Conversions vans were never entirely mainstream, but they were certainly popular enough that you'd see them on the road fairly regularly. You may have even owned one yourself or knew someone who owned one.
But now, conversion vans have all but disappeared from the roads and are extremely hard to purchase. Before we get to the answer of why conversion vans have disappeared, let's first give a refresher on what a conversion van actually is.
So What Exactly is (was) a Conversion Van?
There are a few different types of conversion vans, but the one that we're talking about here are cargo vans that are full-sized. The "conversion" part of them is due to the work of authorized third-party companies in which the particular company modifies the van by adding multiple luxury features that are designed for road trips and so forth. This can include installing:
- A television in the back of the vehicle.
- Seats that turn into a bed.
- Additional storage features.
- Mood lighting.
- Polished wood.
- Additional air conditioning ducts.
- Ice boxes.
- Ceiling lights.
- Sun roofs.
- Thick carpeting.
Conversion vans were designed to have a home-like feel, especially for passengers riding in the back.
What Happened to Them?
There are a few different reasons why conversion vans have seen their popularity decrease, and interestingly, it's due to a dual combination of both a decrease in demand and supply.
First, conversion vans, in short, began to see their popularity decrease due to the rise in the popularity of SUVs and mini-vans, which have become increasingly more luxurious and spacious. SUVs and mini-vans now come with many of the same features that conversion vans once had, plus additional features such as four-wheel drive capability and so forth. Many of these features that full-size SUVs and mini-vans have come standard.
Second, companies that were making conversion vans diverted their efforts elsewhere. Many of the companies that once focused on making conversion vans now have focused on customizing pickup trucks, minivans, and full-size SUVs, as well as working on buses and handicap-accessible vans. The auto manufacturers themselves do not normally produce these full-size vans anymore either.
Finally, the prices of conversion vans are/were extremely expensive in comparison to the prices of some mini-vans and SUVs. Consumers simply gravitated away from them, choosing to purchase vehicles that are more affordable with many of the same features. Couples who want to take road trips with their children can easily find a more affordable, safer, and feature-packed version in comparison to conversion vans.
It doesn't look as if conversion vans will be making a comeback anytime soon, but if you search hard enough online, you will be able to still find one for purchase, though it will probably be an older model. You may have fond memories of conversion vans, and if you want to purchase one today, you should definitely check out the alternative offerings instead. You'll be surprised at how luxurious and spacious full-size SUVs and mini-vans can be!
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.