With almost every automaker seeing sales dip in April, most readers won’t be surprised by the headline above. Even so, certain segments of cars did see significant sales increases in April, especially economy cars. Even a number of luxury brands faired well. Some companies, like Subaru, had a record month.

One group that was hit hard, however, was family vehicles, and I’m not talking about big, truck-based SUVs. Minivans and three-row crossovers saw huge drops. The numbers below illustrate just how much families are tightening their belts in these uncertain economic times.

Minivans

  • Chrysler’s recently redesigned Town & Country minivan was hit hard. Despite generally positive reviews, sales dropped 32% in April. Year to date, sales are down 14%. Even if Chrysler has reduced fleet sales (which they don’t break out in the data we see) that number is too significant to be offset.
  • Dodge’s Caravan, a sister vehicle to the T&ampC, was down 37% for April and 37% for the year.
  • Hyundai’s Entourage minivan — a sister vehicle of the Kia Sedona — only sold 500 copies in April, down a whopping 81.5%. The Sedona, on the other hand, saw a strong uptick of 21.9%.
  • Surprisingly, the Chevy Uplander also saw a gain — 14.3% for April. The Uplander is the lone remaining minivan in GM’s lineup after the company abandoned the body style for more three-row crossovers. However, the fleet sales effect could be impacting its numbers.
  • Toyota’s Sienna minivan was down 19%* for the month.
  • Nissan’s Quest, which has never been exceptionally popular, was down 34.2%* for the month.


Three-Row Crossovers

  • GMC’s popular Acadia saw a hit in April of 15.8%*. It debuted in early 2007, so this is one of the first months when a year-to-year number could be judged apples-to-apples.
  • Saturn’s Outlook saw a more severe drop of 33.8%*. GM’s Buick Enclave wasn’t on sale in April 2007, so there’s nothing to compare its 2008 numbers with.
  • Ford’s three-row Taurus X — formerly known as the Freestyle — was also redesigned a year ago and has seen dismal sales. Sales dropped 53.8% in April from 2007. For the year, it’s down 33.6%. That’s significantly worse than the truck-based Expedition, which was down a still-substantial 35% for the month and 27.1% for the year.nbsp;
  • Even Toyota’s popular Highlander was down 8.7%* in April, though it shows a positive 4.7% increase for the year.
  • Mazda bucked the trend a bit with its CX-9 crossover, which saw a 24.8% bump in sales for April.

*Number adjusted for more selling days in April 2008 versus April 2007. Unadjusted numbers will appear more positive.