Do people still buy minivans? That’s what Polk Research wants to find out.
With a common aversion to minivans that lies somewhere between stubbing a toe on furniture and ebola, it’s interesting to see that from last year, minivan sales have actually gone up. From a nice, even 3 percent of light vehicle sales in 2010, sales of the minivan increased .2%. But then again, this is the tail end of a trend from 2007 that saw a high of 4.3%, and slipped sharply last year.
Manufacturers are well aware of this too. Out of these minivan sales, a whopping 92% come from just four models: the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country, and Dodge Caravan. The other 8% consists of the Kia Sedona, Volkswagen Routan and the Nissan Quest.
Those, of course, are the only minivans sold on the market today. Gone are Ford and GM, for example, among others: manufacturers have known that consumers have avoided minivans for years now, and as a result are replacing them in their lineups with SUVs. Polk’s data supports this: last year, over 40% of customers who ditched a minivan replaced it with either a midsize or a compact SUV. 21% went with a midsize car, and given America’s aversion to small cars as well as minivans, only 16% bought one of those instead.
Since 2007, the number of minivans available on the market has dropped from 15 models to 7. Of course, all of this leads to a neat, tidy little Catch-22. If manufacturers decide that consumers aren’t buying minivans, they’ll stop making them. But if consumers can’t find the right minivan to choose from, they won’t buy one. So which came first: the manufacturers who won’t build minivans because nobody’s buying them, or the consumers who can’t find one to buy in the first place?