Competition from Honda, Toyota and Chrysler knocked out GM and Ford out of the minivan segment over the past couple of years leaving the three automakers to eat up all the volume in minivan sales. All three get to split up the 700,000 units a year segment amongst themselves and they are enjoying it.
However, minivan sales have been declining in the recent years, especially due to alternatives like seven to eight seater SUVs and the popular crossovers. But some people want and will always need a van to haul their families and cargo around.
“There aren’t as many choices for minivans,” Randy Pflughaupt, Toyota Division group vice president of marketing, told Automotive News. “There are fewer players and fewer options, but those that are left are pretty strong.”
Even in 2008, the minivan segment continues to shrink and is down 23.9 percent in the first 2 months of 2008 as compared to 2007. According to Automotive News, the a big part in the dip has to do with Chrysler dropping the Dodge Caravan last fall and the automakers move to cut back heavily on less profitable sales to rental fleets.
“I’m pretty bullish on the segment,” Steven Landry, Chrysler executive vice president for North American sales, said. “It’s not going to deteriorate that much.”
Volkswagen will also be joining the minivan segment with its Chrylser built Routan later this year. Pricing will start below $25,000.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
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