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Who is the minivan king?

by David Zatz on

Dodge may not be keeping a minivan past next year, but it’s selling more than any other company in the United States. The second best brand is Chrysler — if you lump together the Pacifica and Town & Country.


Minivans were big sellers in October; Dodge and Chrysler sold 19,850 of the big people-movers. Toyota was a distant #2, with 7,859 Siennas sold, and the Honda Odyssey took up the #3 spot with 7,622 sales. (The Kia Sedona is not a big player in sales.)

Past reports had 2/3 of Caravan sales going to corporate and government buyers. The more retail-biased Chryslers are in the same price and sales range as Toyota and Honda.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

Dodge was the #1 brand, with 11,563 sales. Some bargain-hunters (including fleet buyers) may be picking up the inexpensive Dodge while they still can.  The Pacifica, arguably a far better van than the Town & Country, saw just 7,758 sales — which out-sold Honda. Toss in the Town & Country’s 529 sales, and Chrysler was #2 after Dodge.

Last October, the Caravan outsold the Town & Country by a much slimmer margin. Is this meaningful? Possibly not. Some people refuse to buy a domestic car in its first year, the Pacifica may have name-recognition issues, and it’s the Pacificas on dealer lots are more expensive, especially after the old T&C’s incentives. With a wider gap, many of those who would have opted for the Chrysler are likely sticking with Dodge.

Pacifica sales may shoot up after media buzz from the hybrids, due in the next two months.

For the year to date, Dodge Caravan sales are up by a stunning 45%, to 114,295. The Town & Country + Pacifica stand at 101,785 — also way up from 2015.  Toyota stands at 107,369 Siennas, down by 6%, while Honda sits at 102,457, down by 5%. (In Canada, Dodge easily outsells all other brands — combined.)

The question is, what will happen when Dodge leaves? We fully expect Canada to keep the brand going, and Chrysler to do a lower-end base model Pacifica. It seems likely that, in 2019, Chrysler will still have the #1 spot in minivans, but probably by a lesser margin — and the Kia Sedona may pick up many of the value sales, if there’s no new Journey-like vehicle for those who need the space but can only make Dodge-sized payments.

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