There's Something Routan in the State of Lower Saxony

theres something routan in the state of lower saxony

Back in the 90's, VW tried to compete against Chrysler’s minivans. Compared to Chrysler's mommy-mobiles, the Eurovan was too big, too expensive and too slow. In 2003, VW gave up. Five years later, VW reckons if you can't fight 'em, join 'em. The "Route-Ann" (at least officially) is little more than a reskin of Chrysler’s latest minivan. VW buyers get the same lackluster and inefficient Chrysler engines (4.0-liter and 3.8-liter V6s), same mechanically suspect Chrysler transmissions and same not-so-fantastic Plastech plastic. The Routan's interior seems to feature a Passatish theme blended with Chrysler build quality (frightening isn’t it?). The VW folks didn’t even spring for a new tiller or ICE. The lowlights don’t stop there. For the time being, Routan intenders are denied access to Chrysler's fancy seat options and back seat satellite TV. How in the world VW could sell this cynical rebadge instead of their universally praised Microbus concept shown seven years ago at the Detroit Auto Show is a mystery as deep as the decision to keep the ill-fated Phaeton on life support. VW: Lost.

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  • Windswords Windswords on Feb 06, 2008

    Kix, The story was picked up by the major news outlets when Consumer Reports gave the vans a "not reccomended" rating because of the failures. Even Lee himself tried to do damage control with statements to the media, but handled it badly in my opinion. Chrysler to their credit waived the normal $100 deductible on the 7/70 powertrain warranty and paid expenses for anyone stranded far from home. But they dropped the ball for those out of warranty, like Toyota did with their engines until the class action suit made them deal with their customers. Now it's reached mythic proportions. Like jokes (or serious statements) of Fords exploding. Or Audi unintended acceleration. Even among enthusiasts such as ourselves these persist. Tell someone you are thinking of buying a NEW Ford Explorer and they might ask you - aren't you worried about it rolling over? The truth is (and this about the truth right?) that the numbers were never what they seemed to be due to the media coverage. The failure rate of the trannys was 17 - 18% - waaaay to high - but only 1 or 2 in 10 were failing. I have still met people to this day who think that EVERY new one (now several generations removed from the original) will fail before 100K. Not every Pinto exploded when hit in the rear either. A lot of folks are driving Toyotas with that particular engine and model year and have never had a problem with sludge. And they couldn't even get those GM pickups on that Dateline episode to catch fire in an intentional crash - until they got a little help from the pyrotechnics crew. I'm not defending the above companies or vehicles just pointing out the power of perception and reputation.

  • VAD VAD on Feb 06, 2008

    I can only go my experience. My Chrysler Lebaron lost three transmissions, and I everyone I met who had a Lebaron also had lost their transmission, including you. As to the newer models From Edmunds: One negative aspect of the fourth-generation Town & Country model was its inconsistent reliability. Chrysler responded to concerns about long-term durability in 2002 by instituting a seven-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty; however, this was rolled back to three-year/36,000-mile coverage in 2006. Their reports on the reliability of all previous generations were equally bad or worse. Regarding Edmunds own long term tests For the first seven months of 2002, this is what has gone wrong with of our 2001 DGC: 1) The driver and front-passenger windows stopped working; 2) there was a recall to reprogram the power controller for the rear climate control; 3) the front suspension became loose and the front struts had to be replaced; and 4) the air conditioning stopped working. Consumer Reports also has never recommended a Chrysler minivan for reliability. I have no dog in this fight, but that's what I see from major unbiased sources.

  • KixStart KixStart on Feb 06, 2008

    Yes, you are defending them, in the sense that you would deflect criticism of them by alleging that the difference is largely coverage and relatively little in the way of substance. It will be an uphill battle to persuade me; I know people with both kinds of vans and the Honda owners aren't the ones who are hopping mad. And dropping the ball on non-warranty repairs is an intrinsic part of the story. Who said, "we'll make this right," and followed through?

  • Mirko Reinhardt Mirko Reinhardt on Feb 07, 2008

    The interior looks like a chinese Vorkswagen knockoff. Horrible. If they offered this in Europe, people would die laughing on test-drives.

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