Although Volkswagen Group has outperformed the struggling European market so far this year, the automaker isn’t immune to the region’s debt crisis. Last month, Volkswagen trimmed its annual global sales estimate based on the “tense market situation in western Europe,” and now it may be looking to cut costs by putting two high-profile new-vehicle projects on hold.
Development of the controversial Lamborghini Urus and Bentley EXP 9 F SUVs might be postponed as Volkswagen looks to offset losses from production cuts and lower than expected sales, according to a Reuters report. A final decision will be made on November 23, when Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board reviews planned spending on equipment, factories and vehicles.
"Such vehicles are anything but obligatory during a crisis," Frankfurt-based Equinet AG analyst Tim Schuldt told Reuters. "Delaying their launch would be no drama but help save costs."
Volkswagen expressed high hopes for both vehicles when they were unveiled in concept form earlier this year, predicting annual sales of 3,000 units for the Urus and a staggering 15,000 units for the EXP 9 F.
However, research firm IHS Automotive says that increasing competition in the luxury SUV segment and the relatively small amount of potential buyers in key markets such as China will limit the sales and profitability of the models. IHS has forecast peak sales of under 2,400 for the Urus and 4,000 for the EXP 9 F.