Jonathan Browning, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said Volkswagen AG has not decided whether to offer a minivan after its contract with Chrysler Group LLC expires in about two years. Built at Chrysler's plant in Windsor, Ontario, the VW Routan shares a platform and mechanicals with the Chrysler Town & Country.
In 2010, VW sold 15,961 Routans in the United States, up almost 9 percent in an overall market that grew 11 percent from 2009. Despite reports at some Web sites, Browning said VW has no plans to enter NASCAR competition as a way to market the redesigned, U.S.-built 2012 Passat sedan.
With U.S. sales to start in late August 2011 or early September 2011, VW expects to build 150,000 Passats annually in the United States once full production is reached in Chattanooga, Tenn.
On other topics, Browning said that U.S.-built Passats will be sold in Canada, Mexico, Korea and possibly the Middle East and VW will drop "New" from the New Beetle's name when the redesigned car goes on sale late in 2011.
Instead, the car will be called the Volkswagen Beetle. Suppliers are continuing to struggle to meet production demand. In the case of VW of America, Browning said the VW Touareg SUV is affected, saying that it will likely be “tight through the balance of this year." [via autonews - sub. required]