After growing slightly in 2016, the Minivan segment is back in decline in the first quarter of 2017 with sales down 14.4% to 122,787 units. The segment that sold over 1.2 million units a year in its peak years 1999 and 2000, and still made up over a million sales as recently as 2005 has hovered around half that figure since 2009 and can’t seem to make a decent recovery as 7-seater crossovers are simply more trendy than minivans, which suffer from their soccer-mom image even though they’re much more practical and efficient in real life. Even the all-new Chrysler Pacifica can’t reverse the slide, and if even the new Honda Odyssey, due later this year, can’t stabilize the segment, it may be doomed.
Highlights for Q1 2017:
- What probably doesn’t help the image of the minivan is that the ancient Dodge Grand Caravan is the only existing nameplate to gain volume, and as a result now takes up almost a third of the volume in the segment. You’d think almost all of these sales must have gone straight to rental car lots because no retail buyer would still choose this terrible car over any of the more modern competition, would they?
- That means the Toyota Sienna can’t reclaim the segment lead it lost in the full year 2016. In fact, it’s being threatened by the all-new Chrysler Pacifica which is less than 1,000 sales behind and took the #2 spot in February. However, I can only imagine Chrysler had aimed for the Pacifica to easily climb to the segment lead or at least 2nd place behind the Grand Caravan.
- The Honda Odyssey held on to fourth place as it was the slowest declining nameplate in the segment at “just” -23.4%. You read that right, besides the newcomer Pacifica and the growing Grand Caravan, all other models lose at least 23.4% of their volume. Of the models that are being continued, the Kia Sedona takes the biggest hit at -37.3% to just 6,418 sales. Even the Nissan Quest showed a slower rate of decline at -32.7%.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off