In Sunday”s Detroit Free Press, Mark Phelan, an auto critic, observes that the time is right, and the production is spooling up, on America”s once-loved family car: the minivan. In the Baby Boomer era, every major automaker had an entry in the market: Ford”s Winstar and Nissan”s Quest represent some once widespread minivans that simply faded out as fewer families needed minivans and turned to vehicles like the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and the Dodge Caravan or its Chrysler cousins. Now, though, Ford and Nissan, and possibly GM as well, are ready to jump back into the market as millenials, known as Baby Boomers 2.0, get ready to start having families.
Ford”s Europe division has produced a very popular minivan, known as the C-Max, and plans are in the works to get that car distributed in the US to coincide with the boom. Nissan is also interested in bringing back the Quest line and catch some of the new minivan wave. An important point about minivans that Phelan makes is that minivans are no longer uncool; millenials have grown up around minivans, driven them for their first cars, and come to appreciate them. As a group, then, millenials will have even fewer reservations for buying minivans. Phelan is, almost without question, right to think that minivans are about to come back in a big way.
Minivans today, however, won”t be the minivans that you might fondly remember: with 21st century concerns about fuel economy, technology, safety, and affordability, these cars will have grown up as much as the people who grew up driving in them. Minivans are cool as much for their appropriateness for young adults as they are in a nostalgic vein: minivans fit 6 friends and gear for any sort of occasion, they provide an all-purpose vehicle. And while I”m glad minivans are coming back, a part of me thinks they never really left at all. As Pehlen says in his article, “As long as there are juice boxes and T-ball games, there will be minivans.” He”s right, and that”s why minivans are coming back-and, hopefully, back to stay.
– By: Zain Haq
Source: Free Press