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Intrepidation

Minivan demand up, fleet sales down

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According to Stuart Schorr, Senior Manager of Sales, Service and Dealer Communications, Chrysler minivan sales may be down, but retail demand is actually stronger. His article in The Firehouse (blog) indicates that, compared with their long-wheelbase brethren, the Chrysler has increased retail sales by over 75%, while the Dodge has gone up over 25%. He wrote, "The total reduction in Chrysler minivan sales is solely because of planned fleet reductions and not any consumer trend. In fact consumers are demanding more minivans."

The moderately popular and less-expensive short-wheelbase minivans were dropped when Chrysler and Dodge moved to their 2008 models.

Source: Allpar

Edited by Dodgefan
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I like the previous 2 generations better.

I like the previous generation, and I do prefer the old one's rear end styling to the slab sides rear end of the new models, but overall I do like teh new ones. Just wish the interior's looked and felt more like VW's Caravan. Then again, the minivan is all about practiaclity, and in that aera not even the much humped Odyssey can beat it.

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I like the previous generation, and I do prefer the old one's rear end styling to the slab sides rear end of the new models, but overall I do like teh new ones. Just wish the interior's looked and felt more like VW's Caravan. Then again, the minivan is all about practiaclity, and in that aera not even the much humped Odyssey can beat it.

ORLY? The Ody has greater passenger volume, greater cargo volume, significantly more legroom in all three rows, more cupholders, and better fuel economy; the only Chrysler van practicality advantage seems to be greater underfloor storage because of the second row stow-n-go. The Chrysler's third row bench is intolerably low and claustrophobic.

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Well, unfortunately for reality, the single wheelbased(LWB-only) minivan replaced both versions of the previous generation Caravan so Stuart's comparison is close to worthless.

Honestly... look at the sales:

Feb Sales/ YTD sales:

Month Sales      Vol %      Sales CYTD      Vol %
    Model            Curr Yr     Pr Yr   Change  Curr Yr    Pr Yr   Change

   Town & Country    11,952    11,845      1%   21,043    23,222     -9%
   Caravan           11,072    16,375    -32%   19,167    34,968    -45%

IIRC, the latest versions of the T&C didn't include a SWB version, so that comparison is legitimate... sales appear stable... but the Caravan's???

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ORLY? The Ody has greater passenger volume, greater cargo volume, significantly more legroom in all three rows, more cupholders, and better fuel economy; the only Chrysler van practicality advantage seems to be greater underfloor storage because of the second row stow-n-go. The Chrysler's third row bench is intolerably low and claustrophobic.

Meh, I don't mind the Odyssey besides the looks of it, but the last comparison of the the Odyssey VS Caravan it seemed to win on the merits of being "fun to drive for a minivan" and nicer interior. I won't argue those merits, but at the same time it's controls are "haphazardly spread across the dash" Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the goal of a minivan supposed to be ultimate practicality and easy of use? Not handle like a sports car. Comfort wise I can't say what's more comfortable having not sat in an Odyssey yet, but that Caravan I sat in (all 3 rows) wasn't uncomfortable for my 6'1" frame. Dunno how it would be overtime, but then I'd rather have the ability to fold both rows completely away than ultimate comfort back there...although both would be ideal.

Just my :twocents:

Well, unfortunately for reality, the single wheelbased(LWB-only) minivan replaced both versions of the previous generation Caravan so Stuart's comparison is close to worthless.

Honestly... look at the sales:

Feb Sales/ YTD sales:

Month Sales      Vol %      Sales CYTD      Vol %
    Model            Curr Yr     Pr Yr   Change  Curr Yr    Pr Yr   Change

   Town & Country    11,952    11,845      1%   21,043    23,222     -9%
   Caravan           11,072    16,375    -32%   19,167    34,968    -45%

IIRC, the latest versions of the T&C didn't include a SWB version, so that comparison is legitimate... sales appear stable... but the Caravan's???

I don't know fleet numbers, but it mightbe possible that all of those sales were fleets. The Dodge dealer in my town used to get shipments of Caravans and Grand Caravans that would be entirely for fleet sales. So mnay businesses around here use them...taxis, USPS, floral shops and so on.

If those are all fleet sales that were lost, I wonder who picked up the slack?

Edited by Dodgefan
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The Ody is the best van out closely followed by the Town and County/Grand Caravan. Then Chevy Uplander and the ugly Sienna.

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odyssey is decent but its not isolated enough from bumps and transmissions of the road through the steering. cabin is not hush quiet. it holds the road decently. power is alright. cabin is ok. the mouse fur velour is very 80's. dash is kind of grandpa. both the toyota and nissan are worthy of a look, even if the ody may drive the most like a car.

chrysler really hosed up the 2nd and 3rd row seats on the new vans. both the swivel and go and stow and go are flawed in termed of seating comfort. they do nice tricks, but their primary function suffers because of it.

the vw routan kinda fixes the things about the grand caravan that are deal killers, the boxy upright rear, bad 2nd row seating, cheap dash.

the more loaded T&C interiors are not bad once you get in there, like I did at the auto show this past weekend. the dodge's more spartan gray interior really is not up to the task.

i'll say this, there are big deals to be had on these right now. I wouldn't get one unless it had the 4.0.

Edited by regfootball
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I'd say the new Chrysler vans are trying too had and have failed. The seats are too tricky, too complicated and will fail over time. I can't wait to see how the floor pans on these things rust out and get banged into oblivion. Try to change the spare on a Chrysler minivan? Watch out: you'll get burned, literally, because the exhaust manifold travels along the passenger side, right where you would normally lay while trying to reach the impossible to reach spare. I am 6' 2" and tried to do it in a show room on carpet and was astounded at the stupiditiy of it. The fact that Chrysler has kept the hoary 3.3 litre, means they are poised to fleet the crap out of this van at any moment. The seats are woefully uncomfortable. I suspect after some initial market success, these vans sales are going to slide into oblivion, once owners have had a chance to live with their complexities and quirks.

The Odyssey and Sienna are way too expensive - are they forgetting that most families don't make $80k a year? In the rush to over gadgetize these segment, the manufacturers are forgetting their core fans. All of this is why the lowly GM twins remain the #2 sellers up here in the Land of $4.25 gas and 30% tax brackets.

On a bit of a side note, GM has recently gotten downright shrill about pushing OnStar because many of their studies are showing OnStar is increasingly a reason people are remaining loyal to GM. We can debate about how true that is, but the fact that Toyota is in sheer panic to come out with their own version by the end of the year is good enough proof for me. GM has such a huge lead on this technology, and its safety benefits are so proven that it astounds me why someone wouldn't want OnStar in their vehicle. Any of my customers who I ahve talked to who have needed OnStar in an emergency (flat tire, accident, medical emergency, etc.) are completely sold on the technology and won't be without it again. I guess the loyalty issue with OnStar boils down to who has needed it and who has only played with the 'cool' features.

The Uplander/SV6 have it, so when properly demonstrated, it is a strong consideration for your typical soccer mom, who is worried about picking the kids up, getting lost, having a flat tire, etc.

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Well, unfortunately for reality, the single wheelbased(LWB-only) minivan replaced both versions of the previous generation Caravan so Stuart's comparison is close to worthless.

Honestly... look at the sales:

Feb Sales/ YTD sales:

Month Sales      Vol %      Sales CYTD      Vol %
    Model            Curr Yr     Pr Yr   Change  Curr Yr    Pr Yr   Change

   Town & Country    11,952    11,845      1%   21,043    23,222     -9%
   Caravan           11,072    16,375    -32%   19,167    34,968    -45%

IIRC, the latest versions of the T&C didn't include a SWB version, so that comparison is legitimate... sales appear stable... but the Caravan's???

I would be worried if I were Dodge. I'd venture a very-educated guess that the penetration on the prev-gen SWB Caravan was down near single digits...at best...and I can't believe they cut fleet sales THAT much.....

(I see that "reduction in fleet sales" is the new de-facto spin-tactic for declining overall sales..... <_< )

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On a bit of a side note, GM has recently gotten downright shrill about pushing OnStar because many of their studies are showing OnStar is increasingly a reason people are remaining loyal to GM. We can debate about how true that is, but the fact that Toyota is in sheer panic to come out with their own version by the end of the year is good enough proof for me. GM has such a huge lead on this technology, and its safety benefits are so proven that it astounds me why someone wouldn't want OnStar in their vehicle. Any of my customers who I ahve talked to who have needed OnStar in an emergency (flat tire, accident, medical emergency, etc.) are completely sold on the technology and won't be without it again. I guess the loyalty issue with OnStar boils down to who has needed it and who has only played with the 'cool' features.

I'm one of the few that doesn't fully "get" OnStar.

I was around it from a GM-standpoint when I worked for Buick.....and I've had it as standard-equipment in the previous recent GM cars I've had.

To me.....there is just no justification for my paying anything a month for OnStar. The only true benefit I could see would be having them notified if I had an accident and the airbags deployed. This could greatly speed up getting emergency responders to the scene.

As far as things like flat tires, dead batterys, or other problems, most companies' Roadside Assistance programs (covered for the warranty period at no cost) are pretty effective at responding to these kinds of road hazards. (In my experience.)

OnStar concierge service? Well, hell most of the time you are in your car, you are probably in your local town/city and for the most part, you know where everything is anyways.

Turn-by-turn navigation? I think this is a poor-replacement for a true in-car navigation system (either manufactuer-equipped or hand-held.

We had it supplied for free in our Buick company cars.......never used it once. I had it offered to me in the Corvette and CTS.......never signed up for it and never missed it.

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...

To me.....there is just no justification for my paying anything a month for OnStar. The only true benefit I could see would be having them notified if I had an accident and the airbags deployed. This could greatly speed up getting emergency responders to the scene.

As far as things like flat tires, dead batterys, or other problems, most companies' Roadside Assistance programs (covered for the warranty period at no cost) are pretty effective at responding to these kinds of road hazards. (In my experience.)

...

Though I would probably never subscribe to OnStar, I would much rather have them unlock my doors as opposed to some tow-truck driver shoving a piece of metal into my door.

...

Turn-by-turn navigation? I think this is a poor-replacement for a true in-car navigation system (either manufactuer-equipped or hand-held.

...

We used turn-by-turn in my mom's Enclave, and it's actually pretty cool. Compared to using the navigation in my uncle's CTS, turn-by-turn is easier to set-up (just call and give them an address or they search for one) and is just as effective in giving directions.

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You'll never convince be that turn by turn navigation is better than turn by turn and a screen. It's just easier to visualize where teh road is when you glance at the screen, because many times, especially in congested cities, the voice can get confused or the directions can get confusing.

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ORLY? The Ody has greater passenger volume, greater cargo volume, significantly more legroom in all three rows, more cupholders, and better fuel economy; the only Chrysler van practicality advantage seems to be greater underfloor storage because of the second row stow-n-go. The Chrysler's third row bench is intolerably low and claustrophobic.

Dude. Sales data alone disproves his point as minivan buyers only buy minivans for "practical" reasons...but hey, nothing is more fitting in a minivan thread than cupholder and storage placement contests.

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biz, your post hit a lot of right things.

I do think the VW version will fix many of the Doge/Chry flaws with the seating. they did try to outsmart themselves.

styling is a flaw. new vans look like cargo vans. last gen looked like stretched puffy wagons.

money is tight, and chrysler knows it and is already 5k off list on these things.

still for me, as nasty as it is, i might just do a 3 year old freestar and live with the crudeness. at least the 2nd row is comfortable and i can likely find something in the 10 grand range.

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OnStar has greatly increased its services over the past couple years.

I had a flat tire on the outskirts of Detroit about 15 years ago. I had a cell. I had Roadside. The first question they ask: where are you. How the hell did I know? I had to walk about a mile to the last exit and call them back to tell them. Good thing it was in June and it was sunny. Chock up one for OnStar.

Stolen vehicle tracking sounds great on paper, but I doubt it is all the effective. I know the police are working on convincing the OnStar people to reach into the engine computer and retard the ignition timing of an escaping vehicel during a police chase. I am of two minds about that ability, frankly.

One of my customers had a heart attack behind the wheel of his Buick on the way to his sister's in South Carolina. His wife was able to use the panic button, get the car off the road and the paramedics were there pronto. (Unfortunately, he still died, but his wife was treated for shock at the scene.)

The new generation of voice-activated cell technology is way ahead of blue tooth. I don't know about the States, but up here, you can even piggy-back your Bell air time onto your OnStar phone. Remember, this is a 3W system, not 750 mw, like most hand held cell phones.

How often does your DVD based nav system update its street addresses and places? Ever max your visa card on a vacation and need an Exxon NOW because it is the only card you haven't maxxed (try that one on the interstate in south Dakota). Most of the On Star systems couple with the DIC to give turn arrows, along with the voice over telling you to make the next left or right. I've tried to trip the OnStar guys up with the nearest Tim Hortons. They are good, very good. Your Nav system can't do that.

I think this appeals to women more so than men. A woman working alone at night, especially in urban areas or our crappy winter nights would have a lot of solace knowing that if she gets into trouble there is an advisor right there with her.

But more than all of this, what I like about OnStar, is that unlike other services, you get it free for a year (on most vehicels now), which allows you to play with it, get it out of your system and then let it lapse - unlike paying $2k for a Nav system in compeititve vehicles. Plus, if you are stuck in a bad area of Detroit, you can push the blue button, give them your credit card number (unless they already have it on file) and reinitalize the system IMMEDIATELY.

You guys are big on CHOICES. Well, Onstar is one CHOICE that Toyota and Honda don't have. I'm slowly becoming a believer. I suspect that once Toyota unveils their version later this year, OnStar will come down in price, too.

But why do people insist on paying $450 for Sync, but won't pay $450 to save their life?

Edited by CARBIZ
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You'll never convince be that turn by turn navigation is better than turn by turn and a screen. It's just easier to visualize where teh road is when you glance at the screen, because many times, especially in congested cities, the voice can get confused or the directions can get confusing.

It is easier to see a nav screen, and I'm not arguing that point.

From personal experience, it is way easier to get directions using turn-by-turn as opposed to full nav.

When my uncle got his CTS, what he really wanted was nav. The problem is he hasn't learned how to program it, so never uses it! Guess what he does instead... calls us (since he's from Mexico City and we live in So Cal) and asks for directions. I'm pretty sure it would be much easier for him to call OnStar and have them download directions...

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Though I would probably never subscribe to OnStar, I would much rather have them unlock my doors as opposed to some tow-truck driver shoving a piece of metal into my door.

We used turn-by-turn in my mom's Enclave, and it's actually pretty cool. Compared to using the navigation in my uncle's CTS, turn-by-turn is easier to set-up (just call and give them an address or they search for one) and is just as effective in giving directions.

I think with the widespread arrival of remote keyless entry, the chances these days of locking your keys in your car is slim to none.....if you are like me and 100% lock the car doors WITH the keyfob. Therefore, if you are locking the doors with the keyfob, then the key is IN your hands (obviously....)

The reason I like an in-car nav system over "turn-by-turn" is because with the nav screen, you are subject to alot more information, all of it visually, then just someone telling you when to turn. For example, the nav system can estimate your arrival time depending on traffic conditions, you can view all or any part of your existing route, and if you see a traffic jam, you can view a map of the area to determine how best to get around it.

Plus, I'm not sure about all the other systems, but the Audi nav system will show you, like, the next three upcoming turns at the same time.....so you can "visually" imagine where you are going before you even take the first turn.

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Maybe people figured out that it looks like a 6 year old MPV without the heralded Mazda reliability.

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It is easier to see a nav screen, and I'm not arguing that point.

From personal experience, it is way easier to get directions using turn-by-turn as opposed to full nav.

When my uncle got his CTS, what he really wanted was nav. The problem is he hasn't learned how to program it, so never uses it! Guess what he does instead... calls us (since he's from Mexico City and we live in So Cal) and asks for directions. I'm pretty sure it would be much easier for him to call OnStar and have them download directions...

I'll bet the number of people who don't bother with their Nav system after 3 years is the same as the number of people who don't bother with OnStar, the difference being: the OnStar didn't cost $2k (or more with 'packages')

It's ironic that the same people who could never program their VCR are the same people with the money to afford Nav systems. OnStar is far more user friendly, their is no learning curve and is cheaper than Nav systems by themselves. The OnStar advisor can save your life. Is that not worth something????

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…I think this appeals to women more so than men. A woman working alone at night, especially in urban areas or our crappy winter nights would have a lot of solace knowing that if she gets into trouble there is an advisor right there with her.…

This is screaming for romantic chick flick.

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Maybe people figured out that it looks like a 6 year old MPV without the heralded Mazda reliability.

What heralded Mazda reliability?

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What heralded Mazda reliability?

Compared to Chrysler products, Mazdas are downright unbreakable.

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And I assume that GM and Ford just shot themselves in the foot, for scrapping their minivans, because they ASSUMED that crossovers will take over.

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Scrapping what minivans? Ford is doing very well with the Edge. the Uplander/SV6 are also doing very well (#2 in Canada - ahead of Toyota and Honda). There will be '09 minivans (Canada only) There is also a planned replacement for next year. (Although GM is being tightlipped about that just now.)

Not everybody wants to spend $30k for a minivan. Some soccer moms are on a budget and don't give a &#036;h&#33; about pulling .95 G on a skidpad.

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