It looks like the vision of Renault’s Louis Schweitzer that developing countries need affordable, big and basic new cars is starting to catch on.
Less than a year after Renault launched its Logan, Volkswagen is thinking about a competitor.
The so-called 3-K is said to be a three-box sedan much like the Logan, with a large trunk and four doors. With a production cost of about E3,000, it could sell for no more than E7,500.
The 3-K and the Logan join a growing number of competitors in the booming markets of the developing world. They include Fiat, Ford, GM, Peugeot and Citroen.
Potentially, the 3K will be cheaper than Volkswagen’s own entry-level Fox and the new Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 minicars, which are built in Kolin, Czech Republic.
In many developing countries, families with several children value space above all else. The 3-K and the Logan both show that automakers are aware of this.
Moreover, in many of these countries there appears to be a preference for sedans rather than hatchbacks.
Volkswagen’s 3-K project and its Brazilian-made Fox provide further confirmation that the company is distancing itself a bit from its focus on premium, which in recent years has resulted in the Phaeton and an overpriced Golf.
That change in emphasis is good for Volkswagen, which must restore its prominence in the mass market to prosper in the long run.
It’s also good for the industry. There has been too much focus on premium and performance cars. They generate high margins, but will never have a large share of the market.
After all, 90 percent of the world drives mainstream cars, which will always be the lifeblood of the industry.