Posted: 29 Jan 2011 05:47 AM PST
Volkswagen AG may bring back the Scirocco coupe and Phaeton sedan to the U.S. as it aims to triple sales in the world’s second-largest car market.
“We will be looking for opportunities” to return the Scirocco to the U.S., Jonathan Browning, VW’s U.S. chief, said Thursday in an interview in Washington.
“We will reconsider bringing the Phaeton back to the U.S. in the next product cycle,” he said, adding that a decision hasn’t been made yet.
Volkswagen withdrew the 67,400-euro ($92,360) Phaeton, from the U.S. in 2006 after poor sales. The Scirocco, which sells in Europe for 22,500 euros, had a cult following in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s.
Closing the gap with Toyota, GM
VW targets sales of 1 million vehicles in the U.S. by 2018, including models by its Audi luxury unit, to close the gap with Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co., the world’s two biggest automakers.
VW introduced a larger version of its Passat midsize sedan at the Detroit auto show in January, its first car built specially for the U.S. “We were very, very encouraged by the reaction,” Browning said of the new model.
“VW wants to capture U.S. buyers by rolling out more emotional cars and the Scirocco certainly fits that category,” said Frank Schwope, a NordLB analyst in Hanover, Germany. “In terms of volume sales, the Scirocco and Phaeton are only decorative accents, they won’t be crucial for VW’s goal to greatly increase deliveries.”
VW will open a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by April and start delivering the new Passat, priced at around $20,000, in the third quarter. The carmaker closed a factory in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in 1988.
Capitalizing on buyers’ memories
The Phaeton has never met the company’s original sales target of 20,000 vehicles annually. The model, which came on the market in 2002, cost more than 1 billion euros to produce. VW produced 7,500 Phaetons last year, the carmaker said Tuesday.
VW decided in 2006 to build a new version of the Scirocco. Almost 796,000 Sciroccos were sold worldwide between 1974 and 1992, when it was discontinued. VW has never sold the current model in the U.S.
Volkswagen is trying to boost sales by capitalizing on buyers’ memories of popular previous models. The carmaker in 2006 brought back the Rabbit to North America, renaming its best-selling Golf model for the U.S. market.
VW released a new version of the Beetle in the late 1990s. The model is built in Mexico, primarily to sell in North America.
- Automotive News
Posted: 28 Jan 2011 06:30 AM PST
Ryan Ellis of VW TDI Cup Fame Puts APR Motorsport and VW’s GTI MK6 On Pole at the GRAND-AM 200 and Sets New ST Class Track Record at Daytona Speedway
APR Motorsport is pleased to present Ryan Ellis as our newest record setting driver in the ST class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Ryan hails from VW’s TDI Cup driver development program where he accomplished 2 wins, 2 poles and was a leader in 4 other races. The GRAND-AM 200 is only Ryan’s second professional race and his first since completing the 2010 season in VW’s TDI Cup.
Ryan was able to progressively improve his lap times during Thursday’s practice session as he became acclimated to 2.0 TSI power plant in the GTI’s. “Stepping into APR Motorsport’s #171 GTI and getting up to speed was not as difficult as I feared it would be. The transition from the TDI Cup Jetta’s was very smooth and I am very excited about tomorrow’s race, Go APR!”, Ellis commented.
APR Motorsport was also able to achieve a good first outing for the 2011 season in their GS class Audi S4. APR driver Gary Gibson was able to position the #91 Audi in the middle of the pack despite a minor suspension parts failure that kept him from achieving his best times during qualifying. “Making the move from prototypes to production based cars was initially a point of concern for me. However, fantastic sponsors like perfectpedal.com and the maturity of the APR team has made me feel part of the family already and I feel really good about tomorrow’s race.”, Gary relayed in the paddock after qualifying.
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