WOLFSBURG -- Volkswagen group is reworking its plans for a new car it will position between its upper-medium Passat and upper-premium Phaeton.
VW has postponed production of the C1 to mid-2007 from mid-2006.
To enable the C1 to compete against established medium-premium segment rivals such as the BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E class and Volvo V70, VW says it plans to make the car a sporty, comfortable cruiser.
Product strategists are examining a crossover concept that features van and station wagon elements.
To contain costs, more existing components than originally planned will be used for the five-seater.
VW will not build the C1 on the same platform as the 5005mm Maserati Quattroporte. Maserati is a joint-venture partner with VW for the C1. Using the Quattroporte platform would have positioned the C1 too close to the slow-selling VW Phaeton, which is 5005.5mm long.
VW plans to offer the C1 with an air suspension that is similar to the system under development for the Audi A6. Audi is a VW group subsidiary.
VW wants the C1's base price to be less than E35,000. The volume objective has not been set, but the minimum goal is expected to be 50,000 units.
The E class led the segment last year with sales of 190,066 units
Analysts say building a premium nameplate above the Passat is a logical move for VW. A premium sedan would help VW boost sales in North America and in emerging markets such as China. But there would be a risk of damaging A6 sales.