by Matt Brogan

Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn introduced the company’s Bluesport Roadster concept car today at the 2009 North American International Auto Show here, saying that the clean-diesel, 135kW, mid-engine sprite will set “a new benchmark for affordability and sustainability” for VW products.

 

Almost without peer across the industry, Volkswagen’s top executive also was able to note that his company’s worldwide sales grew by 0.6 percent in 2008 – not much of an increase, but a better fate than nearly every other major carmaker worldwide.

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Volkswagen’s US sales of more than 223,000 units in 2008 improved its share of sales in this market even as the company invested in its future in North America by proceeding on construction of a new US$1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee that will directly employ about 2000 people to assemble a mid-size sedan for the US market that will hit the road in early 2011, the chairman said.

“It’s a powerful sign of our commitment,” Mr Winterkorn said. “Why [do it]? … The automobile will always be an essential part of the American way of life.”

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A huge portion of VW’s bet on the US market and globally is its clean-diesel technology.

“Strategy has positioned us for growth in this market, and we won’t budge an inch from it.” said Stefan Jacoby, president of Volkswagen of America, “The environmental technology in our products will make us a major player in the US market.”

Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI has performed well with American consumers as the first significant manifestation of clean diesel here. Sales have “exceeded expectations,” Mr Jacoby said. Jetta TDI was a finalist for the NAIAS Car of the Year award and was named the most environmentally friendly car of the show.

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New, clean-diesel TDI versions of the Touareg SUV and Rabbit (Golf) subcompact also will be arriving in the American market, Mr Jacoby noted.

Globally, Mr Winterkorn noted, VW has “the youngest and greenest portfolio” of products “in our history.” He said that across the company, Volkswagen will be investing up to eight billion Euros a year in future products and technology.

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Mr Winterkorn said that Bluesport expressed emotionality and VW’s “clear and strong” design.

“Minimum consumption [of fuel] and maximum fun to drive” is a fit description for the vehicle, he said.

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Bluesport is designed to go from 0-100km/h in just over six seconds. Features include bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch alloy rims and, on the show version at least, a bright-orange soft-top




  • Matty B

    Isn’t that interesting, a Diesel was voted “most environmentally friendly car of the show”

    All these electric cars are great for show, but at least someones showing cars that can go into production and work.

    But that’s a good looking little roadster

  • Simon

    Wow I like this. Scirocco-ish front end. Frugal performance and great looks!

  • David

    I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think that this is a brilliant looking car… I will be very interested to see further details of this car as they filter through… (hint, hint please editor) :-)

    It is also great to see that Motor-Shows are still going ahead, particularly in the States which seem to have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn in the motor industry.

  • WVB

    I would have thought that VWs 0.6% growth has maybe a few peers also treading water atm.
    Though if audi posts a 30%, RR 20%, maserati 17% then maybe VWs aspirations are ascending out of reach.
    btw, I hope the 2nd photo is not a result of starting its engine!
    Not an ideal image when discussing clean diesels.

  • JasonP

    Great looking little thing!

    Looks related to the future VW Family look, & is far more appealing than an EOS.

  • Alan

    good looking car, but how many similar concept has VW shown already? Bring it to the market already!!

  • VW Freak

    Interesting, bit of Type 3 or early Beetle influence with the vents across the top of the dash.

  • Iz

    Looks great. They could position it as a Scirocco convertible if you ask me =p

  • Alex

    I love it. TT Roadster for men. I don’t know if anybody else will agree but the front end has a little bit of Peugeot 306 in it, no bad thing of course. I think the motoring world needs more chuckable little roadsters, great fun and the wind in your hair without the empty wallet.

  • tack

    Nice indeed.
    However, I think it is concept only car (again).
    FR sports convertible? VW already has EOS. Well, it is not sports car… It’s GOLF convertible.
    And they don’t want to add new platform (and would be new transmission?) right now.
    Or (I hope) I am wrong, they have plenty of money to produce new FR car.
    Personally I like really it. Under 100K FR convertible…
    BMW E88 is ugly (not too bad) and New Z4 is too big and fat for my taste.

  • Cupid Stunt

    WVB ” hope the 2nd photo is not a result of starting its engine! Not an ideal image when discussing clean diesels”

    Guess you’re only joking, if your not then you’re a nob.

  • Cupid Stunt

    That’s a snazzy motor. Almost a german hairdressers car.
    Can’t see it happening though with manufacturers cutting production and sales worldwide due to the collapse of the USA economy.

  • WVB

    settle down cupid, joking yes but you see the irony?

  • Cupid Stunt

    Mmmm thought you were somehow WVB. Sometimes wondered if Tony Blair wanted us folk up over to be part of Bushes empire. We seem to be more closely related to Yanks than Europe sometimes.

    Thank the Lord that some car makers aretaking the big seriously these days. Can’t wait til the kids are gone then mines a Audi TTD!!

  • BILL

    spor hi class volkswagen best!best!best….. i love you volkswagen….. bill…