Volkswagen will pursue a new budget range to help bolster its sales potential in emerging markets.
The firm's new head of R&D Hans-Jakob Neusser reaffirmed the plans In one of his first interviews since succeeding Ulrich Hackenberg at the top of VW’s engineering ranks. Neusser confirmed to Autocar that plans are progressing on a range of sparsely equipped models with contemporary engineering, in the mould of Renault’s Dacia line-up.
“Our budget car plans are progressing,” said Neusser. “We haven’t made any firm commitments — not because we’re slow but because we are doing our homework.”
Neusser stopped short of confirming that the new range would be based on the Santana, which is built in China under a joint-venture agreement with SAIC. But he did say a partner is being sought. “If we do it, we will do it with a joint-venture partner,” he said.
The entry-level range is not the only area of concern for VW’s new R&D chief. In the first official acknowledgement that the range-topping Phaeton would be succeeded, Neusser said that engineering work on a four-door replacement for it was at an advanced stage.
“The Phaeton is a very important car for VW. We are working intensively on a new model. It will boast all the qualities of today’s model but with new developments that will make it even more competitive,” he said.