GA Trade Sep-Oct Interactive - page 11

MH:
While U.S. and German
customers havemany similar
preferences – high quality, safety,
performance, etc., U.S. customers
tend to bemore value and price
conscious. Each vehicle segment in
the U.S. is therefore very competi-
tive. In addition, U.S. consumers,
generally speaking, prefer larger cars
and SUVs in comparison toGermany.
For example, the Passat built for the
U.S. market is considerably bigger
than the Passat built for European
taste. In terms of the U.S. market
overall, currently truck and SUV
sales are outpacing car sales andwe
expect this trend to continue.
GAT:
According to your resume on
theVolkswagenwebsite you have
beenwith the company for more than
24 years. Besides the fleet of various
Golfs in your youth, do you have a
personal favoriteVolkswagenmodel
andwhat are you currently driving?
MH:
At themoment, I am driving a
Chattanooga-built Passat – a great
car. The next onewill be the new
Golf, which is probably one ofmy
favorite vehicles fromVolkswagen.
It’s truly an icon of the brand and
represents 100 percent trueVolkswa-
genDNAwith all theVW engineering
and quality in such a great package.
Globally over 30millionGolfs have
been sold andwith the latest,
seventh-generationmodel, we expect
the vehicle’s desirability to continue.
In the U.S. wewill offer theGolf TDI
CleanDiesel, turbocharged TSI, Golf
GTI, Golf R andGolf SportWagen. In
addition, this fall wewill launch our
first entry into the e-mobility space
with the e-Golf – this car is important
for Volkswagen brand.
GAT:
One of themost discussed
topics at themoment when it comes
toU.S.-European relations is the
Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership agreement (TTIP).
How important is this agreement
for Volkswagen's U.S. business
andwould it have an influence on
production location for the U.S.
and Europeanmarkets?
MH:
VolkswagenGroup of America
welcomed the launch of the Transat-
lantic Trade and Investment Partner-
ship negotiations between the E.U.
and U.S. governments. Given the
importance of the U.S. market to
Volkswagen’s global sales strategy,
this effort to reduce barriers to trade
is a priority for our company.
We have supported the concept
of regulatory convergence since
discussions began in 2011, and
will continue to be involved in
the consultative process for the
comprehensive economic agreement
through our trade associations on
both sides of the Atlantic (ACEA,
the Alliance of AutomobileManufac-
turers, and the Transatlantic Business
Council). We believe the TTIP
presents a tremendous opportunity
for supporting jobs and promoting
growth and competitiveness in the
U.S. and Europe.
Greater automotive regulatory
harmonization between the European
Union and U.S. would open the door
for increased trade, lower costs to
consumers andmanufacturers, create
jobs, and improve the international
competitiveness of the industry on
both sides of the Atlantic. This would
strengthen the automotive industry
and the economic contribution
made in both regions
.
n
C O V E R S T O R Y
MichaelHorn, GovernorBillHaslam, andProf. Dr.Winterkorn
GermanAmerican Trade Sep/Oct 2014
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