Chrysler: “Don’t write off minivans”

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On its media blog this week, beleaguered carmaker Chrysler points out that the once ubiquitous transport of choice for soccer moms and dads everywhere, the minivan, might not be a very sleek or sexy choice compared to other offerings, but it is still a “big hit” with consumers.

So what if minivan sales are down 18 percent. That’s no reason to put the kid haulers down for the count.

Chrysler’s manager of sales, service and dealer communications urges people to, “think twice before buying into the conventional wisdom. The truth reveals itself when you dig a little deeper.”

As proof, he offers:

-The new Chrysler Town & Country long wheel base model has increased at retail more than 75%, and the new Dodge Grand Caravan has increased more than 25%.

-The total reduction in minivan sales is because of “planned fleet reductions” – not any wishy-washy consumer trend. In fact, consumers are demanding more minivans.

Will ’08 see a resurgence of minivan sales, or will they get plowed under by hybrids, cross-over sport utes, or still-strong-selling big SUVs like Land Rovers and Escalades?

BEN MOOK, Assistant Business Editor

3 thoughts on “Chrysler: “Don’t write off minivans”

  1. Piping in again on the generational issue. The reduction in minivan sales is connected with adult focus on Millennials. Millennials are approx 6-26 in 2008.

    I’ve been noticing a trend of late: The switch from KID-focused dominance of issues in traditional media to TEEN-focused orientation. Why? Because adult focus is on Millennials. And they are much more teen-ish now than kid-ish.

    Check out the newspapers and traditional media. The word TEEN is showing up all over the place now. Big shift.

    Generational issues influence everything: politics, product development, education, customer service, government, health care, et cetera.

  2. Oh, isn’t that funny. The blog post prior to the minivan post is about corporate support of HIGH schools: the place where TEENS are.

    Trend prediction: Forget the cutting of cereal top boxes and Apples for Schools … all the cute stuff that elementary age kids could convince their parents it was important to do. Now we gotz Deloitte, Lockheed Martin involved in high schools. Very funny.

    Watch the trends. Watch the trends. Tons of info about where American society is going is found in generational theory.

  3. Minivans are great transportation. They have the most room of any vehicle in their class, are comfortable, well appointed, and lack only responsive handling to be a complete car (but then no one buys them for their driving ability). But Chrysler minivans are junk. Our Dodge Caravan went through three transmissions, two gas tanks (the only car on which I’ve had to replace a gas tank), and enough other parts to keep us in the Service Department once a month, on average, for the several years we owned the car (we tried not to give up hope, and to give the van a fair test). Many of our friends had worse stories to tell, as do the people who fill out the annual Consumer Reports “frequency of repair” forms. Chrysler products are almost uniformly not recommended, no matter the model. Chrysler cars are pretty, the company has good designers, but it seems to have trouble finding engineers, workers, and executives who know what they’re doing. Don’t give up on minivans, just give up on Chrysler. Toyota and Honda make excellent models and there is no good reason to buy any other brand. Even if someone gives you a Chrysler for free, you’ll pay more by the end of its life, everything considered, than your neighbor who buys a Honda at retail.

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