Minivan segment sees revival in the US image

This is the true and original family hauler – you can get in with all kids, cat, dog and still have spare room for the picnic basket. And the minivans are on a revival streak.

The minivan category, often called MPVs (multi purpose vehicles) in Europe have been around for a lot less than the sedan, for instance, entering cultural folklore and the lexicon at the start of the 1980s. Though today automakers seek to rename them “people movers,” “multi-purpose vehicles,” “family haulers”, actually anything other than minivans, the segment is poised for a rebound in sales.

“Nobody wants to be categorized as a minivan, but at the same time, they have to let people know about how they can utilize these vehicles,” said Jessica Caldwell, an auto analyst at “The harder you try to convince people it’s not a minivan, the more they are going to think it’s a minivan. Just call a spade a spade.”

Today, the offer on the market is also a lot more complex than back in the heyday of the segment, with models large and spacious, with room for up to nine people and others smaller – and better suited for smaller families living in crowded cities.

Back in 2000, the sales for the minivan segment were at around 1.3 million units, but later on they scaled back to below 434,000 in 2009 as the automakers also dropped numerous models. Today, with just eight models on sale in the US in 2013, the sales went back to 532,000 vehicles, and the tally is set to rise as there will be more models on offer this year.