Auto Service World
News   July 23, 2007   by Auto Service World

Van Sales Continue to Shrink, According to J.D. Power

The midsize van segment continues to lose market share while at the same time losing several models, according to real-time retail sales transaction data from the Power Information Network (PIN), a division of J.D. Power and Associates.
In June, the midsize van market share was just 4.4 percent of the new-vehicle retail industry, slightly more than one-half of its share in 1995.
Market share in the segment, which includes the Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, has dropped to just 5.3 percent of the total new-vehicle market for the first six months of 2007-down more than 3 percentage points from its market share of 8.5 percent in 1995.
“Probably the most dominant reason for the decline of the midsize van segment is the emergence of midsize and compact crossover models as viable alternatives to midsize vans,” said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN.
“Midsize van owners have been switching to crossovers at a brisk and growing rate.”
Midsize van market share in June 2007 was down more than 2 percentage points compared with June 2006, and was two-tenths of a point less than the share for the growing midsize crossover utility vehicle (CUV) segment.
In June 2006, the midsize van share was almost three times that of midsize CUVs.
The percentage of midsize van owners trading to a crossover climbed from 14.8 percent in the second quarter of 2005 to 23.8 percent in the second quarter of 2007, according to PIN.
In contrast, the percentage of midsize van owners trading for another midsize van dropped from 46 percent to 36.1 percent over the same time period.
In addition, the proportion of midsize van owners moving down to compact vehicles has climbed nearly 10 percentage points from 2005 to 25.8 percent in 2007.
“In today’s environment of rising fuel prices and increased emphasis on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, it is not surprising that midsize van owners are moving in greater numbers to smaller vehicles,” Libby said.
While the midsize van segment is losing market share, the number of midsize van models on the market has also decreased to 15-down from a peak of 21 in 2004.
Of the 15 models currently on the market, six have recently been discontinued or will be in the near future, based on information provided by their manufacturers.
“The once well-entrenched midsize van segment is losing sales and market share, and is expected to continue to do so,” said Bob Schnorbus, chief economist at J.D. Power and Associates.
“As automakers focus on crossovers, we expect the midsize van share to continue to shrink due to a small core of buyers who still need the versatility and carrying capacity of a midsize van.”
J.D. Power and Associates Automotive forecasting expects the midsize van segment to continue to lose market share over the next few years before leveling off at approximately 4.7 percent.

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