FRANKFURT -- Continued depreciation in the dollar is forcing Europe's largest carmaker Volkswagen to consider building VW and Audi brand cars in the United States, the company's sales and marketing head said.
"We are thinking about manufacturing those models there that for the most part are also sold in the U.S.," Georg Flandorfer told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview published on Friday, adding that the planned Audi Q7 sports utility vehicle could be a candidate.
The weak dollar is a major reason why VW expects to book a 1 billion euro ($1.34 billion) operating loss in North American operations this year. At current levels, the carmaker has said it will be tough to turn a profit there in 2005 either, despite the relaunch of key new models like the Jetta and Passat.
Unlike German peers Mercedes and BMW, which both build their large off-road models in U.S. plants, neither Volkswagen nor Audi produces a single car there.
VW manufactures the Jetta and New Beetle, which both enjoy relative popularity in the United States, at its Mexico plant in Puebla.
The company has suffered from a serious decline in U.S. car sales, mainly due to an aging line-up and VW's reluctance to compete head-to-head in an incentives war.
On Wednesday, VW reported November U.S. monthly car sales plunged around 40 percent.