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Volkswagen tries driving up U.S. sales

Jill Barshay Oct 19, 2007


Scott Jagow: Volkswagen wants to sell more cars in the United States. It’s way behind the Japanese companies. So, Volkswagen’s planning to get rid of some of its fancy German engineering. Jill Barshay reports.

Jill Barshay: Volkswagen has a miniscule 1.5 percent share of the U.S. car market. That’s according to Autodata.

Peter Brown of Automotive News says Toyota and Honda just clobber them here:

Peter Brown: They look at America and go, “Well, what’s wrong with the Americans here?”

It turns out the American middle class doesn’t consume the way Europeans do. Americans are focused on getting everything at a bargain, from clothes to cars.

Brown: Price is very, very important. In some of the lower segments, you can’t add certain speed things. You can’t add certain handling things. Because people just aren’t gonna pay you for it.

The cheapest Toyota Corolla is nearly two grand less than a budget Volkswagen Golf. To even things out, Volkswagen says it’s only going to keep the extras that Americans will pay for. That means no more folding side mirrors. And we may be saying “auf wiedersehen” to some of that German engineering.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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