Ford, Volkswagen and Audi are ready for the recession to end

Posted By on April 15, 2010

I was reading a column in SmartMoney magazine by James Stewart after he attended the smartmoneylogoNew York Auto Show about the return of profits to the automotive industry, at least some of them. It may be in part due to a cycle of replacing their aging cars and in part due to a renewed focus by well managed companies in building vehicles that consumers will want.

Stewart highlighted the “demand to go green” direction as the recession ends (we all hope) and was positive about Ford with their new Fiesta world car (as well as the 300HP 31mpg Mustang for 2011). His most positive comments were saved for Volkswagen and Audi with the ‘clean diesel’ line of efficient TDI vehicles.

One other company also stood out for its array of fuel-efficient new models. Volkswagen now offers its clean-diesel technology in the U.S. models of the 2010 Golf TDI hatchback and the more-luxurious Audi A3 TDI. (Volkswagen owns Audi, which last week reported March sales jumped 22%.)

Green Car Journal named the diesel Audi A3 this year’s Green Car of the Year, succeeding last year’s winner, the diesel Jetta. Both the Golf and the Audi boast fuel ratings of 42 highway/30 city. A Volkswagen spokesman at the show emphasized that clean-diesel technology offers high fuel standards in both city and highway driving, whereas the hybrid technology’s advantages are largely confined to urban driving. Still, given the popularity of hybrids in the U.S. market, Volkswagen plans to introduce hybrid models within the next few years.

At the show I spoke to Ron Stucker, a potential buyer from Staten Island, N.Y., who was eyeing the A3 along with some friends. Like many Americans, he was initially wary of diesels, but his wife bought a Jetta TDI model. Now, they like it so much he was shopping for another one, at least until he spotted the Audi A3 TDI. “I’d definitely consider the more-luxurious model,” he said. So would I when my current lease expires.

With the low TDI inventory at VW and Audi dealerships they are either selling extremely well even in this recession or the automakers continue to ship fewer vehicles to North America than they should … or at least that is my opinion.

Speaking of Volkswagen TDIs … Autoblog posted a good rundown on the return of the Golf TDI. Nice!



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