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GM FastLane:Whither the Minivan?

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By Bob Lutz

GM Vice Chairman

Lots of minivan talk going on… let me just make one thing clear: Nobody said GM is getting out of the minivan business forever. We simply pulled a minivan option out of the running for one of our archtectures. We reserve the right to initiate whatever future product programs we feel the market desires, up to and including new generations of minivans if we deem them necessary and desirable.

That’s really the key to everything, of course: the market. And we think the case for another new entry at this point in a market is trending away from minivans just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Look, the minivan was a great idea, and a fine product. It pulled Chrysler out of the frying pan during some desperate times. But obviously in recent years a stigma has attached itself to the minivan and won’t let go. Same thing happened to station wagons in this country before the minivan came along.

And beyond that stigma, the minivan is hurt by the many other choices available to customers. SUVs have been conquesting minivan sales for years, and now crossovers will take even more.

IPB Image

Enclave interior

Our new trio of crossover utilities — the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave — should not be compared to minivans; they are a totally different animal. But do we expect them to take sales from minivans? Absolutely. Just like we expect them to take sales from traditional SUVs.

These vehicles can carry eight people comfortably, have plenty of hauling space, and have a fuel-efficient 275-hp V6. And they have better road manners and vehicle dynamics than any minivan I’ve ever driven. Not that I’m comparing. But if I were, I know what would win!

These three crossovers will do nicely in the market for us, I believe, and, for now, we don’t see the need to offer minivans any longer, for many reasons. Do you?



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