• Sep 11, 2008
Click above to watch video after the jump

In what could very possibly be the worst auto-related commercial we have ever seen, Volkswagen has somehow convinced Brooke Shields (really Brooke, are things this bad?) to shill its new, at least to VW showrooms, Caravan Routan minivan. Apparently, what the people want is a badge-engineered Volkswagen version of the Pentastar minivan platform. In the extended commercial, Shields attempts to explain with a straight face that Americans are getting pregnant just so they can buy a Routan and enjoy its German engineering. Except that it's not German engineered, unless you count the fact that Daimler was still married to Chrysler when the van was developed. We certainly don't. Sure, the Routan's Chrysler-sourced suspension was probably tweaked by Volkswagen, and it's got softer styling up front to differentiate it from its Auburn Hills-based brothers, but those credentials are far from enough to call it "German engineered". It's likely that the Routan is a perfectly fine minivan, maybe even markedly better than the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country, but does VW honestly think people won't realize it's true origins? To watch the absurdness unfold, click past the break.

[Source: Volkswagen]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 71 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha! I saw this commercial last night and thought the exact same thing!
      • 6 Years Ago
      She's hot.
      I didn't even notice the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Heck, lots of women don't even know the paternity of their CHILDREN let alone their minivan!

      Seriously they're pretty good minivans as it goes-- and I'd love to see VW sell a bunch of them. It actually looks more like the Odyssey than the half siblings if you ask me. Just hope owners don't have to submit to a paternity test!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think most moms and dads will actually know that this is a Chrysler platform.

      To VW's credit, I do kind of like the looks of this thing, it's much sportier than the Chrysler/Dodge twins. The 4.0 V6 has been praised as quite powerful, and the new 6-speed mentioned in an earlier post looks promising. If they substantially revise the interior with typical VW quality and fit/finish, I don't see why this is such a bad thing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am sorry, but I think its funny. Won't sell any vans and I don't need or want one, but you have to love the sense of humor. We all need to laugh a little bit more.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So...am I the only person who feels like there's something wrong with this campaign?
      • 6 Years Ago
      When it comes to bagdes, people are easily fooled. 95% of Routan buyers will have NO idea they're buying a Chrysler/Dodge.

      VW is famous for re-badging. Take its European operations.

      Buyers are convinced that when they buy a Skoda Octavia or a Seat Leon, they're getting the same German/VW quality that allegedly comes with buying a VW Golf/Jetta. At the same time, folks who get an Audi A3 or a TT, are convinced that they're getting better quality than those buying a Golf or Octavia.

      The point is, that ALL cars I mentioned share the same platform, same engines, same transmissions and lots of other stuff, even few interior bits.

      So it's either that a Skoda Octavia is as good as an Audi A3 or the TT (belonging to a premium class), or the A3 is merely a badge-ingineered Skoda Ocatavia (an average car).

      You see, Caravan with a lipstick is still a Routan...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hunt all he wants... if and when he does catch up (is that possible?) he can't raise his arms high enough to grab. What's up with the arms anyway? moves like a puppet on strings... oh wait, is he a puppet on strings?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Is that kind of like the Toyota platforms that make up the Lexus lineup, or the Ford platforms that they share with Volvo, or the Chevys that become Buicks and Cadillacs, or the Honda vehicles that are turned into Acuras, the Nissans that become Inifinitis etc?

        Every major manufacturer does it. It's done to spread out the engineering cost and make all of the models more cost-effective to buld and sell. You would not be happy buying a vehicle if each one was on it's own separate plaform, the costs would be significantly higher than they are today.

        Being built on the same platform doesn't mean a whole lot these days anyhow as most are designed to be flexible enough to support numerous vehicle types. For instance, the Camry shares it's platform with the Solara(understandably), ES300, Sienna, Avalon, Lexus RX, and Highlander. Notice how they all seemed to get updated around the same time?

        It's just the nature of the industry nowadays.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Tuna-- I'm not a huge John McCain fan, but try being tortured for a few years and have your bones broken repeatedly and see how much you can move around.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is squared directly for late Gen-X'ers and early Gen Y's. I'm sure it's a fine van, but it's still badge engineering that I thought car makers were trying to avoid at almost all costs. VW knows they had quite a hit with previous-gen Jettas and those owners (mostly female) are looking for something with a badge but with more room to haul clearance items from Ikea.

      I'll be seeing alot of these in Frisco, TX since there are only three things to do there: Shop, eat, and making babies like it's going out of style.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why does she keep saying GERMAN in everything?? German built...German suspension....umm theres nothing specail about being German....what if Toyota and honda keep saying with our Japanese craftsmanship and Japanese suspension..,yea it dont sound right..nor does her sayin German every 5 mins...
      • 6 Years Ago
      The suspension is tighter and the interior bits look a bit more upscale, but the one I sat in yesterday still had the Chryler dealers programmed in its Nav system, but not the VW stores. I had to laugh. Funniest thing was, when we were doing start and stops in the Routan, T&C, Sienna and Odyssey, the rear brakes (at 273km) seized from too much braking, and the brakes on the Routan faded to the point it was trvaelling an extra 20 feet before stopping.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow that commercial is hilariously stupid. Ugly van, asinine commercial content, and Brook Shields = embarrassment to-no-end. Hates to be VW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Problem is, many minivan owners are not car nuts and/or Autoblog readers.

      Therefore many will think, cool, a German Engineerd Volkswagen Routan without realising that good old Brooke and VW are bending the truth to the point of lying

      - its also a cringeworthy ad
        • 6 Years Ago
        I remember seeing people arguing that the dodge neon was better than the plymouth and chrysler one ETC....
        • 6 Years Ago
        BINGO!

        Its lies to an uninformed consumer base, plain and simple.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Let the breeders have this crap. I'm still at liberty to choose cars with only two seats and I can go to the pub whenever I want, get up when I want, smoke in the house and generally have a life free from those nasty little mini-hitlers that pass as children these days.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cringeworthy is an understatement.

        I had my headphones on at work, so passerby's would not to be able to tell why I looked like I was being punched in the stomach every time Brooke said "German Engineering".

        But I'm sure that is what it looked like.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chrysler Neon? Don't remember that one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        fizzandpop,
        glad to hear your gene pool will die with you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Breeders"? Fizzandpop.Your heterophobia is showing.
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