Minivans Driving Honda and Chrysler’s Fall Sales
It’s hard to market a minivan as sexy. Or attractive, or fun, or hip, or any other adjective that car advertisements rely on so frequently. That’s because minivans are big, bulky vehicles that are closely associated with parenthood (something which is also difficult to market as sexy or fun). For that reason, many families have ditched the minivan in favor of large SUVs, which can carry carloads of kiddies while still at least offering the pretense of ruggedness.
Car companies like Ford and GM, who apparently also feared the stigma associated with minivans, have sworn them off, as well. But that has provided an opening in the market which companies like Chrysler and Honda are taking full advantage of.
In August, the Honda Odyssey saw sales jump 12.9 percent to 12,500 vehicles. From January to September, the Odyssey outsold every other Honda except for the mid-size Accord, the small Civic and the small CR-V crossover.
“The minivan has had lasting appeal because of its practical functionality. When it comes to hauling around lots of people and lots of stuff, minivans can be the most practical choice,” Brandy Schaffels, Chief Editor for AskPatty.com, told The Street. “Unlike most large SUVs, their low and flat floors allow easy access for loading passengers and cargo, and sliding doors make it easy to get lots of people and big objects in and out quickly.”
“Even though they’ve gotten pricier as they get more features, most nicely equipped minivans are still more affordable than a full-size SUV offering similar cargo and passenger capacity,” Schaffels added. That could help explain why the Odyssey outsold even the Honda Pilot SUV, and is outpacing the Pilot by over 14,000 vehicles.
Chrysler has also been making money off the minivan market: between the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country, the company has sold almost 190,000 minivans through August. That outsells every Chrysler vehicle except the Ram pickup.
As for the coolness factor – well, Toyota ironically embraced the issue by calling its 2015 Sienna a #SwaggerWagon and releasing a hip hop music video to promote it. The results? Sienna sales jumped 4.5 percent in August to nearly 12,400 minivans. Perhaps it is once again hip to be square.
News Source: The Street