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New Honda Odyssey Hoping to Reverse Shrinking Minivan Sales

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Important Cog in Production at Alabama Plant

The importance of Honda maintaining, or growing, its sales figures on the populary Odyssey minivan cannot be overstated, at least for the people of Talladega County, Ala. The plant in that county employs 4,000 local people and boosts the economy by doing business with countless local suppliers. The Honda Odyssey is responsible for about 40 percent of the production from the facility, so you can bet locals are rooting for a home run when Honda releases its new version of the minivan sometime next year. Stay tuned to Chapman Honda in Tucson for more news as to an official roll-out date.

Minivan Buyers Loyal, but Market Shrinking

Edmunds, one of the leading consumer websites for the auto industry, says that total minivan sales in America have shrunk from over a million in 2002 to just 556,000 last year. That comes at a time when new car sales are booming. Much of the loss can be attributed to the popularity of SUVs and the stigma that minivans are only for “soccer moms.” Still, there are very few players in the minivan market with any significant share of the business. Along with Honda, the Chrysler and Dodge vans and the Toyota Sienna all continue to fight for the top spot in sales. In the last four years, the top sales spot has changed five times. Honda had the lead as recently as 2013, but dipped a bit last year, prompting the need for change.

Profit Margins Keep Automakers Committed

Most minivan sales are well above $30,000, with the most luxurious models topping out near $50,000. There’s a lot of profit in those numbers for manufacturers, so it makes sense that they continue to provide upgrades to seize as much market share as possible. Features like DVD systems, power reclining seats, dual moon roofs and even an in-van vacuum cleaner attempt to lure customers to a particular brand. Although Honda hasn’t announced exactly what changes it is making for the 2017 model year, it’s safe to bet that they will be technology-based.

Nine-speed Transmission One Rumored Change

The last major re-design of the Honda Odyssey came in 2010. The only rumor about the upcoming changes are from Automotive News, which says there will be a nine-speed automatic transmission on the top trim levels. You can see the latest incarnation of that model for yourself at Chapman Honda. Take a test drive and see why loyal minivan buyers love their vehicles.

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