Volkert supports new ideas

Head of Volkswagen's trade council demands low-priced cars from German production

Wolfsburg, Germany. Amidst the backdrop of tough disputes over higher wages and secured employment at Volkswagen, works council chief Klaus Volkert is taking an active stance in product planning.

"I think that in the medium term we will need an entry-level model in addition to the compact car Fox," he told Automobilwoche. "And it should be produced in Germany."

Volkert's demands are explosive. On the one hand, VW is going to offer the Fox model, which is based on the Polo and manufactured in Brazil, in Germany starting next year. But its target price of just under 10,000 euros might be too high to compete with inexpensive rivals such as the Dacia Logan (which will cost about 7,500 euros). This is why VW is pushing for a new entry-level strategy.

On the other hand, Volkert's comments contradict comments made by VW's board, which said that such a low-priced car made in Germany would not be viable because of the country's high wages.

"Of course you have to take into account that the customers expect an adequate standard of quality and safety from a VW," Volkert said. "But then you will have to use your imagination in other areas such as processes and structures."

It would be better, Volkert said, to test the concept of a "modular factory" for building a new entry-level model in Germany, just as VW did for commercial vehicles.

Volkert's ideas might find favor with VW management. VW Group Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder has been heard internally saying that many customers want a car in the 8,000 euro to 10,000 euro range and that VW should satisfy that need.

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