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  • The minivan is a vehicle that too many screams domesticity.

  • It calls to mind images of suburbs, family life and youth soccer

  • teams. For much of its history, it has been praised for its

  • practicality and yet maligned as so deeply uncool.

  • Even Kevin Hart had something to say about the minivan in his comedy

  • special. I'm a grown little man.

  • If your husband or your boyfriend drives a minivan.

  • Leave him alone.

  • Any man a jobs, a minivan does not care about life.

  • But the minivan once helped save Chrysler from total ruin in the

  • 1980s. The unveiling of the first Chrysler minivans in 1984 is still

  • considered a landmark moment in the history of the automotive

  • industry. But the minivan is now relegated to a small portion of the

  • automotive market, despite seeming like the sum of everything.

  • Most people want in a car.

  • If you were to look at it from said automakers point of view, a

  • product planning point of view, you would ask consumers, what do you

  • want? And they would give you a list of things like roomy, spacious

  • cargo, good fuel economy, and even sliding doors might come up in

  • that. And what would it be?

  • It would be a minivan, but nobody wants to buy one because they all

  • want SUV is now. It's such an image problem.

  • But my God, the moment someone drives on to say, wow, this is really

  • practical, I really like it.

  • Meanwhile, buyers scoop up sport utility vehicles and crossovers at

  • an increasing rate. And automakers are faced with the choice of

  • whether they ought to keep selling these multipurpose vehicles or

  • throw in the towel in favor of more popular and more profitable

  • models.

  • The origins of the minivan are.

  • Believe it or not, the subject of sometimes fierce debate.

  • Some would say the first minivan was the Volkswagen bus, which the

  • German automaker began selling in the 1960s.

  • Others may point to even earlier examples such as the Stout Scarab, a

  • car from the 1930s.

  • But the minivan, as customers typically know it, is traced back to

  • the 1984 model year when Chrysler rolled out its Dodge Caravan and

  • Plymouth Voyager models.

  • The story is that Lee Iacocca, who had previously been famous for

  • shepherding the Ford Mustang into existence, had left Ford for

  • Chrysler in the early 1980s.

  • At the time, Chrysler was struggling just a few years earlier.

  • Congress approved the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, securing

  • one point five billion dollars for the automaker.

  • Chrysler needed a hit and it got one under Iacocca is leadership.

  • Chrysler developed the K car platform, a kind of simple skeleton

  • which the company used as the base for a wide range of cars.

  • This is common practice in the auto industry.

  • But this particular platform was so adaptable it allowed Chrysler to

  • simplify product development and cut costs to an unprecedented

  • degree. It was a major turn for the company, and its first minivans

  • were one of the many vehicles Chrysler built on this platform.

  • Coca had been part of a team at Ford that had been working on a small

  • family van concept to compete with station wagons, which were quite

  • popular at that time.

  • When Iacocca decamped to Chrysler, he took the idea of the minivan

  • with him and the caravan and Voyager models were released soon after.

  • This is one of the most important new concepts in American family

  • motoring to come along in decades.

  • The Chrysler Corporation's new T wagon, the Plymouth Voyager and the

  • Dodge Caravan.

  • The idea was to combine the spaciousness and practicality of a cargo

  • van with the driving dynamics of a car.

  • It could take sharp turns and fit into a conventional garage.

  • The generous interior space was made possible by the front wheel

  • drive powertrain on Chrysler's K platform.

  • The van went on sale in January of 1984 and by the middle of the

  • month, Chrysler's truck sales were already soaring 160 percent over

  • the same period in the previous year.

  • Dodge Caravan.

  • One vehicle that takes the place of an economy car, sporty car

  • station wagon and Van Dodge Caravan is a transportation

  • revolution. Other automakers rushed to get in on the action.

  • Toyota repurposed one of its vans for the U.S.

  • market and Detroit competitors Ford and General Motors released their

  • own smaller vans in the years that followed.

  • To lure away customers, for better or worse, the minivan became a

  • kind of cultural icon, a symbol of the suburbs in much the same way

  • the station wagon had once epitomized American family life.

  • It really became the replacement for the station wagon and for what

  • family is. You know, prior to that, took as a you know, as a vehicle

  • of choice for a rather, they were moving around the city and doing

  • sporting events or what have you to take vacations.

  • So it quickly became the vehicle of choice for families.

  • Minivans grew from about 4 percent of new car sales in the early

  • 1990s to a peak of around 7 percent in the early 2000s.

  • But they fell from there.

  • And automakers who once scrambled to catch up to Chrysler's hit

  • vehicle began dropping out of the race.

  • Car buyers today won't see a single sliding door on a car based

  • vehicle from either Ford or GM.

  • Besides Fiat Chrysler, the only other automakers selling minivans to

  • Americans are Asian manufacturers.

  • Toyota has the Sienna.

  • Honda sells the Odyssey.

  • And Keya makes the Sedona in 2018.

  • Fiat Chrysler led the segment.

  • The Dodge Caravan sold 150 1927 units, up 21 percent from the

  • previous year. The Chrysler Pacifica held steady, selling one hundred

  • eighteen thousand three hundred twenty two units.

  • Honda's odyssey took third place with about one hundred six thousand

  • sales, a six percent increase over the previous year.

  • But both the Toyota, Sienna and Kia Sedona dropped more than 20

  • percent in sales, selling roughly 88000 and 18000 units respectively.

  • That whole view of the soccer mom mobile are really affecting the

  • image of the minivan.

  • It became such an icon for families that anyone that was starting a

  • family, you know, who didn't want to be seen as as the you know, the

  • stereotypical American family was looking for something else.

  • Enter the SUV in raw numbers.

  • The true family car has for a long time been the sport utility

  • vehicle and its car like cousin.

  • The crossover. Whereas the total minivan segment accounted for only

  • about 3 percent of new vehicle sales in 2018.

  • Compact, midsize and large SUV were a combined 35 percent of the

  • market. That same year.

  • But these vehicles are not just hurting minivan sales and they are

  • arguably doing more damage to other segments such as sedans,

  • crossovers, SUV and pickup trucks make up almost 70 percent of the

  • car market today.

  • They have been climbing in sales since the early 2000s, just as the

  • minivan was beginning to peak.

  • So with the pendulum swinging wildly towards sport utility vehicles.

  • What kind of future does the minivan have?

  • Could there be a revival?

  • Probably not. Say industry watchers, the minivans problem is that it

  • is often seen as unfashionable as it is practical, and its

  • practicality may be the root of its problem.

  • The boxy shape, the sliding door, and the sometimes surprisingly high

  • gas mileage might be useful, but to many buyers they seem the

  • automotive equivalent of orthopedic shoes.

  • Crossovers in sport utilities are arguably less practical, but they

  • convey sporty ness and a rugged lifestyle many people aspire to.

  • The SUV is winning because it is seen as sportier, right?

  • Even has word sport in its name for SUV.

  • But it doesn't lend itself as much to a people mover in the same

  • manner, which kind of lets you steer away from that.

  • You know, say soccer mom use that term, but the same time is really

  • the default one that everyone goes with.

  • But it's odd because it's the most practical.

  • Other than a large truck, a minivan is going to get you basically

  • everything you need. However, there still seems to be a large enough

  • slice of minivan buyers that encourage a few brands to stay in the

  • game. In 2016, Chrysler unveiled its Pacifica model, an update to the

  • minivan it had pioneered four decades earlier.

  • It was a considerable change from the town and country minivan that

  • had come before it. Chrysler marketed the Pacifica as a sleeker, more

  • refined vehicle than its predecessor and competitors.

  • Customers can still opt for luxury features such as leather seats and

  • an appearance package that blacks out the entire vehicle.

  • Giving it an almost intimidating look.

  • Honda was the first to offer a built in vacuum cleaner and

  • competitors have followed suit.

  • But despite these innovations, the mini vans best chance at a future

  • in the U.S. might be in fleets.

  • Fleet sales for rentals, taxicabs and ridesharing companies already

  • make up a considerable portion of sales.

  • If we fast forward a little bit further into the future and we start

  • to get into it, Ptolemy and ride sharing, you know, there are other

  • good that can be an interesting play for a box on a wheels kind of

  • design. Or you can do a lot with at interior, especially if you don't

  • have a driver and you're using that space, you know, rather its

  • workspace, potentially a sleep space, kitchen on wheels, party and

  • wheels, whatever it might be.

  • I think there's a lot of options that potentially could see that

  • shape come back.

  • Notably, Google's autonomous driving project, Whammo gave the

  • Pacifica one of its biggest single lifts in years when it ordered

  • 62000 of the minivans for its own planned fleet of self-driving

  • vehicles. Ultimately, there is only so much automakers can do to

  • spruce up the humble haulers image, change the minivan too much and

  • it ceases to be a minivan.

  • Instead, it becomes just another crossover.

The minivan is a vehicle that too many screams domesticity.

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The Fall Of The Minivan

  • 6 1
    joey joey に公開 2021 年 04 月 25 日
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