By Kelsey Mays on December 12, 2012
Volkswagen's Routan minivan — yes, the one originally touted by actress Brooke Shields — is on life support. Production of the Chrysler Town & Country-based minivan, which is assembled through a joint partnership between the two automakers since mid-2008, has been suspended since July at Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, plant. Volkswagen spokesman Scott Vazin told Bloomberg News it's still up in the air whether Chrysler will continue building the Routan at Windsor, though VW's agreement with Chrysler extends through 2014.
Unsurprisingly, VW dealerships have few Routans in stock. Volkswagen doesn't report inventory by individual model, but Cars.com has just 992 Routans in its national new-car inventory — a fraction of the Honda Odyssey (22,912 new-car listings), Toyota Sienna (14,373) and Dodge Grand Caravan (14,597) minivans available.
Volkswagen sold just 836 Routans in November and 9,923 through the first 11 months of 2012. Chrysler has sold more than 23 times the Town & Country and related Dodge Grand Caravan minivans while CEO Sergio Marchionne questioned the need for two near-identical models in the same showroom. Year-to-date sales for the Chrysler twins are up a combined 25.1%; sales for the Routan are down 16.9%.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey