Click above to view high-resolution images from our first drive of the Volkswagen Routan
With Chrysler's fortunes swirling around the drain, it's widely expected that the only way it will survive is as individual parts swallowed by other automakers. But while the costly Viper operation may find a new home, the most likely buyer for its minivan operation, the product that put the company back on the map over two decades ago, isn't interested.
Chrysler has been rebadging its Town & Country minivans as Routans for Volkswagen in a deal struck by Wolfgang Bernhard, a former top exec at both automakers. But while Chrysler sold 232,000 of its Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans last year, Volkswagen sold a paltry 3387 Routans, which may go a long way towards explaining why Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says they're not interested. The weak sales come despite a costly ad campaign featuring Brooke Shields: If they spent $1 million on the commercials – including Brooke's big fat paycheck (the only time "fat" and "Brooke Shields" ever belong in the same sentence) – that means the advertising cost $294 per Routan sold. Which is more than what we'd pay for a badge-engineered minivan being passed off as German engineering.
Still, for your viewing enjoyment, we've included a video of Brooke's Routan mocumentary/commercial after the jump, because we'll take any excuse to watch Brooke Shields talk about making babies. Just be prepared to yell "but it's not German engineering!" at your computer screen repeatedly.
[Source: Business Week]