Volkswagen Routan Still Hangs by a Thread


Volkswagen's Routan minivan — yes, the one originally touted by actress Brooke Shields — is on life support. Production of the Chrysler Town & Country-based minivan, which is assembled through a joint partnership between the two automakers since mid-2008, has been suspended since July at Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, plant. Volkswagen spokesman Scott Vazin told Bloomberg News it's still up in the air whether Chrysler will continue building the Routan at Windsor, though VW's agreement with Chrysler extends through 2014.

Unsurprisingly, VW dealerships have few Routans in stock. Volkswagen doesn't report inventory by individual model, but has just 992 Routans in its national new-car inventory — a fraction of the Honda Odyssey (22,912 new-car listings), Toyota Sienna (14,373) and Dodge Grand Caravan (14,597) minivans available.

Volkswagen sold just 836 Routans in November and 9,923 through the first 11 months of 2012. Chrysler has sold more than 23 times the Town & Country and related Dodge Grand Caravan minivans while CEO Sergio Marchionne questioned the need for two near-identical models in the same showroom. Year-to-date sales for the Chrysler twins are up a combined 25.1%; sales for the Routan are down 16.9%.

The Routan received similar drivetrain updates as its Chrysler siblings for 2011, but not the interior overhaul and styling tweaks the Grand Caravan and Town & Country minivans received. Still, Volkswagen earned a fourth-place finish among six minivans in's Ultimate Minivan Shootout last year, and it's one of just a handful of cars to accommodate three child-safety seats in the same row, according to’s Car Seat Check.

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It's amazing to me that VW doesnt/wont produce the bulli/microbus. People would like that a hell of a lot more than a tarted-up, pre-fiat chrysler. Wasn't there nearly overwhelming calls for them to build the bulli?


Spot on Jett1000. The Routan was DOA in every respect. The Microbus is what they should have built/released.


When the Routan came out, I was working at a Euro dealership that sold VW's and the sales people had really high hopes for it, but it obviously hasn't been a big seller. I remember when it came out, Chrysler had (maybe still does) had a WAY better warranty on the Caravan and T&C, plus was a little bit cheaper than the Routan. I wonder if that has played into the mix of bad sales for the Routan.


The Routan is just a rebadged Chrysler, and it completely looks it. I think that was a bad move on VWs part. Chrysler does not have a great reputation for quality, and all it does it water down the VW brand.


Chrysler should not have agreed to have its brand diluted in this way. It was nice of them to provide the best vehicle ever to wear a vw badge.


I like VW products but I never understood why VM decided to produce this rebadged van. I agree with all the above comments.


I know people who laughed at that van, and all who own it. It's a more expensive version of the Chrysler vans. In some regards, the Chrysler version was better.


The Routon is nicer


It has a lot of good reviews about and I own one


The Routon is nice


I don't understand why it is not doing good

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