Volkswagen were once much-loved in the US for their quality, but have since seriously fallen out of favor.
Over in the Middle Kingdom VW’s pull on the Chinese public is immense, the German auto-makers offer stretches from the cheapest $US12,000 hatch to the $US175,000 Phaeton übersedan.
And it seems that anything with a VW badge riveted to the front and back panels seems to simply drive out the showroom doors.
Volkswagen sold 3.27 million vehicles in China last year, it’s closest rival, GM, sold 3.16 million cars, now the race is on for VW to become the world’s biggest automotive manufacturer, but for them to achieve that result they will need to improve the way the US market views them ::::
Volkswagen are the masters of multi-brand engineering, Audi is by default the go-to brand for any aspiring businessperson, and then at the top of the totem pole, the y’re fulfilling the bling-dreams of supercar owners, pushing Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche.
Porsche itself believe that China could become its top market in 2014.
Volkswagen’s rise in China isn’t much of a surprise to anyone, the company has developed its compact sedans around the needs of Chinese car consumers, throwing in stylish hatchbacks and SUV’s at a growth rate equal to the nations hunger for all things middle-class.
In 2014, Volkswagen are believed to be planning a new C-segment sedan in 2014 in partnership with Shanghai-VW, as well as new MPV’s and SUV’s, both fast growing segments in the globes most populated nation.
All this rambling over Volkswagen doesn’t signal a monopoly, it would be truly unwise to right off GM, or even imply that the worlds largest car-maker are simply idling.
The American auto giant is continuing to bring its mad mix of world products to the Chinese market.
GM’s Euro models mixed in with American market models like Buick, Korean cars with Chevrolet badges sat alongside Chinese designed and made Chevies, GM over the past 12 months has almost completely reinvented itself, this is no more obvious than in the gigantic Chinese market.
GM seems to have laid plans that will come to fruition over this next year, upping US sales of its Chinese designed and built vehicles to over 75,000 units.
In China, GM and its joint venture partners will introduce 17 new or upgraded models in 2014. The company also announced plans to open four additional plants in China through 2015, enabling production of up to 5 million units annually.
“In 2014, our focus will remain on winning customers by delivering new vehicles with compelling value and outstanding quality,” GM President Dan Ammann said. “Our ongoing work to transform our company into a formidable competitor in every market we serve will continue unabated.”
VW Faces A Solid Race in 2014
That Volkswagen sold 3.27 million vehicles in the Chinese market in 2013 is a clear signal that the race is now on for Volkswagen to become the world’s biggest automotive manufacturer.
A huge part of this is it’s US strategy, in an announcement earlier this month, CEO Martin Winterkorn laid out the groups plans for 2014.
“The Volkswagen Group is staying on course with qualitative growth.” Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn said, announcing a multi-billion dollar investment program for North America over the next five years.
He went on to say that in the premium segment in particular, there was already no getting past the Volkswagen Group in North America: “Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini – five of the strongest premium brands ever.”
Winterkorn pointed out that Audi had gone from record to record in the past 36 months and was now moving up another gear with models such as the Q3 and the A3 Sedan to be launched in the US this year as well as its own production plant in San José de Chiapa, Mexico.
“The Porsche legend in the US has never been stronger. Sales reached an all-time high of over 40,000 vehicles in 2013”, Winterkorn said, adding that Porsche would be launching a new model with the new Porsche Macan. “We want many more American drivers to feel at home with our brands and are working to achieve that with one hundred percent commitment and plenty of passion.”
A pointer to the size of the Chinese market is the lower end of the sales numbers, MG, who most of us thought had disappeared from auto making, came in at 43rd with 74,684 sales.
RELATED! Tesla Bringing Super Charger Network To China
China, like all other countries, suffers from a lack of infrastructure to support the electric car on a mass, convenient scale. In the US market Tesla moved to develop its own supercharger network to give its luxury buyers piece of mind should they ever decide to travel from East Coast to West Coast where Tesla users can charge their batteries to 50percent capacity within 20 minutes, perfect timing for rest stops.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Tesla is planning to bring the same network to China to encourage users to put their minds at rest to support consumers in the Chinese market where urban charging points are not available.
Tesla Motors Inc. is looking to develop a network of no-fee charging stations in China that would allow owners of its cars to travel long distances, such as between Beijing and Shanghai. Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of corporate and business development, said the company has recently started taking steps to make the network a reality :: Read the full article »»»»
RELATED! Single Variant 2013 VW Beetle For Australia
Volkswagen paints itself as decisive, a stalwart of German auto engineering, Das Auto. The 75 year old automaker is clearly ill, it’s getting all jittery in it’s old age, the Wolfsburg behemoth has got a bug (again)
The Erwin Komenda/Ferdinand Porsche inspired vehicle that started it all, is back in Australia!
It’s hard to believe, but only 3 generations of beetle have been produced in seventy five years. Here in Australia, the original type 1 started local production in Melbourne in 1954, the new Beetle was launched locally in 2000 – first seen as a prototype in 1994 – and the last seen hot-hatch rolled onto Australian shores in 2009. This latest makeover made it’s debut at the 2012 Sydney Motor Show.
With the engine up front and driving the front wheels it’s got little in common with Porsche’s original boxter bug. In Australia the old new Beetle sold 9000 units.
This third 3rd generation variant launched in Brisbane recently. Make no mistake, it’s an all-new model, it shares little if anything with its predecessor. The unmistakable beetle profile remains central to the design, but with a much less cutesy look. The 2013 Beetle has a neat modern twist. it almost looks mean, nasty mean :: Read the full article »»»»
RELATED! DUCATI: Volkswagen Bought A Bike!
Volkswagen – under the helmanship of Ferdinand Piech & apparently on behalf of his prior engagement, Audi – has snapped up Ducati Motocycles for €860 million/$US1.1 Billion, the deal was approved days ago by the Piech-chaired VW supervisory board, raising the number of VW nameplates to 12. Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, SEAT, Porsche, Giugiaro, Škoda, Scania, MAN and of course VW.
Amusingly the marriage seems to have divided moto columnists.
The fans of the sale seem to be bike enthusiasts, the naysayers seem to be business commentators. Piech is often portrayed as a big German kid in a toystoy, we think not, during his tenure Piech has reinvented, saved, turned-around and generally benefited more auto brands, indeed marquis, than almost any other single person, ok perhaps a little liberty there, you get the picture though :: Read the full article »»»»