Friday, December 20, 2013

Kombi's last day of production

After the comings and goings surrounding the airbag legislation in recent days, who came to open the possibility of preserving the line, production of the Estate, unless a new twist, closes today after 56 years of history. The workers go on holiday on Monday and the fear of the Steelworkers Union is that many of them are with the job threatened on back, scheduled for January 6.
The last year the van was marked by emotional advertising campaigns, gathering of aficionados to "ensure" the vehicle in the parking lot of the factory in São Bernardo do Campo (SP) and the launch of a special edition of farewell. But the commotion wasn't enough to convince most consumers to invest in a product line-out sales of the Estate fell nearly 7%, as plates issued balance recorded between January and November.
After the National transit Council (Contran) rule out the idea of exempting the mandatory installation model of new safety equipment, the ABC's metal workers Union, region where the truck is mounted, promises to mobilize other unions around the maintenance of jobs and reported that will discuss the issue at the meeting scheduled for Monday with the Minister of finance, Guido Mantega, and Anfavea, an organization that represents automakers in Brazil. The concern is with the fate of nearly a thousand workers directly linked to production of the vehicle and other 3 thousand employees in the supply chain.
Now Volkswagen, maker of utility, will only manifest itself after a definition on the subject. On Tuesday, the position was that the automaker would maintain the Estate in the case of "official change" legislation.
Launched in 1957, the estate was the first model of the Volkswagen in the Brazilian market and became the main urban vehicle for transporting small volumes of cargo. In 56 years of history, sales in Brazil totaled nearly 1.6 million units. In a single month-December 1976-, VW sold 6.6 thousand units of the vehicle, the record.
Longevity surrendered to model the nickname "old lady". But until today the Kombi is a leader in the segment of compact vans, with sales that reached over 28 thousand units in 2008 (see chart above). Without the template, which is not a drop-in replacement, Volkswagen loses a participation equivalent to 0.7% of the total market for passenger cars and light utility vehicles. Considering only the numbers of the German brand, the utility's participation in sales comes close to 4%.
The estate will have to get out of line because your project is not compatible with the two safety devices that will be mandatory from January: the airbag and ABS brakes. In the case of the airbag, the model does not have front to absorb energy, essential to trigger the device. Other than that, the position of the steering wheel is directed to the ceiling, not the driver's chest to protect it. This would require a change in angle of the steering wheel, which, on the other hand, would reduce the room for the driver.
VW went so far as to test the operation of airbags in the vehicle, but the results were unsatisfactory. The structural changes necessary for the introduction of the new equipment would be therefore very expensive and complex.
On Tuesday, representatives of industry, ABC and Government syndicate agreed to "Save" the Kombi, to give her more time to adapt to the rule. As the model does not have national competitors burden, there were no obstacles of competitors in preserving the production. The idea, however, was rejected by Contran the next day.
Valor Econômico - 20/12/2013
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