Automakers Morph Minivan into “Man Van”



Minivans are undergoing a gender change.
Formerly geared at family-minded soccer moms, the vans, which sit on a sales plateau, are now morphing into high-fidelity “man vans.” Chrysler, which unveils its new Dodge Grand Caravan R/T at the Chicago Auto Show, is the latest automaker to try to take the “mini” out of minivans. From Bloomberg:

Chrysler’s Dodge Grand Caravan R/T, which the company refers to internally as the “Man Van” because of styling and features geared to appeal to men, will be on display tomorrow at the Chicago Auto Show….The man van is slated to have a black interior with red accent stitching, a performance-tuned suspension and a sound system with nine speakers and a 506-watt amplifier.

The companies are trying to shed minivans’ “mommy-mobile” image and broaden its appeal as customers are attracted to car- based sport-utility vehicles often referred to as crossovers, said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Lexington, Massachusetts- based IHS Automotive….A recent commercial for Honda’s Odyssey shows a man leaving a grocery store at night to find his minivan encircled in flames and temporarily transforming into a black panther as Judas Priest’s “The Hellion” plays. Inside the van, giant speakers blare and television screens show a rock concert and a fire- breathing monster.

Dodge, known for aggressive, male-oriented marketing, may be the perfect brand to break through to men, Gilles said. The minivan has a utilitarian nature that appeals to men and interior cargo space similar to that of a pickup, making it useful for camping and hunting trips, said Chrysler executives, including Todd Breneiser, a lead product planner.

Now all that “man van” trend has to do is take off.

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