VW: No Interest in Chrysler Minivan Business

Posted by: David Kiley on January 15, 2009

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VW’s U.S. chief Stefan Jacoby says the German automaker has no interest in acquiring Chrysler’s minivan business.

Chrysler manufactures the Volkswagen Routan minivan in one of its Canadian plants. The van is a thinly disguised version of the Chrysler Town & Country. Former VW chief Wolfgang Bernhard, who was also former COO of Chrysler, struck the deal.

Sales of the Routan got off to a slow start in 2008 because of the fast downturn in auto sales and the heavy discounting of minivans.

It is said by many analysts that the two most valuable assets Chrysler has, if the company is broken up or sold, is the Jeep business and its minivan business.

But VW, which is in the midst of a product offensive to grow sales to 800,000 by 2018 and is bulding a new plant in Tennessee, is not interested. “The technology of the vehicle and the plant is not connected to anything else we do in the [Volkswagen] Group [which includes Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley and Lamborghini],” said Jacoby at this week’s North American International Auto show.

VW sold just 3387 Routans last year depite heavy ad spending on a campaign featuring actress Brooke Shields.


Chrysler sold 232,000 minivans last year, though the vans received some of the heaviest discounting in the industry with loaded Chrysler vans going out dealer’s doors for about $25,000, according to some dealers and customers.

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Reader Comments

Paul (Vw)

January 15, 2009 12:32 PM

Cimarron anyone?

I checked out the Routan (hoping VW would have a version with a manual transmission).

The thing that I don't get is why someone would want to buy a Routan (a Chrysler minivan )with only like a 36,000 mile warranty where if you buy a Chrysler minivan you get a limited lifetime powertrain warranty...and better sales incentives.

Then again, the lifetime warranty from Chrysler assumes Chrysler will still be there.

Richard

January 15, 2009 09:33 PM

You failed to mention that the VW was only on sale since September or October. Comparing Chryslers full year sales to 4 months of sales for the Volkswagen isn't exactly fair.

From Kiley: I wasn't comparing the two. Just listing the 2008 sales for each one.

Ike

January 16, 2009 07:40 AM

At least with the Vdub version you get free maintenance and from what I have seen the incentives for the '09s are pretty close.

John Rees

January 16, 2009 11:10 AM

VW should review their customer service first. View my VW experience at: http://www.reesphotos.com/VW

J Baustian

January 18, 2009 09:37 AM

The Routan was priced at about $2000 less than a similarly equipped Dodge Grand Caravan. That must be the approximate price of a lifetime powertrain warranty.

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