Minivan buyers now consider looks to be a high priority in decision to buy

Article by Anita Panait, on March 1, 2012

For almost 30 years, buyers have been selecting minivans based on fuel economy, seating capacity and configuration, price, value and roominess. For almost 30 years, there may be a few who would choose a minivan because of its looks. Well, that was the case until the past year or so. It seems that the ranking in top ten considerations have changed, with looks suddenly surging in the list.

Auto manufacturers like American Honda Motor Co. acknowledged the change in the top ten rankings, and put more emphasis in the styling of its Odyssey minivans.

According to Sage Marie, manager of product planning for light trucks for American Honda, the company has been questioning shoppers and owners about what they wanted in previous generations of Odyssey minivans.

Marie said that exterior styling was a low priority and “generally wasn't a deal breaker.” Marie noted that styling was not a factor in customer’s selection decision years ago, but now it is one of the major purchase reasons for the Odyssey, says Autonews.

To that extent, Honda redesigned the Odyssey for the 2011 model year, attracting more buyers who prefer looks over other considerations.

To make the Odyssey distinct from other minivans, Honda identified the minivan’s beltline as a target area for styling, using the lightning bolt design cue.

Odyssey’s beltline starts at the rear and dives as it flows toward the front of the vehicle, and then rises sharply on the sliding door.

According to Honda, the beltline attracts the eye and is a polarizing design element. Honda believes that this is one of the reasons for the Odyssey becoming a popular choice for many minivan shoppers.

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