US car sales analysis 2018 – Minivan segment

Segment continues its gentle decline, propped up by aging Dodge Grand Caravan and new Honda Odyssey

[easy-image-collage id=52627]

Sales in the US Minivan segment fell by 0.5% to 482,185 in 2018, their lowest level since the car market bottomed out in 2009. Overall, this puts the segment roughly where it was in the mid-1990s, before a boom in uptake took total sales to almost 1.3 million cars in 2004. And it’s not just the customers who have been fleeing the segment – the number of models on sales fell from a peak of 20 in 2006 to just 5 in 2018, including the well-past-its-prime Dodge Grand Caravan and the Kia Sedona, which is likely to be discontinued before long.

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

Highlights:

  • Dodge Grand Caravan not only comfortably remained at the lead of the segment, but actually managed a 21% sales increase compared to 2017, though the large majority of this are presumably fleet sales
  • Chrysler Pacifica maintained its sales level from the year before, although this meant that it lost ground not just to the segment leader, but also to the new Honda Odyssey, which saw its sales rise by 6%
  • Toyota Sienna saw its sales fall by 21% in anticipation of the arrival of an all-new model in 2019, causing the Toyota to lose a spot to its arch-rival, the Odyssey, for the first time in eight years
  • Now that Nissan Quest and Mazda5 have been discontinued Kia Sedona inherited the segment laggard mantle, though with sales falling by a quarter despite a recent facelift the model may itself soon leave the segment

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts in 1973 – access previous years using slider on bottom

  1. Losing only 0.5% is very decent for a struggling and small segment. Customers will receive thousands of dollars tax credit for buying a 2019 Pacifica Hybrid so perhaps the Minivans can maintain their current level this year. Love that model, a rare example of a beautiful large MPV.

    1. @Losange – I agree the Pacifica is a successful design, probably FCA’s most successful minivan design since at least the Caravan/Voyager/Town&Country Mk III. However, the Hybrid version only sold some 7,000 units in 2018, so that is not really an direct explanation for the Pacifica’s success, though it does give it some USP in an otherwise plain vanilla segment, and possibly has a halo effect for the regular model that indirectly lifts its sales

      1. Okay, thanks for the information. Even for American sales that’s a low percentage of hybrid cars. So at least 110.000 people don’t care about the environment, you could say :p

  2. To be honest I thought Dodge stopped making the Caravan years ago! I see a lot of Pacifica’s in northern ohio along with Hondas. If I were going to buy one it would be one of those two with great looks. Carvan looks like it is from 2002.

  3. I think FCA should keep making the Dodge Grand Caravan. It started the whole segment almost 40 years ago. I own a 1989 Chrysler-Plymouth Voyager and it is great. Think Toyota should just quit.

  4. The Dodge Caravan is reliable and cheap but it’s completely outdated, the Pacifica and the Odyssey and the Sienna are great MPVs! Long live American MPVs!

  5. I see Grand Caravans all the time. You can buy a base SE for about 20-21k. Do a search for new minivans under 25k – there is only one option. It’s not much more than a Corolla. It is a terrific value for the money. In higher trims, you’d be comparing a 30k Caravan to a 50-60k Pacifica or Odyssey. Gadgetry and bragging rights are not worth that kind of dough for most people.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.