The Volkswagen passenger car brand has been rising to worldwide fame on the back of certain model lines – such as the compact Golf and midsize Passat. But there’s one that actually introduced the company to everyone: the Beetle.
Now, because of the parent company’s desire to trim costs and improve profitability, the core passenger car brand has begun axing unprofitable model lines – such as the Eos cabrio, based on the compact Golf. Next up could be none other than the iconic Beetle, together with other cars that could be written off in the race to save 5 billion euros, or $5.4 billion each year by 2017. We also know that some reports have pointed out recently the next generation Polo subcompact might lose its sporty three-door version. Further targeting might also reach the slow-selling Scirocco coupe. On the other hand, the maker’s sport utility line has been the target for upcoming investments – with a new midsize model coming to the United States, built at the brand’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory and a new generation of the Tiguan compact SUv scheduled for production at an expanded Puebla, Mexico plant – both investments would need a total of around $2 billion.
Volkswagen AG, the biggest automaker in Europe and the second largest in the world, has been pulled in opposite directions lately. “The company must have the courage to bow out from some projects and variants,” commented last year CEO Winterkorn. The cost cutting plan is now “clear, effective and sometimes painful.” The group first wants to surpass Japan’s Toyota to become the undisputed sales leader of the world and that has an impact on earnings and margins, including at VW’s namesake brand or the premium division Audi.