Up! drives VW down
Pricing pressure will trickle down to the Skoda badge
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