Friday, 10 January 2014

VW Wants to Move Ahead with New SUV as Brand's U.S. Sales Fall 7 Percent in 2013

Perhaps the safest way to increase sales in the U.S. market these days is to enhance your range with SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. The more, the merrier, as they say, and this is what Volkswagen is contemplating to improve its presence in the States after sales tumbled 7 percent in 2013, when the overall market rose 8 percent to 15.6 million.

VW currently offers the Tiguan compact and the Touareg mid-size crossovers in America, but has recently shown two possible additions for the range in the form of the sportier CrossBlue Coupe and the bigger and roomier 7-seater CrossBlue Crossver concepts.

While company spokesman Mark Gillies told Reuters that the brand has not yet reached a decision on the CrossBlue SUVs, another, unnamed source familiar with the matter said that the carmaker may announce a plan to build the vehicle as soon as next week's Detroit auto show. The same source said VW prefers to manufacture the SUV at its Tennessee factory over a Mexican plant.

Leaving aside the decision on the SUV, the report says that VW's deteriorating sales in the States also have to do with quality issues and poor judgment on what American consumers want from their cars.

Gillies admitted that VW has had problems with quality: "We're making good progress (on quality) but there is more work to be done," he told Reuters adding that warranty claims were dropping.

"VW executives are so deeply in love with their over-engineered cars that they simply haven't been taking U.S. customers seriously," said Ellinghorst, an autos specialist with International Strategy & Investment.

Jim Ziegler, an independent consultant to U.S. auto retailers, told the news agency that VW didn't understand the market and tried to "sell German engineering in austere cars with austere interiors".

"I'm an American - give me bells, give me whistles," Ziegler said. "Americans will buy a pretty car faster than they will buy a well-engineered car."

Story References: Reuters


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