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.