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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.

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In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the characters decries the need for a set of detailed instructions on a packet of toothpicks. Volkswagen might feel the same way now that 18,500 of its 2009 Routan minivans are being recalled because their owner's manuals don't include a required warning not to put items on or near the airbag. In the words of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

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Volkswagen Routan - Click above for high-res gallery

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Evidently, early consumer feedback suggests that Fahrvergnügen is not spelled "R-o-u-t-a-n." Volkswagen has reportedly asked Chrysler Canada to temporarily halt production for the month of February on its new ported-over minivan.

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Let's get one thing off our chests right away: VW's Routan minivan was not engineered in Germany. Instead, it is a mildly refinished version of the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country twins. We guess that makes these vans triplets, which goes along with Volkswagen's current marketing scheme, starring Brooke Shields. Obviously, it's a farce, but it sure is an odd one. Shields reports that people in America are purposely getting pregnant so that they can enjoy the "German engineering" of t

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Click above for high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Routan

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click above to view more high-res pics of the VW Routan

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Click above for high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Routan.

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Volkswagen has announced that it will unveils its version of the Chrysler LLC minivan at the Chicago Auto Show in early February, and that its name will be Routan. As with most of the names that VW chooses for its vehicles, we had to look up the meaning of the word. We didn't find anything because VW made up the word "Routan" by combining the words "route" and "an". The German automaker adds an "an" at the end of all its vans in Europe.

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