In its latest financial update, Volkswagen Group confirmed that it will launch new versions of several important cars "this year and next year." By the end of 2015, we will see a new Audi A4, Audi Q7, Volkswagen Passat, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Porsche Cayenne.
The Audi A4 was last refreshed for the U.S. market at the 2012 Detroit auto show, but this generation of the car first appeared at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. Two years ago, European bureau chief Georg Kacher reported that the "B9" Audi A4 would debut on the automaker's new MLBevo modular platform. It will accommodate front- or all-wheel drive. The platform's flexibility also means the A4 will reportedly have a plug-in hybrid version with electrically-driven all-wheel drive. The standard A4 sedan is expected to debut this year, and will be followed by the A5 coupe this year, the A4 Avant station wagon in 2015, and the A5 Cabriolet in 2016.
Kacher also predicted the arrival of a new Audi Q7 crossover this year. It will likely be lighter and thus more fuel-efficient than the outgoing Q7. Like the A4, the crossover will be derived from the MLBevo chassis architecture. It will also have a coupe-like derivative (copying the BMW X6) called the Q8, probably by 2016.
A new version of the Volkswagen Passat will be based on the smaller MQB modular chassis used for cars like the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. Volkswagen reportedly plans a sedan, wagon, and four-door coupe CC version of the Passat. It's unclear which, if any, of those models would come to the U.S. market. Currently, Europeans have an entirely different Volkswagen Passat to the longer, more affordable Chattanooga-built Passat sold in the U.S. Reports suggest that in addition to normal engines, the next Passat could add a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Speaking of plug-in hybrids, such a powertrain is also in the cards for the Porsche Cayenne. The move is no great surprise given that the Panamera sedan already added an S E-Hybrid model last year. In that car, the powertrain consists of a 9.4 kWh battery pack and a 95 hp electric motor, providing an all-electric driving range of about 20 miles.
With all these new models, as well as the momentum from other recent introductions, Volkswagen expects a successful year. In fact, the automaker believes it will sell 10 million vehicles globally this year, four years earlier than Volkswagen planned to hit that benchmark. "There is a good chance that we will already exceed the ten million deliveries mark this year," Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (pictured) said in a statement.