Minivan Market Share Plunged During America's Pandemic-induced Second-quarter Auto Sales Collapse
“How bad is it? And how bad is it going to be?”
Those were our questions five months ago when describing the American minivan category’s paltry 408,982 sales in calendar year 2019. At that time, the rate of decline experienced by the segment suggested that, “America won’t even acquire 300,000 minivans next year.”
Enter novel coronavirus and, consequently, a second-quarter in which auto sales in the United States tumbled by a third. For perspective, that’s 1.5 million fewer sales between April and June of 2020 than during the equivalent period one year earlier.
Meanwhile, as quarantines and lockdowns and isolations and shutdowns caused new vehicle demand to shrink, the previously beloved minivan segment saw its share of the U.S. market absolutely crater.
One. Point. Five. Per. Cent.
Only 15 out of every 1,000 new vehicles sold in the second-quarter of 2020 were vans: Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravans, Honda Odysseys, Kia Sedonas, or Toyota Siennas. That was down nearly a full percentage point from Q1; down more than a full percentage point year-over-year.
Put another way, that disastrous loss of market share was caused by a 61-percent year-over-year drop in van sales, a decline equal to nearly 70,000 lost sales.
There were contributing factors beyond COVID-19’s onslaught. The Dodge Grand Caravan, America’s top-selling van at both this time last year and in 2020’s opening quarter, ended production to make way for the eventual Chrysler Voyager. Toyota unveiled its fourth-generation Toyota Sienna – a hybrid-only effort – and began winding down the third-gen van that achieved real success over the course of a decade. Due in part to these two transitions, the Dodge/Toyota duo combined to shed some 48,000 of the segment’s 70,000 lost sales.
Yet regardless of specific vehicular implications, the buyers simply disappeared. They disappeared at a faster rate than they’ve been disappearing – and yes, they’ve been disappearing for a while. And they disappeared nearly twice as fast as they did across the rest of the market.
Pouring symbolic salt into the wound, the Ford Explorer on its own narrowly pipped the entire minivan segment in 2020’s second-quarter. One year earlier, as the new Explorer struggled to wind up and minivan sales were only approaching the outer rim of the toilet bowl, minivan volume was nearly three times stronger than Ford Explorer volume.
Now, the category produces just 1.5 percent of the overall industry’s sales, roughly in line with:
- Toyota Tacoma: 1.7 percent
- Subaru Forester: 1.6 percent
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: 1.6 percent
- Honda Accord: 1.4 percent
- Toyota Corolla: 1.4 percent
For every Pacifica, Grand Caravan, Odyssey, Sedona, or Sienna sold in America in 2020’s second-quarter, American car shoppers drove home in 1.9 Toyota RAV4s (how bad do you feel for the people who only get one-tenth of a RAV4?). BMW, despite sliding more rapidly than the industry at large, is now outselling America’s minivan segment. So is Mazda, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
Minivan market share is now just half what it was in 2016. Combining the changing tastes of America’s pro-crossover shoppers with the disastrous impact of the pandemic, 300,000 minivan units in 2021 seems like an expectation gone too far. At this rate, Americans might not drive home in 250,000 minivans in 2020.
Can an SUV-ified Kia Sedona, a hybrid/AWD Toyota Sienna, and a Chrysler Voyager swing the pendulum back in 2021?
[Images: Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Kia]
Avnut on Jul 27, 2020
Minivan sales are down, but checking Carvana (on 7/27/20) for them, under Toyota Sienna, there are 36 for sale with 26 pending for sale. For Honda Odyssey, there are 50 for sale with 47 pending for sale. For Kia Sedona, there are 15 for sale with 13 pending for sale. For Dodge Grand Caravan, there are 177 for sale with 89 pending for sale. For Chrysler Pacifica, there are 57 for sale with 50 pending for sale. People may not want them new, they do seem to like them used though. Myself, give me a minivan any day over some CUV/SUV, unless I truly need a "truck".
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