Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 16

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

AUTOMAKERS

Global perspective
VW turns to Brazil for help building chic, affordable small car
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER
chetzner@autonews.com

T

he push for greater regional autonomy
that has helped Volkswagen win back
market share in Brazil could now reap
benefits in its European home market.
VW's latest South American model, the
Nivus, will come to Europe after senior
executives were impressed by its combination of urban styling and low investment costs when they visited the company's design studio in Sao Paolo last year.
After testing the car's look during clinics with European customers, VW executives last March approved Nivus
production starting in 2021. Chances
are the car will also be built for Europe in
Pamplona, Spain, where its siblings, the
Polo and T-Cross, are made. "I'm a fan of
the new Volkswagen Nivus," sales chief
J├╝rgen Stackmann tweeted last month,
congratulating the Brazilian team after
they released an early teaser video of
the small coupe-styled crossover.

developed using existing subassemblies
from other vehicles. To give the Nivus
its coupe-like look, for example, the longer rear module of the Skoda Rapid was
used to stretch the vehicle. Shorter than
the South American T-Cross, the Nivus is
positioned in the high-volume small segment that accounts for about 70 percent
of Brazil's passenger car market. "It has
the wheelbase of the Polo, but the tires
of the T-Cross. We see the MQB platform
as Lego blocks with so many parts that
we can combine to come up with something different," said JC Pavone, the
head of VW's design studio in Sao Paulo.

Virtual success

For years, Brazil was VW Group's thirdlargest market behind China and Germany, largely because of strong demand for
the small, affordable VW Gol, which was a
top-seller. Overall VW brand deliveries in
Brazil reached 661,000 vehicles in 2012,
but an aging model range caused volume
to plummet to 218,200 four years later.
The share halved and the brand, once the
dominant local player, fell behind current
market leader Chevrolet.

The Nivus will go into production this
year in Anchieta, Brazil. It is the first
VW designed and engineered entirely
in a virtual environment. Only individual
parts that differed materially from the
Polo were constructed for validation
purposes, but no conventional, fullscale prototype was built. Designers say
customers won't notice the time and
money-saving shortcuts. The car was

VW made Pablo Di Si head of its operation in Latin America, which includes
Brazil, in late 2017 and is investing
about 1.5 billion euros into the country
between 2016 and 2020 to rejuvenate
its lineup. "We have the autonomy from
Volkswagen in Germany to develop all
our own tools," Di Si told reporters last
month in Anchieta. Those tools include
a new digital dealer experience and the

16

www.autonewseurope.com

The VW Nivus uses
the wheelbase of
the Polo, the tires
of the T-Cross and
the rear module of
the Skoda Rapid.

equipment needed to engineer a new
model such as the Nivus nine months faster than the norm using virtual prototyping.
"If we launch something and it doesn't
work, we change it here locally," Di Si said.
The Nivus is the fourth MQB model
launched under Di Si following the Novo
Polo hatchback, Virtus compact sedan
and South American T-Cross SUV.
According to VW's latest figures, its sales
in Brazil have grown twice as fast as the
overall market, lifting its share to 15.3 percent from 12.5 percent since 2017. Barring more upheaval in Argentina, the South
American region remains on track to break
even for 2019 after years of losses.
Top executives from the VW brand board
returned a few weeks ago to survey the
ongoing progress by the Brazil team, Di
Si said. Asked whether more cars designed in Brazil might make their way to
Europe at the request of headquarters,
he replied: "I hope this is just the beginning. Actually, it's more than a hope."
Pavone gave a few clues about the latest
model shown to the board. "It's something in this segment [small] and is in a
very late stage of development already.
The German board appreciated it a lot so
there is a possibility that this might be
taken to Europe as well," he said, hinting that the new model would feature a
more progressive and modern look than
the Nivus. ANE

JANUARY 2020


http://www.autonewseurope.com

Automotive News Europe - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - January 2020

Contents
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 3
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - Contents
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 5
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 6
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 7
Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - 8
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Automotive News Europe - January 2020 - Cover3
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