Volkswagen Routan Gets Axed: 2013 New York Auto Show
- Production of the Volkswagen Routan minivan will end later this year with the 2014 model, the automaker confirmed for Edmunds at the 2013 New York Auto Show.
- A shrinking minivan market led to the decision.
- The Routan is expected to be replaced with a seven-passenger crossover based on the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept shown at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
The contract with Chrysler Group will expire toward the end of the calendar year and will not be renewed, Rainer Michel, Volkswagen of America's vice president for product marketing and strategy, said.
Michel said "the minivan segment has continued to shrink" and offering a minivan "is certainly not one of our priorities." Only fleet vehicles will be produced until the contract expires, said Michel, who was interviewed at the New York auto show.
"American customers appreciate the style of an SUV with seven seats even though there is less versatility," Michel said.
Michel said Volkswagen will make a decision on CrossBlue production in a few months. It is unknown whether the CrossBlue name will be used for the production vehicle.
In a separate interview, Volkswagen of America President Jonathan Browning said "the vehicle development process has done the initial work" on the CrossBlue crossover. If approved, it will take more than 18 months until the vehicle goes on sale, he said.
The Routan never lived up to sales expectations. Last year Volkswagen sold about 10,400 Routans, up from 7,535 in 2011. The minivan contract with Volkswagen was created when Daimler-Benz owned Chrysler.Edmunds says: The few remaining minivan choices for Americans include the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.