By on June 29, 2015

Volkswagen Beetles in Paphos Circa March 2015

Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more.

CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” Reuters reports. Winterkorn added the cars — to cost between €8,000 and €11,000 ($8,932 and $12,225 USD) — would be assembled in China; the original target was between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,670 and $8,932).

Though the low-cost vehicles are aimed for markets in Southeast Asia, Winterkorn says his company would determine “if this is something of interest for other markets as well.” Whether North America is among them, only he and his senior execs know for certain.

(Photo credit: Chris Parker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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16 Comments on “Volkswagen Introducing ‘Budget-Car Family’ By 2018...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    I don’t see VW introducing China-built poverty-spec cars in the US, at least, not under the VW brand. I will say that VW has always had entry-level vehicles as part of their portfolio, especially in South America, and I’m not sure those cars could even be brought up to US-spec due to crash requirements, and the general desire of US customers to not accept the dirt-slow drivetrains these cars typically have.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      They did this in Canada with the “City” versions of the Golf and Jetta; they were, by the way, decontented and feature-standardized MkIV models (the MkV was current) equipped with the 2.0L and slapped with badly-integrated MkV styling cues.

      So, no, I would **not** be surprised to see VW do this in the US and Canada.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    They’re getting panned for putting out low-quality cars in NA already, so I can’t really see these coming here. That and their desperation financing and lease rates put some of their existing models within the healthy range of probably 85% of car buyers in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree. They haven’t brought the cheap small Up! here, and these new models would be underneath that.

      And besides, they need to focus on having good VW product (and bring over some Skoda models) before bothering to bring Chinese crap.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    This seems to have exactly zilch to do with the USDM.

    Whatever the Versa sells for is pretty much the basement for both compliance and a little profit. Can’t see anyone beating that or even wanting to.

    Oh, wait! Elio!

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I thought this was the point of Skoda.

  • avatar
    carguy

    A peoples car? Where ever did they get that idea.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So what is the point of the out of date platforms they already build for the Chinese market?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I see a good amount of Mirages on the road here. It could happen.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I hear a lot of nostalgia talk about the “good ‘ol days” when cars were more basic and trouble free. There just might be a niche market here for cheap basic transportation with crank windows and a radio-delete option.

    But for it to work they would they would have to be reasonably safe, reliable, and most of all priced at or under the current Versa in order to be a real contender.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “There just might be a niche market here for cheap basic transportation with crank windows and a radio-delete option”

      So, in VW’s case, this means one less component to break (the radio; since the window regulators will fail anyways…)

  • avatar
    Fred

    We’ve had cheap cars in the US before. Yugo’s come to mind. Also early Hyundai but they have slowly moved up market. Given that history I don’t expect we will see anything like that from VW.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Wasn’t this what they were saying when the Up! was in the planning stages?

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Producing cheap cars would be relatively easy. Producing QUALITY cheap cars is another matter entirely. Unfortunately, the quality would have to be there out of necessity–if you can only afford something cheaper than, say, a Nissan Versa, you aren’t loaded–and you cannot afford downtime.

    Deleting the power windows and locks, cruise control, CD player, back-up camera and other such would be necessary, but deleting the airbags and antilock brakes (and, in a few years, probably the stability control) would not be allowed. Also, deleting air conditioning in most areas of the country would make the car virtually unsalable. If Volkswagen can do that–and keep the car affordable AND reliable–they would probably sell all they can make. If the car turns out to be another Yugo, it would generate fewer sales than bad jokes and class-action lawsuits.

  • avatar
    andrewallen

    VW cannot do this as it would mean manufacturing quality vehicles able to last 50 years and 700000 kms with regular servicing like my splittie again. (totes 1000kgs though not very fast and you change the engine in a major service every 100000 kms or so)

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