A consumer shift from minivans to SUVs and crossovers may finally be coming to an end with industry experts expressing confidence about the future of the family hauler.
“I think we’re pretty much at the bottom,” said Hayato Mori, Honda Canada’s assistant vice-president of product planning and business development. “The reason we believe this is, as much as the minivan has been declining, we know there is a core need for this type of vehicle.”
North American minivan sales, which have been sagging for 15 years, will dip further in 2020 and 2021 before plateauing, according to Pennsylvania-based AutoForecast Solutions LLC.
Production by the four automakers still in the segment will level off at around 425,000 minivans annually by 2027, its projections show. That is below 2019, when 455,105 minivans came off the assembly lines in Canada and the United States.
North American vehicle production is expected to drop at least 10 per cent compared to 2019 due to plant shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Sam Fiorani, AutoForecast’s vice-president for global vehicle forecasting.
Still, representatives for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Toyota and Kia say they have no intention of pulling the family-friendly people movers with sliding doors and easy-to-load luggage compartments from their lineups.
Honda, which makes the Odyssey, is expecting Canadian minivan sales will flatten out at 50,000 to 60,000 units annually over the next five years, said Mori.
The segment is down to “four major players and they seem to be maintaining their size for the most part,” Fiorani said.
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