June Auto Sales: Minivan Wars
Even though mid-size sedans and compact crossovers are two of the most popular vehicle segments right now, the minivan market is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in 2012. As the competition among minivans has waned in recent years, the recently refreshed Dodge Grand Caravan seems to be coming out on top against newer rivals like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. With families looking to get more for their money, modern minivans generally offer the interior space of a full-size SUV with the price and fuel economy of a compact crossover.
Through the first half of 2012, the Dodge Grand Caravan has sold 68,964 units compared to 61,756 for the Honda Odyssey and 58,985 for the Toyota Sienna. All three companies have seen big year-over-year increases in the minivan segment with Honda seeing a massive 50.1 percent increase over 2011, but it is the Chrysler Group that continues to dominate the segment with the Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country both seeing well over 20 percent growth. The more luxurious Town & Country isn't that far outside of the top three either with its year-to-date sales of 57,851. With recent reports that the next-generation Town & Country will be a luxury family crossover rather than a minivan, it will be interesting to see whether buyers move over to the Grand Caravan, switch to a competitor or stick with the Town & Country nameplate, although minivan-ish models like the Toyota Prius v and the all-new Ford C-Max Hybrid are already being folded into the mix.
Rounding out the list of conventional minivans, the compact Mazda MAZDA5 is off 41.4 percent moving just 5,932 units this year and the Kia Sedona has sold 10,612 units (a drop of about 3.6 percent).