According to a Sunday interview in a German newspaper, the country’s largest automaker – Volkswagen – also the world’s second largest carmaker and the biggest in Europe – is scheduling the release of a new family of entry level models for 2018.
The new family of low cost budget cars, which mirror the introduction of such models from other European and Japanese rivals, would be mostly focused towards China, though the top executive also said they could possibly be sold elsewhere as well starting in 2018. “We will bring a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” commented Martin Winterkorn for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. The biggest automaker in Europe has been mulling for years the release of an affordable model or series of models but had numerous issues in reaching the cost targets to secure approval for the project. The introduction could coincide with lower sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, where global powerhouses such as VW and GM have seen sliding deliveries because of two main issues. The market is on its way to maturity, meaning double-digit increases will not be the norm in the future. Also, local carmakers have managed to gain back some lost market share by flooding the market with entry-priced SUVs, very popular in China.
According to Winterkorn, the vehicles will be manufactured locally, in China, and have a target price of 8,000 euros ($8,932) to 11,000 euros. Back when the project was first discussed, the carmaker was targeting a lower price threshold, of between six and eight thousand euros. “We will see if this is something of interest for other markets as well,” the chief executive added. The new family of cars is considered particularly crucial to VW’s expansion plans in the region, particularly in Southeast Asia.