VW to roll out two new mod­els yearly

Au­tomaker also boosts war­ranty to lure U.S. cus­tomers af­ter scan­dal

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Business - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Volk­swa­gen’s new six-year, bumper-to-bumper war­ranty does not ap­ply to the elec­tric Golf, which has a longer war­ranty on the bat­tery.

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