By Andy Bannister
It’s a dubious honour to be selling one of the oldest car designs still in production, but that doesn’t seem to bother Volkswagen. In Europe, the German company is still soldiering on with its big MPV, now about to enter its 15th year of existence.
The oddly named seven-seat Sharan never made it to North America, but occupies roughly the same territory which will be served by the Chrysler-derived Routan over there.
The Sharan started life way back in 1995 as part of a joint venture with Ford of Europe called Autoeuropa. Ford made its own version, the Galaxy, at the same plant in Portugal, newly built for the purpose to benefit from the lower wages paid in southern Europe. Arguably quality hasn’t been up to the standard of some other VW models.
Ford finally pulled the plug in 2006 on the venture , building in its Belgian plant a much more modern second-generation Galaxy entirely of its own making, together with the related S-Max. The obvious superiority of its one-time partner’s new designs hasn’t stopped VW grimly persevering with churning out the same outdated model. Continue Reading →