• Jul 11th 2009 at 5:25PM
  • 29
2009 Volkswagen Routan - click above for a high res image gallery

Earlier this spring as Chrysler stumbled toward bankruptcy court, one of the announced cost-cutting decisions was the elimination of the third shift at the Windsor assembly plant. That's the factory that produces the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan and Volkswagen Routan minivans. According to Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, the company has reversed course and will keep the third shift operational. Preserving the final shift will prevent 1,200 layoffs at the factory.

The change was made possible by a revised labor deal agreed to this spring, which cut $207 million in annual costs. Earlier this year, the plant "temporarily" ceased building the Routan for Volkswagen due to slow sales. According to VW of America communications director Steve Keyes, the Routan will live on as well. Keyes tells Autoblog "We will be introducing the 2010 MY vehicle this Fall and continue work on future models. Our goal was to capture 5 percent of the segment and we're meeting that target."

[Source: Reuters, Volkswagen]
Photos Copyright ©2008 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Routan is a flop barely sold 2000 last month, i doubt anyone who bought it knew it was re badged Chrysler Town and Chrysler. I refuse to touch anything that is Chrysler: poor design, cheap interiors and awful quality.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Ok I take that back, they're not 'bad' engines, but even though they are recent, they are based on low tech, old motors. Reliable but old tech (read: inefficient).

      I have a 5.7L Hemi engine, it's also officially recent, but it's just an update of a decades old engine. As a result, it's reliable, but guzzles gas in comparison to what comes out of it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure your 5.7 Hemi guzzles gas because its a 5.7l V-8, not because it's "decades old". A circe 350 ci v-8 didn't get very good MPG "decades" ago either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What makes the new engines better than the older designs anyway?

        Other than the very latest direct injection motors the internal combustion engine has pretty much stayed the same for years.

        And no Toyota has not improved it. Honda maybe!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unsurprisingly I'd rather see them make their own van, but I suspect they're doing this just to see if a VW minivan would work in the North American market.

      If it does to their desires, they may make the next Routan on their own, thankfully.
      • 6 Years Ago
      while i'd never need a minivan for anything, and i know this is 'just' a chrysler in drag, but there is something about the way that it presents itself that i like. the interior is much nicer with a dose of VW, and the exterior is the cleanest of any of the 'real' chyrsler minivans. too bad there isn't a Westfalia pop-top version in white with orange/brown plaid interior.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Saw 2 Croutans sitting in the Avis lot in Louisville 2 weeks ago. Fleet stickers applied. That's how VW is moving metal. They are dumping them into fleets....
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Routan may not be a great VW, but every car publication has commented that it's the best Chrysler minivan yet. Maybe Marchionne will order the suspension tweaks into the T&C, and get started on styling and interior improvements to match. the Routan shows that Chrysler can make a better van. Now they need to give it to their own dealers! (And plug in the Pentastar V6 ASAP.)

      For VW's part, I agree with other posters that they need to revive the microbus concept and stick turbos, both gas and diesel in them. In a sales environment where Minis and Fiat 500's are trendy successes, a new Microbus should be an international home run.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Remember those German Engineering ads?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's a pity this can't be the iteration of the Chrysler/Dodge vans that 'gets it right'. It doesn't though..
      -Chry/Dodges have stow-n-go which is a BRILLIANT design and an industry exclusive (the Quest kind of has some of the virutes, but misses)
      -I rented T&Cs for about a month and a half total. They were pretty good. Coming out of a BMW and Saab.. I could see owning a BETTER version with some VW traits..

      In comes VW..
      -No stow-go
      -No diesel
      -Sunroofs only for $40k models
      -No VW-van imagination.. no roll back roof, no vase, no fridge.. no innovation at all. Weak. Lazy. Pass.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OK just for fun @vw.com I built a fully loaded Routan with premium package and rear entertainment (all the bells and whistles), total price $44,275. At bmwusa.com I built 2009 328i Sports Wagon with automatic, m-series package, and premium package, total price $44,750. I am going to go with the BMW for my family hauling needs. That's just me. :)

      • 6 Years Ago


      It lives on.

      I love my VW Crouton.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "And yes, too bad they don't offer a 2.4L TDi (which would outperform the prehistoric POS 4.0)".

      The 4.0L is a brand new engine OHC for the minivan line up.

      The 3.3L and 3.8L are the old ones that have proven to be bullit proof.

      Yeah a Diesel would be nice but the current engines aren`t POS.

        • 6 Years Ago
        What everyone is forgetting is that if they have 2010 model year they will probably introduce the new Pentastar V6 (formerly Phoenix). The 4.0's not a bad engine, but the Pentastar will be a step up in every way.


        "I refuse to touch anything that is Chrysler: poor design, cheap interiors and awful quality."

        Yet Chrysler has consistently outscored VW on the JD Powers 3 year reliability survey. Unless you mean quality of materials rather than reliability, then you have a point. But it looks like things are changing for the better at Chrysler (witness the new Ram interior, or the new Grand Cherokee for example). So there's hope.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just saw 10 truck loads of these vans get dropped at Hertz, dumping into fleet to make the numbers look better. VW should have looked at Chrysler's joint venture with Mitsu and the Raider, they sold what, 6000 units?
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