• Jun 23, 2010
Volkswagen Routan – Click above for high-res image gallery

"No decisions have been made regarding the Routan." This according to a source from Volkswagen. Unsurprisingly, the re-branded Chrysler minivan is rumored to be receiving less-than-enthusiastic support from Volkswagen's current management, and the ambivalence might spell doom for the Routan. Volkswagen's sales are down, though it's not necessarily the Routan's fault. The people mover has a consistent four percent of the minivan market and Volkswagen thinks that can be grown.

For now, Volkswagen's concentrating on launching its latest Jetta and building a factory in Tennessee to assemble the majority of its U.S.-market cars. The Phaeton will also be returning to the U.S. market, indicating an intent to foster growth on the top and bottom of its model offerings. Volkswagen has set a goal for itself of tripling U.S. sales numbers, and the Routan puts the brand in a segment it would not otherwise be in here in the U.S., though its small market share may not make it worth the effort.



[Source: Wall Street Journal]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The key failing of the Routan was the absence of flex fuel capability. If it had had it, I would have bought it. Got the Chrysler Town & Country instead as a direct result. I'd rather fund peaceful agribusiness and farmers rather than hostile tyrannies and crazies bent on killing me and my family.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk From what I remember from a NYTimes review, the Routan in certain configurations is actually cheaper than the Chrysler Town & Country. It also has a lower base price. For the most part, pricing is close. So, pricing isn't really much of an issue either. The real reason why the Routan fails is because it was just a bad business idea.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Feel free to compare prices. Don't forget, your local Chrysler dealer will currently do just about anything to get you in a new minivan today, where the VW dealer would really rather sell you a Touareg...

        http://www.chrysler.com/hostc/vsmc/vehicleSpecModels.do?modelYearCode=CUC201008

        MSRP starting at: $26,860 - $33,595

        http://www.vw.com/routan/en/us/

        MSRP starting at $25,900 - $42,500

        It's easy to see why people would rather buy a TOTL Chrysler T&C (likely with a nice rebate) rather than a mid-line VW (that's not really a VW).

        I like the Routan, personally. I think it looks great. I think they blew the pricing on it, expecting to get a premium because of some inherent "Fahrvergnügen" or something...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know a guy who bought a Routan because he liked the Volkswagen website better than the Dodge website. Really.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What VW has to realize is that people are wising up to the fact that there cars just aren't comparing well to others. And that they may need to spend some money in their cars in order to sell them. The GTI for example does not have as many features or horses for the price as a Mazdaspeed 3, although it is a much better car overall but not a much better car overall then a new Mustang V6. Those types of numbers matter to an American buyer. Horsepower and mpg are also very important but VW doesn't seem to care about that at all, there still using the same engines they've been using for the past 5 years. VW needs a kick in the ass, and they need to make some real peoples cars. Not just a sporty hatch or a re-skinned American minivan, but rather a real return to something like the Microbus, a new inexpensive, fun and stylish Beetle. And most importantly a real sports car. I even have an easy idea for that, take the A5 platform, convert it to RWD (easy accomplishment on that platform). Make it light, give it some decent engines (2.0 T, 3.0 T) and a GTI level interior competitively priced with a Mustang. Can you say winner?! Too bad this long winded comment will never make it to the VW higher-ups. Oh well, at least I got it off my chest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They could at least bring back the Eurovan. They would need to get around the chicken tax though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Routan isn't selling because people don't want just an expensive take on the Dodge Caravan (why not just get a Caravan, in that case).

      If VW wants to sell vans on this side of the pond, they have MPVs (the Caddy, the Sharan, and the Touran), and vans (the Caravelle/Transporter/California and the Crafter (the facia-engineered VW version of the M-B Sprinter)) already in their line-up to choose from.

      The Caravelle/Transporter/California is the descendant of the VW Bus we all grew up in )burning our legs on the vinyl seats in the summertime). Why they don't try the Caravelle/Transporter/California out on these shores having seen the success of the Sprinter, I just can't figure out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The Routan isn't selling because people don't want just an expensive take on the Dodge Caravan (why not just get a Caravan, in that case)."

        Actually I think it doesn't sell because you can get a fully loaded Town & Country for a cheaper price and it includes Stow-n-Go seating which the Routan does not. See, people are willing to pay for a lux minivan but why pay more and get a little less for the VW? Why not get a Town & Country instead?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well that isn't surprising in the least.

      It was a mildly reworked Caravan, which isn't the best of the bunch as is. This was a weak attempt by VW to fill a gap in their line-up. American consumers aren't that dumb anymore, or so I would like to think.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Points for referencing a classic USA Network show in your screen name
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seriously?

        I got downrated for something that is 100% truthful? Why else would the Routan not be selling well after a ton of money spent on advertising?

        You have got to be kidding me if you think the Phaeton is going to be a success.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw one yesterday. It's the first one I've seen since they came out...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd love to see VW drop this van, probably the best mini van platform on the market, because it captures sales from Chrysler/Dodge and the VW lable diminishes the product.
      I doubt that VW could come close to developing a van this outstanding on their own, so I doubt they drop the re-badged Dodge/Chrysler from their line up. With an improved Dodge /Chrysler minivan months away, I look for the Pentastar powered Chrysler/Dodge minivans to expand market share and they don't need a VW to use up production capacity that will be needed to fill D/C demand. Bye, bye VW!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Am I the only one who thinks the Routan is the best looking of the Chrysler minivans?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good
        • 4 Years Ago
        seriously, microbus or nothing
        • 4 Years Ago
        They could have at least MacGyver one of their power plants in that thing, a diesel preferably. (That would have really set this product appart imagine...)

        Pichking the top of the price range Town & Country, sticking VW pell-off's over the Chrysler logos, changing the grill and playing with he suspension just wasn't enough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Imagine a new rear-engined bus, with a 2.7-3.2 flat-6 engine, and previous Carrera 4 Tiptronic drivetrain, with modern amenities, like dual sliding doors, and new tech and construction techniques...

        Plus an air-stream shape that is radiused horizontally at the base of the front end, gradually compound-curving to a vertical radius blending into the roof, making it a very low-frontal drag shape. (curing the low-pressure-drag at the back is another issue.)

        It would be nice to see something besides the same vanilla FWD crates with barely discern-able detail differences.
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1 On the Microbus. Drop the Chrysler link.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish VW would consider putting a VW engineered diesel engine on the Routan. I know that I would seriously consider selling my 2010 Routan and purchase one. VW officials should think twice about cutting corners and design and produce a truly VW product instead of what they did with the Routan, which is nothing but a Chrysler T&C with a few VW touches. Americans will only take so much of this deception before they will stop purchasing any VW products.
      • 4 Years Ago
      When this came out, I predicted (partly joking, partly not) that it would probably wind up being the most reliable vehicle in the US VW lineup. Wonder if any data supports or disproves that?

      I think it actually looks pretty good. I see a few of them b/c there is a VW
        • 4 Years Ago
        According to a factory worker at the Windsor, Ontario plant where they are made (along side the Caravan and Town & Country), the Routan is the most trouble free new vehicle VW has ever launched in the NA market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I purchased my SEL Premium Routan 2010 last June and so far I like it. I did not do my homework before I purchased it and was disappointed to find out it is not a totally German engineered vehicle. I thought that at least the engine would be VW made but I just found out it's the same engine that goes on Chrysler’s T&C minivans. I feel cheated because VW does not advertise that their Routan is a re-make of the T&C with a few VW touches. For the price I paid ($41K) for the vehicle, I was expecting one made in Germany, but shame on me for not checking before I purchased it. I am now stocked with the vehicle and only hope that it will perform well. The lesson learned is: do your homework before you purchase a vehicle that is not well established in the market before you sign on the dotted line. I lost many nights sleep thinking that I had made a $41K mistake but I guess I have gotten used to the idea that at least I am the only one who owns one in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
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