Chevrolet has put an end to months of speculation with the official announcement that there will be no 2015 (or 2016) version of its Orlando compact MPV.
Dwindling sales are the obvious reason: in spite of a near-decade of something like sales success for a Mazda5 and Kia Rondo, there just isn’t enough demand to support an entire segment of MPVs, which is apparently short for “type of vehicle North Americans don’t understand.” In fact, as we write this, we can’t remember the last time we saw an Orlando or second-generation Rondo (introduced in 2013) on the road.
For the moment, the Rondo, Mazda5 and Ford’s C-Max carry on in Canada, but Mazda USA has said the 5 will soon disappear from its lineup, which will likely spell the end for it here, too, once the second-generation model has run its course.
Blame these vehicles’ lack of popularity on any number of factors: relatively cheap gas; competitive pricing of larger vehicles (Dodge routinely offers deep discounts on its Grand Caravan and Journey, for example); and forthcoming compact crossovers like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Chrysler’s Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X twins.
We don’t begrudge automakers building vehicles that people seem to want want or consumers buying them, but to us it’s a sad day any time the existence of an entire vehicle segment seems threatened; variety is supposed to be a good thing, isn’t it?