VW brand to hasten rollout of new and updated vehicles in the US

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 2, 2014

The Volkswagen brand will roll out new vehicles in the United States every five years, and introduce updates every three years, according to Michael Horn, chief of the carmaker’s operations in the country. VW’s current rollout pace entails new products every seven years, and refreshed models every four. "Customers want quicker change," Horn told Bloomberg News.

He said that VW is working to shorten the life cycle of its products in order to offer more new features and design elements to the market faster. A VW management board committee still has to approve such plan in June.

The faster pace of rollouts wouldn't commence until 2017, at the earliest, which means that it would not contribute much to the carmaker’s aim of selling 800,000 VW vehicles in the US by 2018, Horn remarked. The carmaker logged a 10-percent drop in US sales in the first four months of 2014 to 118,154 brand vehicles.

VW has considered the US as the biggest hurdle to its goal of becoming the best-selling carmaker in the world by 2018. In fact, it is losing sales when the US auto industry is gaining. Gian Primo Quagliano, head of automotive research company CSP in Bologna, Italy, remarked the German carmaker has to speed up product introductions to recover market share.

He remarked that VW has the potential to increase its US sales given its “impressive” range of models, adding that the carmaker just needs to be better with the timing of launches. Volkswagen would need to almost double its US sales in 2013, when it sold over 407,700 units.

A board committee – composed of Winterkorn; chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch; chief of sales and marketing Christian Klingler; procurement head Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz; and chief of production Michael Macht -- has met every other month since January to discuss the brand's strategy in the US.

Topics: vw, united states

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