Many manufacturers are taking the burgeoning car market in the People's Republic of China seriously. But while many Western carmakers were unveiling swoopy new designs in the form of concept cars (see BMW's Concept CS
and Audi's Cross Coupé quattro
) that may or may not ever be built, Volkswagen debuted its new powertrain technologies and a new badge for its Passat saloon.
Starting from the smallest in the range, Volkswagen unveiled its new 79bhp Polo BlueMotion, a car it claims is the "most economical five-seater in the world". With an average fuel consumption of 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres (about 72mpg) and CO2
emissions of just 102g/km it is supremely frugal, but Volkswagen included a disclosure in its press release citing the vehicle's performance will only reach these figures if "a significant improvement" is made in the quality of diesel fuel offered in China.
Neatly sidestepping this problem is the 108bhp Touran EcoFuel. The compact MPV also made its debut on the manufacturer's show stand, highlighting the environmentally-friendly characteristics of using natural gas as fuel, effectively reducing harmful exhaust components. Volkswagen claims the new technology enables 20 per cent lower carbon dioxide (CO2
) emissions, 80 per cent less carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and 70 per cent lower emissions of methane-containing hydrocarbons.
Environmental technologies aside, Volkswagen has decided to rename its flagship Passat saloon the Magotan for the Chinese market. Unveiled at the Beijing show last year, the Magotan is claimed to help the German-built saloon "fulfil the requirements of the Chinese market". As the Magotan looks the same as the Passat with a different badge, we're assuming 'Passat' was too difficult for the Chinese to say. The Magotan is being introduced in China this Spring, likely to be available with Volkswagen's new 1.8-litre T-FSI engine built at the company's new Dalian plant.
Eric Gallina - 24 Apr 2007