Volkswagen working on cheaper small cars for US
What will future bring for Volkswagen America? It seems that small cars and perhaps a pickup, and also a new cheaper Passat and Jetta. In an interview at the Geneva auto show, Winterkorn outlined a host of ideas being considered as part of an ambitious strategy to increase VW and Audi total U.S. sales to 1 million units by 2018 up from 328,068 last year.
The company decided to build a new assembly plant here in USA that will build a Passat replacement designed for the United States. The car would get a new name and cost about $20,000. The base model for the current Passat is priced at $24,680, including shipping. Eventually, a smaller car and even Audi vehicles could be built at the plant, Winterkorn said.
Other models planned for the US market are: a car the size of VW’s European Polo, a family of small vehicles based on VW’s space up! concepts, a body-on-frame pickup, a Phaeton successor smaller than the existing version and powered by a diesel.
"We need to produce cars that fit the American customer," Winterkorn said. "The Jetta and Passat are too expensive. We need models that hit the sweet spot."
A successor to the Phaeton luxury car also could come to the United States with an eight-cylinder engine and possibly a diesel. The long-wheelbase Phaeton sold in the United States was powered by a V-12.
The new one might not be as large as the first Phaeton, which was withdrawn from the United States in 2005 after poor sales. But it would be bigger than the Passat-based, coupelike CC luxury sedan that goes on sale this year. The CC is about a half-inch longer than the standard Passat sedan.
Winterkorn also wants to do better with the next-generation Touareg SUV. The current version fell short of sales expectations because of quality problems at launch, he said.
"We sell more Audi Q7s in the United States than the Touareg," Winterkorn said.
In addition, VW plans to launch a body-on-frame pickup for sale in South America and Europe at the end of 2009. Winterkorn said the pickup would be similar in size to the compact Toyota Hi-Lux, and he doesn’t rule out selling it in the United States.
Source: Automotive News