Posted by: David Kiley on January 15, 2009
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.