By on September 4, 2012

“Volkswagen is on course to bump General Motors into the world no.3 ranking this year,” writes Reuters. That’s not all. Volkswagen “aims to sell a world-leading 10 million vehicles by 2018, up from the 8.36 million recorded last year, and push past Toyota.”

The car that is supposed to lead Volkswagen to world domination is an also-ran in the U.S., but it is one of the world’s most sold cars. It is the Golf, and its seventh generation will be revealed tonight in Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Mies van der Rohe designed temple of modern art.

“Success of the new Golf is absolutely critical to VW’s expansion targets but the new version will be battling in a tough environment,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management think-tank near Cologne, told Reuters.

It is also the first full scale roll-out of the new MQB architecture. This architecture makes the word “platform” obsolete. Instead, is a system of standardized building blocks. Says VW R&D Boss Ulrich Hackenberg:

“It gives us the possibility to produce models from different segments and in varying sizes using the same basic front-end architecture. We can go from a typical hatchback to a saloon, cabriolet and SUV with only detailed changes to the size of the wheel carriers.”

The new technology aims to make production of 3.5 million small- and mid-sized cars 20 percent cheaper, and shorten assembly time by 30 percent. It also can significantly shorten time to market.

Top 3 World, July Production and Full Year Forecast
7M ’12 7M ’11 YoY Proj ’12
Toyota 6,126,101 4,054,608 51.1% 10,502,000
GM 5,619,000 5,515,000 1.9% 9,633,000
Volkswagen 5,190,000 4,750,000 9.3% 8,897,000
Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last available
Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC

Whether Volkswagen will bump GM to third place this year is very doubtful. As the results of the seventh lap of the race of the world’s largest automakers show, Volkswagen is far behind leading Toyota and second-placed GM. To bump GM, Volkswagen would have to rev up production a lot, and GM would have to fail big-time in the second half of the year. Also, Volkswagen needs to aim much higher than 10 million by 2018. Toyota is set to reach 10 million this year.

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37 Comments on “Volkswagen Wants To Overtake GM. In A Golf...”


  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Volkswagen should concentrate on making making customers happy and making profits. That was how Toyota grew from small to large. This obsession with who is biggest for the sake of prestige did nothing good for GM and will do nothing good for Volkswagen either.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    One nit to pick: the new Audi A3, which formally goes on sale next week, is the first production MQB vehicle.

    If Volkswagen can roll out the MQB golf as well as Audi rolled out the MQB A5 and A4 several years ago there should be little reason for concern.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    One thing that could help them would be joining the 21st century and making rear disc brakes standard on the Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      The old, A5 Jetta had standard rear dics. VW used drums on the new Jetta as a cost-cutting measure. In addition to the rear drums, they also reverted to an A4 style trailing arm rear suspension in place of the A5’s fully independent suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      No one buying the new Jetta cares about disc rear brakes. The all-disc setup in the MkV that gets people all titillated is mediocre at best, anyhow. Every test of that car recorded average or worse-than stopping distances. IIRC, the new Jetta with its cheapo rear drums stops shorter than the all-disc MkV.

    • 0 avatar
      pdog

      Actually, VW has included standard rear discs on every Jetta since mid-2012, but I congratulate you on your ability to parrot the enthusiast/blogger chatter without checking your facts. Before mid-2012, rear discs were included on the SEL but not the base, S, or volume SE versions. This earlier approach was consistent with the 2012 Civic (rear discs only on EX version). According to Toyota’s web site, no version of the Corolla is available with rear discs.

      More importantly, most consumers in this class don’t care about rear discs, as long as the brake performance and feel are acceptable, and the price is right.

  • avatar
    solracer

    If Volkswagen (really Volkswagen Group, not the make) wants to overtake GM they will likely need to strengthen their US presence as I think at some point they will reach the limit of the number of VW brand cars hey can sell. Sure they have Audi, Porsche and Bentley too but none of them sell in numbers like VW does). It seems to me that VW should consider selling the Skoda brand in the US. High quality yet relatively affordable cars is what Skoda specializes in and I think that would be welcome in the USA especially if they can match their highly-rated UK dealer network. Would VW actually do that? Probably not but perhaps we might see a Skoda or SEAT someday with VW badges.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I have thought this too. But VW is in the US is position as more mass market than it is in Europe. With the new Jetta and Passat it is competing at the Skoda level. If they had kept VW at the previous level, with the more expensive Jetta, Passat and current Golf then there would have been space to have a cheaper brand.
      Maybe the Jeti will come over with a VW badge (reverse badge engineering!) and be a Honda Element replacement, or Kia Soul competitor.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      The last thing VW needs is the expense of establishing an all-new brand & dealer network in the US. SEAT means nothing here, and if anyone ever heard of Skoda they probably associate it with Cold War era Iron Curtain crap. If they want to increase sales, they should expand the lineup of VW models (that they already build) they sell here. They could give the Polo a try to go for the low end or go upmarket with Scirocco or Passat Wagon (with or without the diesel and manual!)

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Just what we need, more badge jobs. And VW dealers would revolt if they waste $$ Billions establishing a whole new brand.

      Just so some car fans can add to their car trivia knowledge?

  • avatar
    Rday

    I like VW vehicles. Fun to drive. But they put me thru hell over all of their problems years ago. I think that they will have a hard time getting guys like me to buy their products after all we went thru. Toyota is here and they know how to treat a customer. Germans seem to think that the world should just accept their German view of the world order and everything would be much better. Sorry VW but the world has shifted on its’ axis. Germany is not the only country that builds world class cars anymore. And look at CR if you want to see who really builds top quality and trouble free cars. There is a reason so many people like Japanese cars but good luck on trying to tell that to the Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Volkswagen goes through the same cycle every ten years or so. They come out with an attractive new line-up of vehicles, attract a bunch of new customers, then burn these customers with shoddy quality and customer service. These customers then abandon VW in droves and VW’s sales begin to drop as word gets out and their customer base shrinks to brand loyalists and people looking to buy a German nameplate on a Toyota budget. A few years later VW will make itself over again and go through the same routine with a new generation of customers.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      “Sorry VW but the world has shifted on its’ axis.”

      I think I see what you did there; bravo!

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    On German engineering. I let a salesman talk me into test driving a Lexus LS460 today. I was suprised how far behind Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series it was in terms of design, driving experience, flair and road presence. It was just a big Toyota, anonymous and without character. Is this the best the Japanese can do? I would still buy a LS over the Germans since I pay for maintenance and repairs myself, but if it was a company car with someone else paying the bills I would buy the superior if more moody product from Germany.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Must reliable cars be boring? All the Germans need to do is make cars with that European sophistication plus Japanese reliability, and world domination is theirs.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      That’s the point – they can’t. VW cars are complete crap and have been crap for many years. I wouldn’t touch one with a 10-foot pole.

      As for the Japanese cars, there are plenty of fun reliable vehicles and that’s what I’ll keep buying.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        No really tell us what you think, I have one of those crappy VW Jetta TDI wagons, 42,000 miles in one year and no issues. BTW where are the fun useful cars from japan, the new Accord is a whale, the camary is a camary, the Miata is a blast but no really what you would call a family car, Saubies get big and ugly ( ok they were always ugly but small)

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        Seth, I previously owned a 2003 Jetta GLS and a 2006 Jetta TDI with DSG. I put close to 100k miles one each of these. I had a few insignificant issues with the GLS and no problems at all with the TDI.

        For every one of us who got a good VW there seem to be dozens who got bad ones and/or had really bad experinces with their dealers.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Joe, you might have that the wrong way round. For every 12 owners who have a good experience there is one vocal owner who has had a terrible experience.

        Are VW’s less reliable than Toyota’s or Honda’s? Undoubtedly yes but do 50% of their cars leave people stranded on the roadside (the implication of synchromesh’s comment)? No.

        There needs to be some perspective on this, because anecdotes can be used for all arguments because someone somewhere will have had a bad experience with every vehicle ever made. Truedelta is one such source and whilst not great reliability it still shows the vast majority of owners have a trouble free time.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        That is how it goes with many things in life. People don’t say much when they are happy, but they sure let you know when they are unhappy.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Joe – I completely agree and that is a normal human trait. I just prefer data than anecdote when it comes to things like reliability for mass produced products.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        “42000 miles”. “100000 miles”. Talk about low expectations.

        Maybe that’s a great accomplishment for a German car (at least one sold in the American market), but that’s just barely breaking in a Japanese appliance or an American truck.

      • 0 avatar
        Polar Bear

        I was always told Toyota reliability comes from working closely with suppliers to get low failure per million rates for components. This probably means they pay a bit more for quality in parts of the car you don’t see in the showroom. I see no reason why the Germans can’t do the same, even if it might come at the expense of gimmicky gadgets such as massage seats.

        I heard VW, BMW and Benz are determined to improve their quality rankings and I would not underestimate them when they set their mind at something.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        onyxtape,
        They said no issues in 42K and 100K. They didn’t say the cars lasted until 42K and 100K and then crapped out.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I’ve come to the conclusion that the German big 3 are full of stubborn people who think American consumers must change their way of life to appreciate superior German engineering. For example, they are capable of making larger displacement simple to maintain workhorse normally aspirated engines with no maintenance timing chains, but they don’t. Instead they push premium fuel sipping racing Thoroughbred turbocharged direct injected engines that minimize carbon emissions, but require careful maintenance and expensive repairs. They refuse to adapt to a market with relatively cheap gasoline and expensive time.

        On the other side, it’s frustrating to drive Japanese, Korean, and American brand cars that could be much more satisfying to drive if some German engineer had insisted on working on the suspension setup and steering until it was perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        @30-mile: Yes, that’s how I read it. Not having a major component failure at 42k (or 100k) is nothing to brag about – that’s what modern cars are supposed to do. And that’s with minimal owner maintenance.

        But it’s course de rigueur for owners of German metal to let everyone know about how their personal anecdote has not needed an electrical overhaul at 25k miles as absolute proof of reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        onyxtape,
        Well, considering it is de rigeur for VW critics to claim the cars practically explode the moment they leave the new car lot, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to chime in that their car with 50K, 75K, or 100K has been reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        rgil627il

        umiru bolno.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      Said tongue in cheek…………

      German engineering + Japanese Reliability + Italian body = World Domination.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      I love driving my ’09 Jetta TDI. I did not love the $2900 bill for a failed turbo at 66,000 mi. Or the $150 cost (to do it myself!) of the DSG fluid change. Or the need to add fuel treatment to keep the HPFP from disintegrating with US-grade ULSD. Plan to bail before the timing belt needs replacement.

      These kind of issues would keep me from buying another VW, but that decision was already made when I saw the de-contenting the new VWs were subjected to. The car was dramatically cheapened from one end to the other, supposedly to enable them to sell a low price model. The goodies don’t all come back when you buy a high trim level and the price is the same.

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    If VW wants surpass GM, then they need to develop the entire SE Asian market. Forget about the US market, there are too many consumer related VW disaster stories.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I don’t know if this magical MQB modular construction will save them any money or not, but one thing is for sure- these cars will be the easiest cars to do engine swaps on because of the common eng/trans mounting points. Against their better judgement, VW hands car modders a big freebie!

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Sorry Onaxtape all i could do in one year was put 42,000 miles on my car I will try to drive more next year

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Its amazing how the same old trolls pop up for a VW bitching fest every time there is a VW story… Tiresome, noisy and old if you ask me.
    I can’t blame VW for vocalizing “think big” thoughts, every one else does it so why not them?

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    My thoughts about being #1 (at anything):
    Toyota gas peddles jam.
    MCDonalds burgers taste like poop.
    Budweiser is a girlie beer.
    New England Patriots cheated.


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