Times are still tough for many people, and buying a new car is simply out of the picture. China, however, is seeing an almost meteoric rise in car sales year after year, and a new interest in low-cost auto manufacturing could send sales through the roof. Volkswagen has announced its intention to build a budget car for Chinese consumers with a starting price around $8,000.
Because of the way Chinese tariff laws work, the car will likely be sold under a joint venture between VW and one of its Chinese allies. The goal price is between $8,000 and $9,400 in a market segment that sees over three million annual sales, and is growing. The car will likely use some existing Volkswagen technology, probably borrowed from other budget cars like the Up! and Golf.
Volkswagen isn’t alone in pursuing the economic end of the market. Nissan is working on a $3,000 car under the Datsun brand, and Indian automaker Tata makes the Nano, which at launch could be bought for about $2,000 in India. How low will automakers go, and will America ever see a car as cheap as $8,000 again?