GM Gives Up on the Minivan Market

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-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Re:GM Gives Up on the Minivan Market
To: Date: Saturday, November 25, 2006 8:39:23 PM


Something was wrong with the mini-van you drove. I've been driving them for over 20 years now. Brakes last me on average 40K-45K miles, I've done maybe 2-3 alignments over those 20 years with tires lasting 60K miles or better (I had one set of Michelin's last over 80K miles). My current 97 Grand Caravan with the 3.3 V6 has _averaged_ 21MPG mixed driving over the past 3 years (I log mileage from every fill-up) with the *worst* tank at just over 17MPG and the best tank at slightly over 28MPG. Some of the miles were spent in western Maryland and Pennsylvania (mountainous). The only ting I share experience with you is the issue with removing the seats. However, some of the new models have solved that issue with under-the-floor seat storage. I did own a truck in there as well. It was nice with plenty of utility, but *much* more expensive to operate and maintain and far less comfortable on trips.
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jcr wrote:

Ours was the AWD version which cut the milage down some and the mountains were back roads in WV. We replaced it with a 2001 Impala and I just changed the brakes and rotors for the first time at 75K.
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Eugene wrote:

Ah, AWD will take a hit in gas mileage. Still, the brake service interval you experiences seems very odd to me.
I hear the Impala with the 3.8 engine pulls better real-world gas mileage than one with the 3.4 engine.
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jcr wrote:

The main problem is the chrysler transmission won't let you downshift on long downhill grades, you shift down out of overdrive and eventually it goes back in so you have to ride the brakes.
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Wow, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Is there a wire you could snip? Probably not, it's probably programmed into the computer that controls the tranny. I'd rather ruin a tranny than overheat the brakes and plunge off a cliff. But a good tranny should allow downshifting with no damage, and not too much more wear on the tranny.
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Grappletech wrote:

Its not that it wouldn't allow downshifting, you could downshift but it would eventually ignore the selector and upshift. The first trip with that van when we got into town after going down that mountain I had to stand both feet on the brake pedal to get it to stop. Checked with the dealer later and it was even documented in the manual that this is a feature. That wasn't the only problem, the AWD made by AUDI was slow to engage so you would get front wheel slip, then the back end would engage and if you hadn't let off the gas by then the back wheels would start pushing and front end having already broke traction would slide sideways. Then sometimes when you would be backing out of a driveway or parking space the AWD would bind up and release with a bang, I thought I backed into something the first time. Then the electrical parts that were subcontracted out to Mitsubishi were so cheap the engine would just shut off while driving down the road. I paid a lot of $ trying to get that fixed both in warranty deductable and after the warranty ran out. I finally found it cheaper to just swap parts myself and it ended up being bad connectors for the crank and cam sensors. If you were to take a look at them you see that they don't have the normal rubber seal around the outside of the connectors so they would get a bit of water inside and it would cause the resistance of the pins to go up. I kept a can of WD40 to spray in when if would quit and not want to start and would put in a little dielectric grease every so often trying to keep the water out. There were other problems but I've written enough. The basic minivan design isn't all that great, you take a front wheel drive car and stretch it out adding more weight high up. Everyone makes a big deal about SUV's rolling over but since traditional SUV's have a frame and more parts to the drivetrain down low their CG is lower than a minivan so they are actually not as bad as the media made them out to be. The minivan was very top heavy with too soft of suspension, I had to drive real slow around curves because it would lean over a lot. On PA highways where they cut the expansion joints all the way through and then the concrete sections shift a little bit you get that constant bump bump, bump, bump, the minivan wold make us seasick if we tried to drive 65 as it would start rocking back and forth with the shifting of the highway sections.
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<snip>
The 3.8 engines are incredible, IMHO. My '96 Bonnie with the supercharged version of the 3800 Series II, get's better gas mileage then my sister's 3400.
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Minivans are great. I keep most of the seats out of mine. I leave the 2 middle captain's chairs in for occasional passengers. I leave them folded forward and locked, leaving tons of cargo space in the back to haul cargo for my business. Also, great for camping. You can get a double size mattress back there.The other 2 seats that came with the Sedona minivan I have are in the garage and are occasioanlly used for seating. They have wheels on them and are very comfy.
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Hickabob McCrane wrote:

Hmmm, more new college graduates today are female than are male. Women control the majority of retail purchases as well.
Your premise that men don't drive minivans is incorrect:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res 01E6D8123BF934A25754C0A9669C8B63&sec=health&pagewanted=1
"The typical minivan or sport utility purchaser is most often a fairly affluent married couple in their 40's with children. And while minivans are sometimes labeled ''mom-mobiles,'' the principal drivers of minivans, like sport utility vehicles, are actually a little more likely to be men than women."
However, even if it were only women who drove minivans, what would the point be? Is it that GM is the company for poorly educated macho men? Women who want to buy a new vehicle are request to please stay away from their local Chevrolet dealer?
John
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Yep, and they have at least half the money and all the p***y
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Yeh and the only thing those Mini vans are good for is getting that p***y in the back seat.
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You are living in the past it seems. Minivan are like film cameras and video tape equipment, one can still buy that stuff but the market is going digital. LOL
mike

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Mike Hunter wrote:

I would disagree with you on this. Station wagons are making a comeback since they are so practical. They were dumped for their image for minivans. Minivans are slowing down for their image and sport-utes arose. Sport-utes are fading in favor of cross-overs. Just cycles. Their is still money to be made selling minivans. They are here to stay.
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wrote:

My current car desire is for a Sebring sized station wagon. Since the Big 2.5 don't produce one, "imports" such as the Subaru have to be on my short list.
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Buyers once bought hatchback models, as well ;)
mike

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wrote:

Buyers didn't stop wanting hatchbacks. ( a useful configuration )
Detroit stopped selling them !
<rj>
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An artilce in the Hartford Courant this morning says according to Edmunds Magazine the Honda Oddesy and Kia Sedona rank better than the Chrysler.
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Well that is one opinion. However the most important opinion, of what most buyers believe, are the sales numbers. Chrysler sell more in few months than they sell in a year. Obviously that is the most accurate 'opinion,' of which is ranked better. ;)
mike

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Duh. So did most everyone else. Do you think it was because they were not selling? ;)
Mike

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Of course DCs Chrysler are still the market leader here, but they are now a foreign manufacturer aren't they. Chrysler keeps improving their mini van so frequently the slugs at GM and Ford can't begin to keep up. Much like Apple is doing with the iPod.
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