There are some vehicle segments where advancement and innovation are key to selling cars – like the premium mid-size or full-size SUV segments, for example. But when it comes to vans, simplicity is paramount. Most van owners, whether they plan on using their vehicle to haul their family or their tools, like the vehicle for its practicality and aren’t overly concerned with having the latest gadgets or features. This is evidenced by the fact that General Motors has left the Chevrolet Express and GMC Safari vans virtually unchanged for years now and it remains a strong seller. It’s even true for family minivans – Fiat Chrysler is still selling the old Dodge Grand Caravan as a cheaper, more straightforward alternative to the fancier Chrysler Pacifica, and the vehicle has no trouble finding buyers.
We recently stumbled across a community of Chevrolet Astro van enthusiasts who love the vehicle for its spaciousness, practicality and reliability and want to see GM revive the model. The community appears to be related to the “overlanding” community, which is essentially off-road car camping and is a hobby that has taken off in popularity in recent years. It’s easy to see why these folks like the Astro van, then. Not only is it practical, reliable and easy to work on, its body-on-frame design and available all-wheel drive make it decent off-road, too. They even put together a retro-inspired video on the Astro and set up Change.org petition to try and convince GM to revive the van. There’s also a website dedicated to the cause, www.bringbacktheastro.com.
“In 1985, you provided a macro-response to the minivan,” the website says, addressing GM directly. “With 182 cubic feet of cabin space, the do-everything Astro van can carry enough groceries to outlast winter. And if your local supermarket happened to be on top of a mountain peak, the all-wheel-drive workhorse could climb that rocky road.”
“Two glorious decades and 3.2 million Astro vans followed before the last one rolled off the line at Baltimore Assembly in 2005,” the site also says. “The van you no longer sell continues to respond to the times. Fifteen years later, a growing community continues to recognize and discover what an Astro can do on the terrain of road and the ride of life.”
If the Astro also occupies a unique place in your heart and you think a new one would be worth buying, be sure to sign the Change.org petition at this link.