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Volkswagen plans shark attack

Future look: VW's new front-end styling treatment previewed on the Concept R recently should be a C1 feature

VW confirms it is working on an all-new model - dubbed C1

31 Oct 2003

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia managing director Peter Nochar has confirmed the German marque is working on an all-new model – dubbed C1 – that will take the fight to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-class.

"We haven’t got a date for this project but it’s called the Shark internally. Everybody (within Volkswagen) is quite excited about it,” Mr Nochar exclusively revealed to GoAuto recently.

"We don’t have a product concept for the C1 – so I haven’t seen anything – but the story inside is that it won’t be a 5 Series/E-class looking car.

"We’re looking for a new concept – something to attack that segment from a different angle. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds quite intriguing. The thinking internally is that if you want to find new customers you have to offer something new rather than just coming up with a ‘me too’ car." The newcomer will be positioned between Volkswagen’s Passat and Phaeton.

Mr Nochar said this would be feasible as the next generation Passat – due to make its world debut in 2004 – will not be offered in W8 form. The Passat W8 has been a bit of a flop, earning only half of the 10,000 global sales projected for 2002.

Consequently, the new generation Passat will be spearheaded by a 3.5-litre V6 version – and this new engine will also find its way under the bonnet of the Touareg and Phaeton in due course.

Volkswagen sources suggest the styling of the new Passat will provide some clues to the look of the C1.

Automotive News quoted a Volkswagen engineer as saying the C1 was scheduled to make its debut in 2006. “The production goal has not been set yet, but 50,000 units a year should be the minimum goal, otherwise it would not make sense,” the engineer was quoted as saying.

Some analysts say there is room for a new premium model as the Passat’s segment is "going nowhere in Europe".

Volkswagen believes there is scope for a car such as the C1 in Europe, the US and China.

However, there is the risk the newcomer could conflict with a fellow VW Group member, Audi’s A6.

It is believed the C1 will be the first car based on VW’s modular C platform, which has been developed but not used to date.

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