CHICAGO – General Motors Corp. is restyling its lineup of minivans to make them look more like cross/utility vehicles. But Chrysler Group warns that move may not play well with buyers.

GM’s string of ’05 minivans, which include first-ever entries for Buick and Saturn, bow in the fall. Their CUV-like styling is designed to help the new models, which GM dubs “Crossover Sport Vans (CSVs),” break away from the “soccer mom” stigma plaguing minivans. (See related story: GM Debuts Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza Minivans)

CUV-styled Saturn Relay.

But, warns Chrysler Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard, the idea of creating CSVs was considered by Chrysler and shelved.

"We had the same idea three years ago and tested CSVs on focus groups,” he says. “We found that minivan buyers expect the vehicle to look like a minivan and loved it as it is."

"We found purchase intentions dropped if people thought the vehicle was a minivan imposter, like a camel posing as a cow. We have a 38% share of the minivan market and aren't going away from the look of a van."