GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Minivan sales up, but not Detroit's
New models don't help automakers beat Asian brands
June 22, 2004
BY SARAH A. WEBSTER AND JEFF BENNETT
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITERS

There's been a big boost in minivan sales this year, as the stigma associated with the loved-and-hated "Mommy-mobile" seems to be fading. But Detroit's automakers, even with four new minivans, aren't cashing in -- at least not yet.

Minivan sales are up 7.2 percent this year through May, compared with the same period a year ago -- double the increase of the overall new car and truck market. But minivan sales are down 12.6 percent for General Motors Corp., 6.7 percent for Ford Motor Co. and 5.8 percent for DaimlerChrysler AG. And with new minivans from Ford, Mercury, Dodge and Chrysler, some analysts are wondering why.

Richard Perna, 30, of Kentwood has test driven a Nissan Quest, which he and his wife liked. But they were disappointed with the fit, finish and handling of Ford Motor Co.'s new Freestar. He said he won't even consider Chrysler's new minivans -- despite the new Stow 'n Go seats in the second and third rows that fold into the floor and offer more storage. That's because his friends have had so many problems with the company's vehicles in the past, he said. The couple plan to test-drive the Toyota Sienna as soon as their local dealership has one available, as well as GM's new minivans when they come out later this year. But Perna said he's already leaning away from GM's newly dubbed crossover sports vans because they won't have the {Ed. - specific} side curtain air bags that he wants for protection.

Perna has already decided against an SUV -- a staple for Detroit's automakers -- because he views them as inefficient and potentially dangerous, and he doesn't like their truck-like handling. So even though his family has its roots in the Detroit auto industry, he's leaning toward minivans made by Asian automakers.

"My father-in-law works for the UAW, so we like to buy domestic vehicles whenever possible," Perna said. "But . . . what can you do? I don't want to waste my money."

With some consumers thinking and feeling this way about Detroit's minivans, it may not be surprising that some local automakers are posting year-to-date declines in minivan sales.

In GM's case, the reason for the decline is obvious. GM's new and improved SUV-like minivans -- the Chevrolet Uplander, Buick Terraza, Pontiac Montana and Saturn Relay -- aren't slated to hit the market until the fourth quarter of the year, so the company's existing lineup is old and on the way out, with the help of incentives topping $3,500, according to the consumer automotive Web site Edmunds.com. GM's current minivan lineup includes the Chevrolet Astro, Chevrolet Venture, GMC Safari, Pontiac Montana and Oldsmobile Silhouette. But Ford's new Freestar and Mercury Monterey have been on the market since last fall, and DaimlerChrysler's new Town & Country and Dodge Caravan were released in March.

The old Chrysler Corp. founded the minivan segment in 1984 and still holds a 34-percent share of the minivan market, according to the Power Information Network, an affiliate of J.D. Power & Associates of Westlake Village, Calif.

Meanwhile, sales of minivans by the other automakers are up a combined 44.5 percent in the January-May period compared with the same time a year ago. The boost is being driven by the Toyota Sienna, which is over a year old and up 119.6 percent, and the Kia Sedona, which is up 28 percent.

The completely redesigned Nissan Quest is up 705.8 percent, but the company was phasing out its old minivans last year and only started production of its new model in May 2003.

A notable exception to the gains by Asian automakers is the Honda Odyssey, with sales down 5.5 percent. A freshened version is due out in the fall.

In a newsletter on the auto industry, Art Spinella of CNW Marketing Research Inc. in Bandon, Ore., questioned why "Detroit minivans are suffering," despite new models from the Detroit brands. "Detroit minivans are given secondary, not primary, consideration among key minivan intenders."

Full Article Here
Nissan Quest:

Montana/Venture:

Dodge Caravan:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,889 Posts
I have to admit, we are looking at a Nissan Quest, because of what it offers. I think it's the best looking and it has the powertrain to back it up. We'll take a look at the new GM offerings, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,374 Posts
The "new" GM minivans will have the same fate as the "new" Ford Freestar. Poor and declining sale because of penny pinching engineering that results in uncompetitive products.

I simply hate the "new" minivans that GM is bringing out this year. They are so disappointing from a stlying, transmission, and engine standpoint. I wonder if they will even beat the Freestar in a comparo. They offer nothing that makes them a compelling buy to anyone not beholden to GM.

Mark
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,307 Posts
The simple fact that the "new" GM minvans don't share the fold into the floor rear seat is reason enough for most people NOT to buy it.

The pseudo-SUV styling may win over some people, but not enough to make any kind of impact.
 

·
Editor
Joined
·
26,951 Posts
I am not a big fan of the Nissan Quest. It just looks wierd, and that interior is odd. As for the Caravan, it would have been a lot better if they would have redesigned the exterior.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
The Quest's interior is just flat out odd. Look at the placement of the CD player in that center stack? And that dashboard? Looks like Mars space ships were the design influence of that. And Adobe colored interior!!! FUGGGGGGGGGLY!
And it seems that the Dodge minivans arent making a dent even with the fold away seats, despite what you say Rex. ;)
I think it comes down to just import bias. I think both the Toyota and Nissan minivans look fugly as sin. I dont see many on the roads. The only thing that I find "cool" are the roll down windows.
Some things that rank high, and that I think that GM wont fair too bad is that the look of the interior on top of the rail systems and other things will make the CSV's very attractive to consumers. I dont think that the CSV's will scare away the likes of Toyota, Honda, or Nissan but for other reasons, namly it being a Domestic car.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
Originally posted by bigals87z28@Jun 23 2004, 07:32 PM
And it seems that the Dodge minivans arent making a dent even with the fold away seats

Some things that rank high, and that I think that GM wont fair too bad is that the look of the interior on top of the rail systems and other things will make the CSV's very attractive to consumers.
if something as major as the fold-away seats don't help sell DCX's minivans, i doubt something like the overhead rack system will help GM much. and yeah, the quest interior is wierd, but if nissan can convince minivan people weird is better, they'll have that corner of the market locked! just because minivans are boring doesn't necessarily mean that they should be. not that i like the quest... i think it's hideous... but apparently not everyone does!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Venture dash:


Quest dash:


:p

Thankfully the CSVs are more like the latter than the former... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,714 Posts
Originally posted by bigals87z28@Jun 23 2004, 02:32 PM
...And it seems that the Dodge minivans arent making a dent even with the fold away seats...
But of Caravan/Town & Country buyers, the option is very high on their list. Chrysler has already upped the supply of the Stow n Go seats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Originally posted by bigals87z28@Jun 23 2004, 01:32 PM
The Quest's interior is just flat out odd. Look at the placement of the CD player in that center stack? And that dashboard? Looks like Mars space ships were the design influence of that. And Adobe colored interior!!! FUGGGGGGGGGLY!
And it seems that the Dodge minivans arent making a dent even with the fold away seats, despite what you say Rex. ;)
I think it comes down to just import bias. I think both the Toyota and Nissan minivans look fugly as sin. I dont see many on the roads. The only thing that I find "cool" are the roll down windows.
Some things that rank high, and that I think that GM wont fair too bad is that the look of the interior on top of the rail systems and other things will make the CSV's very attractive to consumers. I dont think that the CSV's will scare away the likes of Toyota, Honda, or Nissan but for other reasons, namly it being a Domestic car.
No offense, but every time the new midvans come up you have to bring up "import bias" when in fact we all have to face the truth - the new midvans SUCK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
we looked at the GM vans and the Chrysler vans, considered buying Chrysler cause they make them 4.5 hours down the highway from my house(Windsor assy), but they seem so lackluster compared to the Toyota/Honda. So we bought a Sienna and haven't looked back, it's both comfortable and easy to drive, the engine is suberb, it's quiet and efficient, compared to the DCX 3.3L which was rough and noisy. I've always owned domestics but probaly not anymore.

To add insult to injury I have a Tundra DC on the way, I have to wait 3 more weeks cause they are selling everyone they make and can't get one to me. Sorry big 3 but you just lost a customer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Originally posted by thehollywoodhotel@Jun 23 2004, 03:10 PM
So we bought a Sienna and haven't looked back, it's both comfortable and easy to drive, the engine is suberb, it's quiet and efficient, compared to the DCX 3.3L which was rough and noisy.
Sorry to hear that you won't be buying another domestic, but I have to ask - did you try the DCX 3.8L? I'm curious as to how it drives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,863 Posts
As much as I hate to say it, I cannot blame people for buying either the Toyota, Honda or Nissan offerings. Overall, they seem to be better vehicles; it disappoints me that GM is settling for its next generation minivans, which seem to be just good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Correct, tg....
I mean, the CSV's are okay, but Toyota's offering is much better. Yes, it might be more expensive, but hey, what do you expect? I'd pay that price if I was getting top-of-the-line quality. I wouldn't pay for any cheapo Buick Terraza....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,663 Posts
tgagneguam : My neighbor traded in a Venture for a Quest and although it's a better van in many ways, it's laced with rattles and issues. He is very disappointed and told me at least the Venture worked and drove quietly. He also told me the dealer has been unable to fix the winshied wipers that do not clear the windows properly when driving. BRUTAL!

GM needs to get all new vans out ASAP. The 05 vans will be better but not enough. That said, we have a Montana and love it in spite of a few quibbles. It's smooth and efficient.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,380 Posts
Originally posted by thehollywoodhotel@Jun 23 2004, 09:10 PM
we looked at the GM vans and the Chrysler vans, considered buying Chrysler cause they make them 4.5 hours down the highway from my house(Windsor assy), but they seem so lackluster compared to the Toyota/Honda. So we bought a Sienna and haven't looked back, it's both comfortable and easy to drive, the engine is suberb, it's quiet and efficient, compared to the DCX 3.3L which was rough and noisy. I've always owned domestics but probaly not anymore.

To add insult to injury I have a Tundra DC on the way, I have to wait 3 more weeks cause they are selling everyone they make and can't get one to me. Sorry big 3 but you just lost a customer.
It just seems odd to me that a minivan choice would dictate what continent everything you buy from now on would come from... I would at least hope your future purchases would at least compare different types, since minivans are probably what the big 3 (at least GM and ford) are least competitive in.

I am particularly baffled that minivan choice would drive a truck purchase, where toyo powertrains can only dream of stacking up. The tundra's V8 is smaller, less power full, and gets worse gas mileage than a GM 5.3

That aside, I hope you enjoy your purchase.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Originally posted by GM_Guy81+Jun 24 2004, 01:05 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (GM_Guy81 @ Jun 24 2004, 01:05 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-thehollywoodhotel@Jun 23 2004, 09:10 PM
we looked at the GM vans and the Chrysler vans,  considered buying Chrysler cause they make them 4.5 hours down the highway from my house(Windsor assy), but they seem so lackluster compared to the Toyota/Honda.  So we bought a Sienna and haven't looked back,  it's both comfortable and easy to drive, the engine is suberb, it's quiet and efficient, compared to the DCX 3.3L which was rough and noisy. I've always owned domestics but probaly not anymore.
Sorry big 3 but you just lost a customer.
It just seems odd to me that a minivan choice would dictate what continent everything you buy from now on would come from... [/b][/quote]
What we see here is a mix of newfound brand loyalty and brand halo (extending to other imports) effect. It would not make sense for a happy Sienna buyer to suddenly consider KIA, Volkswagen or Mitsubishi over GM, but the whole "Import vs. Domestic" thing does still exist in the minds of many.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,863 Posts
Originally posted by gmwsag@Jun 24 2004, 02:28 AM
I'd pay that price if I was getting top-of-the-line quality. I wouldn't pay for any cheapo Buick Terraza....
Just to be clear, I wasn't talking specifically about build quality or the like. And I think that you would agree. GM has proven it can match (and exceed) Toyota division quality, and certainly the CSV's are peddled by dealers that consistently make customers happier overall than customers of Toyota division (any survey would demonstrate that).

I'm talking about the appeal of the vehicle overall. I don't think the style of the minivans helps them, I think that their powertrains don't pass muster, and the passenger compartment is not managed as well as in other minivans. It seems that GM's very capable engineers and designers (and finally the vaunted Lutz) fell short on this assignment.

For shame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,632 Posts
The current GM minivans, aside from there cheap interiors, have been pretty reliable the past couple of years. But todays buyers are looking for air bags everywhere... Airbags for your glasses, airbags for your groceries, airbags for your optional air inflators, airbags for your supply of headache medicine in the glovebox etc! Geeshe why don't we just make the whole vehicle out of an air bag, make it weight 8,000 lbs, have it powered by a 12 liter V12 with 1,000 hp, charge $100,000 for it and hope for the best. This airbag craze of this modern generation is getting out of hand a bit. If the vehicle in question has a 5 star safety rating, a good offset crash score and is safe in side and rear end collisions, that is enough for me. I do think GM missed the mark on the CSV's by not offering an optional 3.9 liter high value V6 or the current 3.6 dohc as in the Rendesvous and the true fold in the floor seats. And the front ends on the Chevy, Saturn and Buick look odd, and there isn't enough distinction between the 4 variations. If the Pontiac SV6 version has a reasonable price tag, that would be the one I would check out, if anything for the tried and true 60degree V6 and 4T65 tranny. I look at what I have to live with on a daily basis, not statistics.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top