VW to roll out two new models yearly
Automaker also boosts warranty to lure U.S. customers after scandal
DEARBORN, Mich. — Volkswagen plans to offer two new U.S. models every year for the foreseeable future and double the length of its warranties as it tries to attract new customers and recover from a 2015 emissionscheating scandal.
Hinrich Woebcken, the German automaker’s top U.S. executive, announced the main elements of VW’s comeback plan at an event in a dealership in Dearborn on Friday.
VW is still dealing with the emissions scandal, in which it used sophisticated software to activate pollution controls during government tests and turn them off while the cars were being driven on roads.
The company has agreed to more than $20 billion in fines and civil settlements over the scandal.
Earlier Friday in Germany, VW said it expects to take additional charges of about $2.9 billion in the third quarter to cover costs of buying back or retrofitting 2-liter diesel vehicles that were part of the civil settlements.
So far this year, the VW brand’s U.S. sales are up 6.4 percent while the U.S. market has shrunk by 2.7 percent, according to Autodata Corp. Woebcken attributes the increase to the introduction of two new SUVs: the full-size Atlas and the compact Tiguan.
For a company VW’s size, two new models per year is ambitious. The company plans a new Jetta compact car and a new midsize luxury car for the 2019 model year.
VW also announced that nearly all of its models would have six-year, bumper-to-bumper warranties, which it says is the industry’s best. The transferable warranty does not apply to the electric Golf, which has a longer warranty on the battery.
“This country loves comeback stories,” Woebcken said. “They also love to give people a second chance.”
But problems may still be ahead. German weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday that VW could face further scrutiny because it failed to properly inform U.S. regulators about changes to emissions control software in nearly half a million cars with gas engines.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Woebcken confirmed the inquiry, with Woebcken saying VW is cooperating with agencies involved.
Volkswagen’s new six-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty does not apply to the electric Golf, which has a longer warranty on the battery.