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Routan: The VW Minivan Coming to Chicago Gets a Name

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Somewhere between “Touran,” a compact VW sold in Europe, and “RuPaul,” a full-size model formerly sold on VH1, lies the “Routan.” And if you don’t know the Routan now, you will by the middle of February.

The Routan, Volkswagen confirms, is the minivan that VW will sell in the U.S. starting in the 2009 model year. VW says the name is a newly coined word indicating the bond between Volkswagen and America, a conflation of “route” and VW’s “-an” suffix, which indicates its people movers.

The Routan may wear the VW badge, but at heart it’s a Chrysler minivan built by the American automaker at its Canadian minivan plant across the Detroit River. “The appearance, technology and functionality are splendidly adapted to the U.S. market,” or so the press release promises.

The Routan is part of VW’s new strategy to grow sales in the U.S. The company’s stretch goal? Some 800,000 sales a year by the year 2018.

Are Chrysler and VW talking about more U.S. production?
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Comments (9)
  1. Should be a good product if Chrysler is building it. Hell, if Honda built it it would have multiple transmission failures like mine.

  2. I'm almost certain back in the 50s one of the Japanese monster movies was called "Routan". Guess this sort of deal isn't new - for several years Ford and VW shared a chassis/drivetrain for a minivan. Forget about calling cars American and Foreign -- wait and see all the badges will be cross-pollinated too!

  3. I thinks its kind of sad of VW. I think it makes the Routan a bit of a bastard. Come on VW you can do better than that. I owned eleven of you air cools, and I still have my 1973 super bug that I bought new in 73.

  4. VW sells the Sharan van in Europe, the original version shared with Ford (Galaxy) until the two parted ways in 2006. The Mercury Villager was a rebadged Nissan Quest. The later (U.S.) Ford Escorts were basically Mazda 323s. This isn't a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. At least VW is pairing with a winner this time.

    And that Japanese movie monster was "Rodan"...

  5. I wonder what else can VW add to the Town & Coountry Limited? It has nearly all mainstream features. Will they add a better designed, higher quality interior? Add a better, quieter engine with improved mileage and better NVH? Will the price be much higher than Chrysler's?

  6. i actually had the privlage to work on one of these today, i am a tech at a chrysler jeep and dodge dealership and a prototype came in with some suspension issues, its all mechanicly a chrysler/dodge but with vw badging and interior. it should be a big seller. unfortunatly i wasnt able to see all the body due to the front end cover and the rear quarter covers.

  7. It's no wonder car manufacturers are in trouble. Whatever happened to them building their own cars? Yes many do it, but why can't Volkswagen stand alone as they did when they built the westfalia vans. I had heard they were going to redesign their van and was looking forward to it. Changing labels is not redesigning it. My american made toyota van has multiple problems, only wish I could still get the ones built in Japan. My Japanese made truck just keeps on going....225k miles and no problems.

    Someone needs to build a great camper-van like Volkswagen used to. When I looked 5 years ago the mileage was awful, as well as handling, price, etc...

  8. My response to RON: Your right I think everyone should buy cars made in Japan or for that fact Korea and China. How about electronics, furnature and pretty well anything else you can name. If the people of North America keep buying products produced overseas, they will be paying for them with thier unemployment cheques. We make the same prodcts hear with the same quality. This isn't the 70's anymore.

    Help support yourself and your nieghbors. Buy North American

  9. I guess it gets down to : the old choices?.

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place {WHICH IS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?}.
    RENAULT OR Germany's VW?.

    Chrysler has to suffer the German Status Quo: [Germans believe and think they are the [Best to engineer an auto]. Amazing that they think and believe this about themselves?.

    Then there is RENAULT: Whom! ; as FRENCH, have BECOME Destroyers of all they acquire and get there hands on!.

    Leave[s] one thinking that Chrysler, is trying to be destroyed by outside forces and influences?.

    Chrysler and there Product line up!, will be MISSED!.

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