The Volkswagen Group selectively expanded its model portfolio in key segments in 2012. The first products based on the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) were also introduced. This will form the basis for many other new models in the coming years. With the new Group brands, Porsche and Ducati, the Group’s range now comprises around 280 passenger car, commercial vehicle and motorcycle models and their derivatives. The Group covers almost all key segments and body types, with offerings from small cars to super sports cars in the passenger car sector, and from small pickups to heavy trucks and buses in the commercial vehicles sector, as well as motorcycles. We will continue to resolutely move into open market segments that offer profitable opportunities for us.
The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand premiered a large number of new vehicles in 2012. As the highest-volume Group model and one of the biggest-selling cars worldwide, the focal point was the new, seventh generation Golf, which is still setting new standards in the compact segment. We moved into key volume and niche segments with the four-door up! and the Passat Alltrack offroad estate model. The Polo GTI, the new Beetle Convertible and the upgrade to the CC further strengthened Volkswagen’s brand image. Volkswagen took account of special customer and market requirements in key regions outside Europe through product upgrades and country-specific models. The biggest selling model in Brazil overall, the Gol, and its notchback derivative, the Voyage, were upgraded in 2012. In China, the compact notchback saloons Sagitar and New Lavida and the upgraded New Bora were launched. In addition, a successor to the Santana – the first Group model to be sold in China – was introduced after almost 30 years. Looking to the future, Volkswagen drove forward the electrification of its product range with the launch of the Jetta Hybrid – the Group’s first hybrid model in the compact class. Another highlight was the eco-up!, the most economical gas-powered series-produced car, which generates just 79 g/km of CO2.
The Audi brand put its technical and sporting expertise to the test in 2012 and again met its own high standards. In the premium compact segment, the popular Audi A3 was updated to be the first Group vehicle based on the MQB. Additional derivatives were launched in the form of the Audi A4 allroad, RS 4 Avant, A6 allroad quattro, S6 saloon and Avant, S7 Sportback and S8 models, which occupy different premium segments. Key volume models, including the Audi A4 saloon and Avant, the Audi Q5, and the versions of the Audi A4 and Audi A6 specially adapted with longer wheelbases for markets such as China, were upgraded or modernized. The Audi RS5 Coupé was also upgraded. The Audi brand demonstrated its growing electrical expertise with the launch of the Audi A6 hybrid and Audi A8 hybrid.
With the new Rapid, a locally produced version of which was launched on the Indian market in 2011, the ŠKODA brand presented a compact notchback saloon, specially designed for international growth markets like China and Russia, as well as price-sensitive customer segments in Europe. Like the up! at Volkswagen, the four-door Citigo supplements the offering in the expanding small car segment.
Spanish brand SEAT updated the Leon – again based on the MQB. Its sporty appearance stands out in the compact, everyday hatchback segment. As a sister model to the ŠKODA Rapid, the Toledo will open up new market segments for SEAT. The upgrades of the high-volume Ibiza product family and the launch of the four-door version of the Mii small car were also significant.
New Group brand Porsche emphasized its dominance of the global premium and sports segment with its new models. The relaunch of the iconic 911 Carrera was a highlight. The updated Porsche Boxster and Porsche Boxster S roadsters with mid-mounted engines, now in their third generation, boast improved dimensions and significantly reduced weight and fuel consumption. With GTS versions of the Panamera and Cayenne, Porsche expanded its offering in these two ranges with particularly sporty derivatives.
The Group’s luxury brands also introduced fascinating new models and derivatives in the market in the reporting period. Bentley debuted the V8-powered Continental GT and Continental GTC models, as well as the Continental GT Speed with a W12 engine. Lamborghini presented a new, even more striking design of its most successful super sports car ever, the Gallardo LP 560–4 as a Coupé and Spyder. Bugatti confirmed its unique position by launching the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, the fastest roadster of all time with a top speed of 431 km/h.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introduced two new special models – the Caddy Edition 30 and the Multivan Edition 25 – and thus confirmed its decades-long dominance of the light commercial vehicles market. The California Edition Beach strengthened the brand’s presence in the camper van market. Another fuel-efficient commercial vehicle was launched in the form of the BlueTDI Crafter panel van.
In 2012, the first Scania trucks whose engines meet the new Euro 6 emissions standard were registered.
MAN launched the new premium NEOPLAN Jetliner, which can be used as both a public service bus and coach.