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US to lose Golf?

2008-06-18 08:06

German carmaker Volkswagen will decide in a few months whether to sell the newest version of its Golf model in the United States, given the weakness of the dollar, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

"A decision should be taken in the early fall, following the summer break" in the northern hemisphere," the spokesman told AFP.

"It has to be discussed. For now however, no decision has been made."

VW, the biggest European car manufacturer, is to launch the sixth version of its venerable Golf model here late this year, ahead of its distribution worldwide.

"No precise date has been determined for the United States," the VW spokesman said.

He noted that the sports utility vehicle Tiguan was set for a US debut in the coming months, following its European launch late last year.

Press reports have said VW planned to hold off on the Golf's launch in Australia, Brazil and the US because the dollar's weakness against the euro has eaten into profit margins on the model.

In 2010-2011 a new VW factory is to begin operations in the United States and help redress that imbalance, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The VW spokesman also denied that the new Golf would not allow the company to make a profit margin of eight percent as expected.

"Forecast margins will be reached little by little," he said.

The news magazine Der Spiegel said Monday that VW would only make a profit of 3.4 percent on the new Golf owing to higher than expected development costs.

- AFP

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