A Volkswagen official insisted in an email exchange with AutoGuide.com last month that the Chrysler-based Routan van hadn’t been killed.
“…we have quite a lot of 2012 inventory in stock at the moment … So, no, it hasn’t been axed from the lineup,” VW representative Mark Gillies said in an email. “The vehicle is listed on our consumer website.”
Listed it may be, but Volkswagen issued a release on its consumer site today confirming the contrary — 2012 was the last year of production for its unpopular Routan minivan.
“As our minivan customers have more recently embraced other seven-passenger vehicles that offer the same utility and functionality, the time is right to exit the segment and explore other options in growing areas of the market,” Volkswagen Group North America CEO Jonathan Browning said. “As we enter a period of sustained growth, we are committed to offering our customers a vehicle that fills the seven-passenger void and is more closely aligned with our brand.”
The automaker has only managed to sell 49,022 Routans in the U.S. since its 2008 introduction. Meanwhile, the same van before being badge engineered into a “Volkswagen,” sold more than 250,000 units last year counting both the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan together.
Slow sales aside, the kill call does raise new questions. Volkswagen previously confirmed to AutoGuide that its contract with Chrysler to build the Routan is still in place.
Outside of the minivan world, however, things were getting unsavory between the two brands. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne even went so far as to encourage current VW owners to buy a Chrysler product by offering a $1,000 discount without exchanging the Volkswagen.
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