Filed under: Minivan/Van , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Luxury A few months back we reported on a dealership owner in Japan who was petitioning Toyota to make a luxury van. The problem, he reasoned, was that he couldn’t take as many friends, colleagues and clients around with him in his Lexus LS , and his Toyota Alphard van wasn’t luxurious enough. Well, it seems like he wasn’t alone, and Toyota has listened. The Japanese auto giant has just revealed the Esquire, a new luxury van designed with just such customers in mind. It’s significantly smaller than the Sienna we get in America, smaller than the aforementioned Alphard and about the same size as (this writer’s favorite) the JDM Noah van (on which we gather it’s based). But what sets the Esquire apart is its upscale appearance. The boxy van is distinguished by its dominant T-shaped chrome grille with a unique emblem that encompasses a shield, sword, “the collar of a gentleman’s suit” and the letters Esq. The flank is characterized by a strong beltline with chrome lower window frame and an expansive greenhouse with tinted rear glass. Inside the flexible cabin you’ll find accommodation for seven or eight passengers (depending on specification), synthetic leather upholstery and wood and metallic trim. There are even wheelchair-enabled models on offer as well.
Filed under: Car Buying , Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000. Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove. So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups. The simple answer? It’s all about the money. “They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News . “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock.