VW could drop some of its MPVs as SUV boom continues

feedback@motor1.com (Anthony Alaniz)
2018 VW Golf Sportsvan facelift

Does VW need three MPVs?

As Volkswagen prepares to update the Caddy, the German automaker is also looking to eliminate low-selling MPVs from its lineup. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, VW brand finance chief Arno Antlitz said the company is determining whether VW needs three different MPVs in its portfolio. With more people flocking to crossovers and SUVs, the answer is probably no.

Right now, VW offers the Golf SV (aka Sportsvan - pictured above), Touran, and Sharan. Sales for the Touran and Golf SV have fallen through the first 11 months of the year, according to the publication that cites JATO Dynamics market researchers. Sales for the Sharan have inched upward, though so far VW has only sold about 21,000 Sharans, which pales in comparison to the nearly 70,000 Touran sales or the 40,000 Golf SV sold. However, none of those MPVs can touch the Tiguan and T-Roc in sales, which have sold 245,056 and 193,963 examples, respectively, so far this year. 

What VW has instead:

Antlitz’s comments follow similar ones from VW sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann who hinted earlier this year the Golf Sportsvan may not receive a replacement. "Cars like that will shift out of our portfolio,” he said then. Replacing those models, VW would launch new crossovers, SUVs, and other high-riding vehicles customers are going gaga for today.

VW isn’t alone in chasing profits and consumer trends. Saloons, hatchbacks, and other car-like models aren’t selling well compared to their taller stablemates. Automakers that have transitioned or introduced more crossovers and SUVs are riding a wave of success, even as some specific car models see declining sales levelling off. VW is also looking to reduce the number of engine and transmission combinations. The automaker hopes to increase its profit margin to 6 percent by 2022, and eliminating a minivan or two could help with that.