GM joins Ford in jettisoning the minivan market

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Chrysler, Toyota and Honda must be very excited about this.


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Just Facts wrote:

And Hyundai/Kia.
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John Horner wrote:

I'm sure they already knew this was coming, it's not like they sold any minivans anyway. Either GM was going to have to come up with a complete redesign, or just bow out.
The retarded thing is that GM killed the Astro van which was a favorite of service techs everywhere and had a little niche all its own. What the hell were they thinking? There's no other vehicle to compete with it, it still sold, and yet they axed it. Dumb, dumb, dumb GM, killing one of the few vehicles you made that actually made sense.
Now our techs are driving Uplanders which makes no sense, and if the news is true, won't exist in a year or two anyway. What's next? Only real vans left are the full-sized G or E vans or else a Sprinter, all of which are much larger than the vehicles they've been driving. Or I suppose they could get a Colorado with a tall cap, but it won't have as much room as a real van.
nate
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N8N wrote: ow out.

I disagree. I'm guessing they got out BECAUSE there was another vehicle to compete with it, and one that took the whole market lock stock and barrel when it debuted: the Dodge Sprinter. With the option of a small Benz diesel in addition to the full line of gasoline engines and a very adaptable body, it pretty well blew the Astro into the weeds.
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Steve wrote:

But the Sprinter doesn't compete with it, really - it's actually larger in size than a full size G or E van. Also utterly impossible to enter a parking garage with it, and who the hell likes unloading a van in the rain?
Now if you say that because the Astro primarily sold as a service vehicle not a family vehicle it should have been offered with a Diesel engine, well, you'll get no argument from me there.
nate
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On Sat, 16 Dec 2006 08:27:24 -0800, N8N got out the hammer and chisel and etched in the wall:

Agree. The sprinter is a very tall van and more akin to the full-size models.

The astro van was a good concept and should never have been killed. It would have been much better had they added the 4.2 I6.
I'd say the same about the Aerostar. That van was rock solid for fleet trucks.
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The Dodge Sprinter is a full-size van. The Astro is a mini-van. They are in different market segments.
Jeff
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Jeff wrote:

Not really. The Astro is about as big as a "full size" van of the 70s, on a little bit shorter wheelbase. The Sprinter is bigger, but still smaller than the B-series it replaced, let alone the Ford E-series. Its a delivery/fleet van, which is exactly what the Astro had morphed into despite being created as a family "mini" van. It just wasn't very "mini" and had the same miserable driver's seating position as full-size RWD vans because of the engine "doghouse" being in the way.
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Steve wrote:

The odd thing is that of all those, the Dodge B-series was the most pleasant to drive IMHO (I have not driven the Sprinter though.) The only fault I could find with them was that they went through brakes like mad, and I recall one incident with a lower ball joint failure on one, but they were used hard on poor city roads. I found the Ford E-series to feel very ponderous.
nate
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N8N wrote:

I liked the driving position on the E-series much better than the Dodge B-series because the Ford "extended nose" reduced the size of the doghouse quite a bit, but the Fords do indeed handle like... well... twin-I-beam Fords have always handled :-/
I haven't yet driven a newer non-Twin-I-beam E-series, so maybe that's been fixed.
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Steve wrote:

What, you don't like what happens when the camber angles of each front wheel change so radically in a turn, especially in a turn with bumps.
Argh, what horrible suspension geometry that was. The amazing thing is that Ford advertised it as a "feature" for so long!
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Steve wrote:

Well i've only seen dodge sprinters going by on the mail train line... never seen one on the road.
Even the cops used Astros, and the department of transportation still uses them... and central vehicle equipment.. the city had them as well. Now none of these guys are replacing htem with Venture vans... or chrysler vans, they are looking for other options
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N8N wrote:

Ouch, Uplanders? I doubt they will take the beating very long a service vehicle is expected to take. It is crazy that Ford and GM killed their rear wheel drive minivans instead of freshening them. They were not much of a family vehicle, but were good little work trucks. Being built off the Ranger/S10 they must have been cheap to make as well.
This would be a good market for the Chinese or Indians to go after. Strong simple work trucks, both van and pickup style. They make tons of them for their home market, price and durability are key factors, and product life cycles of 10 years or more are acceptable. A company like Tata could walk in and own that market.
John
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That would be interesting to see...IIRC Tata has been making some cars which are based on British designs of a number of years ago... They are okay in their home market, but dont really have a reputation that would inspire confidence.
The Chinese might be able to do it, but realize that the American market can be fickle, and even with a desirable car of excellent quality, the incubation period can be extended.
Both these nations, IMHO, have a problem with competition in the auto industry....for now.
China is perhaps the most agressive nation in the world and will be a monster force in short time.
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Where do they sell Tata's... they look pretty interesting
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The first time I saw Tatas was in India.. I was told they are a large family owned concern, making trucks, buses, even small cars.
It has been a number of years since I was in India, but the cars of the period that I can speak of were like the old British crap.
Surely they have modernized some by now.
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John Horner wrote:

it replaced the s10
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Another boneheaded move, or should I say 'Result of boneheaded marketing' of the decrepit duo.
Agree EXACTLY on the value of Aerostar and Astro... they were BEST OF for many applications
The Minivan was a great concept and a good product. What went wrong was the image of the product.. and all of us who drive a lot know twhat that is. GM and Ford should have left the "Moms MArket" to Chrysler and stressed the utility and fleet aspects... leaving the FWD market... to stress RWD and AWD.. and only selling Utilitarian people haulers and service vans.

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Didnt some of the Ford minivan series have some horrible problems with transmission failure, engine problems?
Seems there were a lot of short runs on some of those trannies, maybe failures below 50 k miles?
The minivan was a good solution for some families, but not all of them were, apparently, created equal.
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hls wrote:

Probably the Windstar, didn't that use the AXOD?

Very true.
nate
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