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Chrysler Expands U.S. Minivan Market Share From 51% To 57%

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The U.S. minivan market is flat for 2018, tracking to 500,000 units for the full year, just like in 2017.

Amazingly, FCA has expanded its market share lead from 51% to 57% with its two products: Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Caravan.

The big market share loser in 2018 was Toyota Sienna, whereas the Honda Odyssey picked up part of those losses for a moderate gain.

I look beyond the next product cycle to discuss two new all-electric minivans that could be in U.S. showrooms in 2022.

Those two new all-electric minivans would be the Volkswagen “BUZZ” and one made by Chrysler, likely prodded by Waymo (Alphabet).

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There are some subjects in the automotive industry that are bordering on taboo. One of them is that brand new regular gasoline cars in the U.S. are extremely clean, and that’s why the air in the U.S. has been getting cleaner every year for many years already, and will continue to get cleaner every year into the future, even if emissions standards don’t tighten at all going forward.

Another taboo in the automotive industry is minivans. From their 1984 instant hit with Chrysler-Dodge (FCAU), they have become as talked-about in polite circles as calling your baby ugly. Nobody wants to bring up the minivan subject anymore.

But today, we are breaking this silent treatment. This Christmas, we are talking about that 800 pound baby gorilla-elephant sitting in the middle of the living room, right in front of the Christmas tree.

And we are going to talk about it, because I have found some numbers for you. Specifically, I have the U.S. minivan sales numbers for January-November 2018, compared to what they were one year prior.

These numbers show some surprising results. They also call for predictions about the new vehicle planning, that we should expect to see on the road in 2019, 2020 and 2021. I will discuss those future market shifts, and why the U.S. minivan market looks to take a surprising turn in 2022. Yes, 2022.

But first, the actual numbers, nameplate by nameplate:

U.S. minivan sales

2018 1-11

2017 1-11

change y/y

2018 share

2017 share

Chrysler Pacifica






Chrysler Town & Country






Dodge Caravan






Toyota Sienna






Honda Odyssey






Kia Sedona






Nissan Quest












Data sources: Automaker monthly U.S. sales reports

As you can see in the table above, we have some difficulty eyeballing the analysis. There’s visual noise in the table, that we really ought to fix -- but also one thing that we must keep as part of the critical analysis.

First, the Chrysler Town & Country was phased out already in 2016, with essentially zero sales in 2017. It must be filtered out. Second, the Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) Quest was phased out in 2017, and only had a 1% market share to begin with, so it too needs to be essentially disregarded.

However, there is one thing about this table that stands out above all others: The Dodge Caravan. At 142,233 units sold in the U.S. for the first eleven months of 2018, it is not only up a whopping 20%, but it has gained 5% market share to an impressive 32% total.

This is for a product which is seemingly hopelessly out of date, as it was first shown in 2007, making it one of the very oldest design in the U.S. car market right now. It was “replaced” in the first half of 2016 by the significantly modernized Chrysler Pacifica -- except FCA kept manufacturing the old model, the Dodge Caravan, to this date. It obviously outsells its intended successor product thanks to one simple factor: Price.

One would reasonably have believed that the sales of the Dodge Caravan would have dropped to a trickle, already by the end of 2016, but no, that didn’t happen at all. U.S. sales of the old Caravan have remained very strong, and its 20% increase in 2018 is one of the greater mysteries in the entire U.S. automotive market.

Let’s put this 142,233 unit sales number of this almost prehistoric minivan model into perspective, by comparing it with Tesla’s U.S. sales number for the same time period. The point with this comparison is to consider the amount of attention Tesla (TSLA) gets for its U.S. sales numbers, especially the launch of the Model 3, which in 2018 sold only in the U.S. and Canada -- not yet in Europe or Asia.

With that in mind, here are Tesla’s January-November 2018 estimated U.S. sales numbers, courtesy of Insideevs: