Is a Volkswagen sub-brand necessary?
VW already sells old new cars in China, South Africa and other emerging markets without the need for a special name.
While Americans are spoiled with cars for every family member, poorer countries don't enjoy that luxury. Developing economies like South Africa require cheaper new cars because the middle class isn't broad enough to afford the normal range of cars in the U.S. and Europe. So South Africans get cars like the Chevrolet Sonic, but with four airbags instead of 10. They get cars without stability control and bargain-basement models from China, India and Malaysia.
Volkswagen is reportedly working on a sub-brand to promote cars that are even cheaper than those on sale in South Africa, and they'll be based on older cars. That way, there's little required investment and no risk to quality reputations. With Nissan launching its Datsun brand in India, Indonesia and Russia, it could make sense for VW to follow suit.
In South Africa, Volkswagen makes a locally built model called the Polo Vivo which is built on the older Polo and includes older engines and sub-par equipment. VW also built the first-generation Golf, known as the Citi, exclusively for South Africa until 2009. It's still an incredibly popular car.
In Mexico, VW built the original 1955 Beetle until 2003. Taxi drivers won't give them up.
VW's plan calls for a new brand -- of which nobody knows the name -- to start in China with its joint-venture partners. China Car Times reports the company will base its "new" sub-brand on the super-old-school second-generation Jetta, new from 1984-1992, that's still on sale in China (pictured above). It'll be a steal at the U.S. equivalent of $9,600 to $13,000.
But with Volkswagen's success selling all these retro models, does it really need a separate brand to house them? I'm not so sure. Volkswagen has been trading affordable cars for decades under its own familiar, trusted name, even as newcomers such as Chery and Great Wall Motors have entered these markets. Whatever Volkswagen decides to do, these new cars will be old. But they'll also be sturdy and soaked in pure profit, not unlike the immortal Mercedes G-Wagen.
[Source: Reuters, China Car Times, SACarFan]
get rid of traction control, abs, and front wheel drive, and 5 or more airbags, keep seatbelts, and 2-4 airbags, and make road tests across the country slightly more demanding. The two actions would offset each other in safety goals, and us Americans would not have to finance a depreciating dog for 5 to 6 years.
I'd like to see some new old cars for sale again in America. Not re-creations of classics but the actual classics....like they were when originally released from the factory. Priced accordingly, I bet they would sell.....if current safety standards, EPA regulations and car collector investment portfolios were taken out of the mix.
Just one example:
Imagine being able to walk into a Chevy dealership and buying a new 1970 spec Chevelle 454 SS?
those "poor" nations are being asked to pay 40k for a base jeep?
here in the us, they are only 20, and you get more, who is calling who poor?
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.