As VW reels from the effects of Dieselgate, its future product plans post-2020 remain undecided, as fate the US market Passat (different from our Euro Passat), and Porsche's forthcoming mid-engine halo car are still undecided. And as U.S. based Automotive News suggests, it's in the post-2020 years, that we'll truly understand the far-reaching consequences, in terms of sky-high rationalisation costs and shifting priorities for the German automotive giant.
The immediate future of the longer, larger US-Spec Volkswagen Passat (similar to Chinese market car) hangs in the balance. While Europe and the rest of the world will be supplied with the all-new Volkswagen Passat (the 'B8' generation that will soon be launched locally), the massive costs involved with rebranding and damage control in the U.S. would determine the introduction of the new model could be delayed or cancelled altogether, thereby realigning with the Euro-spec Passat. Henceforth, ending the current strategy of developing a different model for the U.S. market.
The All-New Euro Market Volkswagen Passat
The U.S. Domestic Market Volkswagen Passat
Initial plans would’ve deemed the model for redesign and reengineering onto VW group’s MQB platform, in 2018. But requiring two distinct models (a long-wheelbase model for U.S. and China, another for Europe and the rest of the world) would be at odds with the company's new strategy. Hence, inside sources are claimed to have said that a viable option is to keep the current U.S. market car soldiering on till 2020 or 2021 to be replaced by the next-generation all-new global Passat.
The push to firmer footing would require reviewing non-essential spending, trimming out on a mammoth 300-plus model line-up; and as new CEO Matthias Muller pledged in 2015, “To cancel or postpone anything that is not absolutely necessary”. This could have significant effects for existing and new models as the brand slowly but surely revamps itself.
On a related matter, Road & Track suggests, that even Porsche might have to delay the launch of its highly anticipated mid-engined supercar, as the group’s self-preservation mode would deem such ventures “unnecessary”. Shying away from high-dollar extravagance could also mean that product development for important brand ambassadors such as the Audi R8 could be shelved till further notice.
The light at the end of the tunnel, for now at least, is the two-footed jump into Electric Vehicles (EV).VW plans to launch multiple EVs in the U.S. starting 2020, and as by as much as 25 models spread across three platforms by 2025.
Sister company Audi plans to introduce an electric-crossover based on the e-tron Quattro concept car in 2018, followed by a plug-in hybrid variants of the new Q8 in 2019, and the next-gen A6 and A7 sedans thereafter.
The harsh new reality of the Dieselgate scandal, as VW brand's North America chief, Hinrich Woebcken details, “VW will have to focus on competing with mainstream players in key, high-volume segments, namely midsize and compact cars and crossovers”. Thus leaving behind niche-busting favourites and hero cars that have become a calling card for the German automotive giant.