California Autos Examiner

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Routan BabyMaker3000: Launched At Worst Possible Moment

VW USA CEO Stefan Jacoby says that in hindsight VW launched its Chrysler-based minivan, the Routan, at the worst possible moment just as auto sales were tanking. However, I have to ask, "Was there ever a right time to offer a rebadged Chrysler as a VW?" I'm not trying to be flip, but the Routan is no Microbus reinvented (see below).

When you add a rather lame advertising campaign featuring Brooke Shields, well then I think you have pretty much sealed the vehicles fate. VW temporarily halted production of the Routan in December and who knows when it will restart. Out of the 22,037 Routans built, only 5,582 have sold.

As for future Routans, I'd say its pretty laughable that there will be a second generation. Chrysler will either be partnered with Fiat or dead and VW will be focusing on its new Chattanooga built sedan and possible Up! variants (which may include a small van).

1 comment:

Norm said...

I'm pretty sure the point of the marketing campaign was lost on a lot of people. It was a silly concept at a terrible time to be introducing a premium minivan. Quite a poor job by a usually spot on car company.