Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn has bullish plans for his company next year — become the largest European brand car maker in the world. With the rate they are launching new models in the recession, he believes that this is the key to gaining market share. Here is a summary of the cars that they launched this year alone:
The Jetta will feature a 150 horsepower turbocharged 1.4 liter direct-injection gas engine. It is a hybrid module and will be available as a 7-speed DSG transmission. It will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds. However, it will not yet be ready at launch. Production of the car will be at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico.
Robert Janitzek revealed that VW’s new pickup made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show. Officials from the car maker, however, revealed that the Amarok will not be available to the US but did not rule out the possibility of bringing it there. The company confirmed that the Amarok does not fit with its image in the US and VW fears that it would not sell well there.
Like the Amarok, the Touareg was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. It is a complete redesign from the first generation as it is 400 pounds lighter. When launched in the US market, it will feature VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system with a Torsen limited-slip center differential standard on all models. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that the Touareg will come with a 276-horsepower 3.6-liter gasoline V6 and 236-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 which were carried over from the old model. The hybrid model will keep the 700-pound towing capacity of the gasoline and diesel models.
The Phaeton sedan bucked a slow start as a result of its entry into a new segment dominated by more established rivals. But Volkswagen has not given up on it. In fact, it was useful to the company as it provided a platform for the much more profitable Bentley Continental series. In China, its sales continue to rise. A new version of the European brand car was unveiled at the China Expo last June. Production of the original Phaeton was stopped in 2016 as an all-electric second generation is slated to be produced.
The original Passat was launched in 1973 as two-and four-door sedans. The current model underwent a deep facelift similar to the transition made by Golf MK5 to MK6. In the US, it is only available as a turbo gas sedan. In 2016, it underwent a revamp with only the doors, roof, and rail stampings being the only pieces shared with the outgoing model.
A new mid-sized car codenamed NMS will replace the Passat in the car maker’s US lineup. It will be built at VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory. Together with the Jetta and Bettle, VW is pinning its hope on the NMS sedan to increase its local content rate up to 85 percent.