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Carmakers attempt attractive minivan

The 2010 Toyota Sienna

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Now, having recently bought a minivan, believe me, I know there is nothing cool about them. But Marketplace's Alisa Roth tells us Toyota is betting on a new, possibly hipper version of its minivan: the Sienna.


Alisa Roth: You know you're in trouble when even the PR people put it this bluntly:

David Lee: Minivans currently I think have a bit of a perception of, you know, non-stylishness and, or perhaps even downright undesirability.

David Lee is a spokesman for Toyota USA. Car buyers agree with him. Last year, minivans lost even more market share than other cars.

I talked to Jeff Schuster from JD Powers while he was at the Detroit auto show. He says there will always be some market for minivans.

Jeff Schuster: The new Sienna is a very competitive vehicle now in the segment.

Toyota's David Lee says the company's doing its best to attract buyers with some bold new designs.

Lee: The styling is a lot more sporty looking I guess if you could say, it's got a lot of character lines on the side, the roof angles have been changed to make it appear more sporty.

Last fall, Toyota's CEO said he wanted to build exciting cars. The Sienna may not be what he meant, but Toyota is offering a sport model of the minivan, with lower suspension and electric power-steering.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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