VW Routan Reboots Minivan Renaissance
Just when I was about to give up on my long-running prediction that the U.S. market would see a significant increase in minivan sales—thanks in part to all-new models of the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest—I discovered that the revolution hadn't been cancelled after all: In fact, led by the Volkswagen Routan, the minivan mob has become the vehicle of choice for a highly unlikely, but also highly important, group of drivers. According to a recent study put together by the team at TrueCar, the Routan is the vehicle with the highest percentage of Gen X customers in the country, with the Sienna, Odyssey and Quest all joining the Volksvan in the top ten.
A full 66 percent of all Routan buyers are aged 28-45, with Gen X accounting for 60 percent of Quest buyers, 58.9 percent of Odyssey owners and 53.9 percent of Sienna customers. It's an amazing feat for a vehicle that is a thinly redisguised version of the Chrysler Town & Country and is struggling to sell more than a thousand units a month. In the first half of the year, while VW was reaping its highest sales since 2002, the Routan moved just 6,163 units, down 23.8 percent as compared to the first half of 2010.
Still, the vehicle's popularity with Gen X could be an unexpectedly critical factor in the automakers push for higher U.S. sales volumes.