In an earlier post, we brought you VW CEO Martin Winterkorn's response to critics, including the German President himself, that VW, along with the rest of the German auto manufacturers, are not doing enough to help the environment. It is not hard to see why some people feel this way, with VW owning Lamborghini, Bugatti and Audi, who recently released their new R8 sports car. VW is partly owned by Porsche, which does not have a long history of producing exceptionally fuel efficient cars either. As the interviewer points out, Audi, BMW and Mercedes have been in an ongoing race to produce the fastest, most powerful cars in each of their respective classes, and they do not appear to be slowing down any time soon.
So, what is VW to do? For one, they will release a hybrid model starting in 2008, according to Winterkorn. But, also of interest is another possibility that the CEO mentions in the article. Will VW release a turbocharged twin-cylinder car smaller and more affordable than their current small car, the Fox? Winterkorn says that they just may. Here are his own words:
Winterkorn: When I took this position here in Wolfsburg in January, the first thing I did was to launch the development of a very small model, smaller than the Fox. It will be economical, suitable for daily use and affordable. And it will also make do with smaller engines. Two-cylinder engines with turbochargers could be an option.
SPIEGEL: When might such a Volkswagen become available?
Winterkorn: We are thinking about 2009. The sooner the better. There is great demand for this type of car in Western Europe, where it can provide mobility in big cities. But there is also considerable demand for a small Volkswagen in the emerging markets. In Russia, India and China, for example, we need cars that sell for €5,000 or €6,000.
Intriguing, no? We've heard of this before (see related posts below), but how exactly will VW offer a car to compete with SMART? And what are the chances the car will make it to America? If the past is any indication, not very likely. But, I am anxious to hear any more information along this front.
- VW's hybrids, German cars and CO2 emissions, and follow-up on the new Fox
- VW to develop a challenger for the Smart ForTwo