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Chicagoland

Uplander sales?

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I am seeing tons of shiny white Uplanders at US Post Offices, and in many other places of business. So, some questions.

Are fleet buyers getting them instead of full sized vans? Is the USPS getting them since they can run E85?

Will the Uplander maybe continue past 2008, since there are very few affordable vans for fleet buyers?

EDIT: I re-read the AutoWeek article which says 'into 2009', so look for more at your local PO. The white Uplanders have replaced the boxy UPS looking trucks in many PO districts. And seen a few contractors/utilities with them instead of full sized vans.

Big question is, did Ford/GM make a big error thinking minivans with sliding doors are "dead"?

Edited by Chicagoland
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Fleet sales are up. Attribute that to the lack of any other GM vans, its affordability, the lack of an Astro, and the fact that for most people its damn good value for hauling stuff around in an enclosed, fuel-efficient manner.

I'm frankly a little surprised there isn't more attention on the cheap midsize van market anymore. GM vans are gone save for fleet Uplanders, Ford vans are gone, Chrysler ditched 4-bangers and short-wheelbase models for the latest van, the Astro is dead, the Sprinter is awkward, pricey, and very foreign, and the Econoline is too larger and otherwise garbage on wheels.

There are many who miss vans like the Aerostar and Astro because they were affordable and did double duty as true all-purpose haulers that could tow a boat or trailer while hauling a load of people. And the car-based minivan market has become a contest to see who can out-equip the other guy. Werd 2 yo motha, folks, not everyone needs power folding third rows, DVD screens for every seat, and a 270hp V6. Some people simply need a cheap vehicle that can seat seven. Unfortunately, the market has abandoned them, so they're left to pick at the used scraps.

I've been on the lot for a little over two weeks now and I've seen it already. Two things we can't keep in stock - Expeditions and cheap vans.

That said, I conclude that keeping the CSVs around in Uplander form with minor updates for several more years may not be such a bad idea. If you focus on delivering two good vans - the Chevy Uplander and a GMC Safari version (yes, I said a GMC minivan) - you could keep Doraville busy well into the next decade. Roll equipment changes in when its cost-effective to do so. Use whatever cheap off-the-shelf powertrain is available this time around. Market the Uplander as a bare-bones van for retail and fleet, pitch the Safari to the retail market with standard leather, an off-the-shelf nav, power sliding doors, and that's generally it. But mainly as a GMC, outfit it for general contractor use. Bill it as the efficient and affordable alternative to a truck or SUV. Haul your crew to the site, get your materials during the day, haul them back at night.

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Yes, I agree that many families are getting used minvans, since new car dealers are pushing expensive trucks. I see more old boxy Mopar minivans than any other US car from the same era, 1988-94. I'd be willing to bet that there will be a 2010 Uplander.

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Uplander sales are very strong in Canada still... They still make the Montana SV6 here too so there's gotta be a market. The GM FWD vans did well in Canada... esp in Quebec with the Trans Sport and I reckon it's the reputation of Pontiac Vans in Canada keeping the Montana alive.

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The Uplander actually has a fairly decent dashboard and nice door panels with some stitching on them. It's just hard to imagine families buying them because of the below-average safety and the lack of interior room/flexibility, especially when you can get a modern Sedona or Grand Caravan for the same money. Still, if that means people are using vans instead of pick-ups, that's great. European plumbers and builders and florists seem to doing fine in their diesel Transits and panel vans.

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This goes to show that GM really screwed up with the Lambda offerings. Rather than having four crossovers, there should have been two crossovers and two minivans. Chevy & Buick could have the minivans (covering the low & high ends of the market) and GMC and Saturn could have the crossovers. Or switch if if you'd like it the other way around (however it is done, you shouldn't have both Buick and GMC with the same version).

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i cried when they cancelled terraza and relay

In 2005 the wife really wanted the Terraza, but due to leasing costs it wasn't in our price range. We ended up with the Envoy, and while I would have liked the extra seating and DVD player in the Terraza, I'm much happier with the Envoy. Same goes for it's replacement next year... I'd much rather have a Lambda crossover than a Lambda minivan. But GM should have been smarter and covered both bases like what I suggested in post #7.
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Isn't there going to be a Lambda minivan built in Spring Hill?

Anyway, analysts are wrong when they say minivans with sliding doors are 'out'. Of course a 25 year old says 'I'll never will get a minivan'. Then when they are 45 and have kids, or get a job involved with moving things, suddenly the 'hip cute' cars don't cut it.

Too much R&D is spent on 'trendy/hip' vehicles for critics/press, but what about 'meat and potato' work/real life products for buyers?

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I see tons of Uplanders for people that insist on buying a Chevy at the local dealer. Or people who are value driven. More and more rich people in my area are trading Ventures for Siennas and Siennas then for Suburbans or Yukons.

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I hear what you're all saying, but at this point, GM really shouldn't invest their money into minivans. They'll get more out of focusing that money into other models with high growth potential like the Deltas and Thetas. At the end of the day, you don't need a product in every segment. Every good company goes through this where they'll cull the slow performing products to focus on what's good for them and then return to that market later with a different idea or better iteration. I could see GM keeping some vans in production if they could do it on the real cheap, but that begins to erode the same brand equity they're working so hard to build. So I say, exit the market for 3-5 years. By that time, we'll have found the true floor to the van segment or found what vehicle type is the true replacement and GM can attack the market with products that are relevant and have a solid business plan behind them.

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Isn't there going to be a Lambda minivan built in Spring Hill?

No, that's the Traverse, and it's your standard 4 regular door Lambda. Sliding door ideas "just to easily make a Lambda a van" are no more, or were no more, than rumors started by people who didn't have a clue.

The minivan market still exists, and I certainly agree there needs to still be low-cost functional versions for various uses--not everyone does want or need power folding seats and Nav systems, like said--BUT, from a company perspective...well done crossovers just are an easier sell, have no stigma, and now can provide room equal to a van.

And I'm thankful NO Lambda was ever sent to the trenches--i.e. slower sales, rebates, etc.--and made a van. They're doing extremely well because they provide van attributes without being a van--and in 3 flavors distinct enough that people who like 1 really don't like the other. To have that split, with 2 great crossovers and 2 vans with great attributes, but that were still VANS...that would have been a costly mistake.

Markets just change. Minivans sell, most definitely, but it's not an exploding market and will never expand, really. And even for delivery, fleet, etc. use, there's always interesting little things like the HHR panel, and some lower trimmed vans that occupy the space.

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Bite your tongue! As oil surges near $100 a barrel, minivans and (God forbid!) 4 cylinder minivans may make a comeback. Or do we all forget what made the original Chrysler minivan such a hit in the first place?

That being said, we have had no problems selling Uplanders; in fact, they have been our #1 selling truck for a very long time - then before that the Venture. Now that Chrysler has departed the mini-minivan market, GM is alone in the $18k minivan market. The Sienna is $13k more, as is the Odyssey. I am not saying I am particularly proud of the vehicle, but it cost the same as a Cobalt LT - and offers a helluva lot more for the same money.

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I'd rather have the Cobalt as there's a better chance I won't die if I'm in an accident.

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I'd rather have the Cobalt as there's a better chance I won't die if I'm in an accident.

They resolved all of the previous gen's serious safety concerns so it's actually now quite safe.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lCqS1xIm4tg

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Speaking of accidents there was one in a rural area west of Rochester (Bethany, Genesee County) in which a short-wheelbase Chevy Venture was totaled, the family of 4 killed. It was awful-more so than the Uplander, which needs to be put down out of its misery under land-its the worst minivan out there.

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Except side impacts I thought were still a weak point.

You do have a point. In the IIHS 31-mph 3100 lb side crash, the B-pillar in the Cobalt stopped short of the seat centerline by 2 cm ("marginal" structure), whereas with the Uplander, the B-pillar went past the seat centerline by 4 cm ("poor" structure).

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'Stigma' my a$$. Rich yuppies may not want people to think they are parents, and drive gas hogging SUV's. But working families who don't care about stigmas, appearances, and other snobby mind games, want something practical.

GM and ford simply 'poo-poo' minivans since they didnt invent them. Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have no problem selling them.

Try putting in kid saftey seats in a cramped rear seat of a 'image conscious' vehicle and you will see there is market for minvans.

Edited by Chicagoland
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