U.S. Volkswagen chief Stefan Jacoby talks strategy - Detroit News

domboy

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DPM said:
why would you need a car bigger than a Passat just because you have two kids?
Yeah, I don't get it either. I know of at least four couples that bought a mini-van after having their first child. Why the heck does one need a seven passenger vehicle for ONE kid?? Even if it's a five seater with a huge trunk area, I still think it's overkill, because how much stuff does one kid need to have hauled around? My wife and I do just fine with our Golf and Vibe and one little guy. I don't think two would change that much.
That said, I wouldn't mind having a larger VW wagon (TDI and manual) for camping trips!
 

DickSilver

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We own a Touran 1.9 TDI at our second home in South Africa. It is an excellent mini/microvan. Gets 40 mpg hiway. Seats five comfortably. Has three feet of space behind the second row of seats. Cupholders everywhere. Rear seats fold or remove for bigger cargo no problem. Backup proximity sensor.

If it weren't such a hassle & expense to import a single non-USA vehicle, I'd import it here.
 

mavapa

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You can argue all day long that a Passat is big enough for the US market, but the market obviously tells us otherwise. One of the biggest problems with the Passat is that it is too much like a Jetta. And one of the biggest problems with the Phaeton is that it is too much like a Passat. In fact, I was convinced that the only Phaeton I have ever seen was a Passat as it overtook and finally passed me one day on the highway. Only when I could see it up close could I tell the difference. And far too little difference for the gigantic difference in price. So how are they going to sell it this time?
 

Ski in NC

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I just helped my folks with their 99 Camry. It seems close in size to my 01 jetta, except that it is stretched a bit where the back doors are, giving some pretty good back seat room. Actually tolerable there.

My thoughts became: If you need a car with more room, you can do it by making the people box bigger. It is not necessary to add $10k of whizbang gizmos and fluff to get some more room. My jetta and the folks' camry have everything we need and desire in a car. None of us will buy the bigger vw because of the cost and all the fluff.
 

chewy

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Ski in NC said:
I just helped my folks with their 99 Camry. It seems close in size to my 01 jetta, except that it is stretched a bit where the back doors are, giving some pretty good back seat room. Actually tolerable there.

My thoughts became: If you need a car with more room, you can do it by making the people box bigger. It is not necessary to add $10k of whizbang gizmos and fluff to get some more room. My jetta and the folks' camry have everything we need and desire in a car. None of us will buy the bigger vw because of the cost and all the fluff.
No,the 99 Camry is 16 inches longer than your Jetta. That's a substantial difference in length. The entire idea behind the NMS is a bigger car at a lower price than the current Passat. Exactly what the market requires.
 

FredIA

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domboy said:
Yeah, I don't get it either. I know of at least four couples that bought a mini-van after having their first child. Why the heck does one need a seven passenger vehicle for ONE kid?? Even if it's a five seater with a huge trunk area, I still think it's overkill, because how much stuff does one kid need to have hauled around?
I have four kids and yes I need a 7 passenger van. At three kids a typical 5 seater becomes too small because on top of seating the family you need room for groceries or luggage or a puke bucket or anything. When we were waiting for child number four (I adopted all my kids from South Korea) I decided to do a family vacation in the TDI. It was miserable. We were cramped and there was little room for anything except people since the trunk was full to the gills with luggage.

When your kids get to the 10-12 year old range -- with two -- it might still be doable in a 5 seater. (But tight.) But there is no way that you'll do that with three kids older than about 10 in a Jetta TDI.

The problem for us "larger families" that all of the vehicles-- all of them, including the Routan-- basically suck and are all exactly the same, CUV's included. They are large, heavy and are all alike. I'd love to see a 6-7 passenger vehicle like the new Ford Transit Connect (new to the US) set up with a 4 cyl turbo diesel (only in Europe, thank you Ford!) or a Routan with a VW powerplant instead of the pushrod/SOHC Chryslers so there are at least some good options for us.. but I doubt if that will happen.

The Mazda5's and the Kia Rondos have the seats but no grocery space. So basically you are stuck with a tank that gets 20 MPG if you have a family. YOU'D think that at least one manufacturer would come up with a good solution to that... wouldn't you? If VW put the Toureg2 TDI in the Routan they could have sold a lot of those. But instead they spend "a million dollars" redoing the sheet metal and the springs on the Routan. sigh...

One thing to remember when I drive the minivan, it hauls 5-6 people. At 18 MPG. The TDI usually is me or a second person at an average (acutal) 43 MPG. The van at 5 people * 18 MPG = 90 MPG per person. The TDI at two * 43 = 86 MPG per person. It's a more efficient use of resources to haul the family in the van than my big rear end to work in the TDI.

I'll agree that you don't necessairly need a tank to haul three people, but if you plan on having a second kid in the life of the vehicle, when you factor in the inherent increase in safety of the large vehicle and that it hauls many people it can be a more efficient choice to have the bigger vehicle.

I was at a family reunion this weekend when one of the families with 6 people showed up with two small cars and were bragging about saving the plaent by not having the large vehicle anymore. After looking up their cars, they probably did a combined 10 MPG.. so much for that.

Fred
 

TDIMeister

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You are not typical. We are talking about the 2 child (or even 1 child) household where the parents are convinced they need a land barge to accommodate the fam for the annual road trip, or the guy that "needs" an F250 for his occasional trips to Home Depot.
 

wolfskin

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Sooo funny!
I don't mean any offense, but it just goes to show how strong cultural influence really is on the way we organize our lives.

Two summers ago I was on vacation in Italy and briefly met a young couple with a small kid from germany who were taking a "nomad vacation" in a Lupo.
Now I hear that a Passat is not of adequate size for a family with 2 children.

But anyway, it's not for VW to decide what Americans should buy. If Americans want a sedan that's bigger than the EU Passat and outfitted cheaper than an EU Golf, that's what they should make in Chattanooga.
 

kcfoxie

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So I suppose if the Mahindra Scorpio 7-seater SUV actually makes it here, some of you would be interested buyers?
 

mavapa

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Some people talk about vehicle choice as if it were a moral question. In a way it might be, since our reliance on fossil fuels is so harmful in so many ways, but the US transportation system almost forces certain choices on people here, while the system in Europe tends to force other choices. In Europe, you can travel virtually anywhere without a vehicle, and fuel costs are high. If you can take the bus to work easily and travel from city to city by train conveniently, and fuel is expensive, maybe a Polo is all you need 99% of the time. And when you take a car vacation, you use what you have. Virtually everywhere in the US, if you want to get to work (or anywhere else for that matter), you have to use a car. There is no public transportation. And there has been virtually no penalty for poor mileage. So criticizing people for using big vehicles in the US is a little unfair. Many of us here happen to like VW diesels, and those diesels happen to come in small cars. For many of us, praising small cars is making a virtue of necessity.
 

kcfoxie

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So you're saying that because we've allowed ourselves to remain ignorant we shouldn't be criticized?
 

LRTDI

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Lets not forget that the factory here in the US seems destined to deliver a car that sounds bigger than the Passat.

Historically the VW brand only does well in good times in the US. VW USA really relies on excess disposable income/starbucks types to survive. The rest buy Toyotas/Hondas.

Raise the quality of the dealer network and proven reliability and there is a good brand wanting to break out here.
 

kcfoxie

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LRTDI said:
Lets not forget that the factory here in the US seems destined to deliver a car that sounds bigger than the Passat.

Historically the VW brand only does well in good times in the US. VW USA really relies on excess disposable income/starbucks types to survive. The rest buy Toyotas/Hondas.

Raise the quality of the dealer network and proven reliability and there is a good brand wanting to break out here.
When I look at the VW people still are fond of -- from the 60s and 70s -- they had small model lines and the same horn / filters / engines across all models (for the most part). VW should have one gas and one diesel 4-cyl, one gas one diesel 6-cyl, and no 8-cyl engines at all. They should just keep the 5th gen chassis around for the NA new bigger cars -- and basically just make them seem bigger but built on the existing Jetta platform. This reduces cost, reface them like they do Skodas (which are all MkIVs for the most part) and sell them cheaper than the signature lineup -- the actual Jetta, Passat, etc -- the cars that keep evolving ... the "world cars" if you will, but the US big sellers will be obsolete technology wise and reliable, dependable, and cheap.

That is how Toyota has largely gotten their success rate, you find a lot of similar parts from a 93 in a 03. Ford was much the same. VW deviated fro this and look at them now.

Simple engine options. Lots of car models based on the same chasis/platform, just for the US = VW @ 700,000+ units/year.

VW needs more Corolla-like cars (that don't act Corolla-like) where the Camry is the showcase of new and aaaaahh!

But everyone disagrees with me on that. Yet all I ever hear are "my 6x Bug was the most dependable car." and Sometimes I hear "my 8x Jetta diesel was the best car, why I ever let it go I don't know."

You solve electrical issues when you don't change things, and Americans obviously despise change. 6 models that keep up with the trends, 12 that are face lifted last-gen vehicles that are cheap to operate.

That is what would save VW. This should start with a TDI Sharon van to replace the Tiguan, and sell it fully loaded (by fully loaded I mean it DOES NOT have DVD system and all that crap) for $20,895 and you've got yourself a winner.
 
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German_1er_diesel

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kcfoxie said:
This reduces cost, reface them like they do Skodas (which are all MkIVs for the most part) and sell them cheaper than the signature lineup
Skoda still makes the MKIV Octavia, but only as a sepearate "el cheapo" model if you absolutely want to save a few ****s over the current model. They have the same high tech as the VWs, same touchscreen nav, etc... The Octavia got the CR TDI long before the Golf/Jetta. The Fabia was the first car featuring the new Polo platform, more than a year earlier.
 

aja8888

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We took a family trip to Wisconsin from Texas in July in our 2005 Passat wagon. Three adults, one 15 year old and enough luggage for a month in Paris (I was the only male in the vehicle). We did 3,100 miles in 5 days of driving and it was fairly comfortable and a great highway ride.

I honestly don't see how some of my younger neighbors with two (or less) small children (under 10 years old) need to have Suburbans and Expeditions to haul their families around on short driving trips (300 miles or less).

BTW, the Passat averaged about 35 MPG for the trip. Cruise control was set on 75 most of the time.
 

DickSilver

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FredIA states a good argument about families who really CANNOT ride all together in a 5-passenger car. We are grandparents, and each of us for personal reasons drives a Passat TDI; a B5.5v and a B4V. At times we get four grandkids at once, and on those occasions we either borrow the Honda Odyssey along with the kids, or we just drive both cars. That's not a big penalty for the occasional trip of a half hour or so.

But for our own childrens' families, there are two for whom a 7-passenger (mini) van is really needed. One family has a fourth kid coming and another is planning a fourth. When I drive the Odyssey, it feels and acts like a BIG van, and of course gets about 20 mpg. I can only say that a 6 or 7 passenger vehicle with better fuel consumption is a totally unmet need in the market today. The Town & Country / Routan platform with a TDI, either 2.5 liter, 5 cyl or V6, could be made using components that exist today. In other countries the Eurovan / Caravelle is sold in huge numbers with the 2.5 liter 5 cyl TDI, but not in the USA.

It may be that VWOA will be able to sell more 5-passenger sedans/wagons if they are upsized for the NA market, but that does not meet the need od folks who need 7 seats.
 

maktas

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That best strategy is to contain the BHW balance shaft fiasco by issuing a recall like a man, or I'm afraid that that it will put a damper on TDI sales in the short and long term.

Who in their right mind will get the new V6 TDI laden with multiple chains that will eventually make noise like a kitchen blender and fail?? This is what us poor BHW owners are facing because only 20,000 of them were made for N.A only so VAG and VoA don't give a $hit!! :(
 
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aja8888

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Fuel savings from a TDI goes out the window with repairs like balance shafts which are NOT normal maintenance. A friend of mine has a late model Honda Odyssey van that just turned 250K last Saturday. Granted, he does a lot of highway driving (business use van), but his maintenance costs have been (from what I can remember) two timing belts, two water pumps, serpentine belts, one rear axle bearing, two sets of brakes, front struts, and a ton of oil changes. He expects the van to go another 100K.

I guess if you take care of them they will serve you well in most cases.
 

mavapa

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kcfoxie: Are you saying that it's your preferences that are educated, and anyone else's preferences, if they don't agree with you, are ignorant? It's presumptuous to say that you know best what someone else needs. I drive a Golf, but I cannot take my wife and my mother in it because my mother simply cannot get out of it, if she ever makes it into it. So when we go anywhere, we take a vehicle she can get into and out of: her Buick. Does that make me ignorant? Or does that make my Golf too small and too low for my mother to ride in?
 

Dooglas

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mavapa said:
Virtually everywhere in the US, if you want to get to work (or anywhere else for that matter), you have to use a car. There is no public transportation. And there has been virtually no penalty for poor mileage.
You may have overshot a bit here. At least where I live, we have quite a few public transport options. And I think some folks felt penalized last year when they were paying over 4 bucks a gallon for fuel for their 10 mpg rig. I presume that most folks who go TDI are more than a little concerned about fuel efficiency.

Might as well start getting ready for a new world where vehicles are lighter and more efficient, air travel is shockingly expensive, and a lot more people and goods are moved by rail.
 

mavapa

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Dooglas, I don't think I overshot at all. I said "virtually everywhere." Portland and a few other cities are notable because it might be possible to get around without a car, but try that in virtually any other city, especially smaller cities and towns. When I was growing up my own home town (current population about 35,000) had a bus system that let you get from almost anywhere to almost anywhere else without walking more than a block or two to a bus stop. That system is gone now, replaced by a virtually useless system with so few stops it's pointless. That's the story in virtually every hamlet and city in the United States. There are a few places where the auto is not a necessity, but very few.
 

FredIA

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TDIMeister said:
You are not typical. We are talking about the 2 child (or even 1 child) household where the parents are convinced they need a land barge to accommodate the fam for the annual road trip, or the guy that "needs" an F250 for his occasional trips to Home Depot.
What I said is that a van is justified in a family of 3 children or greater. I agree with you on the people who drive large vehicles for no good reason; this is why I have the TDI for my to and from work daily driver.

I know small families are the norm now but I know of many 3-5 children families-- probably 20% of the "family" market or greater. The car options for those sized families are not good. Actually the closest semi-efficient vehicle is the Kia Rondo. But in practical terms-- the Kia Rondo is (on the 6 cyl) 21 combined EPA. The Routan (or the Dodge/Chrysler equivalent) for example which is much more useful gets 18 on the engine that an average human can afford (S and SE trim) and 20 on the SEL. This buys you about about 2x the cargo room for not that much less overall MPG.

In reality the EPA claims the difference is $250/yr in fuel. I think it's worth it as I use and need the space. Even if fuel doubles it's worth it.

I do wish there were big enough station wagons (I'd jump on a TDI Passat-like vehicle that had 6-7 seats) that did a little better but the choices are terrible. I wish VW or other manufacturers would try to add something to the lineup for families. A TDI Kia Rondo (or Mazda5) like vehicle would be so tempting I'd probably try to live without the cargo space.

Even a V-6 TDI Routan would be better as it'd be in the 25 combined range I bet.. but apparently Americans wouldn't want that... sigh... I mention that because the Routan was/is only 1/2 of the solution VW should have brought to that market segment.. and I say that as I am likely to buy one to replace another van. (Thank you Fed government)

Fred
 

Dooglas

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mavapa said:
I said "virtually everywhere." Portland and a few other cities are notable because it might be possible to get around without a car, but try that in virtually any other city, especially smaller cities and towns.
A few other cities? I've lived in Portland, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, and Gold Beach, OR. I'll give you Gold Beach, but the others all had excellent public transport. My point was not that many small US towns don't have poor or non-existant public transport. My point was that it is time to start thinking about how we structure for the future - more efficient cars (small TDIs), better public transport, more rail service, etc, etc, etc. Even in Georgia. (And, oh yeh, I also own a motor scooter. A hundred miles per gallon and it likes small towns.)
 
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mavapa

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Dooglas, you cite big cities. They are the exception, and I'm sure you are aware that if all the people who commute by car in those cities started using mass transit, the mass transit systems would immediately overload to the point of uselessness. Even in Portland. Which, we all know, is infinitely morally superior to redneck, backwards Georgia.

I don't know about you in Portland, but we here have to live in the present, and today most people need a car in the US.

My real point remains this: drive the car you want to drive, but don't presume to know what kind of car everyone else needs. You may see someone in a barge who happens to be driving to the house where he picks up all twelve members of his carpool. Or not. How would you know?

Oh yeah, my mother is 86. She's not going to be riding a motorscooter.
 
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German_1er_diesel

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FredIA said:
A TDI Kia Rondo (or Mazda5) like vehicle would be so tempting I'd probably try to live without the cargo space.
The Rondo is called "Carens" in Europe, and a 140hp 2.0 common-rail diesel is the most popular drivetrain. The only other option is a 2.0 gasser.
http://kia.de/content/brochureoverv...listen_Maerz09/Maerz09_Carens_Broschuere.ashx


The brochure has a lot of "buy this car, it's engineered by our European engineering center in Rüsselsheim, Germany" is it.

The Mazda5 is available with a whole range of diesels. (110 or 143 hp)
 
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DPM

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That's a helluva competitive segment, too. C-Max, Zafira, Scenic, Verso, etc etc.
And not so many are bought with gasser engines, either.
 

aja8888

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I rented a Rondo in Long Beach last month. Not a bad car. Had it for three days and it was a pleasure to drive, especially in the Los Angeles traffic.

Watch out for those Koreans!
 

k1xv

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Around here, the only "mass transit" we have is a jitney service that goes through town once a day each direction, and it will stop near your house if you call and make a reservation the day before.

It is 20 miles here to a modern, full service supermarket.
 

Dooglas

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mavapa said:
My real point remains this: drive the car you want to drive, but don't presume to know what kind of car everyone else needs. You may see someone in a barge who happens to be driving to the house where he picks up all twelve members of his carpool. Or not. How would you know? Oh yeah, my mother is 86. She's not going to be riding a motorscooter.
You are determined to miss my point, aren't you. It isn't what you want to drive. We are headed toward a time when cost will dictate what and how we drive. More efficient vehicles (I never said do without for moral or any other reasons except the realm of the possible), public transport, rail, etc. And, no, all those folks driving around in those giant boats aren't on their way to their 12 person car pools. I see them all on the freeway with one person per vehicle. By the way, my mother is 84 and she no longer drives at all. A Buick Century or a Chevy Tahoe is no help to her. She appreciates the heck out of public transportation.

Now back to the only reason to have this discussion on this board. Small, fuel efficient TDI vehicles are real likely to be part of that future. (And, Mr. Jacoby, that would be TDI polos and lupos - not TDI phaetons)
 
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