Minivans are quickly fading into the background as buyers flee the segment in favor of crossovers USA Today
reports. The minivan market missed the 1 million mark for sales for the first time in 13 years in 2006. This year, sales have practically fallen off a cliff. Sales may not even hit 800,000 by the end of 2007. Overall vehicle sales are down this year, so many segments are posting fewer sales than last year. But minivans have had even bigger declines than large and midsize SUVs. Through the end of November, the minivan market was down 19.5 percent, while large SUVs were down less than 1 percent and midsize SUVs were down 12.7 percent. Minivans now account for 4 percent of the overall market, down from just under 7 percent in 2004, according to Power Information Network. Crossovers have SUV convenience but are built on a car chassis, which provides a smoother ride and better fuel economy. According to USA Today
, Ford has stopped making its Ford Freestar minivan, and General Motors is phasing vans out of its lineup. In the meantime, both are pushing crossovers, including Ford Edge, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook.