in case anyone is so inclined.

      I’ve also seen (on Auto Trader) one Transit Connect with conversion van equipment installed.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I actually want one. However, the C-Max is a way better deal when factoring in equipment. It is also a better driving vehicle. I’d like a TCW for the sliding doors and extra storage, but equipped like my C-Max, it would cost me $30K. That is Town and Country money (or more). Ford should have brought over the Grand C-Max. It’s worth the premium price.

        Maybe I’ll buy a used one some day. I think it will be impossible to find a short wheelbase XLT with the 1.6T, tow package, MFT, cargo doors, alloy wheels, and cloth though.

        Edit: F it all and just buy a Flex.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I really like the styling of the Sedona, looks great. What I find even more gratifying is the Routan’s lack of sales.

    Just as a side note, I have known a handful of YOUNG people (20’s) who intentionally buy mini-vans. They don’t worry about the aura surrounding them, it’s about baseball gear, ski gear, camping gear and comfortable seating capacity. I respect that.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I really like the styling of the Sedona, it looks great. What I find even more gratifying is the Routan’s lack of sales.

    Just as a side note; I have known a handful of YOUNG people, in their twenties and without families, who intentionally buy mini-vans. They don’t worry about the aura surrounding them, it’s all about baseball gear, ski gear, camping gear and comfortable seating capacity. I respect that.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    It seems Nissan gave up on the Quest. My wife and I actually quite like the Quest’s styling, and we have friends who bought one for the same reason, but evidently the majority of buyers don’t, or simply don’t think to cross-shop Nissan as the former-gen Quests (the “Villager” and its weirds-ville successor) made folks forget Nissan still makes these, and they are quite good. But they have disappeared from Nissan dealerships and seem to have been quietly dropped.

    I think the new Sedona will be a roaring success. Is FCA still planning to drop the Caravan and just sell T&Cs??? If so, lower-spec Sedonas will start to rule the volume end of the minivan market given Odyssey/Sienna price points.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I’ve admired this photo of the new Sedona numerous times today before realizing… it’s *brown*!

    Brown… the color of everything bad in the world except chocolate. And this van is so handsome I just now noticed. Damn.

    Edit: It *is* brown, isn’t it? I don’t trust my color perception or the display on this ancient Dell.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It must be Titanium Brown, it’s also $40 frickin’ K… No thanks

    http://images.cobaltgroup.com/8/8/5/9474183588.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Yeah, that’s Kia… asking Honda money for nowhere near the established reliability or resale.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The Sedona has a better appointed interior than the Odyssey and more kit and a fully-loaded Odyssey is around $50k.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        I think you are bit confused on reliability and KIA. Honda by the way has had some issues lately with reliability, transmission issues, bolts flying out of air bags. Not all due to a clerical error by some secretary in Japan. And the Toyota interior looks so mismatched and cheap compared to the Sedona. Just go check out a new Sedona. The 3.3L v6 is just as good if not better then any honda or toyota v6.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          I don’t want a V-6 and I don’t care about interior aesthetics.

          But I’m certainly willing to entertain lectures about reliability from a VW enthusiast.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            VW enthusiast ? 16v is old school. I mean 28 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Why, then, is your online persona celebrating outdated *and* unreliable junk?

            I don’t know either VW or biblical references, nor do I feel any lack from it.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            pet.. why do you type as a child to mock ones username? And I tell you my 1988 Jetta 16v had 290,000 miles with same clutch, and looked almost new when it was sold. It did burn an extra quart of oil every 5000 miles. But, I am no vw enthusiast, it has been 12 years since a vw graced my driveway. Even though a Touareg would look great.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    From most accounts I’ve read, the new Sedona follows the usual HyunKia model of “Lots of stuff, little substance”. Styling is decent and the interior is praised, as it should be. Most new Kias I’ve been in could pass for ten year old VW/Audi products. And the level of equipment is high. But the ride,handling and the “minivan-ness” of the Sedona has not been held in such high regard.

    A lack of storage spaces and some of the tricks to increase versatility you find in the T&C, Honda or Toyota vans have been reported. And the usual lack of refinement in the ride/handling you find in Kia cars. Not that it’s bad, but it seems like the steering,ride and handling were figured out by engineers who didn’t talk to each other.

    They’ll be fine to people who don’t care about those things, which is most minivan buyers. I mean, we aren’t tracking our vans, but the Honda had just a bit more refinement all around over the surprisingly good T&C. The refinement and better dealer experience was enough to win out over the Chrysler. I’ll be interested to see the new T&C though.

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