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VW’s hot Scirocco hope for Australia

Teaser: The Studie R concept previews Scirocco R model.

Cost may scuttle VW's standard Scirocco for Australia, but hot R on the cards

11 Feb 2009

THE Volkswagen Scirocco is increasingly unlikely to make it to Australia in standard form, but there is hope for a high performance version.

At this stage Volkswagen Australia is unable to source the regular Scirocco at a price it is happy with, but is more confident about being able to sell an R version of the sleek coupe.

Volkswagen presented the Scirocco Studie R concept car at the Bologna Motor Show last December and has confirmed an R version of the Scirocco will be made, but that doesn’t mean it will come to Australia said Volkswagen Australia managing director Jutta Dierks.

“It has not been confirmed for right-hand drive and hasn’t been confirmed for hot countries (including Australia), but we are keen,” she said.

Ms Dierks said that an R version of the Scirocco would be ‘perfect’ for Australia even if the standard versions of the car are not sold locally.

“That could be something where we just take it out of the normal range and put it in the market where all the other R models are,” she said.

Ms Dierks said Volkswagen Australia has already expressed its enthusiasm for the car.

“We are keen, we have said: “guys if you build that we are with you,” because we can sell the R-line models,” she said.

The task ahead of VW Australia is to convince its German parent company to produce the model in right-hand drive.

3 center imageLeft: VW Golf GTI.

VW Australia is attracted to the idea of selling the R Scirocco here because it would not compete with the Golf GTI.

That is the problem VW Australia is facing when it comes to the regular Scirocco.

In other countries, the Scirocco is positioned above the GTI.

In Australia, the GTI is seen as the king of the Golf range and is very popular, accounting for 15 per cent of Golf sales.

GoAuto understands VW Australia wants to position the Scirocco beneath the GTI in order to maintain its position as the premier Golf variant (aside from the R32 Golf), but can’t secure pricing that would allow this.

“No country worldwide has a 25 per cent share of GTI out of their total (Golf) volume,” said Ms Dierks.

“We have a really unique situation with GTI and we have to be really careful,” she said.

VW Australia is concerned the Scirocco could take sales off the GTI if the prices of the two were close.

“People would be torn between cars,” said Ms Dierks.

“There is only a small space for the Scirocco, if we can’t fit it in there it would be odd in the market.

There is still some hope that an agreement can be reached on price and positioning, but it is unlikely.

“We haven’t closed the door yet,” she said.

“We just can’t get an agreement and if that happens we don’t bring the car in.” The global financial crisis and the recent slide of the Australian dollar are making it even harder to find a Scirocco solution.

“We have a lot of problems with exchange rates which makes it even tougher,” Ms Dierks said.

“If I needed to negotiate a price now I would try to delay it, right now the exchange rate is not in our favour.” The Scirocco R concept car revealed at Bologna showed what a high performance version of the two-door could look like with 19-inch wheels, low-riding sports suspension and a menacing body kit.

The concept car ran an upgraded 198kW turbocharged four-cylinder engine although it is not clear whether the production car with run this or a V6 engine like the R36 Golf.

It is also not clear whether the Scirocco R will be front-drive or all-wheel drive.

Read more:

Bologna show: Scirocco gets serious

Scirocco no Oz shoe-in

Geneva show: VW goes troppo with Scirocco

New VW Golf GTI goes for gold

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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