VW of America's plan for expansion: More core, less niche

In 2006, Volkswagen sold over 235,000 vehicles in the U.S., and by 2018, it plans on cresting the 800k mark per year. The refocus of VW comes at a time when the automaker lost over $800 million last year, and through a revamped product line, a focus on core products and a five-percent price drop on its models, VW plans to be in the black Stateside by 2010.
The move, in conjunction with Audi's planned dominance of the luxury segment (still waiting on that one), will bring sales in the U.S. to over one million units in the next decade. Products will be the driving force, which will include two volume sedans, better priced to compete with the Civics and Accords of the world, along with the new Tiguan and a mid-sized SUV. Production at Volkswagen's plant in Puebla, Mexico is at capacity, so the possibility of opening a manufacturing center in the U.S. is definitely in the cards.

Stefan Jacoby, V-Dub's new CEO, realizes that the automaker has strayed from its "people's car" roots and intends to rectify the situation. Although the push for less niche-oriented brands could be the financial savior of VW here in the U.S., a couple of quotes from his interview with Automotive News gave us pause. Specifically, Jacoby mentioned the discrepancy in products between the U.S. and European markets, citing that, "They are over engineered and made for high-speed performance for the European driving environment." We like VW's performance offerings, and the thought of the mass Camcordization of their product line is hardly what the market needs, let alone what the brand's fans have come to expect.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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