By on December 14, 2012

Volkswagen’s highly unpopular Routan may be at the end of its life, as months of stalled production has left its future in doubt.

Bloomberg is reporting that no Routans have emerged from Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario assembly plant since July. Chrysler and VW have an agreement through 2014 to assemble the vehicle, which is based on the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. But poor sales of the Routan and feuding between VW and Chrysler’s parent company Fiat could bring a premature end to VW’s lone minivan.

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55 Comments on “VW Routan On Life Support...”

  • avatar

    Just put it out of its misery. Hopefully, I’ll never think about it again, or those awful commercials starring Brooke Shields.

  • avatar
    George B

    I kind of like the Routan. Volkswagen styling with Chrysler part cost plus the excellent Pentastar V6.

  • avatar

    I like it too. Park it next to a Ferrari and… well it’d look like crap. But in the world of minivans I think it’s a real stand-out. I always said that if I absolutely had to own a minivan, this would be the one.

  • avatar

    Ah yes, one of those few vehicles solely marketed as having something it didn’t have, namely “German engineering.”

    • 0 avatar

      When it was conceived, it was from Diamler-Chrysler – a German company. And the Chrysler was very much under German management – none other than Dieter Zetsche – the current leader of Diamler.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d like an honest definition of what the term “German engineering” is supposed to mean. I hate it. It’s one of the most nationalistic-bordering-on-racist terms used freely today – and with pride – by Volkswagen. I don’t know why people let them get away with it.

      Personally, I’ll take Korean engineering, as in the Kia Sedona.

      • 0 avatar

        Racist?! WTF?

      • 0 avatar

        totes agree. ever since they lost the reliability its a joke. Yes, I know, reliabilityhas been improving, but still. How “solid” can your german vehicle be if its always expensively breaking down????

        Which is a shame because I like german cars…

      • 0 avatar

        “German Engineering” means that the car is designed to live in a speed limitless environment. From tiny four cylinder to big V8, a German Engineered car can run at 100%, without buzz or strain. Stiffer suspension for flat roads. Supportive seats.

        The 1.8 may do a steady 100 mph, and the 5.0 can hit 175, but they both feel rock solid up to the horsepower vs. air threshold.

      • 0 avatar

        the term “racist” has officially lost all meaning, the gslippy post being just the latest example

      • 0 avatar

        @baggins: I don’t use the ‘racist’ term loosely. I’m asking what makes a German-engineered car superior to another. If we discussed the phrase in the context of WW2, we’d probably agree that “German engineering” has a racist meaning. Am I supposed to believe that it means something different today?

        By speedlaw’s definition, a Hyundai Genesis Coupe could qualify as “German-engineered”, but – coincidentally – the only ones claiming that qualification are German car companies.

        If “German engineering” is more of a nationalist term – as in ‘our engineers live in Germany and are proud of it’ – then it’s not necessarily racist, and its hint of superiority is lost, but then so is its utility as a tagline.

      • 0 avatar

        “German Engineering” was how we got finally won the space race and got to the Moon. Also winning the most of the cold war.

        We grabbed better WWII German scientists than anybody else did. Sadly, we never put them to work in our auto industry.

    • 0 avatar

      As the former owner of a Volkswagen, German Engineering has come to mean “lousy reliability and no thought put toward making it easy to repair”. Can Chrysler deliver that? Sure! :-)

      BTW, I’ve been shopping for minivans and I learned that putting stow-and-go seats into a Routan is a bolt-on modification. Cool! But I’m sworn off of Volkswagen and Volkswagen dealers after my Jetta.

      • 0 avatar

        The upside of stow-and-go seats is that you can stow them. The downside is that the seat comfort level is substantially worse than the standard seats. Mind you, if you are only strapping in baby seats that won’t really matter.

      • 0 avatar

        I havent tried thw regular chrysler minivan seats, but I sat in a stow and go seat in my mother in law’s grand caravan for 12 hours and didn’t find any problems with the seat.

        I havent tried the regular seats, because stow and go seems to be the only thing that the Chrysler van has on the Sienna or the Odyssey.

  • avatar

    Why did they name it the Crouton? What the heck is a Tiguan? orphan model but kinda nicer interior than the Chryco. If I had kids I would buy a used Chryco cheap and drill drain holes in the floor and pull rubber mats in aka older jeeps. My brother bought a base model Honda Odyssey and after 2 years it looks like the set of the Walking Dead. One day I am going to steal it from them and get it fully detailed. Maybe good Christmas present.

    • 0 avatar

      Tiguan = Tiger + Iguana. It was the winner of a name the new CUV contest. Yeah, it’s dumb but that is how it came about.

      • 0 avatar

        I remember reading in one of the car mags that they were originally thinking about naming it “Marrakesh.” Strange as it sounds, I would like the vehicle a lot better if that were the name instead of “Tiguan.”

  • avatar

    The VW Routan, another automotive answer to a question no one asked.

    Never mind the awful and incredibly creepy ad campaign with Brooke Shields that was tied to its launch. I could write a dissertation on that ad campaign and everything wrong with it.

  • avatar

    I heard a couple of weeks ago that VW gave Chrysler some money to terminate the Routan contract. Don’t know any details besides that, but it sounds like they’re essentially pulling a Suzuki when it comes to the Routan and selling remaining stock. Sure hope VW offers something better next time around. That is if they do sell another van in North America.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, word is (from a well-connected VW dealer General Manager in the Greater Toronto Area) that VW recently paid Chrysler LLC a significant sum for early contract termination. The original production contract was from the 2009-2013 model years. There will be no 2013 MY Routan. What is out there languishing on dealer lots is all that’s left. As a Routan owner, I like my van. Sad to say it’s probably the most relaible VW I’ve ever owned, which I know is not saying much for VW.

  • avatar

    Selling a Chrysler mini-van as a VW when VW did the retro-design Beetle was not the best marketing move given the history of the VW van.

    That same van that only recently went out of production in South America.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Dear Lord, what an awful ugly horrible POS!

    As H.L. Mencken would argue, whoever had that had no normal affinity for designing ugly stuff: They have an obsession so strong for ugliness that it can only be described as a “Libido for the ugly.”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This and the Saab 9-4 were both redundant variants of other vehicles, just put better suspension/tires on a Chrysler minivan and you got a Routtan

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Why not get a Town and Country or a Caravan to begin with? There’s not a VW dealer in every town. Most small towns have dealers for the Big 3.

    • 0 avatar

      My mom got a Routan because it was $5-6K cheaper than an equivalent discounted T&C. Sometimes it is good to be unloved. Gave her no trouble in the 2.5 years she had it, other than awful gas mileage. And the 09’s drove much better than the Chrysler version.

      But I agree – the answer to a question no one was asking.

      • 0 avatar

        We bought a CPO 2009 Routan SEL that had depreciated like a rock. Over 3 years and 40,000 miles, it had depreciated by 50% and it still came with the CPO warranty.

        Other than the lackluster fuel economy from the 4.0l, it hasn’t given us any trouble whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar

      Beyond warranty work, couldn’t you just get it serviced at Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/SRT/Jeep/Eagle/Plymouth/AMC if you wanted to go to a dealership?

      I know people who get their Lexus serviced at Toyota or their Infiniti serviced at Nissan to save $$$.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Yep. My Ford goes to a Lincoln dealer for service. I just like em better. Having to drive an hour for warranty service is a PITA. It’s a factor for me. Friend has an Acura and the dealer is an hour away. An hour there, an hour back; repeat the next afternoon.

      • 0 avatar

        El Scotto

        I cant imagine being in your friend’s position with his Acura. He will lose a good part of the day dealing with his car every time.

        I live in a densely populated area, hell we’ve got a Tesla dealer within 10 miles, and just about every other make can be found in a 20 minute drive. Still, a factor in me not choosing a Volvo is that the closest dealer is about 10 miles away, in the opposite direction from work.

  • avatar

    That’s too bad. Nicer interior than the standard Mopar variants. I guess VW didn’t know how to sell them or that their customer profile just didn’t extend to minivans.

  • avatar

    Nosing around over on the German VW site, I see that they have at least 3 minivan-type vehicles which they might have sold instead of this thing, if they were hellbent on having a people-mover in their US showrooms. The decision to sell this mildly spit-shined Mopar van instead speaks of a management teams that knows nothing about cars or customers.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The irony of the VW who basically invented the mini-van in the 50’s becoming the iconic hippy wagon going to the folks who recreated it in the 80’s Mopar who made it more popular basically creating a new market segment and saying please can we borrow your platform for our new minivan. I never understood why VW did not just take the Passat platform and create their own.

  • avatar

    I’ll bet every VW technician just said “Thank God”

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I honestly think it looks a lot better on the outside than the Dodge or Chrysler. If I were looking at a T&C I would definitely check it out to see how it compares.

  • avatar

    When the Routan first came out, the best thing you could say about it was that it was a *slightly* nicer Town & Country at a slightly higher price.

    Since the Town & Country and Caravan have both been treated to facelifts and new interiors, you really can’t say that anymore, so I no longer have any idea why anyone would buy the VW version over the other two.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    VW dealers have been selling Routan’s at $7,000 off MSRP, so I don’t think VW can be making any money when they have to buy the vehicle from a supplier/competitor and then sell it at a deep discount.

    This was a messed up deal from the get go.

  • avatar

    I can’t be the only one who thought “They still sell that?” when they read this. I thought this thing had been put down a couple of years ago.

  • avatar

    Darn. Where is a person to go now if they want a minivan with “german tuned suspension”?

  • avatar

    I like our 2011 Routan – even back then I was able to purchase it at over $7,600 off of list (I was willing to drive 75 miles to a different dealership), making it cheaper than a similar Town & Country, plus it came with 3 years free maintenance.

    One other thing – with kids I actually prefer the leatherette interior as it is simple to clean. The stow and go is not a big deal to me, since we have child seats in both of the 2nd row seats, so it is as much work to take them off first to fold the seats as it is to just take the entire seat out.

    If I was buying again today, I’d still go Routan if the price was right, but the newer Town & Country’s are pretty aggressively discounted now too.

  • avatar

    Lets face it, there isn’t much of a notable difference between a T&C/Dodge and a Routan to most folks. My question is why didn’t VW go for the obvious in there quest to make a splash….better mileage. Instead they opted for a third MOPAR van. ??

    All vans sold in North America get, in my opinion, poor mileage (I have a Dodge Grand Caravan). VW could have addressed the mileage issue very easily. They have their turbo diesel. They put it in everything else. Why not the Routan. I’ll bet that set up would have achieved 35mpg highway.

    Adios Routan

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