published Friday, May 30th, 2014

VW may offer new U.S. products faster

  • photo
    Michael Horn, incoming President and CEO of Volkswagen of America, speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Volkswagen of America’s chief says that the company is preparing to bring new and updated models to the U.S. on a shorter timeframe to meet American demands for revamped products more quickly.

CEO Michael Horn told Bloomberg that VW will introduce new products every five years, with major refreshes after three years. VW currently introduces completely revamped vehicles every seven years, tweaking them after four.

“Customers want quicker change,” Horn said in an interview. “We’re working to shorten the life cycle of the products to bring more new features and design elements, in terms of face-lifts, to the market quicker. We believe we have a positive business case. It commercially makes sense that we move.”

The faster pace of introductions, which a management board committee must still sign off on next month, wouldn’t start until 2017 at the earliest, meaning it wouldn’t help much toward the company’s goal of reaching 800,000 VW brand sales in the U.S. by 2018, Horn said. Through April, VW had sold 118,154 vehicles in the country, a 10 percent decline from last year.

VW is weighing whether to produce a new midsize SUV in Chattanooga or Mexico, though it has called the Tennessee plant the front-runner.

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