Volkswagen has plans to take over the world. Not really, but it sure does seem like it. The German automaker intends to become the largest automaker from 2018. To help achieve this lofty goal, the company will be revamping its lineup.
The Phaeton will be returning and a new midsize sedan will be arriving to replace the Passat. Though, the one vehicle that every car company has, a minivan, might be leaving the VW lineup.
“No decisions have been made regarding the Routan,” VW spokesperson Jill Bratina told Dow Jones Newswire. She said the minivan segment had been “significantly impacted by the economic downturn and has not fully recovered.”
Despite slow sales, there is still hope for the German people carrier. Bratina said the Routan holds a four percent market share and, once people become aware of the van, sales should increase.
The Routan has a VW badge on the front, but that is just a cover for what lies beneath. The German van is really a Chrysler Town & Country. The expensive minivan was the project of former CEO Wolfgang Bernhard, who also pulled the old Phaeton out of the market.
New VW CEO Martin Winterkorn will look to bring the luxury sedan back. He called the move by Bernhard, “short-winded”. We look forward to seeing the luxury sedan, as well as more news on the future of the Routan.
Days after BMW announced that they would be recalling their 1-Series over possible fire risks, Volkswagen is joining them on the sidelines by recalling over 15,000 of their very own Routan minivans that were manufactured between June 2008 and July 2009 because of similar fire risks that could potentially lead to something much more catastrophic.
According to Volkswagen, the problem with the Routan minivans stems from the door hinges on some models that could tear because of wire insulation and thus, could lead to a short circuit and, worse case scenario, could possibly start a fire.
The Routan’s problems have also plagued the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country with which Chrysler issued a similar recall earlier this month that covered about 284,831 units of the two models.
Volkswagen has already announced that owners of the Routan will have their vans inspected - and if necessary, repaired - including both the wire assembly and the sliding door power drive unit, as well as two harnesses that will be tied together and be rerouted under the sliding door weather strip. All repairs will also come at no expense to the vehicle owner.
Volkswagen today officially revealed the 2008 Routan at the Chicago Auto Show. The Routan is a seven passenger vehicle that combines European sensibilities in design, fit and finish, and handling characteristics with market relevant features and outstanding value. The Routan was developed together with Chrysler and will go on sale with prices starting below $25,000.
The Routan will come standard with a 3.8L V6, offering 197 hp and 230 lb. ft. of torque when combined with the standard six-speed automatic transmission. A 4.0L V6 will be available rated at 253 hp and 263 lb. ft. of torque. Routan features European tuned suspension and steering optimized for handling and improved driving dynamics. Standard all-season traction control and ESP, brings safety and security to the Routan.
Volkswagen is stepping on the gas in one of its most important markets. Just weeks after the successful premiere of the new Passat CC at the current NAIAS 2008, Europe’s largest car manufacturer will present the new Routan in Chicago (February 6 - 17, 2008).