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In a Green Future, VW Boss Sees Hope for Sedans

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Herbert Diess Jetta 2017

By way of the top of October, Volkswagen of America’s efforts to realize a 5 % share of the nation’s new vehicle market (by 2020) continued apace, with gross sales up 5 % over the identical interval a yr earlier. This gross sales bump has two crossovers to thank, not automobiles.

No, undoubtedly not automobiles.

Nonetheless, VW CEO Herbert Diess, when questioned concerning the model’s slowly deflating car lineup, doesn’t consider the longer term includes a mild truck-solely panorama. To him, the restrictions of present battery know-how means future consumers gained’t lower their horizons simply for the sake of cargo area. The sedan, Diess claims, might be not in peril.

Yr thus far, VW passenger car gross sales fell a vital 31 %, with the model’s general quantity helped by a one hundred seventy % improve in crossover purchases. The three-row Atlas, which went on sale in Might of 2017, climbed 29 %, yr over yr, in October, whereas the enlarged Tiguan posted an eighty four % YoY achieve. A departing Tiguan Restricted added a handful of gross sales to the tally.

In the meantime, the Golf, Jetta, and Passat all trended downwards because the low-quantity Beetle (now sentenced to dying) stayed flat. The one month-to-month shiny spots for VW automobiles? That’s reserved for the subsequent-gen 2019 Jetta sedan, which noticed a 10 % yr-over-yr improve final month, and the Golf R, which rose 365 % (to one hundred forty four automobiles).

Chatting with Automotive Information forward of the discharge of the bigger, semi-luxurious Arteon sedan, Diess stated he questions the sentiment that sedans haven’t any place in our automotive future.

“Ought to we hand over on sedans? Some say that, however I don’t think so,” Diess stated, pointing to China as one thing of a canary in a coal mine for the phase.

“In China, for occasion, they’ve been shifting towards SUVs for the final 10 years, and extremely quick for the final 5 years. Their SUV share now’s as excessive as it’s in america. It’s an unimaginable shift. However prior to now 5 months, SUVs have stagnated and sedans are coming again.”

Why the shift? Electrification — a development taking maintain far faster in China and Europe than the U.S. and Canada. Whereas the EV market right here doesn’t have the identical degree help from governments (right here, “help” means as a lot the penalization of inner combustion vehicle purchases as state subsidies for EVs), battery electric automobiles are certainly making headway. Longer-range battery packs will do this. Nevertheless, these packs are higher at shifting automobiles with much less mass longer distances.

Physics and price are, for now, on the aspect of small automobiles, Diess stated, including, “the large SUVs have a drawback due to their comparatively excessive fuel consumption, which might require big batteries. So to make huge SUVs viable within the electric world is difficult. So when you have 50 km or 50 miles extra range on a sedan, you may think about a sedan once more.”

Wishful considering?

[Image: Volkswagen]

– In a Green Future, VW Boss Sees Hope for Sedans –

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