The Volkswagen Routan is a seven-seat minivan and rebadged variant of the Chrysler RT platform, with revised styling, content features, and suspension tuning from the fifth-generation Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. Manufactured alongside the Chrysler and Dodge minivans at Windsor Assembly and marketed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the Routan debuted at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and went on sale in the United States in September 2008. The Routan's minivan nameplate variants — including the discontinued Plymouth and Chrysler Voyager (North America) along with the currently marketed Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler Grand Voyager (export)— have ranked as the 13th bestselling automotive nameplate worldwide, with over 12 million sold. The Routan resulted from a 2005 partnership between Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler. Prior to the agreement, Volkswagen had no minivan model for the United States or Canadian markets. 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. The Routan is Volkswagen's first van offered in North America since discontinuation of the Volkswagen Eurovan in 2003, and is not related to the European-market Volkswagen Touran. As with its rebadged variants the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, 2009 Routan models were recalled in June, 2010 for a fire hazard stemming from an improperly routed wire harness.
The Routan features a rebranded version of Chrysler's hard drive-based audio and navigation system — marketed by Chrysler as the MyGig system and by Volkswagen as the Joybox, but has neither Chrysler's Stow'n Go nor Swivel'n Go seating systems. Instead, the second row seats in the Routan feature the Easy Out Roller Seat system. Routans as of 2010 offer optional Wi-Fi access.The Routan is available with the Chrysler 3.8 L V6 producing 197 hp (147 kW) and 230 lb·ft (312 N·m), and the 4.0 L V6 producing 251 hp (187 kW) and 259 lb·ft (351 N·m) — with either engine mated to Chrysler's 62TE six-speed automatic transaxle with manual shift capability (See Ultradrive#62TE). For 2011 Routan is available with new engine from Chrysler 3.6 L V6 producing 283 hp (211 kW) and 260 lb·ft (353 N·m) mated to six-speed automatic from Chrysler.VW of America had projected for the Routan to gain at least five percent of the US minivan market, or 45,000 units of the 700,000 minivans sold currently. In January 2009, VW of America asked Chrysler Canada to stop production of the Routan for the month of February after 29,000 Routans had been shipped to US dealerships. 11,677 units had sold by July 2009. Volkswagen de México markets the Routan alongside the Transporter (marketed locally as the Eurovan), replacing the European-built Volkswagen Sharan minivan in the autumn of 2008.Volkswagen Canada began selling the Routan during the autumn of 2008. Like its United States counterpart, VW Canada had not featured a minivan in its vehicle lineup since the discontinuation of the Eurovan. For the four months that the Routan minivan was on sale in Canada in 2008 (September through December), the company sold 335 units.