Volkswagen To Go From 'Clean Diesel' Pusher to 'Barely Any Diesel' Brand: CEO

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

It won’t come as a surprise that Volkswagen’s U.S. arm is eager to put all that happy-go-lucky “clean diesel” stuff behind it.

Once the diesel emissions scandal sinks from the headlines like the Deepwater Horizon, the automaker plans to head in a different direction stateside, Automotive News reports, and oil burners won’t be a big part of it.

Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken told the publication that the Volkswagen landscape will soon look far different, and the brand’s huge diesel push is, for all intents and purposes, stone cold dead.

“We are not stopping diesel,” Woebcken said. “Wherever diesel makes sense as a package to the car, we’ll continue. But in reality, we have to accept that the high percentage of diesels that we had before will not come back again.”

Volkswagen’s TDI models rode a wave of publicity and good press due to their power, exceptional mileage and supposed green virtues. That reputation now lies in pieces, just like the 2.0-liter TDI models will be once Volkswagen buys them back.

If the automaker gets federal approval to sell them, TDI models will continue in the lineup from 2017 to 2019, Woebcken said, adding that he expects tighter regulations after that date. With the lead-up to the diesel buyback underway, the company hasn’t sought regulatory permission to restart sales. Then-new 2015 models were sidelined by the scandal, and Volkswagen never received the go-ahead for its 2016 TDI vehicles.

Volkswagen’s American future lies in crossovers and all-wheel drive, the CEO claims, and that’s where the company’s focus will be. The start of the potentially lucrative (it hopes) utility push begins with the 2017 Golf Alltrack wagon this fall, and continues with the introduction of a new midsize crossover next spring, as well as a new, longer Tiguan next summer.

Both crossovers will be priced competitively, Woebcken said.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Jul 21, 2016

    It's sad. I hope that it comes back at least 2.0 form with a manual. yeah I know, everyone says they want that. However, the problem is for those that want/need really good fuel efficiency (say low to mid 30s in the city and over 40 on the highway) in a fun to drive platform (that includes a manual transmission) without being in a penalty box, our choices are possibly the Fiesta 1.0EB and that's about it. The VW diesels were another good option. Unfortunately, as much as I would be ok with it, I don't see a genuine sporty hybrid coming anytime soon, especially after the dismal failure of the CRZ.

  • Jasper2 Jasper2 on Jul 22, 2016

    VW will remain in North America but will never be the same during the next 10-15 years. After that, who knows. It has also indirectly ruined the AUDI image. SO now the top German brands are BMW and Mercedes. Mercedes if you want beauty and to show how prosperous you are (nothing wrong with that) and BMW if you are interested in style and dynamic performance vehicle. Thoughts anyone????

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