By on September 28, 2009

Was it worth it?

In the past two years I have spent more time with (VW group CEO) Dr. Winterkorn than with my wife

So sayeth VW Group Design Boss Walter De Silva in Automotive News [sub]. “When I think about the Golf VII, I do not sleep at night,” he adds. Considering that, as head of styling for Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen, De Silva manages about 100 projects at a time, so it’s no wonder Mrs. De Silva takes second place to Herr Winterkorn.

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21 Comments on “Quote of the Day: Car Designer As Rock Star Edition...”


  • avatar
    Ingvar

    If I was responsible for the Golf VI, I wouldn’t sleep either. I mean, what happened, Volkswagen? The Golf IV was and still is vastly superior in design integrity to anything that has come from VW since. The B5 Passat, the New Beetle, the Audi TT. All good. And now? Bloat, bloat and bloat. They even had to do a Mercedes CLS to get at least some dignity into the latest Passat. Even the Bentleys looks like soufflees that has been in the oven too long. I am really disappointed.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    I agree in principle, but the AN piece points out:

    “De Silva had only a minimal influence on the sixth-generation Golf, introduced last year, because he received groupwide design responsibility after the Golf’s design was approved.”

  • avatar
    jaron

    Side view shares some lines with the Caliber.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I want to see the Polo come this way, something close to the 1st generation rabbit, in size, weight, spirit. With a GTI package….Man, make mine silver, with a sunroof, and dark blue interior with the red striped Recaros.

    I think VW could restake some of its claim if they would move just a bit downmarket. VW needs to be fun, not Mercedes or Bentley.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I mean, what happened, Volkswagen? The Golf IV was and still is vastly superior in design integrity to anything that has come from VW since. The B5 Passat, the New Beetle, the Audi TT. All good. And now? Bloat, bloat and bloat.

    And most of the bloat is in the window sticker…which explains why VW is a second-tier player in this country.

    I mean, 28 grand for a base Passat with vinyl seats, to compete against fully loaded $25,000 Accords?

    And the first and only CC I shopped had a $35,000 sticker.

    Who do these guys think they’re kidding?

    If they want to compete in this market, they need a plant here in the States. Otherwise, VWs are just going to get priced out of the market.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I daresay the Golf and Jetta would sell a LOT better if they looked as good as that Polo pictured above.

  • avatar

    FreedMike: “If they want to compete in this market, they need a plant here in the States.”

    Ironically VW was the first foreign automaker in the post-war era to land a plant in the USA. They assembled Rabbits in Pennsylvania in the 1980s, but gave up about the time the Japanese landed. Go figure.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It would also help the VW cause greatly if they had a NA 4cyl offering in the Golf and Jetta like every other manufacturer marketing in those segments. You would have thought VW would have figured that out by now but apparently not.

  • avatar
    ptr2void

    @FreedMike: “If they want to compete in this market, they need a plant here in the States.”

    In the post-NAFTA world, are you seriously saying having production capacity in Mexico doesn’t qualify here?

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    Volkswagen is building a new plant in Tennessee.

    Makes ya wonder how they could make a profit employing US workers, considering that none of the Big 2.5 can.

    Hmmm…

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    Chuck Goolsbee wrote:

    Ironically VW was the first foreign automaker in the post-war era to land a plant in the USA.

    Not quite. In 1963–the very same year that they built their first factory in Halifax, Canada–Volvo also opened an assembly plant in the Chesapeake Bay area. Even before its first anniversary however, Volvo pulled the plug and consolidated NA production in Nova Scotia (where it remained for 35 years).

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    gogogodzilla,
    Maybe they can make profit using US workers the same way Honda does.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    VW in the UK have a television advert for the Golf right now saying, “Why have something like a Golf when you can have a Golf?”. Made me think, “That’s not saying very much about the new Polo.”

    Personally I’ve never really liked VW, they are too heavy and not nearly as reliable as VW would have us believe. If Toyota had the same upmarket brand image as VW then nobody would ever buy a Golf or Passat ever again.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ptr2void :
    September 28th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    @FreedMike: “If they want to compete in this market, they need a plant here in the States.”

    In the post-NAFTA world, are you seriously saying having production capacity in Mexico doesn’t qualify here?

    True, and you’ll notice that the models built there (the Golf, as I recall) aren’t outrageously overpriced. The overwhelming majority of their line is still built in Europe, which is why they’re priced out of this market.

  • avatar
    z9

    The 2010 Golf being imported to the US will be built in Europe. The Jetta and Beetle are built in Mexico.

    In 1984 I was psyched to be driving my brand new GTI across the country. I stopped for fast food only a few miles from where the GTI was built in Pennsylvania and managed to back into a delivery truck in the parking lot. The car survived, but I suspected it was not a good omen for the assembly plant. A couple of years later, about the time they closed the plant in PA, the GTI was totaled from behind. Some guy in Oregon bought it and turned it into a very cool pickup truck. I learned this because when the guy was tearing apart the car, he found a refund check from my insurance company — I had turned 25 and they were lowering my rates. Needless to say I will not be driving my car anywhere near Tennessee in the future.

  • avatar
    snsr

    I actually like the look of the MkVI GTI – enough that I made one my first new car purchase yesterday.

    There just isn’t another car that can compete in my book – it’s so damn fun to drive, and time spent doing so is very comfortable.

    I’d put it up against anything it’s price range (new.)

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    snsr – how about the MazdaSpeed 3?

  • avatar
    snsr

    @keepaustinweird , Good call. I drove one, they go like stink. But, even though I’d be on the inside most of the time (which is nice,) I don’t care for it’s SMILE : ) I can’t stop seeing it.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    FreedMike :I mean, 28 grand for a base Passat with vinyl seats, to compete against fully loaded $25,000 Accords?

    It’s something not easily explained. IMO, a Passat is a much better car than an Accord. But I understand I’m in the minority. I really don’t think VW will succeed in its goal of becoming a major US player until them make softer cars with more cup holders. It’s just the American way.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    mpresley :
    September 29th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    It’s something not easily explained. IMO, a Passat is a much better car than an Accord. But I understand I’m in the minority.

    Perhaps, but is the stripper Passat at $28,000 three grand better than a fully loaded Accord at $25,000 – or six grand better than a base Accord, for that matter?

    If the answer were “yes,” then it’d be the Passat at the top of the sales charts, not the Accord.

    I don’t think VW needs to ‘soften’ its cars to succeed. What VW needs to do is lower their prices. They can do that by builidng Passats here in the States.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    In 1986 I spend time with a friends 1980 Golf GTI imported to Sag Harbor NY from London. It was clean and beautiful, gray with minimal black vinyl interior, gray/black plaid bucket seats, revved to 7k and was snappy and fun. Wonderful car. Yeah, it rusted. All cars did.

    I was horrified at US version A1 GTI, with maroon tufted stuffed vinyl padded everything and ugly front and trim. If I hadn’t known the UK one I would not be horrified though, it was great for then in USA.

    I remember reading Westmoreland was not a greenfield plant, they pirated Detroit management from, well, Detroit. Of course that failed.

    In Boston Passat CCs are advertised for 24k. If only I needed a car right now.


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