Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Volkswagen Drops GX3 Due to Legal Concerns

Text from 4Car News.
Volkswagen has decided not to build the three-wheeled GX3 because of concerns about the potential for lawsuits in the US resulting from the vehicle's design.

'With regret, we have concluded that the current and foreseen product liability issues at this time were just too great,' said Adrian Hallmark, Volkswagen's US chief.

Volkswagen intended to introduce the two-seat vehicle - which is equipped with two wheels in the front, weighs 1,300lbs (590kg) and has no roof - as early as next year.

Wolfgang Bernhard, head of the Volkswagen brand, had hoped the car would help boost sales in the US, which had fallen 37% between 2002 and 2005 before reviving this year. He hailed the vehicle at the Los Angeles Motor Show in January as 'the first breath of fresh air' for VW in the US.

The GX3 was the first major product to come out of Volkswagen's Project Moonraker programme, which sends German engineering, design and marketing employees in their 20s and early 30s to live in the US to get a better idea of what American customers want.

Hallmark said that, since showing the GX3 in Los Angeles, Volkswagen had received 'overwhelming' customer responses in favour of the model and spent several months 'exhaustively evaluating' limited production of the vehicle.

'It would not have been possible for us to build the GX3 with the purity that it required, at the price which prospective customers told us they would be willing to pay,' Hallmark said. 'Rather than offering a product which deviated from such a basic, honest and original concept, Volkswagen has concluded that, regrettably, production will not be possible.'

Volkswagen had planned for the GX3, which could be operated with a motorcycle licence, to fill a niche within the market for an affordable second car for use during good weather. Sales of the vehicle would have focused on warm areas within the US, in particular California.

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