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Volkswagen to revise hybrid plans…workers on strike in Brussels

It appears that Volkswagen is changing course with regards to its hybrid powertrain policy. It should be noted that during the reign of former Volkswagen CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder, the original plan was to introduce hybrid versions of lower-end models such as Golf and Jetta however the succeeding CEO Martin Winterkorn thinks otherwise. He said that the whole project is too expensive to be successful.

But according to the German publication Automobilwoche, the automaker’s first project is going to be a hybrid-powered vehicle particularly the Touareg SUV. It is not yet really confirmed especially since new Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn has declared that the profit margins on economy hybrid models would be far too low. Likewise, a source from within Volkswagen has claimed that hybrid powerplants cost an extra 2,000 euros or 90 per vehicle whereas diesel powerplants offer competitive performance at a reduced cost and offers the same or better mileage than hybrids.

If in fact the report is correct and Touareg does receive a hybrid heart, chances are its distant cousin Cayenne will also follow suit. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Brussels plant on strike
And speaking of powerplants, in Brussels, workers at Volkswagen’s Brussels plant called off a wildcat strike Saturday after the company issued a written guarantee that it will keep production in the said plant after its removes thousands of jobs this year and the following year.

Socialist trade union members didn’t like the conditions set by the automaker and to show their disappointments they walked off the job late Wednesday. Actually it is not only the conditions set by the automaker that really angered them, the delays in negotiations on severance packages for those losing jobs at the plant which currently employs some 5,000 people.

Other unions at the plant did not join them but the strike did affect the operation of the plant. It was only last Monday that the union strikers agreed to go back to work after the German automaker confirmed that the plant would start making the Audi A1 in 2009. The automaker has also promised to keep 3,000 workers after it phases out the existing production run of its Golf model.

Volkswagen is shifting its Golf assembly to two German plants as part of the restructuring that it is employing. Unfortunately such restructuring could cost a further 20,000 jobs across Europe.
"We got a written guarantee that the Audi A1 will come here. In 2007-2008, we can make 84,000 cars and there will be 100,000 in 2009,'' Trade Union spokesman, Jan Vanderpoorten, told VRT broadcast news. The stated number of Audi to be produced is less than half of the 204,000 vehicles that the Belgian plant is currently producing and it turns out that most of them are Golfs.
Normal shift-work at the plant resumed after a seven-week strike over planned layoffs. The job cuts came as a shock to the workers and also to political leaders and considered a big blow to efforts exerted to keep Belgium's car making sector intact despite government efforts to keep car plants open.
About Volkswagen
Volkswagen is an icon of the 20th century and compared to other car manufacturers, the German automaker have produced so many legendary cars unparalleled in the industry. Volkswagen’s The Beetle has become one of the world’s best selling cars of all time.

Volkswagen was created first as a concept made by Ferdinand Porsche. This is the result of his desire to create quality and affordable transport that many of his fellowmen will be able to afford. Volkswagen is German for people’s car. The first Volkswagen developed by Ferdinand Porsche was a beetle-shaped sedan that made its debut two years later due to the war in Europe. The Beetle was not the only masterpiece produced during that time, the Karmann convertible also became the best selling convertible in the world. To cut the story short, Volkswagen later grow into a world corporation building factories and working communities in United States, Brazil, and Canada as well as in some major centres in Western Europe.

Volkswagen has emerged as a true global force in terms of manufacturing high quality vehicles and top-of-the-line auto parts such as Volkswagen brake pads. Its acquisition and redevelopment of some of the most famous brands in the world such as Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Lamborghini has boosted the automaker’s reputation for creating remarkable machines.

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.

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