The minivan has been a staple of suburban living for decades. But consumer demand is fading, a casualty of the sport-utility vehicle boom and auto makers’ inability to shake the “soccer mom” image.
After rebounding slightly following the recession, minivan sales declined 13% over the past two years and fell an additional 16% through June of this year, the worst first-half drop since the industry’s downturn in 2009, according to data from Wards Intelligence, a forecasting and analytics firm.
The minivan’s share of the overall U.S. market has steadily decreased within the past decade, falling from 4.5% in 2008 to 2.8% last year, when auto makers sold roughly 482,000 of the vehicles, according to J.D. Power, a market-research firm. And about 38% of the minivans sold last year went to fleet buyers like rental-car companies—not individuals—nearly double the industry average, the firm’s data shows.