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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
Both these nations, IMHO, have a problem with competition in the auto
China is perhaps the most agressive nation in the world and will be a
monster force in short time.
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.
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
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
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.
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
Didnt some of the Ford minivan series have some horrible problems with
transmission failure, engine
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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