• Jan 16, 2008
Volkswagen has announced that it will unveils its version of the Chrysler LLC minivan at the Chicago Auto Show in early February, and that its name will be Routan. As with most of the names that VW chooses for its vehicles, we had to look up the meaning of the word. We didn't find anything because VW made up the word "Routan" by combining the words "route" and "an". The German automaker adds an "an" at the end of all its vans in Europe.
The Routan is good news for Chrysler, which will use up some excess production capacity at its Windsor, Ontario plant by building VW's minivan alongside the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. We're very eager to see the VW aesthetic applied to the exterior of the Chrysler minivans, which, despite incorporating a number of innovative features not offered by their competition, is often panned for its bread-box styling.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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  • 42 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      VW needs to STOP naming things. Touran? Touareg? Tiguan? Routan? At least give America the right to change the name after it sucks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to see what this looks like. All the European van-like vehicles VW offers are boxy, apparently taking lineage from the Eurovan. They were on the right track with the Microbus revival, but that appears to be dead in the water for some years now. Too bad. That'd really differentiate their offering from all the other soulless minivans out there.
      • 7 Years Ago
      With declining minivan sales and rising CUV sales, why is this even being CONSIDERED??

      Many car companies are axing thier slow selling minivans and selling replacement CUV's by the truckload.

      Stupid VW. It's not gonna sell.

      No one's going to want a rebadged Chrysler anyways, even if they stick thier own drivetrain in it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, it was either this, or a rebadged Durango. Take your pick.

        VW buyers (you know, green-voting, latte sipping, turtleneck-and-fashion-eyewear, Mac using, condo owning yuppies*) are slightly more likely to be minivan people than your average suburban soccer mom who just can't be seen in anything other than an SUV because someone else on the street has one, but needs a seven-seat monster to carry the brood and their feed.

        Of course, they're also more likely to just buy a Passat wagon, Mazda5 or Rondo, too, so VW really needs to be careful here. I don't disagree that they need an economical seven-seater, I just don't think that the Chrysler vans are quite right for their demographic. I understand why they're doing it, but I think it might have been smarter to have talked to Kia about the Rondo (or eat the cost and bring over their own MPV). Chrysler probably offered them the lowest dollar figure, though.

        * (note: I personally meet all of those save for one)
          • 7 Years Ago
          Scary, I meet most of your requirements (except turtleneck and condo), who traded in my VW Jetta for a Mazda5. I too don't see the need for anymore vans. I wish the new MPV would make it over here but Mazda says the 5 or the cx-7 will cover that spot. VW needs to work on it's reliabilty and pricing if they want to succeed in the states. And they don't need to rebrand a crappy Chrysler which would further their 'overpriced and unreliable' reputation.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I dunno, if they put a decent TDI drivetrain in it, it could be interesting.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dunno my Touareg has had more than $50K of warranty work, but my Passat has been great - I've seen both sides and given how bad the Touareg has been, I'm considering a non-VW replacement for the GLX after this winter.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Am I not mistaken, but from everything I have read VW's quality is horrible... if anything this will probably improve the brand..
        • 7 Years Ago
        The only real problem my fathers VW had was the Coil packs, but they were replaced under warranty. I miss that Passat.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I amazed at all the non-owners who are willing to spread rumors. My two year old Jetta with 20,000 miles has had zero, nada, no problems at all. A very nice reliable car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chrysler invented this segment & besides some quality issues along the way have been the runaway leader.

      I used to work for some big car companies & drove numerous generations of Mini vans (+ other types of cars... thank God) over the years. Honda & Toyota vans gain a lot of their customers on the backs of their other models. The Chrysler vans held up against their competition. Dealership experience & resale... a different story.

      This VW-Chrysler van deal has more to do with ex DaimlerChrysler exec. Wolfgang Behnard moving to VW after overseeing the design of the 2008 Dodge + Chrysler models.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Whats the over/under on the number of days before the panning commenter refers to it as 'Rotund'?
      • 7 Years Ago
      One of the biggest appeals of VWs are how fun and responsively they drive. How they're going to tune one of the clumsiest minivans on the road will be interesting to see. Either they'll prove you can't, or they'll prove that they can fix Chrysler's mistakes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's a shame the T5 will never make it back here- that's a great van- really bridges the gap to full-size. I just can't see any advantage to buying a Caravan from a VW store.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Although it seems unlikely, I still hope VW offers a TDI engine option in this though I would much prefer VW import the Sharon instead. People are downsizing and looking for more economical vehicles yet many still need to haul 7 passengers. The Mazda 5 seems to be selling reasonably well in my area. I don't see as many of them on the roads as Siennas, Odysseys and Chryslers but they seem at least as popular as the Passat Wagon.

      For people wanting larger vans VW could import the passenger version of the T-5 and call it the Eurovan 2. They could easily get into the full size van market in the US by selling their version of the Mercedes Sprinter called the Crafter since the Dodge Sprinter already meets US standards

      BTW, this isn't the first time VW and Chrysler have cooperated. In the early 1980's some of the Dodge Omnis had VW engines.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Routan?! Sounds like an invective...

      Why don't VW just revive the "Vanagon" moniker. It still has some residual name equity...surely among the VW folks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      We are on our second Chrysler minivan and our vans have been hands down the best vehicles we have had. Chrysler vehicles are as good as any other. Latley since Diamler had the company design has been questionable. This take time to change
      Chrysler has been the red headed step child of the auto industry long enough. Coming from a majority who for the most part think Toyota or anything else foreign is great, I guess anything makes sense.
      VW I think will do fine with Chrysler`s minivans. Idiots will say how superior the VW is to the Chrysler van.
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