Break­ing ground

VW hits top gear with record sales and a new line-up, writes Stu­art Martin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

AN AN­NUAL sales record that has stood for more than four decades has been bro­ken by Volk­swa­gen Aus­tralia, with two months of sales yet to be added to the tally.

The sales peak was pre­vi­ously hit in 1963, when the com­pany sold about 32,000 ve­hi­cles, mostly Bee­tles and some Kom­bis.

Volk­swa­gen Aus­tralia spokesman Karl Gehling says the brand is on tar­get for a tally of close to 40,000 well be­fore the end of the year.

‘‘We are go­ing to achieve a record for Aus­tralia. We have over­taken our pre­vi­ous record of about 32,000 with a cou­ple of months to go.

‘‘We’ll wait and see. I won’t put a num­ber on it,’’ he says.

While the 2010 num­ber is look­ing good for the Ger­man brand, the 2011 cal­en­dar has nine new or re­freshed mod­els turn­ing up in VW deal­er­ships, in­clud­ing the new Amarok light­com­mer­cial, the Touareg SUV, Pas­sat sedan and wagon, the up­dated Eos con­vert­ible and the new Jetta.

The Golf range will grow to in­clude the fru­gal BlueMo­tion model early next year. But the BlueMo­tion cat­a­logue could be ex­panded if the com­pany sees de­mand for the fru­gal Pas­sat BlueMo­tion pas­sen­ger sedan.

The model re­cently set a world record for cov­er­ing more than 2400km on one tank of fuel.

But the Aus­tralian arm of the Ger­man car­maker has no im­me­di­ate plans for Pas­sat BlueMo­tion in Aus­tralia.

What is com­ing is a new ver­sion of the Pas­sat CC, and don’t dis­count an­other Pas­sat R model.

Hanno Gre­uner, part of the tech­ni­cal sec­tion of the project man­age- ment team, says the R line is not yet ex­tinct. ‘‘There will be some­thing and there are high­lights in the pipe­line.

‘‘ We have an R for the Golf, Scirocco and I think the R is a per­fect match for Pas­sat,’’ he says.

‘‘In­creased en­gine size can some­times make it dif­fi­cult to sat­isfy ex­haust emis­sion stan­dards. I think it will be pos­si­ble to use a smaller and more pow­er­ful en­gine and make it more fuel-ef­fi­cient.’’

The evo­lu­tion of the Golf R, from a V6 to a higher-boost turbo four, points to a smaller ca­pac­ity R-Se­ries Pas­sat with higher out­puts and bet­ter econ­omy and emis­sions.

‘‘ I sus­pect we will get more down­siz­ing in ca­pac­ity and up­siz­ing in power out­put,’’ Mr Gre­uner says.

He says the next Pas­sat CC will fol­low the new fam­ily DNA styling se­quence.

‘‘There is a VW de­sign lan­guage and the next CC will speak that same lan­guage,’’ he says, de­spite re­fus­ing to elab­o­rate.

Volk­swa­gen on a roll: the Amarok ute is one of nine new VW mod­els com­ing to deal­ers next year.

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