• Jul 13, 2009
If you close your eyes and think about the Volkswagen product lineup, products like the Golf, Jetta, and Passat are sure to come to mind. Most won't picture the Routan minivan, because most Americans don't even know the rebadged Dodge Grand Caravan exists. Sales of the Routan are so bad that the minivan hasn't been made since January, and production isn't picking up again until August.

Volkswagen is hoping to change the fortunes of its invisible minivan by giving away two Routans on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The move could prove to be a boon for VW, particularly after Oprah's 2004 stunt where the media madam gave away 276 Pontiac G6 models. Two weeks after the show, public awareness of the new sedan shot up to 87% and Pontiac was off the charts in Google and Yahoo searches, too.

Since Oprah is giving away two Routans instead of one to each member of her audience, we're guessing this giveaway won't have the same punch as the G6 scheme. The association with Oprah probably won't hurt, though, and any discernible bump in showroom traffic would make the Routan giveaway a success. With only 2,099 sales in June and 1,390 in May, the Routan could use all the help it can get.

[Source: Wards Automotive]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the public were educated about this vehicle it might hurt sales. Who wants a car with chrylser mini van looks, chrysler mechanicals, VW price premium, and the reputation for reliability from either company. Not to mention all your gofling buddies will scoff at your non-german german car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        stop fooling yourself edsel. You traded in a BMW for rebadged Chrysler minivan. It is OK we all reach that point in life. Just dont fool yourself anymore and you will be happier. Ive seen the interior of the Croutan, it looks nothing like VW and everything like a Caravan
        • 5 Years Ago
        @BoneHeadOtto

        Amuse your golf buddies by informing them that the Routan is a German Fiat, built in Canada, by the United States Treasury Department.

        Now, name me one other vehicle in the U.S. market that so clearly identifies the ethnic diversity of the United States!

        The Routan is a guaranteed, future classic collectable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW went to Crispin Porter + Bogusky, because they were the “hot” ad agency at the time. At this point, I would think they are a little disappointed. Despite some serious air time for all their vehicles and having Brooke Shields as the Routan spokes person, they haven’t moved the needle much. The VW clean diesel ad making fun of hybrids is brilliant, but the rest are easy to forget.

      If VW wants to take America by storm and take over lost market share from GM and Chrysler, its going to have to do better than this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is meant to be!

      Now get out of Chrysler's sandbox & bring back the MicroBus concept!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Since Oprah is giving away two Routans instead of one to each member of her audience ..."

      What? She's giving two cars to each member of the audience?

      I had to read that sentence twice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Since Oprah is giving away two Routans instead of one to each member of her audience"

      Sounds like you are saying they are giving away two to each audience member.

      The problem isnt that people dont KNOW about the Routan (who's assumption is that??) the problem is, knowing exactly what it is, no one WANTS it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You just had a post that said a third shift was being maintained for this van, and this quote: "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."

      Doesn't sound _that_ bad. I think VW is trying to raise awareness about this van to attract people who might have lost their Chrysler dealer, or who might be uncertain about Chrysler's future. They may figure VW will be around and the van will get support some way or another, even if it is made by Chrysler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why not?

      Look what it did for the G6!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Volkswagen is hoping to change the fortunes of its invisible minivan by giving away two Routans on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The move could prove to be a boon for VW, particularly after Oprah's 2004 stunt where the media madam gave away 276 Pontiac G6 models. Two weeks after the show, public awareness of the new sedan shot up to 87% and Pontiac was off the charts in Google and Yahoo searches, too."

      So how did that big giveaway workl out for Pontiac? I mean now that they're DEAD!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Blame Rick, not Oprah. She probably sold more G6s than all of GM marketing combined.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Touché.
      • 5 Years Ago
      But I don't want one!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've seen quite a few of them in central Ohio. The thing is --- if you're not paying much attention to the actual front-end, you'd just assume it was another Chrysler minivan --- no loss.

        VW has done a descent job at differentiating the instrument panel and consoles to fit more with the overall VW design language. There really is much one could do to make it more different w/o doing something expensive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly.....

        Giving away Routans is the only way VW can actually get rid of them!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perhaps they should revive the Weekender and Westfalia versions (but at reasonable prices) to give sales a swift kick in the pants? and to differentiate their product from that of Dodge?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's some perspective: so far this year the Routan has outsold every VW line except the Jetta and CC. It's also sold more than twice as many this year than the Hyundai Entourage has so far this year. Or that the Entourage had sold by this time last year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who actually pays for the cars? Oprah or the manufacturer? I would think the mfgr is and Oprah is just their conduit, but the media only talks about how Oprah is giving these cars away making it sound like she bought them with her own money. She gets too much credit.
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