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]