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Caravan tops, Sienna drops (updated)

by David Zatz on

With September’s sales results, the Dodge Grand Caravan had a comfortable 10,000-plus U.S. sales lead over the second-place Honda Odyssey, which had poked its head up to be the top-selling US minivan (if the Caravan and Town & Country’s sales were not added together).

The Toyota Sienna, which was threatening to displace one or both of the Chrysler vans at the top, has dropped down to #4 in the charts, with the Chrysler Town & Country in the #3 position. The gap between Town & Country and Sienna is quite small.

Minivan sales have been dropping, with both Chrysler minivans, combined, having lower sales than the most popular crossovers. Before 2008, Chrysler made both short and long wheelbase minivans, which allowed for a greater range of prices; however, the lower-priced part of the market appears to have moved towards crossovers, and the Kia Sedona, which aimed to fill in the gap left by the short-wheelbase Caravan, has not sold well.

Chrysler hinted that the Dodge Journey was aimed at the market once served by the short-wheelbase minivans, and it has had higher sales than Kia Sedona — also aimed at that group of buyers. Dodge sold 59,351 Journeys through the end of September 2012, compared with 14,454 Sedonas. The Kia Sorento crossover has easily outsold both, with 88,164 sold so far; and the Kia Sportage has also doubled the sales of the Sedona, indicating, perhaps, that Chrysler was right to drop the short wheelbase Caravans.

Update: We accidentally left the Nissan Quest out of this story; it barely edged out the Kia Sedona, with 14,514 sales, up 68% from last year (the Sedona had fallen by 25%). We also left out the Chrysler-built Volkswagen Routan, which is an exceedingly slow seller.

Overall, the minivan market has risen since 2011 by 19% across brands, with Honda Odyssey picking up 29%, Dodge Caravan gaining 26%, Town & Country rising 22%, and Sienna roughly stable with a 5% hike. Year to date, Americans have purchased nearly 410,000 minivans, nearly half of which were made by Chrysler Group.

Historically, minivans have been falling until this year; in 2000, year to date, sales were 972,408 all together, with Chrysler’s four van brands (Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager) accounting for 326,237 of them (around a 41% share). In 2001, sales fell to just over 803,000, with Chrysler taking about 40%. Chrysler’s current share of 48% (year to date) with total minivan volume of around 410,000 is an achievement even though Ford and GM have both left the market.

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