Volkswagen planning a low-cost car brand for emerging markets

Article by Christian A., on March 22, 2012

Volkswagen AG has plans for a new low-cost car brand that will be aimed at expanding markets, according to a report by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. VW’s head of research and development Ulrich Hackenberg told the magazine that the carmaker has become an expert in producing low-cost vehicles and will soon roll out products that were modified to fit individual markets.

Hackenberg said that in India, it has the Vento and a local version of the Polo that is priced at about 7,000 euros ($9,300). For China, VW is planning to produce a cheaper car that has the same size as a Seat Toledo. He said that this segment between 5,000 and 7,000 euros is a real challenge. He explained that for the vehicle to be affordable, just the right amount of content should be removed from the car.

In Germany, the plainest VW Polo -- the 1.2 litre Trendline petrol version – is available in either white or blue and has a starting price of 12,450 euros (including VAT tax).

Hackenberg said that the automaker has yet to decide if a car (which would most probably be a spacious sedan but could also be a van) would be produced with a Chinese partner.

Volkswagen Polo has a distinctive new VW family face and is one purposeful and impressive car. With a length of 3,970 millimeters and a width of 1,682 millimeters, the VW Polo offers space that can accommodate up to five people as well as ample luggage space, which is 280 to 952 liters in terms of volume. The car's additional width (32 mm wider than the previous model), combined with a 1,453-millimeter height (13 mm lower than the previous model) lends the VW Polo a more purposeful appearance and more dynamic stance.

Moreover, the car’s design is defined by sharp and precise lines and is devoid of any stylistic gimmick that can quickly fade in popularity. The car’s design revolves around the principle that “less is more” in the long run, which can be proven by the consistent and longstanding high resale values of VW vehicles.

This also explains why Head of VW Group Design Walter de Silva intentionally declared “simplicity” as his main credo here. “The Simplicity” or “La Semplicità” does not, in any way, mean a diminishment of the car’s features. In fact, the opposite is true. According to de Silva, “elegance, emotionality, dynamics, and sportiness continue to guide styling and design. When it comes to the pursuit of clarity and simplicity, one needs to consider carefully how to express the designers’ intentions while also speaking to the observer.

Additionally, the starting point for the deliberations is the reflection of the car on the Volkswagen brand, on its history, and on its values.

De Silva said that certain distinctive design elements of the brand have typically evolved. A balance of proportions and mastery of the architecture have formed the foundation of the car’s design. Moreover, the emphasis on the horizontal lines evolved into one unifying characteristic across different models, and a love for details became a means of expression.

Topics: vw, low cost car

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