A people carrier designed to shed the ‘soccer mom’ image of such vehicles was unveiled by Ford at the LA show.

It’s based on the Transit Connect small van, features sliding doors and will be built in Spain at Ford’s Valencia factory.

The company said that the design is aimed at under 30s who traditionally do not buy MPVs in the US because of what it describes as the ‘soccer mom stigma’.

Ford’s head of global engineering Hau Thai-Tang said: “Many youngsters grew up in the back of a minivan and historically they tend to reject what they’re familiar with.”

Ford has been selling the Transit Connect in the US as a commercial vehicle and the people-mover version will go on sale by the end of next year.

So-called minivan sales in the US have halved from a peak in 2000 at around 1.3m.

Analysts say this is due to a social view among the younger generation known here as the ‘millennials’ that a minivan signals the driver has lost his or her individuality after becoming a parent.

Ford expects the Transit Connect wagon will get 30 mpg on the highway. It has more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space and will be offered in five- and seven-person configurations with the option of a rear liftgate or side-hinged cargo doors.