Chrysler's minivans, including the Town & Country, have been regaining market share.
With no domestic competitors to worry about anymore, Chrysler has been firming up its hold on the market segment it created, more than a quarter-century ago; but increasing competition from foreign makers threatens to loosen its grip on the minivan market.
In its early years, Chrysler held nearly 100% of the people mover segment, and even into the 1990s, it regularly outsold all its competitors combined, though that dominance slipped in the new millennium. But for the first half of 2010 Chrysler is back on top again – overwhelmingly.
“The last year, the question was whether there’d be someone around to service your car,” says Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, referring to Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy. “Once you knew they’d be around, people regained confidence in the brand.”
For the first six months of the year, the maker’s Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan models collectively accounted for 49.1% of the segment. That’s up nearly 10 full points from the same period a year ago, when Chrysler’s minivan share sank to 39.2%. And it only bounced to 42.2% for the full year. But industry analysts warn that the smallest of the Detroit automakers shouldn’t expect to rest on its laurels while it focuses on reviving the rest of its struggling line-up.