October 27, 2009

The Mini Minivan

AUTOMOTIVES - Its coming. Can you hear it? Its a bird, its a plane, nope! Its a clown car.

Cue the circus music and watch as Mazda, Kia and other companies are planning to cash in on a new market for tiny minivans which are (in theory) more fuel efficient because of their smaller size but still allows drivers to carry 4-6 people.

But not necessarily their stuff.

And not necessarily more efficiently.

Why? #1. Because people usually buy minivans when they have 3+ kids to take to hockey or baseball games, or they need the space for its extra carrying space. #2. Because the smaller engine that comes with such a tiny minivan might be more efficient at low speeds, but history has shown such vehicles become significantly less efficient when driving at speeds over 80 km/h.

Check out the Mazda5 and the Kia Rondo. See also the Ford's C-Max, the Chevrolet Orlando, the Toyota Wish, the Volkswagen Routan and the Honda Stream.

Mazda and Kia are not alone. General Motors and Ford are also planning mini models in 2011 while Honda and Toyota already have plans to introduce North Americans to the tiny minivans they've been marketing in Japan for many years. Even Chrysler (which invented the minivan in 1983) is thinking of partnering with Fiat to build a mini they can market in North America and Europe.

Polling of Generation Y suggests the next era of adults will be focused on more fuel efficiency, smaller family sizes and lower prices.

So even if they're not that efficient, they are still way more efficient than traditional minivans, crossovers and SUVs.

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