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a letter to Volkswagen

 
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tanneault tanneault
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 12/18/08
02:26 PM

As a long-time car lover and admirer of many past and present VW products, I have to ask you to please stop.  Please immediately cease and desist evoking the image of the great, iconic VW Microbus in your ads for the soul-less Routan minivan, a vehicle so far removed from the spirit and fahrvergnugen (?) of the original that it is nothing short of (and I'm not kidding here) automotive blasphemy.  Especially when you HAD a brilliant concept for an updated version of the microbus years ago which you chose to abandon!  The worst part is, I know you know I'm right. Stop the shameful misuse of the memory of a great product just to try to sell a boring, uninspiring one.  Please. Just. Stop.  Vielen dank!  

Austin.Cooper Austin.Cooper
Moderator | Posts: 319 | Joined: 11/08
Posted: 12/18/08
08:33 PM

The Routan has been on my mind ever since I heard about it.  That's mainly because from what I recall it's the first time I've ever heard of a German company rebadging an American vehicle.  I know VW has ambitious sales goals now, they need to do better than shortcuts such as this.  
Austin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.Cooper

tanneault tanneault
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 12/19/08
12:02 AM

Amen to that, AustinCooper.  If the great VW hadn't done such a good job with the New Beetle facelift, and if they didn't produce such a kick-ass current GTI, I would seriously question the mental capacity of whoever's in charge over there.  Wait... scratch that.  The Routan is such an egregiously horrific example of what happens when penny-pinching replaces passion in the design process, that I STILL have to question the judgement of those in charge.  As the kids like to say in their modern textifying prose... WTF are they thinking?  Volkswagen has always stood for... for... well.. for SOMETHING.  The indefinable quality they so brilliantly describe as fahrvergwhateverthehellitis.  It was the feeling I got ripping around in my 1979ish Rabbit.  It's the feeling I got driving to my wedding in my brother's old VW Microbus, all functional form and reassuring rattle.  The kind of vehicles that always said "Here we come!  Jump in if you want to have fun!"  Exactly the kind of vehicles the Routan is not.  It's not the minivan itself I despise mind you, it's Volkswagen's lame... uber-lame... attempts to cash in on the historic Zeitgeist of the Microbus.  OK.  I'm over it now.  But damn did they touch a nerve.  

Austin.Cooper Austin.Cooper
Moderator | Posts: 319 | Joined: 11/08
Posted: 12/19/08
11:36 AM

The Routan might just be a 1 time thing for VW.  I heard it's the brain child of a former Daimler-Chrysler executive who's now employed by VW. I know VW upgraded the suspension & interior plus changed the body panels too, otherwise there's only so much difference between it and the Town & Country.  I don't know if it has that German feel to when you enter and drive it.  I mean I was impressed alone by the feel of a VW Rabbit I rented this year.  Can VW really duplicate the same feel in a Chrysler?  
Austin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.Cooper

volvo_d volvo_d
New User | Posts: 26 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 12/29/08
01:56 PM

i wouldn't call it "the brain child" so much as a "brain fart".  
www.lehmanvolvo.blogspot.com

marc.noordeloos marc.noordeloos
User | Posts: 174 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 12/30/08
10:13 AM

Do you think most people that walk into a VW store know that the Routan is a rebadged Chrysler?  

volvo_d volvo_d
New User | Posts: 26 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 12/30/08
10:34 AM

...good point, but also how many people walk into a vw store looking for a minivan? Confused

also, if you are a first time vw owner, this could be your impression of what a vw is...  
www.lehmanvolvo.blogspot.com

Austin.Cooper Austin.Cooper
Moderator | Posts: 319 | Joined: 11/08
Posted: 01/01/09
02:00 PM

Icon Quotemarc.noordeloos:
Do you think most people that walk into a VW store know that the Routan is a rebadged Chrysler?

I just heard a radio commercial for the Routan this week.  From what I heard the last thing they want you to think of it is it's a rebadged run of the mill Town & Country.  They were pushing more towards it being a sexy, sophisticated, and engineered in Germany machine.  I do know VW changed some things on it too but it's still got the heart of a Town & Country.  
Austin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.CooperAustin.Cooper

85CieraHoliday 85CieraHoliday
New User | Posts: 18 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 01/02/09
11:06 PM

What gets me is that Chrysler rebadges the Routan for VW, yet the VW looks better then the Chrysler!  

tanneault tanneault
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 12/08
Posted: 01/05/09
01:31 PM

Hey everyone... I've enjoyed the dialogue I sparked with my initial plea to das Volkswagen wunderkinds to please stop relating its Roubland to the iconic VW Microbus.  Marc, it's especially gratifying to have you weigh in as a writer for my favorite car mag. (NO BORING CARS!) If any of you want to see what Volkswagen COULD and SHOULD have done to update the microbus model, check this link out:

http://www.conceptcar.co.uk/concept-cars/concept-car-37.php

I first saw these photos back, I believe, when they appeared in Automobile Magazine ages ago (I'm assuming it was AM) and for a design that would've been put to paper nearly 10 years ago, it still looks current, fun and edgy.  Isn't that just what VW is supposed to be?  Full disclosure:  I drive an Infiniti G35.  But I would've bought the VW Microbus concept if they built it and had I not had the misfortune of owning a 1999-and-a-half VW Jetta that was one of the worst cars I've ever purchased. I know... "don't buy the initial model year!"  But I also did that with the 2003 G35 and despite some minor flaws, it's the BEST car I've ever owned.  Cheers.  T.  

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