The top stories from Automotive News Europe's October 23, 2000, issue - and how they developed.
VW world car is too expensive
Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piëch's plan to build an entry-level world car priced between E5,000-E6,500 may be impossible to achieve. VW engineers in China say they cannot design a car that will sell for such a low price. In China the price of the car, code-named the A000, would have to be about 70,000 to 80,000 yuan (E8,750-E10,000), said Erich Schmitt, head of VW operations in China. But VW says it plans to produce the minicar anyway, building it at its joint venture plant with First Automobile Works in Changchun in northeast China starting in late 2003.
It turns out Schmitt was right. In late June 2001 VW announced that it had canceled plans to build the entry-level world car. The reason VW gave was that customers in China want cars that are larger than the A000. The car was supposed to be smaller than the 3525mm VW Lupo. This year it was learned that VW may make a large, affordable sedan, launching the car in China in 2008.
New-car sales fall
New-car sales in western Europe fell almost 6 percent in September compared with the same period last year. ACEA, the European automakers association, blamed the decline on a disruption of transportation caused by fuel price protests and the large stocks of quality used cars available.