By Ronan Glon
Tuesday, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 8:04 am
 

Volkswagen is preparing to axe the slow-selling Chrysler-based Routan minivan, a new report indicates.

Although the German automaker has yet to issue a statement regarding the van's fate, officials from the Canadian Chrysler plant where it was assembled told several media outlets that the contract between Volkswagen and Chrysler expired without being renewed.

The news does not come as a surprise. While Volkswagen and Chrysler got along fine in 2008, the latter is now largely owned by Fiat, a company notorious for quarreling with Volkswagen. The two firm's CEOs have been involved in several highly-publicized arguments, and Chrysler recently launched a rebate campaign aimed squarely at Volkswagen owners.

To worsen matters, the North America-only Routan hasn't exactly been a home run. Since its launch in 2008, it has long been overshadowed by the Chrysler Town and Country on which it is based and Volkswagen dealerships sold just 9,923 examples of the van during the first eleven months of the year, marking a drop of 16.3 percent compared to the same time period last year.

Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen's head of global design, recently admitted that developing a new minivan to replace the Routan is not on the company's to-do list.

Instead, the automaker is putting the finishing touches on a U.S.-bound crossover that will be able to seat up to seven passengers. The yet-unnamed vehicle will make its public debut as a thinly-veiled concept at next month's Detroit Motor Show and be built in Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory.