2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The VW Group is launching the new Jetta in the USA. The Wolfsburg-based company wants to take off with the limousine - and move closer to its goal of selling a million cars in the United States by 2018. However, this is currently still miles away.
By Frank Mertens
Martin Winterkorn has had better days. At the beginning of the week, the VW boss was standing at a bar table in bright sunshine in Palo Alto, California, and answered the questions of the journalists surrounding him in a slightly grumpy manner.
Minutes earlier, Winterkorn had once again stated in his speech this year that the VW Group was not only planning to become the world's largest car manufacturer by 2018, but also to become the world market leader in electromobility by then. In eight years' time, Winterkorn believes, the share of electric cars in the Group's total sales will make up three percent. The research site in Palo Alto plays an important role in becoming the ecologically leading car manufacturer. The Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL) is based here in Silicon Valley.
Making batteries cheaper
The task of the 100 employees in the ERL lies in the development of driver assistance systems and especially in battery development - and here, in addition to aspects such as safety and range, the main focus is on costs. They have to decrease drastically if e-mobility is to really become a mass phenomenon. One kilowatt hour currently costs around 500 to 1000 euros. Consumer cells that the ERL is working on and that are used in the Tesla electric car, for example, only cost 200 euros. So the way is already going in the right direction.
VWs are still exotic
Does that also apply to making money in the US? Not yet. A German journalist wanted to know from Winterkorn when the company would start earning money in this important market. "In brief," he replies irritably. To then quickly push afterwards. "You don't think I'll tell you now."
The new plant in Chattanooga in the US state of Tennessee, in which the company has invested one billion, will bring cost advantages for VW. Production in the dollar area makes car manufacturing much more attractive for VW. In its new plant, VW will also build its new mid-range model, which will be in the middle of the sweet sport of competition.
Important role for the Jetta
On the way to black numbers, the new Jetta will initially play an important role, which will also be available as a hybrid model from 2012. It is the top seller from Wolfsburg in the USA, a typical bread-and-butter car. The new generation is now coming onto the market in the United States and next year in Germany. The Jetta has sold 9.6 million times worldwide since 1979. In the US, it accounts for around 100,000 cars a year. In the first six months of this year, over 43,000 customers in the United States chose the Jetta. A number of hopes are accordingly placed on the Jetta.
Winterkorn hopes to have solved another problem soon, namely the successor to Stefan Jacoby, the previous head of the USA. He left the company for Volvo. His successor is to be announced shortly.
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