Up! drives VW down

Pric­ing pres­sure will trickle down to the Skoda badge

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­guide.com.au

THE Up! will give Volk­swa­gen a sub-$15,000 car from Oc­to­ber and force the vw group to look at Skoda’s pric­ing.

Skoda is the bud­get brand for the vw group em­pire but ag­gres­sive pric­ing in Aus­tralia by vw means there is of­ten lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the re­spec­tive mod­els.

Vw aus­tralia boss Anke Koeck­ler can’t wait.

‘‘ We’ll be launch­ing the Up!, which will have a ma­jor im­pact on how we are per­ceived by Aus­tralians,’’ she says.

‘‘ We will have a car which will be po­si­tioned and priced un­der $15,000.’’

Vw is aim­ing to main­tain its pre­mium po­si­tion but with sharp pric­ing, which is likely to mean re­struc­tur­ing for the Skoda brand to main­tain the group’s hi­er­ar­chy.

‘‘ Skoda is get­ting new and more mod­els but we have to make sure it’s priced and po­si­tioned un­der VW, this is the world­wide strat­egy,’’ Koeck­ler says.

So far this year, the com­pany is ahead of its sales tar­gets and is see­ing the re­sults of its newmodel as­sault on the Aus­tralian mar­ket last year. The vw brand is 31 per cent up year-to-date— more than 6400 ve­hi­cles— led by dou­ble or triple-digit per­cent­age growth over 2011 fig­ures by Tiguan, Touareg and Pas­sat, among oth­ers.

‘‘ All the launches from last year are pay­ing off and we are see­ing the sig­nif­i­cant im­pact now in the sales,’’ Koeck­ler says. ‘‘ At a cer­tain stage there might be some con­sol­i­da­tion, but we’re still look­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease be­cause of the model im­pact . . . we are ahead of bud­get and fore­cast.’’

Strong per­for­mances in the SUV seg­ment— par­tic­u­larly from the Tiguan com­pact SUV — bode well for the brand and Koeck­ler con­firms the com­pany will bring in the high­rid­ing Pas­sat All­track. ‘‘ We wanted to do this ear­lier but we are wait­ing un­til Novem­ber for the Pas­sat All­track. It might have a good suc­cess­ful niche, as we can see with the Subaru Out­back— a key com­peti­tor for our car,’’ she says.

The ar­rival of the New Bee­tle has been post­poned un­til early 2013, but next year’s key for the vw brand will be the ar­rival of the next Golf, a ma­jor model for the brand.

‘‘ The new Golf Mk 7 will be un­veiled at the Paris Mo­tor Show, it’s our plan to have it on sale here in the first half of 2013,’’ Koeck­ler says.

Cheap: VW’s Up! will be its first car un­der $15,000 here

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