Honda approaching Dodge in minivan sales

Dec. 9, 2007 at 7:17 PM
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DETROIT, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The Honda Odyssey is pushing the Dodge Caravan for the top spot in U.S. minivan sales as Dodge dealers see a sharp decline in sales of their leading models.

Honda dealers saw a modest 2.3 percent decline in sales in 2007 compared with a 21.4 percent decline among Dodge dealers, The Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.

"If you look at purely brand names ... Odyssey has outsold everybody else," said one industry analyst. "They have done a good job in trying to capture that lost business left by GM and Ford in the minivan arena by being a bit more aggressive than they used to be in terms of their incentive spending."

Chrysler officials said the decline is due to the elimination of short-wheel-base minivans that dealers say appeal to low-end consumers. They also said newer model sales lack the sustained momentum of more familiar models.

"The Caravan has been No. 1 for many, many years," said Tom Libby, an analyst affiliated with J.D. Power and Associates. "So I suspect that we are going to see a strong push by Chrysler with the Caravan and the Town & Country in December to try to regain that No. 1 position."

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