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It’s Back to the drawing board for Volkswagen
After Chairman Martin Winterkorn took over Volkswagen a lot of the automaker’s future products were put on hold. The heavily publicized Passat-based coupe became the first victim of Winterkorn’s fresh management scheme.
The Passat which was originally planned to debut at a gala in Berlin on February 15 is officially on hold as ordered by the new Chairman Winterkorn. Volkswagen’s new “Big Guy” has assumed chairmanship of the German carmaker’s Wolfsburg headquarters on January 1.
The Passat coupe which is one of the soon-to-launch VW models is under scrutiny by the new management team. Other models that are put on hold includes the reborn Scirocco sports coupe and Tiguan small utility vehicle but unlike the Passat, the aforementioned vehicles have been already revealed in concept form and were already due in showrooms within the next twelve months. Another car that was put to wander in Limbo is next-year’s bread-winning sixth-generation Golf.
News of the Passat being officially put on hold came as a surprise to many especially when they are expecting for this vehicle to compete with Mercedes-Benz CLS. According to reliable sources the Passat was part of a multi-million-Euro niche model offensive created under the former Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder. The Passat together with the Scirocco and Tiguan was conceived to lessen the automaker’s financial dependence on traditional large-volume models, while pushing it into new segment and exposing it to the new customers.
Not to disappoint too much the Passat fans, Volkswagen will launch the vehicle at the coming Geneva Motor Show but in a concept guise. A definitive production version of the vehicle will also make its debut at the November Los Angeles Auto Show scheduled at the end of this year.
“We were all set to present the CC (VW’s internal code for the car, denoting C-segment Coupe) but its future is now up in the air,” a high-ranking insider told AutoWeek.
Winterkorn is steadfast in making his mark in Volkswagen same as what he did with the Audi company which he helped to achieve record sales and profits.
The future of the Passat remains bleak as Winterkorn puts it on hold but hopes are high especially since plans are already underway to build the coupe at the Volkswagen’s Emden facility in Germany and stopping the production this late would prove costly.
Winterkorn says he has a clear vision for VW. “We’re in the process of evaluating the entire business,” he said at the recent launch of Audi’s R8 in Las Vegas. “It will take some time before we can move forward with decisions on new products.”
The decision to make Winterkorn Chairman did not happen in an instance; reports say that it was in early December last year when it was decided to make the 60-year-old German to become the next VW Chairman. The German chairman after ascending office has surrounded himself with familiar faces from previous Audi Company. This has brought unrest to VW’s existing managerial ranks. Among those joining Winterkorn from Audi is Ulrich Hackenberg (Vehicle development), Walter de Silva (design), Wolfgang Hatz (engine development), Matthias Müller (product planning) and Jochem Heizmann (production).
Further news says that the new management team has already identified areas where all proposed new VW models can be improved but no specific details were given. Each new model will undergo a styling review as ordered by Winterkorn. Additional changes are also expected in the appearance of new VW models especially since the Big Guy wants to do away with the various front-end designs in favor of a more uniform appearance but of course to keep the high quality of VW’s vehicles, top-of-the-line auto parts are still going to be used like for instance its Volkswagen alternator.
Volkswagen is the largest and the most successful automaker in Europe but it was not always this way.
The word Volkswagen means “people’s car”. The idea of a people’s car in not a new concept in Germany, before the year 1930s there are already many efforts to create simple cars that everyone could afford unfortunately no one succeeded. Almost all cars that were produced before 1930 even if they were simply designed ended up costing more than the average worker’s yearly wage.
The year 1930 was also the very year that Ferdinand Porsche has set up an automotive design company which became known as the Porsche Büro. The company patented a sophisticated independent front suspension system which consists of transversely mounted torsion bars connected to the two railing arms on each side.
During those times the suspension produced by Porsche Büro was lighter than those commonly offered by other company. It was in 1933 when Porsche first designed a car for the NSU. It was called the Type 32 unfortunately again it did not push through.
About the Author: Growing up with three brothers, Natalie Anderson became exposed early to the world of automobiles. This 29-year-old account manager now dreams of having her very own top-of-the-line vintage car.