By on August 20, 2019

All 2019 Minivans Available: Odyssey, Sienna, Pacifica, Grand Caravan, Sedona - Images: ManufacturersThe minivan as we know it is not dead. Credit for the minivan segment’s still-beating heart belongs in large part to the disappearance of most contenders – so few competitors remain that a handful of remaining minivan nameplates may well still sell in six figures in the United States in 2019.

Most automakers determined years ago that sticking their forks into this pie isn’t worth it; the pie was just too small. The absence of GM, Ford, Hyundai, and Volkswagen, along with the steady rise of the family-oriented crossover, caused the pie’s shrinkage to continue. Nissan and Mazda left, too, and the pie kept shrinking.

In fact, the rate at which the minivan pie is shrinking has picked up speed. Auto sales are slowing, to be fair, but U.S. minivan sales volume in 2019 is slowing nearly seven times faster. And no, for FCA and Toyota and Honda and Kia, the whole “bigger slice of a smaller pie” argument just isn’t holding water these days. 

According to Automotive News, auto sales fell 2.4 percent in 2019’s first half. Minivan volume, however, was down 15.8 percent, a loss of nearly 7,000 sales per month. Each of America’s three leading pickup truck nameplates – F-Series, Ram, Silverado – now easily outsell the entire minivan segment. America’s top-selling utility vehicle, the Toyota RAV4, is closing in on the minivan sector’s overall tally, as well.

With only 218,635 sales in the first half of the year, minivans owned just 2.6 percent of the industry’s overall volume. It’s not an insignificant share of the market, but it’s down nearly half a percentage point over the span of just one year, nearly a full percentage point in half a decade, and down from 4.3 percent during the depths of the recession.

Perhaps it’s that final comparison, that Americans acquired more minivans in 2009 – when auto sales had slowed to a crawl, when there were roughly 40 percent fewer new vehicles sold than there are now, when 540,000 fewer vehicles were sold on a monthly basis than are being sold now – that most clarifies the degree to which minivans have fallen out of favor.

Put it this way: there were more Americans who wanted minivans when barely anyone could afford to buy a new car than there are now.USA minivan market share 2005 to 2019 - Image: © TTAC

Granted, it’s not as though 2009 was a minivan heyday. Minivan volume had peaked nearly a decade earlier. 1.37 million minivans were sold in 2000, Automotive News says, and the segment’s market share nudged 8 percent.

2000 was not, however, the high-water mark for America’s remaining minivans. Honda Odyssey sales are roughly one-fifth lower now than they were in 2000, but they’re down around 44 percent compared with the Odyssey’s 2006 peak. Toyota Sienna sales likewise peaked in 2006 but have since been cut in half. The Kia Sedona wasn’t even around in 2000, when minivans were at their strongest, but sales this year appear to be off 2004’s best-ever Sedona pace by – you should be sitting down for this – 78 percent.

What about the Detroit stalwarts? Dodge was selling 24,000 minivans in 2000. That’s per month, and that’s actually down from what the Caravan/Grand Caravan was accomplishing in the four previous years. The Chrysler brand added another 16,000+. Again, that’s per month. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica now produce 20,000 monthly sales between them, or about half the circa-2000 monthly average.

America’s minivan pie is now so small that, even when cut into five portions instead of 16 or more, all of 2019’s slices are slivers compared with the slabs of fluffy lemon meringue Grandma used to serve.

Minivans nevertheless continue to command high prices. Kelley Blue Book says July’s average minivan transaction price was $35,375. The Toyota Sienna and Dodge Grand Caravan have forged ahead without major redesigns in 8 and 11 years, respectively, which is the sort of product stagnation that lends itself to high profit margins. Honda, meanwhile, benefits from a minivan that shares an architecture and an assembly plant with multiple other Hondas.

Circumstances like these justify the minivan’s existence in the here and now. But what happens if sales fall as fast next year as they are this year?

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Driving.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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99 Comments on “In a Slowing U.S. Auto Market, Minivan Sales Are Falling 7 Times Faster Than the Overall Market...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    The decline of the minivan segment speaks definitively about how automotive tastes are very much fad/fashion oriented. It is VERY difficult to argue against the proposition that minivans provide maximum utility for families. Many families however, for reasons of style, reject minivans in favor of S/CUVs, which, while in vogue, generally provide substantially less utility than a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      One thing I like about my Chrysler van is the beefy 225/65R17 tires. It’s not a CUV but the running gear, clearance, and especially the rubber should make it comparably durable on our bad roads, in fact more-so than some of the trendy the rubber-band tire’d crossovers like the Honda Passport with its mandatory 20-inchers.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        I am with you good sir. A 65 section tire generally provides better bad road durability, and as far as my rump is concerned, a much more pleasant ride. That so many mass-market passenger vehicles are running lower profile tires again speaks to the visual fashion/fad element of what sells cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I agree, R Henry, this declining interest in the minivan really surprises me. I realize the auto market is VERY trendy/faddish, but I always felt there were enough people who prefer functionality over fad to sustain the segment. I guess I was wrong, but since crossovers and minivans are so closely related I would think that people like Chrysler could “butch-up” the Pacifica with AWD, higher ground clearance and rugged wheels to keep the segment alive

          I am perplexed

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            There were several young couples on my street driving around in Jeep Wrangler Unlimited’s. They never went off-road but looked much more trendy than minivans with the prerequisite mountain bike racks on the roof or the backside.

            Minivans don’t fit the whole hipster scene.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      The consumer has spoken (with a healthy heaping of assistance from the marketing/advertising bubbas). To wit, my best friend would love to have a minivan for his family, but his wife steadfastly refuses for no other reason that the optics of being seen in a minivan. For the record, I own a 2016 Dodge GC and absolutely love that box on wheels. I’m hard-pressed to come up with another vehicle that can so effortlessly carry all of the gear I am required to schlep in support of my daughter’s favorite activity. I got tired of borrowing my sister’s Explorer, which was no smaller outside and much less convenient inside. But then, when has fashion ever been dictated by function? It ain’t hip to be (seen in a) square (vehicle)!

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        My wife also refused another minivan when our Mazda MPV gave up. She wanted a CX-9 and that was that. This husband knows when his opinion is not wanted….!

        Regarding GCs–I agree. I travel on biz A LOT…and when I can, I grab a GC at the rental lot. I find the driver’s seat about the most comfortable of any fleet car out there.

      • 0 avatar
        ekaftan

        I have a 2011 Town & Country… when my wife lets me drive it.

        I added rear air assist and a reinforced tow receiver and hang my motorcycle in the back to go to the track.

        When I get back, I release some air, remove the motorcycle rack and can go to the park with 3 children, wife and mother in law…

        Its a small bus.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I’ve always felt that women make or break an auto segment, EXCEPT FOR THE P-U TRUCK, that is the one vehicle where the guys win, but most women either totally don’t care or will only drive a vehicle they think they look good in. If you ever really notice at least 50% of minivans are driven by men

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          My wife likes pick up trucks and minivans. She will NOT drive a wagon. Her family had a mid-70s wagon with a bad alternator and no A/C in the low desert growing up. Yes, her dad was a mechanic.

          Image is all 75% of the people care a bout these days and minivans are not for those that want to portray the proper image no matter how good they are as people movers.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      We had an Odyssey when the children were younger. Now that we’re past the carpool stage, my wife drives an Explorer. The Odyssey carried more and was easier to load, but the Explorer is more mechanically robust and has required less service.

      The main issue with the Odyssey was that it ate front brakes for breakfast and front tires for lunch.

  • avatar
    gtem

    “Minivans nevertheless continue to command high prices. Kelley Blue Book says July’s average minivan transaction price was $35,375.”

    Was chit-chatting with a coworker about vans last week, mentioned our fairly recent lightly used Town&Country acquisition and how it came down to the chasm in price between the stalwart Caravan platform and the Japanese “go-to” options. We paid $18k cash for a well kept single owner Chrysler with just about all the niceties. He proceeds to tell me they went with a new Sienna to the tune of 40k all said and done, but he was happy with the zero interest financing at $600-some a month. Different strokes and all, but I don’t think of a Sienna has having over twice the utility of a Chrysler Town & Country.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Like comparing a used Dodge Journey to a new Ford Edge. Of course one’s half the price. Depreciation is real. But not exactly a fair comparison when you’re talking about “utility.”

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Even if comparing used to used, the “Toyota Tax” has almost always been a thing.
        Consumers have to make the call if it is worth paying it.

        • 0 avatar
          cprescott

          I had to make such a decision in January when purchasing a used car. I saw no purpose in paying the Honduh and Toyoduh premium for a car when Hyundai has improved so much and offers a compelling value on the used car market. I don’t care about the myth of Honduh/Toyoduh reliability – that ship sailed a long time ago and now there are brands that are in reality approaching that reliability at a lower cost. I bought the Hyundai and could not be happier – I saved over $2k from what a comparable Duh sister car would have cost.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So I am at the body shop and we’re talking small cars and Jamie says did you see the newer Hyundai when you came in, which I did not. Evidently at 40 or so K the headlight bulb burned out. So the owner learns that you can’t just replace the bulb, ah its the entire unit needs replaced and I think Jamie said the dealer wanted $400 for the unit plus labor. The owner brought it to Jamie’s shop where I think she said they pulled one from a yard for $220. For a Hyundai. My Toyota on the other hand takes halogen bulbs. Food for thought.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            License plate light bulbs have to work to pass annual Virginia state inspections. The ones on the Fiat 500 are part of an assembly that costs about as much as I’ve spent on repairs and service for my Honduh over a span of twelve years. The ones on the Grand Cherokee can be fixed for less if you know what you’re doing and don’t have anything better to do with an hour of your time. LEDs. Cool!

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            28 cars that sounds really odd. Were they talking about a built in LED strip perhaps? AFAIK most lower end hyundais use halogen bulbs but perhaps there is more to the job labor-wise to access the port to pull the bulbs than some other cars (need to pull headlight assy out).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            She made it sound as if it was the whole headlight and thus needed to be fixed as opposed to some kind of cheap DRL LED dying, but perhaps it was. At any rate to repair whatever the malady was required the whole headlight unit to be replaced. I had heard about this sort of thing with the newer higher end stuff (i.e. xenons) but this was the first I had heard of something like this from a plebeian marque.

          • 0 avatar

            My Fusion has LED lights all around. I never ever replaced LEDs and all lights in my house are LEDs. I think halogen lamps are thing of the past, we can comfortably forget about them. But saying that I never had blown halogen bulb, ever. Car I owned longest was 12 years. It is very unusual to have halogen blown at 40K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            johnds

            Honda reliability is a myth for sure. I just got a nail in my tire on my Honda Accord at 207,000 miles, and it really sucked changing the tire and having to take it in to have it replaced. I was told this wasn’t supposed to happen until 250-300,000 mile range.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Used to used, 40-60k mile 2015ish Sienna XLEs were going for $25-26k or so. The $8k gap was too much to stomach. Considered ex-fleet ’17 Pacifica Touring Ls that were going for $24-25k, they’re notably nicer to drive than Siennas, but ex-fleet+first year FCA product was too much to risk.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            @28 cars

            My Elantra Sport has xenons, and yes, they’re more expensive and involved to replace than halogens.

            They’re also way better than halogens and usually don’t burn out that soon.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “used Dodge Journey to a new Ford Edge”

        Having test driven one of the new updated 8spd Sienna XLEs, I’d say the gap is smaller than the Journey/Edge comparison (Journey in upper trims isn’t as bad as people might think, Edge interior is one of my favorites however). The updated ’15+ Siennas get nicely padded dashes, but there are brutally cheap and poorly aligned plastics just about everywhere else. My T&C has a hard plastic upper dash but IMO it is well assembled and looks fine (better than ’11-’14 sienna hard plastic dash), and the Chrysler’s front door cards are surprisingly well trimmed up top in soft vinyl. Drivetrain wise, I was put-off by the new 8spd’s behavior from a stop, a weird lul before it jets off. CAn’t really appreciate the new DI 3.5L’s power when it’s hampered like that. the T&C’s 6spd auto is no gem either IMO, it does a lot of confusing stuff, but the Pentastar moves the van out just fine. Sienna has a definite edge in NVH especially suspension noise over bumps, and the XLE’s leather is definitely more leather-like than the vinyl/rubberized stuff in mine. On the flip side, I have a very nice heated leather steering wheel, unavailable on a Sienna at any price. I also have stow-and go, Sienna has a VERY bulky albeit comfortable second row, that leaves protrusions sticking out even once the seats are removed. Likewise, I have a removable front center console for pass-through to the rear, fixed console in the Sienna.

        I personally did not see a gap in $22k worth spending (the price of my van once over again), but if my van starts to fall apart all around me the B&B will be the first to hear about it.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          One of the most puzzling mysteries to me is why the Highlander gets such a better-finished interior than the Sienna at similar price points and with similar oily bits. It’s not perfect but it feels significantly higher-grade.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Highlander is sold across a wider international market, at quite a hefty premium I might add. In Russia for example a Highlander is second only to a Land Cruiser 200 and priced more or less in line with a Prado 150. The Sienna is much more North American centric, internationally Toyota has a whole slew of other vans spanning utilitarian (TownAce) to extra-lux (ElGrand) Toyota’s internal research probably showed minivan shoppers in the US prioritized cup holder counts over higher grade interior bits with cleaner fit/finish.

            That’s my working theory anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Makes total sense.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Well, they sell ‘Landers like cup cakes. and Sienna – not so much . Lander is in hot competition, they pay a lot of attention to it. Besides everything else

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Minivans and Tim, a combination that always makes me smile.

    Anyway, I know the market is shrinking, but I just honestly don’t see Honda, Toyota, Dodge, *or* Kia abandoning this market. I’m pretty sure the Sedona sells pretty well outside of the US — looks like they build it in three different countries in Asia.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ll echo the “fashion driven” comments above, it is also a comment on how much influence that women have on the purchase decision. For better or for worse most men don’t seem to see a minivan (or the Ford Flex for that matter) somehow denigrating their masculinity. Women however see having a “mommy-mobile” as somehow making them less sexy.

    Who does the primary kid hauling? Mostly still women. They have primary input on the purchase of the primary kid-hauler. Ergo the slow death of the minivan.

    Manufacturers to their credit recognize the minivan is actually REALLY HANDY and REALLY practical so they keep trying to infuse minivan convenience into CUVs. See the first gen Lambda triplets at GM and the crazy sales numbers they put up year after year as really butch minivans. See the Kia Telluride sales killing the Sedona…

    As SavageGeese declared after spending time with the Telluride – the CUV/Minivan fusion is complete.

    • 0 avatar
      loner

      “really butch minivans”

      Maybe that could be what it takes to save the minivan, a masculinization. Like Toyota has applied to it’s newest RAV4.

      Current minivans are the automotive equivalent of “mom jeans”. I’d like to see the “cargo pants” version of the minivan. Maybe integrate some of that active-lifestyle crap, with a rugged camping, van-life bent.

      • 0 avatar
        JoeBrick

        A masculinization of the minivan is what happened when they replaced the sliding doors with regular hinged doors, and raised the ride height to light truck status. Slightly less utility but no more soccer mom jokes. Maybe the manufacturerers could work up a camping tour package for you, loner.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I prefer sliding doors. Not only are they more useful, my kids can’t ding other cars when they get out of the car.

          What the minivan lacks in terms of masculinization is a proper tow rating. Most are 3500lbs, but a lot of family-friendly toys (like travel trailers weigh a lot more than that.

          So, I have to pick between two sub-optimal options:
          1) Minivan: 3500lb towing capacity (boo!) with sliding doors (yay!)
          2) CUV: 5000ish towing capacity (better!) with swinging doors (boo!)
          3) BOF SUV: All the disadvantages of the CUV, plus poor fuel economy and excessive height. Nice tow ratings, though.

          The only vehicle which busts out of the minivan’s self-imposed limitations is the Mercedes Metris. It’s basically a modern Astro Van. But it’s not as family-friendly inside as a real minivan, despite costing the same.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I have known seniors who in the past opted to buy a minivan to do their traveling in. But when it came time to replace that minivan, none of them bought another minivan, switching instead to a full-size SUV or a four-door pickup truck to travel in.

    That said, if a person really needs transportation and doesn’t mind projecting the soccer-mom image of a minivan, brand new minivans can be had at a pretty decent price in my region, with the Dodge variety often going for ~$20K, plus tt&l, and the full-pop Chrysler Pacifica <$30K plus tt&l.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “full-pop Chrysler Pacifica <$30K plus tt&l."

      Are you sure? Around here lightly used Pacifica Limiteds are listed in the low $30ks!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You must not really mean “full pop.” I did some research on these when looking for my Highlander Hybrid (which I ended up buying used). The Limited starts at $45k MSRP for a non-hybrid and goes up to about $50k for a fully loaded hybrid. Expect $5-$7K off any of them, meaning the “full pop” Pacifica will be in the high 30s to low 40s.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I suppose “full-pop” means different things to different people, and my apologies for being so insensitive to the definitions of other car enthusiasts.

        “Full-pop” as many people define it, especially seniors like myself, does not refer to “Trim” but instead refers to “Content”, as in

        PS, PB, PW, PL, AC, Cruise Control, AT, Tinted Glass, and other nice-to-have convenience touches.

        The guy I used as an example bought his in El Paso, TX, just within the last couple of months. I would ask him to weigh in but he is currently visiting family in Salt Lake City, UT.

        When I saw him at Arby’s and congratulated him on his new ride, he told me, “it’s got everything! Full-pop!”

        Hence, my exact usage of his description to me.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Ah well that makes sense. A Base Pacifica LX with cloth is still a very nice vehicle, and I do believe you could find one for 30k or a bit less new.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It’s been said that really good Fiatsler pricing can be found in El Paso, TX, Las Cruces, NM, Albuquerque, NM, Colorado Springs, CO, and the entire state of Idaho.

            People fly in from all over the US of A to take delivery at those locations, and make it a road trip back to their home.

            My best friend had a brand new JGC trucked down from Perkins in Colo Sprgs to take delivery in ABQ in 2012 and saved thousands over what the local dealers had to have for a similar vehicle.

            The place where I bought all my Toyota vehicles in El Paso, regularly sees people fly into El Paso Intl to buy a car from them. Happy Campers all.

            And you can tell from the write-ups on social media by TV personalities that they got a great deal.

            An amusing fact I learned from assisting my best friend in his search for a 2019 Silverado CrewCab Shortbed, with Power Driver Seat, in Silver Ice Metallic, is that different dealers each with hundreds of Silverado trucks in stock, often have anywhere from 2 – 16 in stock that meet that exact criteria.

            And some really do offer nice pricing, UNTIL, they do a soft-pull and find out you’re local, or in-state. That’s when the padding starts; a little bit here, a little bit there, a whole lot everywhere.

            With out-of-staters the dealers will never see them again once they go home. But with locals or those residing nearby, post-delivery service calls will cost the dealer money.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Aha, “full pop” inflation strikes!

          Today I think a “full pop” family vehicle has to include at a minimum:

          – Leather
          – Heated/vented front seats and heated second-row seats
          – Keyless access
          – Multi-zone auto climate
          – Some sort of pano or multi-panel glass roof
          – Large screen infotainment with CarPlay/Android Auto
          – Full suite of electronic safety gadgets (adaptive cruise, blind spot, lane departure, cross traffic)

          Honestly, though I was just thinking about it as “top trim level.”

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Salesman: Which trim level would you prefer on your new vehicle?
      Customer: Full-pop

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My wife’s dad to sales manager in El Paso, TX in 2016, in his heavily accented German, “I vant to baai a Seqoya vith efferything vor my dotter.”

        Salesmanager to my father-in-law, “yes sir, we have exactly what you want” and takes him to the ONE and ONLY Sequoia on the showroom floor (and on the lot for that matter.)

        My wife’s dad to salesmanager, “Ya, das gut, das gut. I’ll take it”

        Didn’t even ask “how much?”

        True story.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m 40 and don’t mind acting my age.

      A minivan works for me!

  • avatar
    NoID

    I am ashamed to admit that I am part of the problem. We were recently shopping for a corporate lease vehicle to eliminate one full-size van and one midsize car from our fleet of used vehicles, and while we were aiming for a Pacifica LX we hit a Durango SXT due to a lower interest rate.

    I love the Pacifica but my wallet just wasn’t big enough, and if I was going to sacrifice 8-pass seating I WAS NOT going to get a Grand Caravan over the Durango unless the price difference was phenomenal (it was not). I’ve driven the GC across long distances and I absolutely hated it as a driver, though as a passenger it was pleasant enough. On top of this, we are shallow enough that we couldn’t bear the thought of being the 4th family in our close circle of friends to own a Grand Caravan or Town & Country.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The minivan market is doing better than ever, consumers just prefer their rear doors to have traditional hinged openings.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      And the sedan market is doing great as well. These new sedans just have more ground clearance and plastic rocker panels.

      While I’m not in the mini-van world (no kids) I had a Mazda 5 as a rental once and it was the most space efficient vehicle. Plenty of room for people and cargo, all easily accessed via a nice sliding door. As noted by others the mommy machine image means the mini-van is dead.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I drove “mini”-vans for years. My six spawn required a vehicle to move ’em around with all their stuff. 3 VW Type 2’s and an Astro Van (not so “mini”). I have that in mind when I see what’s available today some 30 years later. The current SUV’s couldn’t have accomplished what I needed hauling the brood around as they would be too small. Really, the only “mini”-van I would consider today if in the same situation would be a Ford Transit Connect which isn’t too bloated, has plenty of power (the Type 2 Vanagon I had did pretty okay on 74hp), and has an enough kid-proofed interior that I required. I still do not fully trust FCA products, I’ll never, ever buy a Honda, and Toyota’s are ridiculously priced. I don’t know enough/haven’t researched the Hyundai/Kia vehicles to comment on them.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The best minivan available isn’t on your list. It’s the TransitConnect.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Define best. To me they are rattle traps priced the same as a much more comfortable, more powerful Caravan.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The tidier dimensions of something like the Transit Connect or Promaster City can be nice. Those two vans are around 174 inches long in SWB trim and 190 in LWB.

        The original Chrysler vans were 176in SWB, 191 LWB. Newer minvans are about 203 inches long.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Certainly there’s appeal in that, but in my midwestern metropolis I never feel too hampered by our T&C’s bulk, and the room and comfort is appreciated on any sort of multi-hour trip. IMO the problem with the small field of these international mini-minivans in the US is that they are commercial vehicles given a bit of carpet and interior trim, not fully redone to meet modern NVH expectations.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I recently went through this with my wife. I told her the vehicle we need is a minivan, why are we trying so hard to avoid it. In the end, Im not driving it most of the time so I defer to what she wants.

    But seriously, a minivan’s load floor is better than a lot of trucks, gets fuel economy better than trucks and SUV’s, can fit all of our family and all of our stuff on long trips and there are huge discounts on them. It really is the obvious choice so of course we ended up getting a VW Atlas instead which is really just a minivan with a bit less utility. Most Crossovers cant come close to minivan interior volume, but Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, VW Atlas all come the closest with three usable rows and some space behind them to boot. The minivan is alive and well, they just look a little different now.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      My doctor wife had no qualms about going the minivan route, she poked fun at me a little bit “oh, you’re gonna stick ME with this thing?” but her perspective changed once she tried out the heated seats and steering wheel… I’m now commuting in her much more basically equipped ’12 Camry SE.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The most logical larger vehicle for us would be a Pacifica Hybrid. But my wife just couldn’t make peace with the van part (and, also, to be fair, with the Chrysler part; her view is that the van looks gaudy-cheap both inside and out). So we ended up with a Highlander Hybrid, which is significantly more refined than the Pacifica in a lot of ways, but which doesn’t have the plug-in feature and has much less interior space.

  • avatar
    WalthamDan

    Until there is a refresh of new product, the skid will continue. Most of these minivans are well past their fresh date. Add in the reliability issues of the Pacifica and surprisingly the Odyssey and it’s no wonder people are looking more and more at crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Unless you lived under the rock, you would know that Odyssey never was super reliable. And the 2nd gen was horribly unreliable

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I used to take first generation Honda Odyssey and Isuzu Oasis cabs in NYC all the time. They lasted for years and saw enormous mileage. Third gens were probably the best as long as you avoided PAX tires. The funny thing about the second generation is that I’d have no idea they were bad without the internet. I had at least three friends who bought them new when they had kids and swore by them. I still see more of them on the road than I do of any other van that age too.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I was gonna say, Odyssey being unreliable is no surprise, it took an 05 Odyssey for me to discover Honda reliability is a myth.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Probably true, but we haven’t noticed any irregularities in my daughter’s 2013 Odyssey which my wife and I drive very often.

        And that Odyssey is sneaking up to and getting pretty near the 100K mark on the odo, yet still has the original plugs, serpentine belt, anti-freeze and brake pads.

        For the $19.95 it costs me to get the oil and filter changed every 5K miles or so, it doesn’t even pay for me to do it and get dirty slithering around on the driveway concrete.

        I don’t know what’s going to happen when that Odyssey goes past 100K on the odo. Maybe it will fall apart. But I consider ANY vehicle that can go at least 100K without incident to be “reliable.”

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Ok. But still, get $800 ready for timing belt in the next 5K.

          • 0 avatar
            johnds

            Having shopped many Odyssey van’s in the 2011-2015 range, a lot of the original owners don’t seem to have an issue driving 150k or more miles then trading them in on the original belt. I wouldn’t do it, but if you do a lot of highway miles, they seem to last longer. I have found a lot to have their original timing belts which in turn, I will not buy unless I have documented receipts of a replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “And the 2nd gen was horribly unreliable”

        Despite their not-undeserved reputations for weak transmissions, I still see 2nd gen Odysseys EVERYWHERE. They hold up to rust much better than Chryslers, and even with a whining trans can cruise past 200k without issue it seems. I suspect most of the ones left on the roads now have had the transmission replaced and/or modified with the factory fix (ATF squirter attached to the fill plug aimed at on one of the planetaries). At the beginning of my minivan hunt I very briefly considered an older used one and 2nd gen Odysseys with 200-250k miles were a common sight.

        • 0 avatar
          johnds

          “And the 2nd gen was horribly unreliable”

          “Despite their not-undeserved reputations for weak transmissions, I still see 2nd gen Odysseys EVERYWHERE. They hold up to rust much better than Chryslers, and even with a whining trans can cruise past 200k without issue it seems. I suspect most of the ones left on the roads now have had the transmission replaced and/or modified with the factory fix (ATF squirter attached to the fill plug aimed at on one of the planetaries). At the beginning of my minivan hunt I very briefly considered an older used one and 2nd gen Odysseys with 200-250k miles were a common sight.”

          Something must have been corrected by 2003/04 models because I have friends who drove theirs well past 240,000 miles and I see them for sale at my local wholesaler with over 300,000 miles. Like you said you see them around, and I still see them too with 1/10th the rust of a Chrysler product.

          • 0 avatar
            Mathias

            I believe some of us are talking at cross purposes here. The first generation of Odyssey was unpopular and not really a typical minivan, what with the 4cyl engine and regular doors. It was sold from 1995 to 1998. The next generation (’99 – ’04) is probably considered by most folks as the ‘first’ Odyssey. It was a huge success, somewhat rust-prone, but dead solid mechanically (V6/4spd auto). The THIRD generation Oydssey was the one with the 5spd transmission that was problematic, and that’s the one folks generally complain about. I know nothing about the later ones because they got too ugly to consider.
            BTW, my ’03 Sienna has rust issues, but at 198k runs like a new car. From what I’ve seen and driven, the next generation was a more refined vehicle but not nearly as solid, so the issue is not confined to Honda.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “somewhat rust-prone”

            What? No it’s quite the opposite, the 2nd gens have held up remarkably well in the salt belt.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    If CUVs are the choice of the fashion-conscious, and minivans are the choice of the practical, then maybe the practical have simply been quicker to figure out that it’s not a good time to buy an expensive new car.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    I can’t believe how many of you men are so subservient to your wives. I see so man stories of the man wanting the van because he understands it’s superiority over other vehicles for family use. The woman on the other hand refuses and he relents and buys the less useful SUV. Looks to me like there are a lot of women out there that care more about what people think of them and less about what is good for their family along with a lot of men with no backbones. Buy the minivan people.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I can’t believe how many of you men are so subservient to your wives.”

      Dude, if mama ain’t happy, nobody ain’t happy.

      I’m into happy endings. The more the merrier.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Her car payment, her choice (in my family).

        My car payment, my choice.

        She doesn’t tell me what to do with my money and I don’t tell her what to do with hers. Bills and mortgage are split.

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          How can you even think about reaching common goals (retirement, large purchases, college fund etc) with that mindset?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I can tell you from the experiences of my two divorced sons and one divorced daughter that “reaching common goals (retirement, large purchases, college fund etc)” doesn’t matter since MOST marriages do not work out anyway.

            Both my sons have remarried, my daughter has not although she is in a relationship with a (married) man.

            But all of them live by, or have a similar arrangement in their relationships as PrincipalDan has.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Yes I’m once divorced, her Dad is once divorced (but still married to her mom), and her parents almost got divorced until the Old Man came to his senses and realized that no one would put up with his cranky butt except for the one he already had.

            We’ve both got pensions and 403B accounts. That’s retirement. Both kids have savings accounts already (the oldest is in Kindergarten) and those accounts are going to be deposit only for many many years.

            The largest separate purchases we’ll ever make are our cars and the largest joint purchase we’ll ever make comes with a deed.

            At least we got married. Her sister has a child and owns a home with a guy she’s been with for about 10 years but has never tied the knot.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Here, Here!

        Besides, I don’t want something like rational thought getting in the way when it’s my turn for a new car. Let her drive what she wants as long as it gets the job done.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Is it subservient of a man to allow his wife to pick the vehicle that she will be driving around in while caring for his children? That’s not the hill my relationship is going to die on.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Found the Rexburg, Idaho Mormon patriarch.

      Seriously, a normal marriage is a partnership, where both people agree, and both probably have a veto. It’s not some kind of hierarchy with the husband (or the wife) at the top.

      We replaced both our cars at once, one because the lease expired and one because we discovered dirty interior air quality. And, imagine this, we worked together to do it, with both of our opinions taken into account. We came up with a total budget in the $70k range and a list of options that included both one luxury CUV and a 1 city EV + 1 CUV combo. We narrowed it down from there. She vetoed the Pacifica Hybrid and the Flex EcoBoost. I vetoed the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5. Together, we narrowed it down to three options: Leaf + used MDX Sport Hybrid, Bolt + used Highlander Hybrid, and a Volvo XC60 T8 by itself. Test drives took care of the rest.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I’m not here to throw stones at anyone’s successful marriage arrangement. God knows it’s hard enough to stick together however people choose to live their lives. If you are making it work, I take my hat off to you. But for me personally, I can’t comprehend the idea of either:

        1) Telling my wife what she can or can’t drive. I expect the same from her by the way.

        2) Committing to spend my life with someone, but not being willing or able to trust them (or myself) with shared bank accounts.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Don’t share your bank accounts.

          Kitty and I have been married for more than 53 years and we have three bank accounts, all joint accounts with both our names on it, but she uses one, I use another, and the third one is for Bill Paying, and ONLY Bill Paying.

          Full disclosure here. Those accounts are for our personal and joint use and receive our separate sources of income, but purchases charged to the business credit cards she and I don’t even see since the business pays them off each month.

          So her income stays separate from mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      teddyc73, $10 says you’ve never been married or if you have it was very briefly

      “Happy wife, happy life”, should somehow been included in the wedding vows

      Used to be the little lady got to pick the colors, now that she’s making the payment she gets to pick the segment as well

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The “best” car in my wife’s mind is a Highlander Hybrid or Subaru Outback, and aside from caring about heated seats and an adequately comfortable ride over bad roads she generally tunes cars out. We very briefly considered those options, but she’s seen how filled up my old 4Runner would get with our two larger dogs and (folded) dog crates and things when we went to visit in-laws on the weekends in the past, before there was even a baby in the equation. The van was an easy and logical sell to her. It had the heated leather seats and the cherry on top was the heated steering wheel, with the interior room we needed, at a price where we were able to avoid financing. We briefly looked a crew cab half tons as our family ride but that idea quickly got nixed (mutually).

    • 0 avatar
      A Scientist

      As a wise man once said, “Son, when it comes to your marriage, you can either be “RIGHT”, or you can be “HAPPY”…

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @A Scientist – but after I replaced the first wife with the second one I figured out that I might be wrong quite a bit, but I’m not wrong ALL the time.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Minivans nevertheless continue to command high prices. Kelley Blue Book says July’s average minivan transaction price was $35,375”

    I think this is the essence of falling sales. Families that need them most, can’t afford them these days. They became modern day Cadillacs, only affordable by upper middle class and up. Remove all the costly equipment and sell one for 25K, and you will see people come for it. Also, falling birth rate. But hey, yea, large SUV is a big issue for minivans.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I know why minivan sales are plunging. As a father of a young family and odyssey owner I see it every day. Its cuz families are smaller. Most families are 2 kid families and dont need a van. Those families can get by with a crv, outback, etc. Few are 3 kid and nobody has 4+ kids anymore. We got an odyssey to replace my wifes dying sonata when kid 3 was on the way. Before that we got by fine with 2 sedans.

    The prefix MINI has to go. It implies comprimise and giving something up. Just call them vans or family vans. Also i see more guys liking the minivans and moms wanting the suv. Market them to men.

    And i love my odyssey and no suv could match it as a family vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      And heres a fact about 3 row crossovers. Theyre purchased by 2 kid families and they never use the 3rd row. They leave it folded down for better storage. The reason they get a 3 row suv is cuz rhey like rhe idea of javing rhe 3rd row if they need to carpool. They see it as a smaller easier car to daily with the extra (false) security of awd, than a bigger minivan…or they need to tow and those families get a tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      My sister had a minivan for her two kids. Purchased after the first was born, IIRC. My best friend bought a new Legacy 3.6R for his fiancé to drive. When they married less than a year later and started trying to conceive, the Legacy was replaced by a new Outback. When she was expecting, out went the Outback in favor of a new Pacifica minivan. They aren’t going to try for a second kid, but they’ve got a van with more TV screens than my two homes.

      When I was kid, the first car we ever had with more than two doors was a Plymouth Horizon. Back then you didn’t need kiddie-seats if your car was so small that the back seats were child-sized. Now one well-equipped toddler travels with more kit than a Marine expeditionary force.

      Minivans are useful, but having kids is now embarrassing. Don’t you care about the planet? Most CUVs have dark tinted windows that let you hide the fact that you’ve got kids back there. The DINKs are driving the same CUV you are, and this way they don’t know that you are a square at every stop light.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      This makes sense.

      There is a part of me that wants a minivan. In my case, I would go with captain’s chairs that would spend most of their time outside the vehicle. Likewise, the third row would be folded away, never to be used.

      It would be, in essence a nicely fitted out cargo van, a fine replacement for the Tacoma I had up until last year. I would never worry about weather messing up the cargo, it would have a much better ride and,
      For those occasions when we would have passengers, the captains chairs would be called to active duty.

      Given the price of the GC, it blows the doors off a pickup in terms of real world functionality. It can even carry 4×8 sheet goods with needing to drop the tailgate (I really miss 8’ beds on small pickups).

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Starting prices (CAD):

    Pilot 41,290
    Odyssey 35,490

    Highlander 39,614
    Sienna 37,859

    Grand Caravan 25,445
    Durango 45,395 (!!!)

    Sedona 33,905
    Sorento 30,205

    The minivan is almost always the cheaper option. Yet, families still buy inferior SUV’s.

    My theory: car purchases are decided mostly by women. Today being a mother is viewed as a far inferior vocation compared to working 40 hours and earning. Whatever diminishes the image of motherhood is a more desirable product, so that’s what sells (sporty strollers, SUV’s, etc).

  • avatar
    jesse53

    As long as I’m hauling a 6pc drum set, rack, throne, 2 hardware cases, mike stands and my GF then I won’t be driving anything else. Stow-n-go seats to boot. Love minivans.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    So with the market shrinking who bites the dust first? Sedona probably…fca is gonna kill the GC with a rebadged pacifica. Soon itll be just voyager/pacifica odyssey and sienna…and really theyre just different manufacturers take on a standard template that the market has evolved to. makes me wish for the variary of the 80s when it was chrysler vans vs astro vs aerostar vs toyota van. That was variaty.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Chrysler.

    Dead brand walking the green mile.


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