Volkswagen has rapidly grown its stable of SUV and CUV offerings over the past few years. From the Atlas full-size SUV to the upcoming ID.4 CUV its clear that Volkswagen has something for everyone regardless of where they lie under the SUV rainbow. This diverse lineup is also not getting much bigger, with a Volkswagen executive revealing that the company is slowing down its utility focused blitz.
This is according to R&D chief Frank Welsch who revealed that the Wolfsburg based auto giant is reaching its maximum capacity when it comes to utility vehicles during a recent interview with the folks at AutoCar. While Welsch’s statements don’t necessarily confirm that there won’t be any new models coming out in the near future, it does serve as a possible indicator that the company is getting close to maximum saturation levels for this hotly contested segment.
I don’t think [the growth in SUVs] is over, but we have enough,” Welsch told the British publication. “We do not need 10 more. We have to take care. We must have a portfolio that is efficient as a volume player. If we have too many models and sell 30,000 or 40,000 units a year, we can’t make money. We will focus on the cars that can be successful.”
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put the brakes on new car sales, SUVS and CUVs were a driving force for the broader industry prior to this crisis. In the case of Volkswagen, it has one of the largest global portfolios in the world, with no less than 30 different models to choose from. With many of them being utilities, the risk of internal sales cannibalization is a prominent issue for VW’s marketing team.
As far as what could be axed, Welsch was vauge on that detail, but he did reveal that the company will take a “step by step” approach in retiring some of its MQB based car models. Two of the models that are being replaced are the Sharan and Touran minivans, with both of them being replaced by the Variosport which is undergoing testing.
The changes that Volkswagen is slated to do will not be abrupt, with the company Likely taking a more subtle apporach especially when it comes to discontinuing slow selling models (i.e Arteon.) I don’t think we’ll have more cars than we have today Welsch. For SUVs, we are represented in every segment.”
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