The unlikely resurgence of the MPV

Chrysler Pacifica

The multi-purpose vehicle has shuttled families around for decades in comfort, but never in style. That is starting to change, writes Karl Smith

The tragedy and disruptions of the pandemic could fill a library – and no doubt someday will. But some of the disruptions have turned into opportunities with unexpected results. One of these is the rediscovery of the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), which has emerged, in the US at least, as the comeback format of the year.

The MPV has never gone away of course, but its market share has been so drastically reduced that it has been almost a footnote in both design studios and sales figures. Additionally, the MPV suffers from a massive image problem. The Wall Street Journal dubbed them “the fanny pack of automobiles – functional and frumpy.” Ford and GM got out of the MPV business altogether over a decade ago and left Chrysler (who invented the modern MPV) to soldier on, making the most of the limited market opportunities with the format.

But people did not stop having families, and the practicality of the MPV has guaranteed a place in the market.

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