Automakers have taken on a daunting task — trying to convince buyers that the minivan, that "much-ridiculed mom-mobile," is actually "cool," according to The New York Times. Toyota has a viral ad, complete with fervently rapping suburban parents, to market its Sienna as a "swagger wagon;" Honda commercials say the 2011 Odyssey "beckons like no van before;" and Chrysler is trying to woo skeptical fathers by nicknaming its the new Dodge Grand Caravan the "dad van." Will the image rethink launch a comeback for the minivan? (Watch a report about TVs built into some minivans)
Minivans are utilitarian, not cool: Calling the Sienna a "swagger wagon" changes nothing, says Roman Mica in TFLCar. "It's still a front drive minivan with seating for an entire Cub Scout troop" that will soon be littered with "exploding tube yogurts." Marketing execs can try to make these utilitarian family buses more man-friendly, but "no matter how you sex [them] up in ads," they will always radiate dullness.
"Review: Like Justin Timberlake the 2011 Toyota Sienna tries to bring sexy back"
Newly converted buyers clearly think they're cool: Mock if you must, says Theresa Walsh Giarrusso in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but the "crazy ads" are making image-conscious buyers see the light. Sienna sales have jumped by 18 percent since Toyota launched its viral spots; Odyssey sales are up 42 percent since Honda's new ads broke in October. My minivan is "the nicest car I’ve ever driven. Leather seats that heat up. It hauls butt and has a really nice dash board." What's not to love?
"Will minivans rise again?"
Sorry, I am not buying: I gave up my "pre-baby fitted tees," says April Peveteaux in The Stir, but "I'm not giving in to this mom accessory, no matter how hard the car companies try" to win me over. And "it's not just the 'cool' factor" I'm worried about. Minivans are huge, and I don't want to have to squeeze one into the subcompact spaces in front of the pediatrician's office. Fellow drivers, "your bumpers will be much safer without me, in a minivan, on the road. You are welcome."
"Keep your 'cool' minivan away from my family"