VW ponders the future of its minivan

Automotive News reports on the future of the Volkswagen Routan.

Auto Tech

CHICAGO--Volkswagen has not decided whether to offer a minivan after its contract with the Chrysler Group expires in about two years, said Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

The VW Routan, which is built at Chrysler's plant in Windsor, Ontario, shares a platform and mechanicals with the Chrysler Town and Country.

VW sold 15,961 Routans in the United States last year, up almost 9 percent in an overall market that grew 11 percent from 2009.

Browning also said VW has no plans to enter Nascar competition as a way to market the redesigned, U.S.-built 2012 Passat sedan, despite reports on some Web sites: "It's not something we are looking at."

VW expects to build 150,000 Passats annually in the United States once full production is reached in Chattanooga, Tenn. U.S. sales begin in late August or early September.

On other topics, Browning said:
-- U.S.-built Passats will be sold in Canada, Mexico, Korea, and possibly the Middle East.
-- VW will drop "New" from the New Beetle's name when the redesigned car goes on sale late this year. The car will be called the Volkswagen Beetle.
-- Suppliers are still struggling to meet production demand. In VW of America's case, Browning said the VW Touareg SUV is affected: "We probably will see it tight through the balance of this year."

(Source: Automotive News)

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