GM to Stop Making Minivans

Minivans

Following Ford’s recent exodus from the minivan market, GM announced yesterday it is not planning to produce any new minivans after the Chevy Uplander and Buick Terraza run their course. The company was planning to build a new line of minivans on the same platform as the new Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave crossovers, but decided against the move. Perhaps it was the 50% decline in minivan sales since 2000 that helped GM make that decision.

After driving the new Saturn Outlook, we’re pretty sure GM is making the right call. Its new crossovers do everything a minivan can, but with more style. It seems the executives are also following this logic.

“Our new crossovers — Acadia, Outlook and Enclave — with their three rows of seats and economical V-6 engines, can meet the same customer needs, minus the 'Soccer Mom' stigma," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told The Detroit News.

We agree, but also think successful minivan launches from Kia and Hyundai probably put the nail in the coffin for any GM or Ford attempt at re-entering a segment now dominated by imports and Detroit rival Chrysler.

[GM Kills Plan for Minivans, The Detroit News]

By David Thomas | November 22, 2006 | Comments (17)

Comments 

Lil'Tom

Now why couldn't they make this decision before giving us the Uplander/SV6.

M3

Stigma aside, there are very few vehicles as useful and versatile as a good minivan, still the best choice for families with small kids. Too bad GM and Ford could never figure out how to build a good one. They are wise to stop wasting any more resources in a segment they can't compete in.

Troy

I agree with Lil'Tom. Honda, Toyota and Nissan rule the Minivan world.

J

Nissan's minivan in my opinion is not comparable to the other 2 company's minivan.
One thing it needs the first place is improve its reliability.
The minivan world is ruled by Daimler Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota in order.

Troy

If you look at it in a numbers sense I agree with you J. When it comes to reliability and resale (what really matters) though, you have it backwards.

Paul

Its just as well.GM and Ford have been playing catchup with Chrysler since 1985.The Aerostar and Astro/Safari were no match for the Caravan/Voyager,and the followup Windstar/Freestar,and Lumina APV/Venture/Uplander were still not close enough.It took over 20 years,but GM and Ford have finally admitted defeat in the minivan segment.Nissan nearly gave it up years ago when its "Nissan Van" was recalled and destroyed in its entirety,and the VW Vanagon/Eurovan has literaly sealed VWs fate in the field.

You mean "minivan" instead of "minivans"? Yeah some sarcasm there, but all of the vans were built on the same body with just minor styling cues. And all were pretty much in the bottom of the barrel.

Toyota Troll

GM officially cedes the minivan market to Toyota and Honda. It is only a matter of time before they cede the small car market, then the midsize and full size car markets, and then the truck and SUV markets.

You mean Toyota, Honda, Chrysler and Hyundai? Oh, that's too bad because the "foreign" competition actually spends money on research and design? They don't waste their efforts on three minivans with the same features but different grills?

I'm going to hold out on Chrysler. Their new 2008 minivan lineup should be nice but well overdue.

Peppy

i know lots of family's that have children and they all have the Chryslers. they test drove the Quest, Odyssey and the Sienna as well as the Chrylers... and they all said that the Chrysler still felt more like a mother friendly van.

Karl

My wife and I crossed shopped the usual suspects (Dodge, Honda, Toyota, Nissan) a few months back and it was clear that the Honda minivan is the best all around mix - IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT. Fortunately it's not an issue for us but you do have to spend close to $29k. The Dodge was be far the cheapest and it showed in every way imaginable. The Nissan was a very tempting value, but my wife just didn't like the design. I never thought I would say this but the Ody is as much of a drivers minivan as we have ever come across. That and it'll smoke the majority of cars out there today. Minivans are not what they used to be and the price reflects that.

Tor

Likely a mistake to leave this market. It is clear that (1) they have not been successful and that (2) they are probably losing money. Nevertheless, the minivan market continues to be stable despite the SUV onslaught. It is also a relatively large segment of the market.

GM and Ford have lagged behind, but one reason for this is their slow model turnover. Honda and Toyota replace the Siena/Odyssey every 5 years. How often does Ford replace the Windstar or GM the Venture. Every 7 years at best. Ford's 'new' van is not even new. The uplander is not very new either (they did not significantly revamp the Venture). Moreover styling is awful (the Windstar and Venture used to be ok).

It is clear that if GM and Ford fail to invest in R&D and product development in the minivan segment they will not have a competitive product and as a consequence fail to compete and lose money. IN sum, it seems like GM and Ford did not try very hard to compete in this segment.

In addition, families usually stay loyal to a brand when they (1) move up or (2) get kids. If GM and Ford are without a minivan they will lose these customers. Minivans are more practical and cheaper than SUVs (do SUVs have sliding doors). In addition they use less gas, have more space and drive better (even compared to car-like SUV's like the GMC Acadia). These SUVs may be a fad. They may suffer from higher gas prices. The minivan stigma may be overrated judging by the resilience of the segment.

Ford has given up the small pickup market. Now its giving up the minivans. What is next? Small cars???

interestingly Ford has two great minivans in Europe (but, mini-minivans here) the Galaxy and the C-max. Why not bring one to compete with the Mazda5 and smaller SUVs??

Troy

Excellent post Tor!

If you haven't seen an Acadia (or Outlook) in person, you really should! In fact, you should test drive one! You will NOT buy a minivan if you do. We just bought an Acadia a week ago and it's fantastic! It's really a completely new vehicle concept. There's never really been a "full size" crossover before that combines all the benefits of a minivan (tons of storage, captains chairs/3rd row walk-in access), SUV (fold flat seats with 119 cubic ft of storage, commanding road view) and sedan (unbelievably smooth ride, agility and handling, low center of gravity, 26 MPG AND solid performance). On top of all of this, it's one of the best looking SUV/Crossover vehicles on the road, inside and out! In My option, GM didn't abandon the minivan market, they obsoleted it! Tons of Acadia info at http://www.acadiaforum.net

I would love to buy a new GM mini- van. I Have a Montana Now and love it with all my heart.It's a car, it's a van, it's a truck all at the same time. We have been saving our GM points and now that it's time to get a new van I can't. It is making me stay with my old Van for aslong as it can last or until you start to make a new line of vans or I'll get another brand. I now alot of People who love the vans and they are of all ages. They are great for kids, older people and just stuff around. As my husband said we try and Buy Amarican but they aren't making selling many differnt choiese anymore! Even the gas prices for a Mini-Van are better than most trucks or bigger cars. I really can't belive that you would stop making them all together!

Ralph

I am a Montana minivan owner and I really like it.

I would consider another minivan from GM, but Pontiac already dumped the Montana, then GM dumped Pontiac. Now GM is dumping the minivan altogeather.

And dont try to herd me down the SUV path. I dont want an SUV. The sliding doors are the feature I love the most on the minivan. Its much easier to get out of the back of a minivan than the back of an SUV.

So, its off to Toyota or Honda I go.

Thanks for simplifying my choice GM.

dktrout

ok what is going to hold wheelchairs , you have me real nervous now..they are the most versitle vehicles, what am I to do now. Chevy minivan did everything for me , I beg of you please dont stop making vans or my son wont be able to go anywhere. I am so worried to your thoughts on this. please reconsider those who have no choice but a van to get them around . thanks very concerned k

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