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VW's search for a new recruit

Two contenders have been erased from the list of price-driven starter cars for Volkswagen in Australia.

The German brand is desperate to get a value champion to sit below the $16,990 Polo, but has just eliminated the European Fox and a new concept car that will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor show next month.

Volkswagen Group Australia says it also has no plan to use a car from Skoda, its new Czech value line, to run the role.

“What we need in this area is a normal car that is not expensive. Basic transport,” Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Jutta Dierks says.

Dierks says the Fox, which is priced right in Europe, will not work for Australia.

“We are not after a small Fox. It does not have an automatic transmission and it's too small,” she says.

“We would like a nice car that's value for money, with five doors. That's probably what we are missing from the whole Asia-Pacific region. I hope we are moving in that direction, but it's not confirmed.”

Dierks is already ruling out the Volkswagen concept, called the City Expert, even though it looks ideal.

VW says “the heart . . . will beat where the flat-four `boxer' engine once did in the Beetle.”

That points to a compact urban runabout with a rear engine, but no other details will be available until the Frankfurt show, though VW does say the car is its response to the motto for this year's show: “See what's driving tomorrow”.

And what is the potential for the City Expert in Australia?

“It would be pure speculation. We have discussed it for years and it does not exist so far, not to my knowledge. Hopefully someone is working on this,” Dierks says.

Which brings the starter-car plan back to Skoda, which is working on a deal to bring the new Fabia hatch to Australia later next year. But Dierks says it cannot fill the sub-Polo place.

“The car we are talking about is something really different. But basic transportation in this country does not mean two people,” she says.