TBF, they had to market them as wagons because that was the market they were trying to make a dent in. Minivan name would conjure images of the big 70's vans with no windows which at the time weren't the family hauler of choice. The Wagon Queen Family Truckster was.
There was a bit of revenge too.
GM may have had the largest marketshare overall, but Ford had a greater marketshare in station wagons.
So the minivan could do more damage to Ford.
So they looked like traditional wagons with wire wheel covers and wood paneling.
Both were the result of a great deal of careful engineering and observation. It took YEARS to get the minivans right, even before the K platform (more to the point, the Omni front suspension and such) was available. The Ram was a stunning achievement. I agree with you but I want to be clear that in both cases, a great deal of hard work and ingenuity were the primary drivers - it wasn't just timing.
Exactly, Chrysler hit it out of the park with the first minivans. The reactionary offerings from Ford and GM were terrible by comparison. I just really miss the station wagons I grew up with and later owned. The change from a tailgate to a liftgate killed what was being called station wagons, but still beat GMs roll up window and roll down tailgate.
My first Dodge GC was a 1989 I had $35 in as it had a messed up 3.0L (broken rocker assembly bolt, guy drilled into the water jacket trying to helicoil it). Daughter-in-law had one that was a slug due to a bad cat from the guides making it burn oil. It had been T-boned and totaled so we pulled her engine and trans, fixed the heads properly and drove it for a long time. my wife and I liked it so much we bought 4 more each a bit newer finally finishing with a 2005 T&C Touring model with Stow and Go seats. It finally left when I couldn't get a trailer hitch that fit it.