Volkswagen of America's CEO wants to push the brand downmarket.
CEO of Volkswagen of America, Hinrich Woebcken, is on a red, white, and blue mission to make Yankees fall in love with the People's Car again—and part of that plan includes making its models more affordable. In an in-depth profile of the German CEO by Automotive News, Volkswagen's American plan was laid bare: more SUVs, utilizing more input from dealers, and making its newest models more affordable to better bring them in line with competitive offerings. Cheap GTI? Maybe.
According to Automotive News, Woebcken wants to dispatch with the premium pricing Volkswagen has attempted to shove down the throats of American buyers for the privilege of "German engineering." The automaker has already begun the price-cutting process with the Tiguan and Jetta. For the compact SUV, Volkswagen dropped the price by as much as $2,180 depending on trim in January. It also reintroduced the Jetta with a price $100 less than its predecessor for the base model. This trend will likely continue as Volkswagen introduces new models in the future, which it plans to do at a rate of two models per year.
Volkswagen's new Arteon sedan arrives this year and its redesigned Passat midsize sedan will begin rolling out to dealers next year. But Volkswagen's product cadence starts getting very interesting in 2020 as it's expected to completely redesign the entire Golf family of vehicles—hatchback, SportWagen, Alltrack, and GTI. Another change Woebcken looks to make will also be music to the ears of Volkswagen fans. Unlike in years past, Woebcken wants to shorten the automaker's product cycles, which means a shorter gap between when a Volkswagen debuts in Europe and when it arrives here.