Volkswagen AG plans to discontinue sales of the Routan, a rebadged Chrysler-built minivan VW has offered since 2008, the company’s top U.S. executive said on April 2nd.
The Routan will be phased out this year, with most units destined for “internal purposes” such as VW’s corporate fleet, said Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
“The segment is contracting in favor of crossovers and SUVs,” Browning said in an interview today at the New York auto show. “The vehicle helped as a bridge solution for us.”
A Chrysler spokeswoman declined comment.
Through February, VW had sold just 57,650 Routans since the minivan went on sale in 2008.
While other automakers may be more bullish on minivans — Honda Motor Co. is showing a 2014 Honda Odyssey with a built-in vacuum at the New York show — VW isn’t.
“If you look at the history of the [minivan] segment, I don’t think anybody can deny there’s been erosion,” Browning said.
U.S. minivan sales rose 14 percent last year to 597,118 units, with Chrysler Group, Honda and Toyota Motor Corp. continuing to dominate the segment.
U.S. sales of the Routan slipped 16 percent last year to 10,483. Routan volume peaked at just 15,961 units in 2010.
Chrysler assembles the Routan at a plant in Windsor, Ontario.
VW unveiled the CrossBlue Concept in January at the Detroit auto show, signaling intentions to offer a mid-sized SUV aimed at families. It is expected to be priced between the Touareg and Tiguan SUVs in VW’s lineup.