Constellation could be star for VW


Fuel efficiency, new models and a possible medium duty truck are all part of Volkswagen's upcoming plans

Constellation could be star for VW
Constellation could be star for VW
By Gary Worrall

An improved version of the Volkswagen Constellation truck range could play a role in expanding the company’s commercial range in Australia.

When viewed in terms of total corporate reach, from its own Caddy light commercial vans to big capacity Scania prime movers, the potential range could make Volkswagen the biggest player in the Australian market.

This is the view of Stephan Schaller, Volkswagen’s global chief of commercial vehicles, when he spoke to a group of Australian journalists recently.

While Schaller says there is no chance of the current Constellation coming to Australia, if the right business case could be mounted, there would be no internal barriers preventing the truck from joining the VW portfolio locally.

"In Australia from a temperature point of view, from the surroundings, it is a good fit to our product," Schaller says.

"But on the other hand it is a wide way to transport to that, we need to consider that if we do something like this, it must be feasible."

While he only rates the Constellation as a possible for Australia, Schaller says the newly revealed Pick Up one-tonne utility will be on sale here, even before it goes to Germany.

With the new utility due to be launched in South America late in 2009, Schaller says it will be offered with a range of body styles and drive lines, including 4x2 and 4x4.

The timing of the Pick Up’s reveal to the industry, 12 months ahead of the on-sale date, was to ensure maximum exposure without cannabalising sales from other vehicles.

"The reason for the Hannover show, we have nothing similar, we are not taking volume away from Volkswagen, but we have got to get some buyer interest."

Despite its tough looks, Schaller says the Pick Up is not planned as a spearhead back into the cut throat North American commercial market, citing the need for ‘localisation’ of component manufacture to be price competitive.

With the Pick Up slated to have a fuel consumption of ‘7 point something’ litres per 100 kilometres, Schaller says fuel efficiency alternative fuel are a priority for Volkswagen, which is also looking at the development of a full electric commercial vehicle for urban operations, with a range of around 80 kilometres per charge, as well as diesel-electric hybrids.

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