Minivans: Going, Going…

September 16th, 2013

2013 Grand Caravan Redline 5

There’s a difference between necessity and aspiration.

Aspiration is a reason to buy a car. People save money, make goals and dream of owning their chosen make and model. Maybe it’s because a certain model represents success, or maybe it’s just for the pure sexiness of a powerful sports car.

People love to pay for aspiration, but they loathe paying for necessity.

Nobody dreams of buying a minivan. Minivans are purchased out of necessity—they are not the items of dreams.

Which is why the segment is slowly dying.

How can a box-shaped vehicle meant to haul kids and groceries be anything someone would lust to own? Even the current models, which are sleeker, more powerful, exceptionally more comfortable and able to swallow entire villages, are purchased by people humble enough to buy based on functionality alone.

I say all of this to bring up the possibility of minivans going extinct. That, of course, is not likely, but with sexier crossovers that offer similar capabilities, why on earth would someone still spend upward of 30 grand on a van?

If there was ever a sign that minivans are on the slow decline to irrelevance, it’s the fact that the Dodge Grand Caravan, a perennial player in the van segment, will be discontinued. That means there will be only one minivan offered by an American automaker, the Chrysler Town & Country. Honda and Toyota still offer their giant people movers, and people still gobble them up almost as quickly as they can be produced, but the minivan fad may finally be on its slow march to the end of the road.

On a personal level, there are times I find myself needing to transport a family of 6, and the most efficient way to do that is with a van. I’ll never aspire to buy a new one, though, and I’d rather take two cars than resign myself to van-land.

Are minivans on the verge of extinction?

-tgriffith

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  1. James
    September 18th, 2013 at 13:03 | #1

    The day will come when we look back with fond memories of the minivan, just like we do today with the wagon. I don’t think vans will ever completely go away, but we’ll see fewer and fewer.

  2. Randy
    September 16th, 2013 at 17:12 | #2

    The minivan is a victim of the trend towards smaller families, as well as some shortcomings when compared to SUV’s, number one of which seems to be the lack of towing power. A 3-row SUV compares well against a minivan, and most look better too. Got to hand it to Chrysler, they invented a genre, but nothing lasts forever. The minivan predecessor was the full-size station wagon, another rare beast these days. I also wonder how much longer the 2-door coupe with last.

  3. Tom
    September 16th, 2013 at 12:46 | #3

    The Caravan R/T was a fun van. It was a fun joke of an r/t for those who don’t take things so seriously. But the Magnum and Durango R/T were the true best of both worlds vehicles.

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