Report: Volkswagen Delays BlueSport Roadster in Favor of High-Volume Models

Volkswagen’s BlueSport mid-engined two-seater has hit a few bumps on its road to production, according to Autocar. Rumor has it that the German automaker can’t find the sales to justify producing the car. The biggest obstacle is apparently the U.S. market, as Volkswagen of America’s management believes having a sports car in its U.S. lineup is low-priority, despite VW’s intent to triple sales in the U.S. to 800,000 units annually, and the fact the U.S. is the world’s biggest market for sports cars.

“To get to 800,000 units, we don’t need to keep adding to our portfolio of models,” Volkswagen of America boss Jonathan Browning said to Autocar. “We’re concentrating on our core models.”

Though Browning doesn’t have final say, he does have influence within VW, especially considering the company’s aggressive market growth goals for North America. And without his (and the U.S. market’s) blessing, the BlueSport likely won’t get anywhere near the roughly 50,000 projected global sales per year it requires to get off the ground.

VW engineering boss Uli Hackenberg says the engineering for the BlueSport is already completed, and that the next step is to make the business case for the niche model. Speaking to Autocar, Hackenberg said, “There is no official release for the project. It’s not a technology problem, but of finding enough customers. I don’t have enough [sales] volume to get the go-ahead.”

These delays threaten the BlueSport’s chances of becoming a production reality. As the car was first shown off at the 2009 Detroit auto show three years ago, its styling grows more dated the longer VW waits. This fact makes the Blue Sport’s shot at getting the green light even less likely.

As we previously reported, the Blue Sport’s underpinnings were also planned for use in sister models from Audi and Porsche. As such, the BlueSport’s delay will affect those cars’ chances as well. Audi wants a compact mid-engined sports car to slot beneath its R8 halo car, which would likely be called the R4, if produced. Meanwhile, Porsche has been tossing around the idea of a successor to the four-cylinder 550 Spyder, but is reportedly concerned that an entry-level sports car would eat into sales of its existing mid-engined roadster, the Boxster.

The BlueSport itself would make use of lightweight components like an aluminum chassis and folding cloth roof. Though the BlueSport concept debuted with a 2.0-liter diesel I-4 making 180 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, a production version was expected to get a turbocharged 170-hp 2.0-liter gasoline I-4 for a base engine, with a twin-charged 200-hp 1.4-liter arriving shortly after. The car would also employ start-stop tech and regenerative braking to keep with its fuel-efficient, eco-conscious image.

With VW hellbent for the title of world’s largest automaker, a low-volume sports car like the BlueSport might not fit into the company’s plans anymore. What do you think VW should do? Should it continue to develop cash cow models like the Jetta and Passat? Or continue development on niche models, and bring the BlueSport to market?

Source: Autocar

josh
i need that car, and i am german, meaning that there is a market for it in europe too ;) i have been looking up for this to hit car dealerships soon, bad news... maybe the mx5 nd will show up.
STEVE
TOTALLY AGREE!!! get this car to the USA fast and get rid of the EOS (crap), the over 40 crowd men/women will by this up and make it simple tdi / gti, Transmissions are the only options. (simple) P.S. dont listen to JONATHAN BROWNING he dont know what we AMERICANS want!!!! or the EOS would be gone and the BLUESPORT would be here, and NO 3 row suv's!!!!
bill cormeny
VW could easily undercut the Porsche Boxster with a diesel which got far better mileage and which had more torque. It is a shame they think they must protect Porsche which has a strong brand loyalty and even stronger dealership network which fears any price reductions and margin reductions.
John W
VW, stop effing around with this! The car *has* a market, and it's probably near that 50K bogey you're looking for. But, it will also provide welcomed street cred to your brand. The GTI and GLS have great reputations and a loyal following, but this is a step or two up the commitment ladder that's hard to ignore. Besides, I think it'll cross demographic boundaries better than the Miata currently does, a car that's not only kept people coming into Mazda showrooms, but has been a key factor in defining the brand. This design is not becoming dated, as mentioned, it is very clean and simply has become familiar, as it was one of the first design studies widely shown that represented their current direction. This will appeal to more men than the Miata does, many of whom will be older. It has more of a mature look and could be easily perceived as a bargain Boxster. It would take sales directly away from male Miata fence-sitters who are worried about their reputation with the guys, even though it's a more manly car than much of what is considered acceptable (like some Hondas). And, for the same reasons, more guys will buy this - not that women won't - who where not even in the market for a two-seater. Great toy. Lastly, VW, a lot of people looking at the 86 twins, that has already stoked interest in small sporty stuff, will have to put this on their list to *at least* seriously look at it. I saw this car at the Detroit show the first year it was on the circuit. It looks fantastic in person.
Jonathan
I agree with Andy, but with quality going down... idk, maybe they need to focus on the Jetta... Very Nice looking car
Ande
Get rid of the EOS and bring this.. I love the idea of diesel, but needs 2.0T gas engine. maybe have an optiom for 2.5T. If yor going to do it, do it right the first time,

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