We're in Wolfsburg, Germany right now for the launch drive of the 2010 Volkswagen Golf and we've just returned from a presentation at the company's design center with Walter de Silva. We'll have more on de Silva's comments a little later, but first, we did have a chance to chat with VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby about future products.
First up, despite de Silva's promise that VW wont do retro designs, there is a new New Beetle coming. When the NB debuted a decade ago, we lamented the fact that it officially carried the "New" prefix (unfortunately, Autoblog was not yet born so no one at VW heard our complaints). This time around it will just be called "Beetle." Contrary to some speculation that it might move to the NSF platform of the forthcoming Up! model, the Beetle will still ride on the Golf's chassis when it appears in two years. Jacoby didn't say how the next Beetle might change to meet de Silva's "no retro" statement, but it will continue to fill VW's niche quotient.
Speaking of niches, the Scirocco remains dead to us, despite the fact that Lower Saxony seems to be crawling with them. The problem, Jacoby explains, is that the Scirroco appeals to almost exactly the same buyers who opt for the GTI. Company research indicates that there would be almost no incremental sales increase with the Scirroco, instead it would just cannibalize the GTI. Why not just replace the GTI? Adding the coupe would be another niche product that requires more parts inventory, training, marketing dollars and so on. While we as enthusiasts might want another coupe, the numbers just don't add up for VW – especially when every Euro costs $1.47. Sorry.