Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has been quite active online lately, especially at LinkedIn Account. This week, he chose a different platform to connect with fans of the German auto tycoon. The 63-year-old executive took to Reddit to host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session where participants posted an impressive number of questions.
One of the burning questions is about Skoda and whether the VW Group has any plans to bring the Czech brand to the United States. Unfortunately, Diess says it’s not currently on the agenda as the Mladá Boleslav-based automaker has bigger fish to fry: “For now, I don’t think that Skoda will come to the US. Right now, we don’t have any plans. Skoda have just taken over group responsibility for India, Russia…and entered a new segment, capacity in manufacturing and R&D is fully booked.”
Skoda is leading the development of the MQB-A0 platform which will support affordable models in target markets such as India, Russia, Africa, Latin America, and ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnamese. The MQB-A0 IN architecture serving India has laid the foundation for two compact vehicles – the Kushaq crossover and the Slavic sedan that replaced the Rapid.
Another question VW Group fans have asked Diess is about the possibility of seeing TDI engines in the US again after the costly Dieselgate fiasco. The answer is pretty self-explanatory: “Definitely not. Microbus is coming!” Head honcho, of course, refers to the much-vaunted ID. Buzz, which will celebrate its world premiere on March 9. Two days later, he will receive his public debut at the festival South by Southwest (SXSW).
However, the electric van will not go on sale in the US until 2023, and only as a passenger variant. In Europe, where the Buzz goes on sale later this year, there will also be a cargo model to be launched alongside human propulsion. Come 2025, Californian-badged campers will follow.
On a related note, a VW Group executive called an electric pickup truck for the US market a “great idea!” That’s not too surprising considering the company did show the Atlas Tanoak almost four years ago. It was a midsize pickup, although it was based on the MEB platform with a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque as its SUV equivalent.
As for the ID.3 Cabriolet teased last year, Diess said the company is “working on a new idea.” However, we wouldn’t get our hopes up too high as we believe other EVs have priority. One of them was confirmed by the CEO himself when asked what the ID was. Space Vizzion is still happening: “Yes, it is coming.”
It should come in sedan and wagon body styles as an alternative to a sea of SUVs. In fact, the sedan (or liftback?) was spotted doing some testing earlier in the year.