The future of VW’s mid-engined Blue Sport two-seater hangs in the balance
10 January 2012

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.

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Comments
19

10 January 2012

The real looser in this deal has to be Porsche. If this doesn't go ahead then they are going to be left with an undoubtedly talented but over sized, high priced new Boxster as their entry level model and nothing attract new comers to the brand.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

10 January 2012

In that case you can buy a second hand porsche. I think few people would buy a ' VW sports car '.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

Myk

10 January 2012

[quote kcrally]In that case you can buy a second hand porsche. I think few people would buy a ' VW sports car '.[/quote]

Really? I think a VW sports car would fly off the shelves at the right price, and personnally the BlueSport was on the top of my shopping list. Seriously.

If this project gets canned it's terrible news.

10 January 2012

Terrible news for the whole VW group, but what else do you expect when production is now in the hands of cost-benefit analysts, rather than car guys?

10 January 2012

The dull and expensive non-selling phaeton continues to be made by the same people who now claim this very good looking baby won't sell (in the US)? For the right price, it will sell well in europe and the americans may just see sense after all.

10 January 2012

[quote Myk]

[quote kcrally]In that case you can buy a second hand porsche. I think few people would buy a ' VW sports car '.[/quote]

Really? I think a VW sports car would fly off the shelves at the right price, and personnally the BlueSport was on the top of my shopping list. Seriously.

If this project gets canned it's terrible news.

[/quote] I agree. Surely they would fly off of the shelves in the US? And, some people do not want to buy used and I think a smaller Porsche should be a great thing. Does not sound like the great VW empire wants the #1 position after all ( or do they think Toyota have laid down?)

11 January 2012

Perhaps the Blue Sport's biggest problem is Mazda's MX5? The majority of US buyers have repeatedly shown that value-for-money and bombproof reliability are core requirements. (Although the exception to this rule does seem to be Range Rover.)

And since the late '90s, VW's development-cost matrix clearly devotes more €s to cabin quality than under-the-skin engineering and component quality.

In short, US buyers will not tolerate VW's premium pricing and patchy reliability - and VW knows the score.

Of course, if the Blue Sport was a Piëch vanity project - a la Phaeton - it would be built, but it's not, and Porsche has said "no thanks", so a phrase that uses the words 'nail', 'coffin' and 'final' springs to mind...

11 January 2012

[quote Autocar]...‘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...[/quote]

Looks like in VW's rush to drive up sales volume and become the no1 car maker in the world, they are starting to neglect "interesting/stylish" and fun to drive cars. Shame.

11 January 2012

Seems an odd way to run a business - doing the engineering first then work on the business plan?

Myk

11 January 2012

[quote sierra]

Seems an odd way to run a business - doing the engineering first then work on the business plan?
[/quote]

Agreed! Who designs something before deciding whether anyone will buy it?

Porsche are getting it wrong if they think they couldn't benefit from a car below the Boxster. With the 911 and Boxster getting bigger and pricier they're making it harder to attract new buyers to the brand. People could have bought a BlueSport/R4 then traded up to the Porsche equivalent (which they would do for the cache of the badge, and the extra performance), and from there Porsche can lever them into a Boxster.

Are manufacturers really that scared to give an alternative to the MX-5?

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