Friday, August 28, 2009

Figuring out VW's US Strategy

For some time it's been known that the future of VW in America will depend on two new sedan models, the NCS and NMS. The New Compact Sedan is VW's Civic/Corolla "figther" while the New Midsize Sedan would compete with Accord/Camry. Currently the Jetta and Passat fill those roles, even tough neither matches up with the competition perfectly. The Jetta is generally slightly larger than the competition while the Passat is smaller. In both cases the VW sedans are more expensive than the competition. The NCS and NMS are supposed to adress these issues along with catering to American tastes. The NCS will be built at VW's upgraded Mexican facility while the NMS will be built at VW' brand new Chattanooga factory.

Recently The New York Times published an article in which the VW of America CEO Sefan Jacoby said that the NMS will be called the Jetta. Essentially using the Jetta badge on a car that will in spirit replace the Passat. While this appears like a strange decision as it could make the next Jetta be almost a foot longer than the current one, it has merit behind it. The Jetta has been VW's best selling nameplate in recent history and thus is far better known to the consumer. This would give VW's newest product a familiar name. Of course, it would also mean that the NCS can no longer use the Jetta name.

According to VW's official sketches the NMS should look something like this.

Today Inside Line has published some spy shots of a VW sedan which they are calling the Jetta. They are also saying that it's also the NCS, which goes against the Times article. Regardless, the spy shots represent the best visual evidence of an upcoming VW sedan. Size wise the ptototype looks more like the current Jetta than a true mid size sedan (190+ inches long). But spy shots can be deceiving.

More photos here.

In related news, a Detroit Press article has revealed that VW is also planning to build a three row crossover vehicle to compete with the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and others. The same article also mentions a new New Beetle.

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