Saturday, October 04, 2008

Too Little. Too Late.

During the 2001 autoshow season, Volkswagen mesmerized crowds with their stunning Microbus Concept. It was a beautiful and progressive reinterpretation of their classic VW Bus based on the original Beetle chassis. Everyone with kids who laid eyes on that thing said to themselves: Yeah, I’d rock that!

I’ve been waiting ever since then to write this, the review of the first VW minivan since the Eurovan. But alas, this is not even close to the review I was hoping to give. For the past couple of weeks VW has been advertising their new Routan; what’s being referred to their “German Engineered” minivan.

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does this thing look like a Chrysler Town & Country, that’s precisely what it is. Yep, you heard me right. Apparently this “thing” is made in the exact same factory as the T&C. To be honest, referring to the Routan as a “thing” is giving it far too much credit—a Thing actually was a cool VW.

I once again, feel the need to reference Steve Jobs. In October of 2005, Jobs described to TIME Magazine a phenomenon he called the Parable of the Concept Car: "You know how you see a show car, and it's really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, What happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands!”

Rather than giving us the family vehicle we all lusted after, the boneheads at VW gave us a watered down Eurovan in the form of the crappy Dodge Caravan that I already have. Do they not get that they could have easily been the driving force behind bringing us the first genuinely cool family mover? In the words, well word, of the great Liz Lemon… blerg.

PS: Perhaps MINI will seize this wide-open window of opportunity. I could definitely go for a MINIvan.
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