Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioThey once used to travel the highways as the car of choice for large families, but some automotive analysts say the mini van is on its way to extinction. Already, three companies are expected to phase them out.
Henry Day Ford President Michael Day says, "As we know them today, they'll be changed or phased out."
It's the younger generation who probably won't miss them. "Nobody looks good in a van." "I think they're ugly, and I don't know why people have them." "They're stupid, and I hate them."
A report from Kiplinger's Personal Finance says GM, Ford and Mazda are all planning to abandon their mini van models. Day says mini van sales have been down for years now. He says, "The last van we had was the ‘Freestar,' and I believe it's being phased out currently."
Instead, the report says these car companies are going to focus on their new hot ticket item called the "crossover SUVs." Day says they have the features people like from regular SUVs. "They have the big body, like an SUV, and they're comfortable. You sit up high, and you've got a good greenhouse to see out of."
But, Day says they've fixed a few things, so driving an SUV doesn't feel like driving a truck. "They ride soft like a car. The original SUVs were built on truck chassis, and so the ‘crossover' is a combination."
Day says they new chassis also improves gas mileage. Some critics of SUVs say they just don't meet their needs. One woman with her four children says she wouldn't be able to fit them all in a typical SUV that has seating for five. But, Day says the Crossover SUVs can seat six people or more.
"A mini van would have the room, more like a Ford Expedition or a Chevrolet Tahoe." Day says Ford is planning to unveil what they're temporarily calling a "people mover" next year, but the company hasn't decided what it will be called yet. "Originally, it was called ‘The Fairlane,' and I've heard ‘Flex.' I've heard three or four different names."
This replacement of mini vans will not happen overnight. For example, Mazda discontinued its MPV model, but has recently replaced it with The Mazda 5. If you plan to buy one, keep in mind, the crossover SUV can't do everything the regular SUV can do. For example, Day says they can't tow as much because of the car-like chassis.