VWUPS the ante on small
ANYONE who thought Volkswagen might be resting on its laurels after a frenetic 2011 will have had their mind changed.
After revamping the bulk of its list last year, the German giant will invade the light car market with its Up and managing director Anke Koeckler has confirmed a starting price below $15,000 when it arrives on October.
‘‘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, so you can enter the VW (market) with a car under $15,000.’’
VWis aiming to maintain its premium position but with sharp pricing, which is likely to mean price restructuring for the Skoda brand to maintain the current hierarchy.
‘‘We have to look at the pricing to make sure Skoda is not priced above Volkswagen — that’s something we have to look at,’’ Ms Koeckler says.
‘‘Skoda is getting new and more models but we have to make sure it’s priced and positioned under VW — this is now the worldwide strategy.’’
So far this year, the company is ahead of its sales targets and is now seeing the results of its new-model assault on the Australian market last year.
So far this year, the VW brand in total is 31 per cent up year-to-date — more than 6400 vehicles — with 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 now,’’ Ms Koeckler says.
‘‘At a certain stage there might be some consolidation, but we’re still looking for a significant increase because of the model im- pact . . . we are ahead of budget and forecast.’’
Strong performances in the SUV segment — particularly from the Tiguan compact SUV — bode well for the brand.
‘‘We wanted to do this earlier but we are waiting until the end of the year for the Passat Alltrack, it might have a good successful niche as we can see with the Subaru Outback, a key competitor for that car, that’s on sale in November,’’ Ms Koeckler says.
The arrival of Volkswagen’s New Beetle has been postponed until early 2013, but next year’s key will be the arrival of the next Golf, a major model for theVWbrand.
‘‘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,’’ Ms Koeckler says.
The VW Up, aimed at tackling the compact end of the market