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Plans Approved
Volkswagen will continue with Hallmark's product strategy
By DIANA T. KURYLKO | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek | Updated: 04/16/07, 12:33 pm et

Adrian Hallmark is breathing a lot easier these days. His ambitious plan to expand Volkswagen's U.S. vehicle lineup has cleared major hurdles set by VW's new bosses in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Hallmark, Volkswagen of America's executive vice president, says he's ready to get VW's U.S. turnaround on track.

The new vehicles include:
The Tiguan small SUV.
A Passat-based four-door with coupe styling.
A minivan developed jointly with Chrysler.

A subcompact and a luxury car to replace the axed Phaeton also are being discussed.

Martin Winterkorn, VW group's new CEO, has ordered changes to the vehicles. But they will mean only one- or two-month launch delays. That's a huge relief for Hallmark, who joined Volkswagen of America in 2005 and has a lot riding on his strategy.

He had worked out the details with former VW global brand boss Wolfgang Bernhard. When Bernhard left in January, Hallmark's carefully laid plans were thrown into doubt.

"The specific products we requested have been through an absolutely critical review process, in detail," he said. "Small details have been changed, but nothing that will fundamentally threaten the cars or the timing."

Sedan in '08

The unnamed Passat-based sedan, which will have a low sporty roofline, debuts early in 2008. Hallmark expects to sell 15,000 to 20,000 annually. That compares with 30,000 to 35,000 Passat sedans and wagons.

He says the car probably will be priced below the top of the Passat range, which peaks at $32,770, including shipping.

The Tiguan comes in the second half of 2008. It will be priced under $25,000 - "a little more expensive than a Jetta and about the price of a GTI," Hallmark says. He expects VW to sell about 20,000 units annually.

The full-sized minivan, called Project M, debuts in the second half of 2008. It will be built by Chrysler and based on the new Town & Country. But the styling of the two vans, both interior and exterior, will be radically different.

The proposed subcompact and a Phaeton replacement also are getting chewed over.

"Those are the brand extensions - they are really niche markets," Hallmark says. "They are on the table."

With most of his product plan in place, Hallmark predicts VW sales will rise to at least 400,000 units within five years.

Last year the VW brand sold 235,140 vehicles, and similar figures are expected this year, Hallmark says.

VW also has new two vehicles arriving in June.

The Jetta SportWagon, a version of the Golf, will be priced at about $18,000. Hallmark expects sales of about 10,000.

Touareg plans

A freshened Touareg SUV also goes on sale in June. Features such an electric tailgate lift have been added.

Hallmark doesn't expect Touareg sales to rebound to the 27,000-plus units sold in 2004, its first full year in the United States. Sales are expected to total 10,000 to 12,000 units a year.

At that sales level, says Hallmark, VW won't be pushed to put incentives on the SUV and "dealers make a nice margin."

Also due this year is the R32 performance hatchback, with a 3.2-liter V-6 and twin-clutch, six-speed manual transmission.

Early next year, the Jetta sedan and wagon will be available with clean diesels that can be sold in all 50 states.
Looks like the Passat-based coupe is a go and it will be priced less than the 3.6L. I do not see a Scirocco on the list. :(
 

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It's a Hallmark holiday!

Good news, I suppose. I'd assume they're doing pretty well, I see new Passats and Jettas all over the place now. The new models probably exceed the volume of all older VWs put together, from my random sightings locally. They're doing something right...must be the "Japanese withdrawal" styling :D
 

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I don't think they are selling that well in Canada compared to the previous generation. US pricing has been competitive but not so much in Canada. It was critical that VW increase its product range or get out of North America. VW simply can't compete with only the Golf/Jetta and Passat as their main products.
 

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A Passat-based four-door with coupe styling...

...Sedan in '08

The unnamed Passat-based sedan, which will have a low sporty roofline, debuts early in 2008. Hallmark expects to sell 15,000 to 20,000 annually. That compares with 30,000 to 35,000 Passat sedans and wagons.

He says the car probably will be priced below the top of the Passat range, which peaks at $32,770, including shipping.
That doesn't exactly sound like the 2-door Passat Coupe we've heard about. Perhaps the story wrong? Be interested in seeing clarification.
 

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That doesn't exactly sound like the 2-door Passat Coupe we've heard about. Perhaps the story wrong.
What's different from what we have been hearing? It has always been a Passat-based 4 door coupe. However, I was expecting it to be more expensive.
 

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Personally, I'll want a diesel Jetta wagon to replace my Passat, when the time comes. And I don't want to be bent over on the deal, either.

With the Japanese gearing up for diesels, VW needs to get back to basics on this, and quickly, to defend their 'first to market' position.
 

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What's different from what we have been hearing?
Ugh. That's true, looks like it's me that is wrong. For some reason, I recalled reading and seeing pictures of a true 2-door Passat coupe several months ago. Oh well, my bad.

This is obviously the car the story is referring to:
 

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I do not see a Scirocco on the list. :(
I heard at some point that the iroc concept was intended to show what's in store for the gti, not a new model.
 

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Altair, that can't be said enough. Honda will eat VW's lunch if they don't hurry the diesels back.

(also looking for a tdi Jetta wagon in the next couple years...unless a diesel Accord comes out)
 

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I heard at some point that the iroc concept was intended to show what's in store for the gti, not a new model.
Bernhard definitely wanted the Scirocco as a separate model with that name. However, he is gone now and the IROC/Scirocco is probably dead. It was going to be the replacement for my GTI. :cry:
 

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Right now I'd say VW is doing pretty poorly.

YTD sales through March (2006 versus 2007) are down 5.6% and down 16.3% for the month of March.
 

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Altair, that can't be said enough. Honda will eat VW's lunch if they don't hurry the diesels back.

(also looking for a tdi Jetta wagon in the next couple years...unless a diesel Accord comes out)
In all honesty, I probably would have bought an Accord wagon back in November of 2002, if they still made 'em.

If Honda brought the wagon back and shoved a turbodiesel engine into it, I'd be all over it. A Jetta would have to have one hell of a personality to overcome the longterm expected reliability of such an Accord (which unfortunately doesn't even exist).

Not that I don't like my B5.5 - the driving dynamics are excellent, look and feel are great, but the niggling stuff eats away at you after awhile. The first 6 years and 80,000 miles on my wife's Accord required nothing beyond fuel, oil, filters, and tires. And I mean absolutely nothing. And since then, it's been pretty easy going, right up to its current 135K.
 

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The VW/Chrysler minivan scares me. The newly redesigned Chrysler/Dodge minivans look really frumpy with really crude and boxy styling from the Durango.

VW should've stuck with the MicroBus Concept, which was fresh, hip, retro and modern, and would appeal to non-soccer mom types, which is something minivans traditionally never appealed to.

I'm interested on how the Passat 4-door coupe would turn out. A true 2-door GT coupe or fastback is what VW really needs (under the Scirocco or Corrado nameplate).
 

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VW should've stuck with the MicroBus Concept, which was fresh, hip, retro and modern, and would appeal to non-soccer mom types, which is something minivans traditionally never appealed to.
Awww, yeeeaaah. :thumbup:

Something tells me, though, that between US crash standards and European pedestrian standards, the idea would have been thrown under the...umm...microbus. I guess that's why they cancelled it, because styling and function were a home run in my book.
 

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Personally, I'll want a diesel Jetta wagon to replace my Passat, when the time comes. And I don't want to be bent over on the deal, either.

With the Japanese gearing up for diesels, VW needs to get back to basics on this, and quickly, to defend their 'first to market' position.
Take a number and stand in line for a Jetta Variant TDI! Can't come soon enough - early 2008 (maybe). Mein Passat Variant is up for a change then ...

Its here .... (NY Auto Show pics from the 'Tex)





Awesome sunroof :icon_eek:





2.0T (& DSG maybe) in late 07 ... & TDI in early '08.
 

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In all honesty, I probably would have bought an Accord wagon back in November of 2002, if they still made 'em.
Actually, they are still being made and sold in the EU. The Accord wagon just made Auto Express'es used car deal of the year.
 

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Actually, they are still being made and sold in the EU. The Accord wagon just made Auto Express'es used car deal of the year.
Right, I just wish they made the larger US-spec Accord in a wagon.

Shy of that, I'd be fine with a TSX wagon with the amazing Honda 2.0 diesel, but the TSX is frickin' overpriced to begin with. I never thought I'd see the day when naturally aspirated four-bangers (vtec or not) are put into $30k "luxury" cars...which are normally considered bland/average transport in the rest of the world.
 

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Actually, they are still being made and sold in the EU. The Accord wagon just made Auto Express'es used car deal of the year.
I know it's available in Europe; I should have been more clear...it's not on the menu with Honda America. Instead, we get the CRV and Pilot. But I want a wagon, dang it!, not a cute ute or a SUV.
 
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