Opinion

America Is Running Low On Minivans

Illustration for article titled America Is Running Low On Minivans

Photo: Chrysler

There are plenty of factors contributing to the current warped world of locked-down travel, computer chip shortages and other disrupted supply and manufacturing around the world, but most of them currently relate to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. One symptom of the industry’s struggles is a dramatic shortage of minivan stock at the moment.

Here’s current reported days of inventory remaining for the minivan segment in the U.S. compared to other notable vehicle segments, sent to Jalopnik from J.D. Power’s Retail Inventory Report detailing ground inventory at dealerships:

Lowest inventory:

  • Midsize Van: 10 days
  • Midsize Premium Sporty Car (911, Corvette): 10 days
  • Large Premium SUV (Escalade, G-Class): 13 days

Most inventory:

  • Large Premium Car (7 Series, S-Class): 52 days
  • Compact Premium Car (3 Series, C-Class): 39 days
  • Small Premium Car (ILX): 34 days

While I can’t quite pin down one certain thing shortening the inventory of minivans, as stated above, the ongoing pandemic is likely a huge wet blanket on most automotive production still.

However, as a J.D. Power analyst pointed out to me, a seasonal factor like families commonly buying new vehicles in the summer, as well as the increase in road trip and outdoor family activity likely led to a fairly normal boost in sales that also pinched supply. That would make sense in spite of the pandemic with loosening travel restrictions and distribution of multiple safe and reliable vaccine doses in recent months.

While nobody is claiming the minivan is officially Back, Baby, the latest Chrysler Pacifica, the Honda Odyssey, hot new Kia Carnival and heck, even the Toyota Sienna are all solid, reliable family vehicles. If you are someone looking for a minivan, or suddenly spurred to do so, I hope you manage to avoid any ridiculous markups you shouldn’t be paying, low stock or not.


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