Why minivans are the hottest thing right now

Forget pickup trucks, sports cars, and rugged SUVs. What car shoppers seem to want to park in their driveways right now is a new minivan.

That’s right: minivans are the new hotness, something we haven’t said in over a generation. According to Cox Automotive research, a new minivan is the most challenging vehicle to locate on a dealer’s lot.

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The auto industry uses the term “Days’ Supply” to measure the theoretical number of days it would take car dealers to run out of a particular type of vehicle if manufacturers’ shipments stopped entirely. At under 20 days, minivans currently have the lowest Days’ Supply of any segment in the industry. The market average across all new-car segments is now 30 days, which is still well below what dealers and automakers would like to have in stock.

“Currently, the supply of minivans is lower than full-size, midsize, and compact SUVs and well below the national average,” said Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader.

Many dealers have no new minivans in stock whatsoever. Dealers haven’t seen this kind of demand since the first Chrysler minivans hit the market in the mid-1980s.

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Furthermore, that lack of supply is impacting prices. The average transaction price for a minivan is 99.5% of the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) according to Cox Automotive data, said Moody. “That means anyone looking for a new minivan should be prepared to pay the full retail price.”

For 2021, three of the five minivans on the market have been redesigned recently: the Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna. All three are scarce on dealer lots, and the carry-over Chrysler Voyager and Honda Odyssey aren’t exactly easy to find, either.

See: The car brands with the most inventory

Brand-wide, Toyota,
and Honda
all have less than 30 days’ supply, while Chrysler — buoyed by its 300 sedan — is just above that mark. 

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.