Volkswagen Introducing 'Budget-Car Family' By 2018
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)
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.
Wasn't this what they were saying when the Up! was in the planning stages?
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.
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)