The future of VW’s mid-engined Blue Sport two-seater hangs in the balance because the company can’t find enough sales to justify investing in the model. A key stumbling block is the US market, where the model isn’t considered a priority despite a plan to nearly treble sales to 800k units by 2018.
‘To get to 800k units, we don’t need to keep adding to our portfolio of models. We’re concentrating on our core models,’ says VW of America boss Jonathan Browning.
The US is the world’s biggest market for sportscars, so giving the Blue Sport a low priority means VW can’t get close to the 50,000 or so annual global production it needs for the production go-ahead.
According to VW’s engineering boss, Uli Hackenberg, the engineering for the Blue Sport is all completed. The significant next step is the business case.
‘There is no official release for the project. It’s not a technology problem, but of finding enough customers. I don’t have enough [sales] volume to get the go-ahead,’ says Hackenberg.
Continuing delays will pose a significant threat to the Blue Sport ever making production. The design was revealed at Detroit three years ago and the styling will rapidly date, making it even less likely the Blue Sport will get the green light.
With the Blue Sport in a holding pattern, sister models from Audi and Porsche are also affected. Audi has decided it wants a compact mid-engined two-seater in its range to compliment the R8, but Porsche is less enthusiastic.
Porsche insiders have talked about the car as a possible successor to the iconic, four-cylinder powered 550 of the 1950s, but there are concerns inside Porsche that an entry-level sportscar will rob sales from the Boxster.