The minivan could be on the verge of a comeback, but the chip shortage has helped make it the rarest find on dealer lots

Chrysler Pacifica
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica.

  • Minivans are now the hardest vehicles to find on auto dealers’ lots, industry data show.
  • The global chip shortage has interrupted production of the leading model, Chrysler’s Pacifica.
  • Updated designs from Toyota and Kia are hard to find, and customers are paying full sticker price.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As it did with squishy Crocs and baggy pants, the pandemic has seemingly revived consumers’ affection for the comfort and practicality of the minivan.

“The minivan is back,” Pat Ryan, the CEO of personalized car-shopping service CoPilot, told Insider.

The erstwhile chariot of the suburbs is now the most difficult category of vehicle to track down on dealers’ lots, with the lowest inventory supply, according to Cox Automotive research.

Cox figures show dealers have less than 20 days worth of minivans to sell – in other words, if all new vehicles stopped arriving, the supply would be gone in less than three weeks. The national average for new cars is 30 days’ supply.

“There’s only so many people who make them,” Ryan said.

Only three automakers rolled out new minivan models in 2021: Toyota, Kia, and segment leader Chrysler.

But Chrysler’s production has been plagued with challenges as a result of the global computer-chip shortage that has caused its Windsor, Ontario, factory to shut down several times this year for weeks at a time.

Combined with the bulletproof popularity of Toyota’s Sienna and the launch of Kia’s SUV-like Carnival, the drop in Chrysler’s once-robust supply has made new minivans unusually rare.

In normal times, minivans made up a little more than 2% of the total automotive market in the US, down from a high of almost 7% back in 2005.

The segment still has its loyalists, though, and they are paying top-dollar for their sliding doors, captains’ chairs, and plywood-hauling capacity.

Cox data showed new minivans selling for 99.5% of sticker price, and Ryan told Insider that for used vehicles, sale prices were up 19% and days supply was down by half since the start of the year.

“Dealers are thirsting for inventory, there’s no question about it,” he said.

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The new Kia Carnival minivan features rugged looks and reclining seats like a private jet – see inside

16969_2022_Carnival_ _7_Passenger
2022 Kia Carnival.

  • The 2022 Carnival replaces the Sedona as Kia’s minivan offering.
  • It features optional second-row seating that looks like it was pulled right out of a luxury plane.
  • No pricing was announced but the Carnival will go on sale during Q2 of this year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

I dare anyone to call the 2022 Kia Carnival an “uncool minivan” after reading this blog.

We first saw the redesigned Sedona minivan – which is what Kia calls the Carnival in other markets – last June and were impressed with its boxy, SUVish looks. Now, Kia has scrapped the Sedona nameplate altogether and is going with “Carnival” moving forward.

The new Carnival uses a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, according to a press release. But that’s not the most exciting part. That title would go to the optional “VIP Lounge Seating” treatment for the second row, which includes leg extensions, wing-out headrests, and a recline position that rivals the most luxurious airline seats.

Kia still hasn’t announced pricing for the new Carnival, but you can expect it to go on sale at some point during Q2 of this year.

Keep reading to see more of the interior and those seats.

The 2022 Carnival is the newest version of Kia’s minivan.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The Carnival is the name for the Sedona minivan in other markets, so this time around, Kia is just renaming the new Sedona the Carnival.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

Since minivans have a bit of an image problem, it’s clear Kia is going after a more rugged, SUV-style look here.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The 3.5-liter V6 produces a claimed 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

There’s an automatic transmission and 3,500 pounds of towing capacity.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The van is available in either seven- or eight-passenger configurations.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The third row can fold fully flat and increase the trunk space significantly.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The second row in the eight-passenger Carnival can be removed for even more storage.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

An eight-inch touchscreen display comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The cabin features a very clean and modern-looking design.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

You can also expect the handy lane-change camera from other Kia models.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The third row of seats looks quite roomy.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

But if you get the Carnival in the seven-seater configuration, that second-row is where the action is.

16940_2022_Carnival_ _7_Passenger
2022 Kia Carnival.

Here, you can get the optional VIP Lounge Seating, which comes with wing-out headrests, leg extensions, and power controls.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

You can basically turn the second row into a first-class airplane seat.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

On the SX and SX-Prestige trims, you can even get a dual, rear-screen entertainment system.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

The new Carnival only comes in front-wheel drive and it still uses sliding doors.

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2022 Kia Carnival.

This is the new minivan that Kia will use to compete with stalwarts such as the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.

16959_2022_Carnival_ _7_Passenger
2022 Kia Carnival.

No pricing was announced, but you can expect the new Carnival to go one sale during Q2 of this year.

16960_2022_Carnival_ _7_Passenger
2022 Kia Carnival.

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