Report: Volkswagen Hoping Routan Give Away on Oprah Will Boost Sales for Slumping Minivan

Back in 2004 Oprah Winfrey gave away 276 Pontiac G6s to her audience members. And like all things Oprah touches, it turned to gold – gold for Pontiac and General Motors anyway. Popularity of the car shot up overnight and now Volkswagen is hoping for a repeat performance as Oprah will reportedly give away two Routan minivans on an upcoming show.

While a Volkswagen model, the Routan is actually a Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country underneath and is built in North America at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario plant in Canada.

Routan sales haven’t been strong for Volkswagen as it struggles for market share in a segment that is seemingly past its prime and filled with strong and established competitors from Toyota and Honda – not to mention from Chrysler with its own version of the same vehicle.

In such a well-established vehicle segment, the Routan’s biggest problem seems to be awareness, but that will all change after millions of Americans hear Oprah say that word: Routan. Awareness for the Pontiac G6 reached 87 percent after the 2004 Oprah giveaway. The Pontiac G6 also because an immediate top search item on both Google and Yahoo. GM even said that unique visitors to the Pontiac website were six times the average in the weeks after that famous Oprah show.

Luckily for Volkswagen, meeting the surge in demand won’t be a problem as Chrysler jut announced it would not shutter its Windsor assembly plant, which had previously been on the chopping block.

[Source: Wards]