GERMANY: VW launches new vehicle projects for US market

By just-auto.com editorial team | 5 November 2007

Volkswagen Group CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has launched two new vehicle projects, designed specifically for the North America market. A second Volkswagen plant in the dollar zone - south-east US - looks increasingly likely.

Automobilwoche reported that Winterkorn is keen to solve its North American prblems quickly and properly. The first new project is code-named NCS, which stands for New Compact Sedan. According to internal planning documents seen by the newspaper, this will be an affordable and sporty car, produced at a rate of over 160,000 units a year. The NCS would be longer than the current VW Jetta (4.55 metres). The next generation Jetta could be built on the same platform as the current Jetta currently built in Mexico.

A second project is the NMS New Medium Sedan in the Passat class, which would achieve annual sales volumes of 120,000 units.

A new small SUV is also under consideration. "That car is principally a Tiguan with a longer wheelbase," an insider told Automobillwoche. To offset some of the risk of not achieving hoped-for sales volumes for this car, Winterkorn is reportedly looking opportunities for the car in China.

In the context of its 2018 Strategy document, Volkswagen is targeting a doubling of sales in the US, from just under 400,000 units in 2006. "If the dollar stays fixed at such a low level compared to the euro, then this plan only makes economic sense if we build an additional plant in the dollar zone," said a Volkswagen manager.

The plant in Puebla, Mexico, is already operating at full capacity. The preferred location for the plant is the south east states where BMW and Daimler already have plants and where there is a good supplier infrastructure.