No disrespect to Chrysler for designing the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan as a “man van,” but a new survey commissioned by Chevrolet says more dads today are taking to crossovers over minivans for both family hauling and other needs.
What’s the skinny on this apparent new trend? Chevy says the results of the survey conducted by Harris Interactive survey show that 80 percent of fathers in the U.S. today with children age 17 and under are taking an active role with their kids, driving them to school, daycare and extracurricular activities.
2012 Chevrolet Traverse
Increasingly, those dads are opting for SUVs and crossovers that serve multiple purposes. Today’s fathers say they want a vehicle that they can use for work, personal and leisure activities, in addition to serving as the family hauler.
One point that Dodge got right is that men don’t want a vehicle that looks like a “mom-mobile” minivan. And the Chevy-commissioned survey seems to reflect that sentiment big-time, with more than 58 percent of respondents saying they didn’t want a vehicle that in any way calls into question their masculinity.
As to the vehicle surveyed dads said they’d most prefer: utility vehicles such as crossovers and SUVs were the clear winner. Less than 25 percent said they preferred a minivan.
With recent U.S. Census data showing that there are 154,000 stay-at-home dads and more than 25 million fathers with children under the age of 17, this is obviously a huge target market – not only for Chevrolet and other GM brands, but every other automaker, foreign and domestic, with safe, fuel-efficient, versatile, affordable and well-styled SUVs and crossovers.
Indeed, a majority of dads (57 percent) told Harris Interactive that safety is their most important priority, followed closely by fuel economy (42 percent) and passenger capability (39 percent). They also place a high priority on styling (53 percent).
Lots of competition
The good news for dads assuming equal or more carpooling duties with mom is that there are plenty of great crossovers and SUVs meeting all of dad’s (and maybe mom’s) requirements for an all-around work, family and fun vehicle.
Let’s see. From Chevrolet, there’s the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse, Equinox and Tahoe, while GMC has the Terrain, Acadia and Yukon, Buick, the Enclave and Cadillac, the SRX and Escalade.
2012 Honda PilotEnlarge Photo
Honda has the CR-V and Pilot.
2012 Ford ExplorerEnlarge Photo
Ford offers the Edge, Flex, Explorer and Expedition, along with the Lincoln variants.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8Enlarge Photo
From Chrysler, there’s the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Dodge Durango and Journey.
Toyota checks in with the RAV4, Venza, Highlander, and Sequoia. Let’s not forget offerings from Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and others. And the luxury makes and models as well. All totaled, there are more than 90 different SUVs and crossovers, give or take a few, in the affordable and luxury price range, covering compact, mid-size and full-size categories.
If the Chevy survey results are any indication, maybe TV commercials for crossovers and SUVs will start getting a whole lot more interesting. If nothing else, it opens up new opportunities for all automakers to be more creative.