Volkswagen on Hybrids: "Not Interested"

Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen, told the U.K.’s Autowired that Volkswagen will not be offering a hybrid anytime soon.

Speaking to journalists in London, prior to the SMMT Annual Dinner, where he was guest speaker, he said: “We are not interested in making cars which don’t make money.”

Biodiesel, he suggested, is the short-term answer and confirmed that his company was working in this area.

He said that developing the technology for a hybrid poses no problems but suggested that the cost of putting it into a car makes it prohibitive, adding that the European trend is for customers to buy lower-priced cars.

This is a consistent position for VW, even though the German company announced that they will partner with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) to develop hybrid technology for the Chinese market by 2008. Back in 2005, they also brought a diesel mild hybrid to the Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai. The company is apparently putting its energies on solving other problems. It’s struggling with dropping US sales, a product line that needs to be refreshed, nagging quality proglems, a couple of specific models that flopped, and management difficulties.