The minivan was once a glorious thing. But the derision it has faced over the past couple of decades made its demise inevitable. The ubiquitous minivan will soon be gone. Its percentage of total vehicle sales is down to 2% on a descending graph that shows no indication it will level out. Instead, it looks like the minivan will go the way of marathon dancing and VHS tapes.
The combined sales of Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, and Toyota Sienna, amounted to 408,982 in 2019. While seeming to be a robust figure it’s a far cry from selling over 1.1 million in 2005. Over a quarter of those sales were with one model minivan. So that means four other companies are fighting over less than 300,000 sales. This for a vehicle that shares little with other models to help amortize development and parts.
That minivan selling 122,648 units is the Dodge Caravan. In its current form, it has endured for 13 years with only minor changes. With the intro of the decontented Chrysler Pacifica called Voyager, it looks like 2020 is the end of the line for the Caravan. Note that the Caravan sold over 300,000 units in both 1996 and 1997. It has been a slow but steady slide since then.
Combining Caravan sales with sibling Pacifica and Fiat Chrysler has over 54% of the minivan market, such that it is. That puts Kia, Toyota, and Honda fighting for scraps. For the Pacifica 2019 was another disappointing year with sales of less than 100,000 units. That’s a 17% drop from 2018. This is the segment that Chrysler invented. It might be the last man standing as we face the end of minivan sales.
Odyssey sales were also below 100,000 in 2019. This from a minivan that was all-new in 2018. At the time Honda said it saw the minivan segment as stable, but as we’re seeing it is anything but. Using lightweight materials and a 10-speed automatic trans the Odyssey is perhaps the most advanced of the remaining minivans.
Kia is seeing dwindling sales as it struggles to compare with the more advanced competition in this segment. Just 15,931 Sedonas were sold in 2019. There isn’t much wind left in that sail with Kia finding success in other more dynamic segments. Sedona sales are down 64% from just three years ago.
Toyota has been a player in the minivan scene for a lot of years. But Toyota seems to have ignored the Sienna as it has remained the same for nine years. It was fortunate to sell 73,585 last year in spite of its age. A facelift might be in the offing to capitalize on other manufacturers possibly pulling out of the segment. However, Toyota has bigger fish to fry with SUV and pickups dominating the market.
The truthaboutcars have calculated that by 2024 there will be fewer than 200,000 minivans sold. The signposts are all around indicating that with the market changing so rapidly manufacturers are cutting less profitable models without any remorse. We’ll see that with minivans sooner rather than later.