With sales of many new vehicles hurting, automakers are trying out creative new incentives to bring consumers into showrooms. Chrysler and Suzuki are providing owners relief from gas prices, and now Volkswagen has a special offer for buyers of its new Routan minivan: if you purchase one of the people-movers by the end of August, the automaker will contribute $1500 to your child's college fund.

Based on Chrysler's Town and Country but with upgrades including new exterior and interior treatments, the VW Routan is already set be a relative bargain when it hits showrooms with a starting price of $24,700. However, while the minivan will be available in September, the $1500 incentive expires on August 31st, meaning buyers will have to pre-order a vehicle to qualify. That said, delivery doesn't have to be taken until November 30th, so those who change their minds about VW's Eurovan replacement can get their deposit back. If the family hauler is right for you, simply complete a purchase or lease, and $1500 will be deposited in your name with a special college savings company.

VW is offering the deal through Upromise, a company that lets users prepare for college by contributing to an account when they make purchases at partner retail stores. The $1500 Routan bonus can only be deposited into a Upromise account, but creating one is free on their website. Check out more info on the offer here.

In addition to a "European tuned suspension," the Routan will be available with features such as power sliding doors, a power folding third row, and a 30GB "JoyBox" entertainment system. Power comes from Chrysler 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6s (making 197 and 251 horsepower, respectively), but VW won't offer the Town and Country's smaller 3.3-liter flex-fuel engine. For many, the rebadged Chrysler seems like a far cry from the attractive Microbus concept Volkswagen displayed a few years ago. But then again, if the Routan succeeds in offering Town and Country space with a VW interior for the price of a GTI, the minivan will make a compelling argument for itself. Add to that an extra $1500 for college, and even some former Deadheads might be tempted to take a second look.

Source: PR Newswire