Minivans became a U.S. mainstay 20 years ago because they offered a package of car-like ride and fuel economy combined with truck-like cargo capacity and versatility.
Despite today's popularity of SUVs and the growing "station wagons-on-steroids" sport wagon segment, minivans remain the best-of-both-worlds choice for many consumers.
At least part of the boom in SUV and sport wagon sales the past decade can be attributed to rebellion against the "mom-mobile" stigma of minivans, particularly as minivan styling has grown homogenous. People shifted to SUVs because they were different and had attitude, not necessarily because they were better.
Minivans are still fertile ground for automakers. The challenge is to give minivans even more versatility and styling that moves beyond the "bread box on wheels" silhouette. Fresh approaches will bring buyers back to the segment.