Chrysler has slowed production of its Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans this week, Automotive News reports. The Windsor, Ontario plant will cut its three shifts from eight hours each to four hours each in an effort "to align production with market demand," a Chrysler spokesperson told AN. Chrysler also builds the closely related Routan minivan for Volkswagen at its Ontario facility, but has not built a single example thus far in 2013.
Last week, we reported that production of the Chrysler-based Volkswagen Routan minivan had been halted since July, and its future seemed grim. It appears now that the Volkswagen minivan will live on, with production resuming in 2013. According to an Automotive News report, the Routan will be unchanged for the 2013 model year (surprise!) and continue to be produced at the Windsor, Ontario facility, where Chrysler assembles the Town and Country.
The Volkswagen Routan has quietly been out of production since July, but with a new three-row crossover on the way and a recent back-and-forth spat between Volkswagen executives and Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, it's probable that the 2012 model year could be the last for this minivan. The current agreement for Chrysler to build the Routan in Windsor, Ontario lasts through 2014, but Automotive News is reporting that VW might be looking to renegotiate the deal early next year.
At a small media roundtable session with journalists at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen's head of global design, confirmed that VW's much-rumored three-row utility vehicle will be "most hopefully" revealed at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars.com rounded up the year's crop of new minivans for a comparison, the rare thrill being that minivans from every major maker are completely fresh for 2011. The entrants were the Nissan Quest (pictured), Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country, Volkswagen Routan and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Volkswagen Routan – Click above for high-res image gallery
2009 Volkswagen Routan - click above for a high res image gallery
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:
Volkswagen Routan - Click above for high-res gallery
Click above to watch video after the jump
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
Click above for high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Routan
The Chicago Auto Show wasn't that eventful, but that's what we lead off Autoblog Podcast episode #87 with. The Challenger was the biggest deal, followed by the Denali XT, and then a bunch of inconsequential things. We did find ourselves talking about the Suzuki Equator and the Ford Transit Connect, too. We give you our first up close and personal impressions of the Challenger SRT-8 in this podcast. We also saw the VW Routan, which certainly doesn't conjure warm, fuzzy memories of Type IIs gone b
click above to view more high-res pics of the VW Routan