Report: Minivans Regaining Popularity

The minivan is resurging in popularity, according to a recent report from Cox Automotive. During the second quarter of 2021, minivan sales grew by 84%. While nearly every new-car segment showed gains in Q2 2021 versus the prior Q2 2020, few high-volume segments grew at the same rapid pace as minivans – a remarkable feat considering the segment consists of just five choices in the United States (two Chrysler vans, a Honda, a Kia and a Toyota), Autotrader said.

During the first half of 2021, manufacturers sold 167,496 new minivans, which helped inch market share from 1.9% to 2.0% between Q1 and Q2, according to data from Cox Automotive. The incremental increase is significant because minivans gained the 0.1% market share that full-size SUVs lost during that same time period, demonstrating a shift away from the SUV back toward minivans once again.

Without the ongoing major effect of a global microchip shortage on new-car production, Americans surely would have purchased even more minivans. Supply impacts are evident when looking at sales numbers of minivan models in Q1 compared to Q2, as dealers increasingly struggle to keep models on their lots. The gains in demand alongside limited supply have boosted transaction prices accordingly, with the average transaction price of a minivan in July 2021 at a record $43,033 – higher than any other segment last month.

“Minivans are extremely popular right now after decades of being in the shadow of SUVs as the cool family car of choice, the van is back,” said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. “Trends are cyclical, and the minivan is following suit. Minivans have just the right combination of retro, uniqueness and absolute practicality. Plus, today’s minivans are way more luxurious than previous generations. While there are limited options available in terms of both model choices available inventory on dealer lots, all-new minivans and recently redesigned favorites have refreshed the segment and caught the eye of the car-buying public. We also have anecdotal evidence that points toward families being more eager to hit the open road after being cooped up for so much of the last year-plus, and there is no better family road-trip-mobile than a minivan.”

While there is an abbreviated range of new minivan models available, the segment remains relevant because of its focus on family-friendly features. Toyota’s recently redesigned Sienna switched to an all-hybrid lineup that delivers great fuel economy. Chrysler’s Pacifica has SUV-like styling and optional all-wheel drive. The all-new Kia Carnival offers an ultra-luxurious interior and high-fashion styling. The Honda Odyssey has flexible interior features, and the budget-friendly Chrysler Voyager rounds out the list of minivan options available to Americans.

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