Demise of the soccer mom?

By Paula Tutman - Reporter

Where are you soccer mom? Oh, she's still out there, but her kids have gotten older and she won't be caught dead in mom-jeans, anymore.  There's a new mom out there and she's driving the auto industry like never before. Bob Broderdorf, Jr., the head of Dodge Brand told Local 4's, First at 4 reporter, Paula Tutman that this year, the brand did a lot of leg work with female drivers who are also mothers.  They asked them what they liked in a mini-van and they put those aspects into the new Dodge Durango, RT. Christina Selter, editor of can't hide her distaste of mini-vans and what they say about the mothers and fathers who drive them.  Her sense is they lack a sleekness and aggressiveness.  She says she wants power under the hood and in her view the classic mini van, with the sliding doors and low profile scream 'married with children, unavailable and uninteresting'. Don't count the mini-van out, yet though.   316, 500 mini vans were sold in the first six months of 2012, alone in the U-S... a jump of 17 percent.  But the crossover and the SUV  sold 4 million vehicles in the same time period.  The Soccer Mom, isn't who she used to be.  focuses on the female consumer and the trend they're seeing on the website indicates that women don't want to just lug children, pets and stuff, they want to look sexy and current while doing so.  The new mom's haul-it-all is an accessory says, Selter. This year at the auto show, mom can consider herself heard.  All three of the Big Three recognize the growing anti-mini van sentiment and believe 2013 will be the year to hammer home that there are other alternatives. Chrysler and Dodge are playing both sides...the only domestic manufacturer still in the mini van game.  The 2014 model of the Caravan is sassed up with a new 'black-top, sleek interior and vibrant colors that scream, "look at me".  But you can't lose the fact that on the auto show floor at Cobo it's parked right next to that new Durango RT which has the same safety features and the majority of the hauling-lots-of-stuff amenities as a classic mini-van save a few cubic feet.  For all intent and purposes, the new Durango RT is the new mini-van without the look.  It even has captain chairs in the middle row for easy access to a full third row of seating.  And those seats fold down for flat carrying capacity.  In other words, you can throw away your mom-jeans, mini-van look for about 8-thousand dollars more and the upgrade packages  from there are almost irresistible for increments as low as the  $300 range. Women are driving this one says James Bell of General Motors.  It's 2014 3-row Traverse is deliberately and distinctively un-mini-vanish in appearance, but it, too boasts fold down seats and as many cup holders as the traditional mini-van. For its part,  Ford touts Flex as its best anti-mini-van option says Angie Kosleski of Ford Motor Company. Is this the demise of the soccer mom? No.  But she looks different, she drives differently and she wants you to notice, she's more than a mom, she's a person. 

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