RICK KRANZ

Chrysler Town & Country wins minivan title; Corvette hits 50-year low

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
Let’s take a last look at 2010 -- there’s some unfinished business to complete.

Over the past year, I watched the minivan race. The sales winner, as I predicted back in May, was the Chrysler Town & Country. Chrysler won with 112,275 units, beating the Honda Odyssey by 4,093 minivans. The Dodge Grand Caravan was No. 3 with 103,323, followed by the Toyota Sienna with 98,337. The difference from top to bottom is a mere 13,938 vehicles.

Who will win the 2011 minivan sales race? The re-engineered 2011 Town & Country received a hefty price increase -- several thousand dollars. The standard equipment list is longer, though. This year I’ll bet on the Odyssey, which was redesigned in 2010. It has the sales momentum, and it will regain the minivan sales crown it last held in 2009.

Back in May I expected the sharp-looking Taurus would end the year with about 70,000 sales. It came close -- the year ended with 68,859 sales. Incentives were modest so the profits per vehicle were pretty good.

The overall market is getting stronger, and the Taurus is still a head-turner. I’ll predict a 10 to 15 percent sales increase this year.

Finally, Corvette sales did not rebound, ending at a 50-year low, just 12,624 cars, which was down about 9 percent from 2009 (the worst year for industrywide U.S. sales since 1982). I think that’s rock bottom, the only way to move now is up -- there’s pent-up demand. Look for at least a 10 percent sales increase in Corvette sales this year.

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