VWon a hybrid-ledUSmission
The Jetta could boost Volkswagen, writes Stuart Martin in the US
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.