Last week, we reported that production of the Chrysler-based Volkswagen Routan minivan had been halted since July, and its future seemed grim. It appears now that the Volkswagen minivan will live on, with production resuming in 2013. According to an Automotive News report, the Routan will be unchanged for the 2013 model year (surprise!) and continue to be produced at the Windsor, Ontario facility, where Chrysler assembles the Town and Country.
Questions over the future of the Routan have stemmed from its poor sales performance. Just 8,882 Routans were built through December 15 of this year – a drop of 38 percent over the same time period last year – and 9,923 Routans were sold in the US through the end of November, which is down 17 percent compared to that same stretch of time in 2011. The contract that VW has with Chrysler is set to end with the conclusion of the 2014 model year. Nether company has announced intentions to extend that contract.
As part of Volkswagen's plan to sell 800,000 vehicles by 2018, the minivan seems less and less a part of that strategy. Far more effective, would be a large, three-row crossover, to compete with the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, and we'll be seeing such a vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show next mont. So while the Routan may live on in the immediate future, its long-term hopes are certainly in question.