U.S. minivan market may flourish in a few years

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 23, 2012

Judging from the sales recorded in 2011, the U.S. minivan market may flourish in a few years. Last year, 524,158 minivans were sold, 4% higher than sales from the prior year. Meanwhile, the overall market improved by 10%. The highest ever figure that minivan sales reached was in 2000 with 1,371,234.

The king of minivans for 2011 is the Toyota Sienna with 111,429 while the Dodge Grand Caravan is at No. 2 with 110,862. Only 567 vehicles separate the two. Sienna sales are 13% higher than what it sold in 2010 when it took the No. 4 position.

The winner last year was Chrysler's Town & Country, which has now fallen to fourth place with 94,320 units sold. For 2011, the Honda Odyssey came in third with 107,068. For this decade, minivan sales are expected to grow – but by just few hundred thousand higher rather than growing to more than a million.

Automakers are expected to continue to move away from the traditional styling pattern and this would attract more buyers. For example, Honda used the lightning-bolt beltline for its redesigned Odyssey and it has ramped up sales.

It would have gotten to No. 1 except that its supply was affected by the March disaster in Japan. Meanwhile, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the next-generation Town & Country will be very different from its past minivans. As proof of its unconventional thinking, Chrysler introduced the 700C at the Detroit Auto Show.

It was back in 1983 when Chrysler Group came out with the first modern minivan through the Plymouth Voyager and the Dodge Caravan. This was not enough as the brand, by 1989, introduced the Chrysler Town & Country, the first ever luxury minivan. Since then the company continues to take the lead when it comes to offering innovative vehicles.

Aside from introducing 75 innovations for the minivan, the company was also able to sell around 13 million units. These successes are indeed proof of its revolutionary methods. The company’s latest offering is the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan which is fitted with pioneering technology, delivers unmatched functionality, equipped with the every standard safety features, and comes in an excellent American design.

Indeed, it’s everything a family wants but what’s surprising is that it is offered at a great value. For this new model, the company made sure to re-engineer or redesign every component that customers are likely to look into. The suspension for example was redesigned to give it that exciting driving performance. Meanwhile the exterior comes with a new and sleek design with the interior having a cabin that has been exquisitely-crafted while having a number of features any family would love.

Truly everything in the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country shows innovation. Speaking of innovations, the company is at it again with the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country as it will have a heated steering wheel, a first in the minivan segment. Another first is the roof rack system known as Stow 'n Place. What this does it that when the roof bows are not being used, it can be kept in the rails.

The integrated super center console for passengers sitting in the first and second row is another innovation as well as the fuel economizer mode that ensures fuel economy is maximized when driving. Chrysler Brand President and CEO Olivier Francois revealed that he is proud of the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country as it is the first model to carry the new badge.

This is obvious, he added, as it is equipped with a number of firsts. The suspension has been enhanced with everything in the interior upgraded, he continued. In addition, the new model delivers on excellent power and even fuel economy as it is fitted with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine, Francois said further.

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