Minivan Sales Still Good for Business
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, minivans are likely to hang around for a while, no matter how many crossovers we try to chase them off the streets with. In fact, according to a recent report from Automotive News, minivans are highly profitable for automakers. Minivan sales volume may be low, yes, but each one sold is a big profit for the automaker who manufactured it.
That’s because typical minivan buyers opt to load their vehicles up with all the latest tech and features. That is, when they drive one off the lot, it’s typically one of the higher-end models with all the best gadgets added on. More importantly, minivan customers are loyal. A driver who buys a Chrysler Town & Country will likely be back in a few years for another one, and then again in a few more years.
“It’s a good transaction and a loyal customer,” Brian Heney, a director of operations for a dealer group, told Automotive News. “You start loading up a Town & Country and they sell for $45,000. We like selling them.”
Reportedly, minivans are more profitable now than they were back in the days where everyone and their mother (ha) drove one while listening to N*Sync and drinking their Surge. That’s because there are fewer options these days. When automakers like Ford, Hyundai, GM, and others began to pull out of the minivan segment, minivan sales for those who remained in the segment (Honda, Chrysler, Toyota, and others) skyrocketed.
Now, automakers are being sucked back in to minivan sales, with Kia redesigning the Sedona (which we got a look at in New York) and with Chrysler announcing that it will offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Town & Country in 2016. Ford is even getting back into the game after leaving it for the crossover market (with the Ford Flex), although the Blue Oval is advertising its Transit Connect Wagon as the “unminivan.” Sorry, Ford, but we see right through that one; that’s like telling all your friends you’re going to a rock concert but you’re actually going to see American Idol on tour.
While minivans may not look hip and are likely not appealing to the younger crowd, they do quite well with older women and, yes, men, with children.
One Toyota dealership owner even commented, “I sold more Siennas than Camrys last month. I’ve got 11 on the lot right now and I wish I had a few more. They’re good moneymakers. And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock. They come in and they’re gone.”
So expect to see minivans continue to cruise our roadways for a while longer. Until the end of time? Probably not. But hey, we’ll be teleporting by then anyway.
Tim Shults likes to play golf and spend time with his four daughters.