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C-Max: Don't use that M-word

Automotive News reports on Ford's efforts to keep its C-Max model from being labeled a minivan when it gets imported to the U.S.


Automotive News

What with all the blurring of segments, classifying vehicles can be a real headache these days. But it is still important, especially if there is a category you don't want your new vehicle associated with. Minivans, for instance.

Ford took pains to try to make sure the C-Max introduced last week didn't get labeled with the M-word, but some auto writers did so anyway. To some, "minivan" stirs up an image of a soccer mom driving a boring vehicle with her nose pressed to the windshield. Deeply uncool.

Ford C-Max
The seven-passenger version of the C-Max: What do you call it? Automotive News

The U.S. version of the C-Max is a small, seven-passenger vehicle with "sliders," the industry term for sliding doors. The seats fold flat into the floor, creating a cavernous interior. To some, that spells minivan.

But it certainly isn't standard American minivan size. The C-Max, which will arrive in 2011, shares a platform with the next-generation Ford Focus. So for some spectators last week in Germany, the main question was "What do you call it: a crossover, a wagon or a small minivan?"

According to Ford, the answer is none of the above. It is using that old standby "multiactivity vehicle." Automakers have used the phrase--MAV for short--for years as a way to avoid the other word. Mazda uses MAV for the compact Mazda5, a vehicle similar in function to the C-Max.

Ford guys have another old pet name for a minivanlike apparatus: "people mover," a term that gets trotted out from time to time. Anything but "minivan," says Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Ford's global product development team. "Minivans have a stigma."

(Source: Automotive News)