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Chrysler's Fading Champion.

The Minivan. The End of an Era?

Updated July 28, 2012

In this day and age, financial hardships are everywhere we turn, and it will still be a long time before things pickup. With that said, those of us who noticed, we see that the automotive market has taken a few hits as well. The Big Three (Ford, Dodge, GM) have had to make arrangements in order to stay afloat. GM had to discontinue two entire lines from existence. R.I.P., Pontiac & Saturn. Dodge had to sell shares, and holdings to private buyer Fiat, to at least show that they’re still alive. And Ford, I really don’t know. Ford has been the only Domestic company to seem to keep their dirty laundry out of public records, or at least off of Google. Then there’s the foreign market, and their set of small problems, but let’s not get into that.

Let’s think about something else that has been happening around us slowly, but surely. The disappearance of the minivan. Now many of you out there may think, that I’m blowing smoke up your ass, but take a second to see where I’m going with this. Now before the 2008 mini depression took hold of the US, the minivan was a creature that was fading into the background of a grander automotive picture. From the early 90’s all the way through to about 2005, the minivan was steadily being replaced by the cross-over vehicle. The cross-overs were beginning to flood the market, and become more, and more common in the driveways of the American family. The typical full size SUV, and minivan combo started to loose its luster, when the proverbial Soccer Mom genre kicked in.

More women were ditching minivans for the AWD prowess, and practicality of the Cross-over vehicle. Ford’s popular Aerostar, turned Windstar, then made into a lame cross-over called the Freestar, is a prime example of the diminishing minivan. So Ford made up for all of that foolishness by making the Escape, and Edge. GM never really had a minivan, they had the Astro & Safari vans that were primarily commercial vehicles, which were given conversions for the everyday family to use. Then there’s Chyrsler, where they HAD the number one minivan in America, but now a days, the only people who drive a Chrysler Town & Country are the people who need to rent one for a group gathering, and can’t afford the gas of a full size SUV.

So do you see what I mean? The mini-van doesn’t have the following like it used to, I mean even Honda hasn’t aired as many 70’s Rock style mini-van commercials as they used to. True or not? The cross-over has become the new minivan if you will. The Chevy Equinox, KIA Sorrento, Ford Edge, Toyota Venza, Dodge Journey, and the Nissan Murano are some of the cross overs that have permanently taken place of mini-vans all over the world. Just as another nail in the coffin, the news recently broke that Chrysler (Of all people.) will be discontinuing the Town & Country,due to low sales numbers.

So you can only guess that the Dodge Caravan isn’t to far from suffering the same fate. When times are this hard, and the general populous isn’t that interested anymore, as a automotive manufacturer, you do one of a few things. You try to reinvent yourself (The Cross Over), or you take your lumps, and bow out. I think bowing out has been the only option for one, and all who loved producing the one, and only minivan.

 

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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