When it was confirmed earlier this year that Nissan wiil resurrect the Datsun brand for emerging markets, the numbers provided the reason. Nissan sold 60,000 vehicles in Indonesia alone last year, and CEO Carlos Ghosn wants to increase that figure to 250,000 units by 2014. Even then, that would mark just a fraction of that market's exploding growth. Renault-Nissan also has its successful Dacia brand in emerging markets as well as Europe.

Volkswagen is paying attention. A spokesman for the automaker told Der Spiegel that an inexpensive line of cars has intrigued VW "for quite some time." The German brand sniffed around Proton for years and tried to get into low-cost models with Suzuki, but the Suzuki affair has probably seen more money spent on legal bills and arbitration than an actual product. According to Der Spiegel VW is looking at how to do it alone, and the launch of a range – perhaps a hatch, sedan, wagon and SUV akin to the Dacia lineup – could begin as soon as 2015. Pricing would need to come in at €6,000 to €8,000 ($7,784 to $10,379 U.S.). The new Dacia Sandero starts at €6,790 in Germany, a VW Up costs €9,975.

The major considerations are what to call it and how to build it. It would be tough for VW to stick to that price point and its current brand values, so it needs to figure out whether it should call such a line something else entirely or try and expand the customer perceptions of what "Volkswagen" means. After that, the automaker would need to determine whether any current factories and tooling could be repurposed, or if the cost involves building new operations. Unlike the acquisition of a new brand, however, the plan for a cheap car has the support of the head of the labor board, who told Der Spiegel "For emerging markets we need a car cheaper than the VW Up."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      user164
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish they could find a way to bring the cheap cars to the US. I'm continually amazed at how many people can afford and are willing to pay for $20K+ automobiles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      thedriveatfive
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be nifty if they could expand VW production here in the US instead of just the passat offer a rebadged local built version of the Dacia Duster as a VW to compete with the ford escaps/rav 4...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        [blocked]
      imoore
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is proof that VW is getting too big for itself. It's not that they want to compete with Dacia and Dstsun; they just want another reason to become the largest car company in the world. They really need to stop before the entire company unravels.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        KelperFoxWolf
        • 2 Years Ago
        Except the Duster and the Kuga ARE NOT SUVs. The Duster is a pseudo-CUV with a very basic floorpan, its only upside is its 4WD system, inherited from Nissan. The Kuga is a CUV, or a crossover, much in the fashion of a VW Tiguan, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, etc. I repeat, they are not SUVs, and besides, they cannot be compared to each other since the Duster is of a different (and inferior)league than the Kuga.
      tireroaster
      • 2 Years Ago
      why only in emerging markets? A car like this would sell in droves to college kids and people like my grandma who like to spend their entire tax return on one thing.
        bhtooefr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tireroaster
        Except everything in the US is being pushed upmarket because nobody actually buys the poverty-spec cars, and dealers only keep one on the lot as a loss leader (and then upsells the hell out of the higher trim cars). To get something spartan to sell in the US, it has to be REALLY cheap. Let's say $5000. If final assembly is in any of VW's existing non-Chinese plants (I'd guess Puebla to get the best intersection of low cost labor and low import taxes - otherwise, it would be one of the Chinese plants, I think), here's your equipment level: Bare metal floorboards (remember, there was once a time that "full carpeting" was a big deal) 4-speed manual transmission, with the automatic being an automated version of that 1.0 3-cylinder SOHC Monomotronic (TBI) engine, about 55-60 hp, if that can even meet emissions (and they'd have to develop a SOHC head) Sliding windows, not roll-down No hatch strut, maybe a prop rod if you're LUCKY Manual steering, but you probably expected that No air conditioning, which has real trouble selling in most of the US (although, if it had proper flow-through ventilation, it wouldn't be horrible) No radio by default, and they might even leave out the speakers at that price point Manual brakes (but with ABS and stability control by federal law) TPMS, by federal law Now, would you rather buy that, or would you rather buy a $5000 used car?
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bhtooefr
          If it was reliable and with warranty, I would be ok with that. I can add my own stereo for cheap instead of paying them $700-1200 for a stereo. I would like air conditioning, but I'd be willing to pay for it as an option probably.
          tireroaster
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bhtooefr
          Good point, a used car is definitely the better option.
      FearTheDodo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Call it KDF. "perhaps a hatch, sedan, wagon and SUV" Fastback, Notchback, Squareback, and Thing Problem solved. Next
      KaBoomBOX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Uhmmm, Volkswagen really has lost touch with itself. Aside from the fact that Skoda was already supposed to be the bargain entry level brand, they were literally "the People's Car", until they decided they wanted to be Audi.
      mdrieling
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about producing a car that has already been replaced? Use the tooling for the Polo from 2 designs ago and strip it to the bare metal.
        KelperFoxWolf
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mdrieling
        Like Honda did with the City when they changed it to the Everus S1? Sounds convincing.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        KelperFoxWolf
        • 2 Years Ago
        In Brazil the best-selling car is the GOL, not the Golf. The Golf is inexistent in Mercosur.
      BC
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone pointed out on another forum, this is originall why VW acquired Skoda, except they gradually gave that brand more premium products which compete with VWs, and now they would have difficulty repurposing the badge. But they still own older trademarks like NSU--perhaps it's time for a 21st-century Prinz.
      Cooperaaaron
      • 2 Years Ago
      You can call it the "Fox" if they are not using that name..
        KelperFoxWolf
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cooperaaaron
        It's being used in South America, since the Fox is still being sold there.
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