VW Routan: "We Think They'll Get Into It and They Won't Get Out of It"

vw routan we think they ll get into it and they won t get out of it

It’s bad enough that VW decided to “create” the Routan, a rebadged version of Chrysler’s Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan minivan “built” for the U.S. and Canadian market. Now they have to try and sell the thing. WardsAuto caught-up with Bret Scott, product planning manager for Volkswagen of America. Scott began with a counter for the minivan’s terminal– as in a declining market share in a declining market– unhipness. “If they can get over the philosophy of owning a minivan, which we find a lot of people do, if it’s a cool Volkswagen, we think they’ll get into it and they won’t get out of it.” So what makes the Routan the Hotel California of minivans? German engineering! Well, some German engineering. Done in America. Presumably by Americans. “I think the biggest challenge for the Routan was not to turn it into a (more sporty VW) GTI because the temptation was very great. We wanted to make the purest Volkswagen minivan, but there are some hard and fast rules in the minivan segment that have to be followed with regard to chair height, comfort and off-center feel. VW engineers fiddled with the steering for more of a European touch and tweaked the standard suspension tuning, achieving 15% more stiffness than the equivalent Chrysler vans.” But why did VeeDub ditch ChryCo’s Swivel ‘n Go and Stow ‘n Go unique selling points, and still decide to charge more for the Routan than the Chrysler and Dodge products? Pass. Thankfully, there is an expiry date for this madness. “Under contract, VW will source minivans from Chrysler for five years.”

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  • Alex Nigro Alex Nigro on Sep 17, 2008
    Maybe if VW hadn’t put all their eggs into the ill-conceived, short-lived (but higher profit) Phaeton basket, they could have. I swear, sometimes I think that VW must have eaten the same big bowl of stoopid that the TTAC B&B swear that GM must be eating from...

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 18, 2008

    I have friends with a 180K+ Eurovan. Has required more upkeep than some of the other brands but it is on it's original engine and auto tranny. Van is really solid but like most VWs of the 90s requires a lot of little stuff to be fixed here and there. BlindGeek007 - how does a brake job add up to a thousand dollars? Not doubting you, just do my own work and wonder how the numbers add up. Just checked and the brake pads are $40, rear shoes are $60, and front rotors are $50 each. $1K would really hurt. The Eurovan is a really heavy vehicle and I have seen tire stores put passenger tires on old VW vans and news alike. When this happens the tires last a very short time. Perhaps this happened to your van. I don't know. I belong to an internet Eurovan list to track the common ailments of these vans (may buy one soon) and the a/c compressor failure is a common one. The factory may have not put enough oil in the system during assembly. Gas mileage is not very good but it would not matter to us b/c we would use it as an occasional use only vehicle, choosing small cars for commuting. Still not warming up to any vehicle Mitsubishi or Chrysler was part of. Feel better about VW products than I do Mitsu or ChryCo.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 18, 2008
    I swear, sometimes I think that VW must have eaten the same big bowl of stoopid that the TTAC B&B swear that GM must be eating from… VW does pretty good in other parts of the world. Perhaps it is a screwed up VWoA division or maybe America is a really, really tough place to do business? I know I haven't had alot of success with their dealers. Prices too high, service departments which I am incompatible with. I don't know. Am asking.

  • Alex Nigro Alex Nigro on Sep 18, 2008
    Perhaps it is a screwed up VWoA division or maybe America is a really, really tough place to do business? I know I haven’t had alot of success with their dealers. Prices too high, service departments which I am incompatible with. Probably the former, considering that VWoA is passing on the Sirocco...

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