VW: Biodiesel Yes, Hybrids No. At Least for Now.
23 November 2004
Autowired in the UK reports that Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen, remarked that while Volkswagen will eventually offer hybrids, it won’t be soon.
Speaking to journalists in London, prior to the SMMT Annual Dinner, where he was guest speaker, he said: “We are not interested in making cars which don’t make money.”
Biodiesel, he suggested, is the short-term answer and confirmed that his company was working in this area.
He said that developing the technology for a hybrid poses no problems but suggested that the cost of putting it into a car makes it prohibitive, adding that the European trend is for customers to buy lower-priced cars.
This is a consistent position for VW, even with their ongoing research with hybrids. VW brought a diesel mild hybrid to the Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai this year, for example. (Earlier post.) The company at various times has allowed that a hybrid might be of interest to the US market. (Earlier post.)
VW is struggling with dropping US sales, a product line that needs to be refreshed, a couple of specific models that flopped and management difficulties. Sounds like it might be time to swing out a bit on the green side. Get aggressive in the US with the biodiesel message, and roll out some hybrids.
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