Detroit auto show: Honda to unveil new Odyssey minivan

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Honda Motor Co. will unveil an all-new Honda Odyssey minivan next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Japanese automaker on Monday said the fifth-generation 2018 Odyssey has been completely redesigned and will feature “new powertrain technology, sophisticated styling and showcase a new suite of innovative features, making it the ultimate in family-friendly design and packaging.”

Honda released a teaser sketch of the vehicle along with four “teaser” scribbles, or drawings, from children of the Ohio-based Odyssey Development Team.

“We wanted to have a bit of fun by sharing some of the drawings from children of the Odyssey team members, since they were inspirational in shaping the family-friendly direction of the all-new Odyssey,” said Chad Harrison, chief engineer at Honda R&D America and the development leader of the new Odyssey.

The full redesign likely is a move to help the automaker increase sales of the minivan, which are on pace to be lower than 120,000 for the first time in the United States since 2011.

The Odyssey has accounted for 20 percent to 25 percent of minivan sales domestically since 2006. Its main competitors have been the Toyota Sienna — the segment leader in recent years — and Chrysler Town & Country, which was replaced earlier this year by the Chrysler Pacifica.

Honda’s redesign leaves the Sienna as the last of the top minivans to be redesigned. The third generation of the minivan has been on the market since 2010. The Odyssey was last fully redesigned for the 2011 model year, followed by a mid-cycle refresh for 2014.

Minivan sales have gone from a record of nearly 1.4 million in 2000 to more than 500,000 in 2015 due to an uncool “soccer mom” stigma and America’s increasing love affair with crossover utility vehicles. During the minivan’s decline, crossover sales have boomed from less than 10 percent of the U.S. market to represent 23.5 percent of the nearly 17.5 million vehicles sold in 2015, according to

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