Cars you don’t see that often – VW Routan

There was a something of a surprise, yet something very familiar about this spot in Germany the other week – and upon closer inspection, this one was imported in from the US&A.

Always keen to note the unusual, I was certain that this was not a Euro offering by VW.

And it turns out I had never heard of it before – and why would I? North America model only, but Wikipedia tells me more:

The Routan marked the start of Volkswagen‘s business strategy to offer additional vehicles specially developed for the U.S. market.[10] The introduction of the 2008 model year minivan resulted from a partnership began in 2005 between Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler. Prior to the agreement, Volkswagen had no minivan model for the United States or Canadian markets. The Routan is sold only in North America (U.S., Canada, Mexico).[11]

The automaker’s intent with outsourcing production the Routan to Chrysler was to avoid the significant expense of developing its own family-sized minvan.[12] VW announced in an early 2008 projection that the company intended for the Routan and other models to help achieve significant expansion of U.S. sales.[13] The Routan was Volkswagen’s first van offered in North America since discontinuation of the Volkswagen Eurovan in 2003, and is not related to the European-marketVolkswagen Touran.[14]
In 2012, Volkswagen halted production of the Routan at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario, plant, despite having a production contract that ran through 2014. In January 2013, Volkswagen announced there would be no 2013 retail model, but held open the possibility that development may resume with a potential 2014 model. The 2013 Routan was reserved for fleet purchasers, and 2,500 were produced by Chrysler during the calendar year.[15]
Automotive industry analysts were not surprised by VW’s decision to drop the Routan because buyers had no reason for selecting the Routan over the similar Dodge Grand Caravan or the Chrysler Town & Country, and the Routan’s base price of nearly $28,000 was far more than the basic $21,000 Grand Caravan, while the Routan’s list of equipment was less than included on the upscale Town & Country.[8]
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