Volkswagen has begun showing its next Sharan to VW insiders at test clinics.
The Sharan will be replaced in late 2008 or early 2009, said a VW source close to the decision.
VW still has not officially announced that the 11-year-old Sharan will be replaced. Its future was put in doubt when VW and the Chrysler group agreed to have Chrysler build a large minivan for the US market starting in 2008.
Another factor that led to speculation that the Sharan would not be replaced was the announcement that the production of the Ford Galaxy, its sister model, would end last December.
The Galaxy was built alongside the Sharan and Seat Alhambra large minivan at VWs Autoeuropa plant in Setubal, Portugal.
The second-generation Galaxy will be built at Ford of Europes plant in Genk, Belgium and will go on sale starting in June. The latest Galaxy is built on Fords C1 Plus architecture.
VW sources said the new Sharan will be based on a stretched version of the Passat platform and will be a completely different vehicle than the Chrysler-built minivan that VW plans to sell in North America.
Seat also will get a new Alhambra based on the next Sharan, Andreas Schleef, Seat president, told Automotive News Europe at the Geneva auto show last week.
There will be one, Schleef said. Its coming too late. But we will depend on the Sharan.