Monday, March 20, 2006

Volkswagen to Launch Roadster and Coupé

Text from AutoWeek. Image from Volkswagen AG.
Volkswagen brand Chairman Wolfgang Bernhard plans to launch two upscale niche cars within five years.

Bernhard plans a midengine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, which is modeled after the Concept R shown at the 2003 Frankfurt auto show, and a coupe-styled four-door car positioned between the Phaeton and the Passat.

The roadster and coupe are part of Bernhard's plan for 20 new vehicles in the next five years, including 10 in segments in which VW has no cars, a VW spokesman said.

Two VW insiders say Bernhard killed a production version of the roadster last year because the price of the car would have been too close to that of the Porsche Boxster, which starts at about $52,400 in Germany.

The new version is expected to be less technologically complex and cheaper to build.

The roadster "is something we want," Bernhard told Automotive News Europe. The newspaper, like Automotive News, is published by Crain Communications Inc.

The car likely would arrive "in the latter half" of the company's five-year product plant, a VW spokesman said.

The car will be aimed at Europe and overseas markets, especially the United States.

In addition, Bernhard plans to launch the coupe-styled four-door car by the end of the decade. The car is code-named the C1.

The C1 coupe would be positioned above the Golf-based, two-door Scirocco, which will arrive in 2008. Alastair Bedwell, senior manager of London-based J.D. Power-LMC, said the Concept R is in the market researcher's future product forecast as a 2009 vehicle.

VW must find a partner to help produce the roadster. Because it's a mid-engine vehicle, the Concept R does not fit the Golf IV or V platform.

According to German press reports, talks are under way with Magna Steyr as a possible partner in a joint venture. A Magna Steyr spokesman declined to comment.

Separately, VW plans to pull forward the launch date of its new Golf model to 2008, one year earlier than planned.

VW plans to lower the production costs for the new model, while keeping its price at the current level.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be so much better if instead of spending enormous amounts of money on these niche products VW actually got around to fixing 1000s of 2.0L engines with oil consumption problems. Think about it...... 1L/1000km is considered within norm for this company!!!! And dealers refuse to honour the warranty, while VWOA pretends this isn't blant breach of contract, doesn't pollute...etc etc.

Mon. Mar. 20, 09:10:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This had better happen. If VW doesn't get a 2 seater convertible in the line up soon, i'm going to shop somewere else for my next car. Imagine.... Being such a huge automaker, and not even having a basic niche car like that in your line up. It's sad.

Fri. Mar. 24, 09:23:00 a.m.  
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Wed. Dec. 28, 11:33:00 p.m.  

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