Volkswagen has given the go-ahead to an affordable new entry-level model to be positioned beneath the slow-selling Brazilian-built Fox.
Set to compete against the likes of the Dacia Logan, Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 at a price that is expected to start under £6000 in the UK, the new four-seater is one of the first initiatives to be taken by VW's new chairman Martin Winterkorn since his arrival at the start of the year.
Conceived to take Volkswagen back to its roots, the new city car is intended for sale worldwide, although Winterkorn confirms it will be offered in Western Europe first, before heading to other potentially lucrative markets such as India, China and South America.
Winterkorn told an Autocar source: “Shortly after my arrival in Wolfsburg I gave design and development the job to develop a new car beneath the Fox.” Winterkorn describes the new entry-level model as “an economical, attractive and affordable car that can be used everyday,” but he is tight-lipped on where it will be built. If VW goes ahead with its planned purchase of Malaysian manufacturer Proton, there is the is a possibility of it being built in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Winterkorn has rejected reports that Volkswagen has abandoned plans to develop hybrid versions of its smaller models owing to pricing concerns. “There will definitely be compact hybrid models, such as the Polo and Golf, and without any great delay,” he said.
The Polo and Golf will be are mild hybrids, with an electric motor being used to supplement either the TFSI petrol or new Bluetec diesel engines, according to insiders, who confirm that a hybrid Touran is also in the works.
Also under development at VW is a hybrid version of the next-generation Touareg, due in 2010. It uses a full hybrid system similar to that in the Lexus RX400h, in which the electric motor is capable of propelling the car in combination with the petrol or diesel engine or, alternatively, on its own.