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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM showing off sportier minivans
Sunday, February 1, 2004

DETROIT (AP) -- Just when it looked like minivans were going the way of the wood-paneled station wagon, automakers have beefed up their lineups with sportier and more stylish versions they hope will appeal to a broader audience.

The latest entrants, the new Chevrolet Uplander and next-generation Pontiac Montana SV6, are scheduled to be shown by General Motors Corp. on Wednesday during the first of two media preview days at the Chicago Auto Show. The show is open to the public Feb. 6-15.

GM recently introduced two other new minivans, the Saturn Relay and Buick Terazza, marking those nameplates' first entries in the minivan category.

All will debut as 2005 models and compete in a segment that originated 21 years ago, when Chrysler Corp. introduced the first family hauler and created what became a favorite among soccer moms and growing clans -- not to mention helped save the automaker from bankruptcy.

Minivan sales have fallen steadily in recent years, as people in their 20s and 30s -- and even aging Baby Boomers -- have more often selected one of the growing number of SUVs and so-called crossover vehicles, car-based models that have the functionality of a van but boast a more stylish image.

Minivans accounted for 6.4 percent of the U.S. market in 2003, down from 6.7 percent in 2002 and 8-plus percent nearly a decade ago, according to Autodata Corp.

But because the vehicles still account for more than 1 million U.S. sales, analysts say automakers can't afford to ignore that segment in today's increasingly competitive domestic marketplace.

Ford used last year's Chicago Auto Show to reveal the new Ford Freestar, which replaced the Windstar, and Mercury Monterey minivans. They have gotten off to a sluggish sales start.

Wall said the minivan segment appears to be separating into two camps -- sportier versions and higher-end offerings.

GM, in fact, refers to the Uplander, Montana, Relay and Terazza as crossover sport vans, not minivans.

The world's largest automaker says the Uplander, which will replace the Chevy Venture, combines SUV-like styling and features with the comforts of a minivan. The headlamps, for example, are mounted high and wrap over the hood, similar to many SUVs.

"Uplander breaks from the traditional sloped-nose style of competitors with a design that evokes the emotional appeal of a sport utility," said Janet Eckhoff, the vehicle's marketing director.

The Uplander is projected to be the volume leader in GM's new stable of minivans. Both the Uplander and Montana SV6 will be built beginning in the fourth quarter at GM's Doraville Assembly Plant near Atlanta. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Honda sold 154,063 Odyssey minivans last year -- 5,182 more than GM's total for the Chevy Venture, Pontiac Montana and Oldsmobile Silhouette.

Wall said Honda and Toyota have become known for their upscale minivan offerings, with pricing that can reach well above $30,000. A big plus for the two Japanese automakers, he said, is they typically sell the vans without the profit-eating incentives their domestic competitors often have to provide.

Full Article Here

 

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Here's an image of the Chevy application from DetNews:


source article

Darn.

I actually like the way these things look, but now that I've seen four of them--Terraza, Relay, Montana, and Uplander--I'm disappointed that they all look so similar. (I know, we're all shocked that GM would actually do such a thing.)

I really think the Buick Terraza is a very nice looking minivan--one I might actually want; but I have to admit that something is taken away from it when both the Chevy and Saturn versions look as similar as they do, at least from the pictures I've seen.

I dunno, maybe it will be different when I actually see them in person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Originally posted by coolcaddy@Feb 1 2004, 10:16 AM
I really think the Buick Terraza is a very nice looking minivan--one I might actually want; but I have to admit that something is taken away from it when both the Chevy and Saturn versions look as similar as they do, at least from the pictures I've seen.

I dunno, maybe it will be different when I actually see them in person.
The Chevy should have a chrome bar strip on the front if it really is supposed to look like a truck. Even the Malibu has the chrome bar now.
 

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I think the Uplander has the best looking exterior. It's blandness makes the entire design actually palatable.
The worst exterior has to go to the Relay. It just doesn't work

Best interior goes to Terraza... but not too sure about the fake wood. But the Montana has anice sporty feel.

I think these vans are a placeholder for GM while they tune up other models and probably work on a new platform and design for the minivans.
 

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Originally posted by mgescuro@Feb 3 2004, 01:52 PM
I think the Uplander has the best looking exterior. It's blandness makes the entire design actually palatable.
The worst exterior has to go to the Relay. It just doesn't work
hmm-- I view these in an opposite manner. I really like the looks of the Relay and don't really feel that the Vent-- er-- UPLANDER really looks right. I guess GM did well by appealing to different people with different designs.
 

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The Chevy should have a chrome bar strip on the front if it really is supposed to look like a truck. Even the Malibu has the chrome bar now.
Think "Cheyenne Concept." Then think "3400."

"3400..."
"3400..."

:drevil:

Ghrankenstein
 

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Originally posted by Ghrankenstein@Feb 3 2004, 06:26 PM
The Chevy should have a chrome bar strip on the front if it really is supposed to look like a truck. Even the Malibu has the chrome bar now.
Think "Cheyenne Concept." Then think "3400."

"3400..."
"3400..."

:drevil:

Ghrankenstein
i was just about to say that.
...makes me think something wacky may be up with the new truck designs around the corner, too. hmmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally posted by Ghrankenstein@Feb 3 2004, 06:26 PM
The Chevy should have a chrome bar strip on the front if it really is supposed to look like a truck. Even the Malibu has the chrome bar now.
Think "Cheyenne Concept." :drevil:

Ghrankenstein
So I guess we should look forward to blue and red bowties again, since Chevy can't make up its mind. ;)
 

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Originally posted by Ghrankenstein@Feb 3 2004, 07:26 PM
The Chevy should have a chrome bar strip on the front if it really is supposed to look like a truck. Even the Malibu has the chrome bar now.
Think "Cheyenne Concept." Then think "3400."

"3400..."
"3400..."

:drevil:

Ghrankenstein
Ok maybe someone can spell this out 4 me...I've tried and my brain hurts now :blink: :microwave:
 
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