VWon a hy­brid-ledUSmis­sion

The Jetta could boost Volk­swa­gen, writes Stu­art Martin in the US

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

THE lat­est Volk­swa­gen Jetta will soon come as a petrol-elec­tric hy­brid, but not for Aus­tralia. It is only aimed at the US, where hy­brids are be­com­ing big busi­ness for all brands, from 2012.

Volk­swa­gen be­lieves a Jetta hy­brid could give it a ma­jor growth spurt in a coun­try where it is strug­gling to achieve its sales tar­gets.

The Jetta al­ready con­trib­utes al­most half the com­pany’s show­room traf­fic.

Volk­swa­gen spokesman Chris­tian Buhlmann says: ‘‘It’s our goal to be­come the No.1 in the world mar­ket by 2018, which would mean for the US 800,000 Volk­swa­gens per year.

‘‘We had 213,000 here last year, so we have a long way to go.

‘‘The Jetta is go­ing to help us. In the US, hy­brids play a big part.

‘‘By do­ing this we can ful­fil our goals here for a growth strat­egy. North Amer­ica is the only mar­ket where we don’t have dou­ble-digit mar­ket share and we are go­ing to change that.’’

The hy­brid will use the 1.2-litre Twin­charger di­rect-in­jec­tion petrol en­gine, ac­cord­ing to Buhlmann.

And there is an­other op­por­tu­nity with a Jetta coupe, shown ear­lier this year as a con­cept at the Detroit Mo­tor Show.

‘‘That’s still un­der eval­u­a­tion to see if there’s a mar­ket for a third ver­sion. We have shown the 1.2TSI twin-charged en­gine in com­bi­na­tion with an elec­tric en­gine and a seven-speed DSG.’’

But the hy­brid could even­tu­ally come to Aus­tralia, as Volk­swa­gen looks for ex­tra out­lets.

Even so, Volk­swa­gen Aus­tralia be­lieves the lo­cal de­mand is for con­ven­tional petrol and diesel mod­els.

Lo­cal spokesman Karl Gehling says: ‘‘At this stage we have no plans to in­tro­duce any hy­brids in Aus­tralia. We’re stick­ing with the diesels be- cause they’ve been very suc­cess­ful in Aus­tralia. It prob­a­bly doesn’t make sense to add the ad­di­tional vari­ant at the moment, but that may change — it all de­pends on fuel prices and a whole range of other fac­tors. It’s more about what gen­uine hy­brid sales are, out­side of the fleet mar­ket.’’

VW Aus­tralia’s sales are about 50 per cent diesel — though the Touareg SUV sells more than 90 per cent diesel— but the com­pany’s topselling Golf has shifted back in favour of petrol.

‘‘Diesel take-up is about 50 per cent over­all,’’ Gehling says. ‘‘But we’ve no­ticed with Golf, which is our biggest seller, and the new TSI, there’s been a shift back to­wards petrol be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved fuel con­sump­tion of the TSI.’’

No plans: the petrol-elec­tric ver­sion of the Volk­swa­gen Jetta will not be avail­able in Aus­tralia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.