Customers are switching from minivans such as the VW Sharan, shown, to SUVs and crossovers.
in Automotive News Europe, by Christiaan Hetzner, 20-12-2019
“We need to see whether we still need to have three minivans in our range with the Golf Sportsvan, Touran and Sharan,” VW brand finance chief Arno Antlitz told Automotive News Europe at a press event here.
The Touran compact minivan is the best-selling model of the three vehicles. Touran sales in Europe fell 14 percent to 69,814 in the first 11 months, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. Sales of the Golf SportsVan, which is positioned between the Golf hatchback and Touran, dropped 26 percent to 40,215. Sales of the Sharan large minivan were up 1.7 percent to 20,854.
Antlitz said VW had reduced costs significantly by eliminating about 30 percent of engine-gearbox combinations. “In the past someone from sales would invariably say that there was some important customer group that needed a particular combination,” he said.
“Although it cost us about 500,000 euros, the changeover did have a positive effect. We didn’t have the luxury anymore to maintain this number of combinations, so cuts were easier to implement,” he said.
VW has expanded its SUV lineup in recent years with the T-Roc and T-Cross as it seeks to increase sales of higher-margin SUVs to help fund an industry-wide shift toward low-emission vehicles.