Minivan Sales Are Off Nearly A Million Units From Their Peak, But They’re Not Going Away Anytime Soon

There’s been plenty of reporting about the death of the sedan, but they still sell in relatively large numbers. That certainly isn’t the case with minivans as a little over 480,000 units were sold in the United States last year.

Minivans used to be a staple of the automotive landscape and virtually every automaker offered at least one – even Mazda and Volkswagen. Some even offered several as Chrysler had the Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.

Like station wagons before, the winds of change hit minivans hard as consumers decided to embrace crossovers and SUVs. Citing CarGurus.com, the Associated Press notes minivan sales have fallen approximately 850,000 units from their peak in 2000.

The declining sales saw a number of automakers exit the segment including Ford and General Motors. Now the market is largely dominated by just a handful of models including the Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Despite the drastic drop in sales, minivans aren’t going away. FCA’s North American Head of Passenger Cars, Tim Kuniskis, told the AP “There is nothing else that can compete with a minivan” as “nothing touches it” from a people and cargo hauling perspective. It’s also worth mentioning that minivans are typically more fuel-efficient than the crossovers that have effectively replaced them.

Part of the reason minivans will solider on is there isn’t much competition. As Kuniskis explained, other segments might have sales of over a million units annually but they’re filled with 20 or more competitors. With just three main automakers fighting over 400,000+ sales, there’s enough to keep everyone happy.

Another factor keeping minivans around is they’re quiet cash cows. While they might not bring in $50,000 to $60,000 like full-size pickups, the AP says minivans have high profit margins and can easily cost more than $40,000. As Edmunds’ senior manager of industry insights, Jeremy Acevedo, joked “Balloons rain from the sky every time they sell an Odyssey.”

Also Read: 2021 Toyota Sienna Test Mule Reveals Longer Wheelbase, Wider Tracks

Interestingly, minivans might have a bright future as millennials grew up with them and are now having children of their own. Minivans have also become popular test beds for autonomous vehicles as they offer plenty of space for ride-hailing applications.

Update: An earlier of this story said there were approximately 360,000 minivans sold in the United States last year.  The actual number is closer to 482,000 units.

Waymo One 4

  • 85ZingoGTR

    I hope they don’t pull a sedan on minivans and kill them off. While I wouldn’t be caught dead driving one, for renting road trips with family, nothing beats a minivan. Also, I can see a real inconvenience to people who actually use and need minivans whether domestic or commercial purposes.

    • Soul2Stinger

      I love minivans and grew up with one. I’d have one right now if I needed something that size on a regular basis. Nothing beats sliding doors. Funny story, I reserved a Grand Caravan to rent last year when my nieces came to visit, but there were none left, so I ended up with an Expedition EL for the same price!

      Btw, thanks for reaching out 85ZingoGTR. Looks like the article at LLN is gone (about the Chrysler Voyager), but I still have your message in my email. I was hoping our social circle wasn’t gone for good!

      • 85ZingoGTR

        As for the Expedition, I could have a funny rental story with that one. I went to Atlanta on business about a year ago. Needed to rent a car. Of course, since the company was paying for it, I asked for compact economy (i.e. Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, etc.). Stupid Avis had nothing but a choice between either a Ford Expedition or a Smart ForTwo. So of course I would have MUCH RATHER picked the Expedition than the deathtrap ForTwo. But I didn’t want to break the bank filling it up with gas. So I asked “are you sure you have nothing more than this?” Well it turned out they had a Ford Escape Titanium. A VERY nice one. Black exterior with black leather interior, and black rims. Man I wanted to take it home with me. I know its just an Escape, but it drives nice and it was really nice in this color. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3b0decae1cd1c5289990a3be4d524d890adb599e54dff747bd2497545736f9ab.jpg

  • William rowe

    2019 Kia Sedona makes 4 makes

  • dumblikeyou2

    Seems like the only people who buy minivans are Hasidics and Hispanics in my region. People that tend to travel in packs for everything. The Hasidics prefer the Sequoia and Hispanics prefer the Odyssey (pimped out).

  • Stephen G

    It’s about profits, not units. Minivans used to be moderately priced. Those days are gone. It make business sense to triple your margins and cut production by 60%. Leaving anybody that has to have a minivan no choice. Accounting 101.

  • Aelwyn

    In the last couple years, I’ve had a few work trips that I decided to roadtrip (averaging 1,500 miles round trip) and each time, I’ve rented a minivan — the Pacifica, which I guess is the minivan darling of the rental fleet. Honestly, it’s sort of a pleasure to drive. Purely from a practicality standpoint, the cargo capacity is astonishing. My current lease is up in about 6 months, and I keep threatening to get a minivan next, to the absolute amusement of my friends. See, I have no children. Would that make driving a minivan creepy? Hmmmm……

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