Volkswagen‘s plan to triple its U.S. sales by 2018 and return to profitability after 8 consecutive years of losses may need to be revised suggests a new report by Automotive News. VW’s already lofty goals may now have become further out of reach with the recent news that the head of U.S. operations, Stefan Jacoby, has left the automaker to take the helm of Volvo.
Today Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Wintercon will announce detailed plans on how he still intents to achieve his goals, although we’re not expected to learn much, if anything, new, as the German automaker’s plans are already in motion.
With the launch of the new 2011 Jetta, VW announced pricing that is more in line with competitors, ending its premium pricing in the U.S. According to VW’s interim chief, Mark Barnes, the automaker expects big results from the new Jetta. “The new Jetta will be a very nice volume product for us,” said Barnes. “The goal is to bring the masses to Volkswagen who currently believe they cannot afford a Volkswagen.”
To follow the Jetta will come an all-new mid-size sedan, replacing the current Passat and VW has high hopes for this car as well. Critics aren’t as optimistic. Anil Valsan, director of automotive research at Frost & Sullivan in London, commented to AutoNews that, “I doubt that the new sedan by itself will suffice to propel their U.S. business.”
Still, Barnes says the company is on target to reach its sales goals and return to profitability by 2012 or 2013. Helping to do this is the fact that the U.S.-spec Jetta is less sophisticated (and therefore less expensive to build) than the European model. As well, the upcoming Passat-replacement will be built in the U.S. in a bid to save on production costs.
It would seem that for VW to succeed it will need added products in the U.S. marketplace. However, it’s still not clear if VW’s U.S. plan will include a version of the new Polo in the growing sub-compact segment.