Volkswagen Routan May Not Survive for Second Generation

It’s hard to disagree with the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. chief when he says that the Routan minivan was untimely.

“We launched the Routan at the worst moment,” said Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. In the midst of a credit-crunching, stock-market crashing recession, Volkswagen’s debut of a more expensive, re-badged Chrysler people-mover didn’t seem to make much sense. According to Jacoby, Volkswagen hasn’t decided if it will build a second generation Routan.

Sales have been dismal at best. Volkswagen has sold 5,582 Routans, while Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario-based minivan plant has produced 22,037 of them. Production has been completely halted since December, and a Volkswagen spokesperson has said the company doesn’t know when it will continue assembling the minivan.

In an effort to spur sales, Volkswagen currently offers 0 percent loans for 60 months, and $325 monthly payments for leases, while Volkswagen owners receive $500 in loyalty cash.

Even with sales down 30 percent for the Grand Caravan and 40 percent for the Town & Country, Chrysler has sold 44,724 minivans so far this year. The cheapest version of the Dodge Grand Caravan can be had for $23,545 after destination charges, while the Routan starts at $25,950 after destination charges.

Source: Automotive News