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A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Volkswagen Motorcycle Talk Again?

Will there be offspring?
[For an update on VW+motorcycle please see my April 2012 blog entry.]

Back in December of 2009 I commented on the purchase of Suzuki Motor Corporation by my former employer, Volkswagen. "Volkswagen and Suzuki Do the Deed". That blog entry is here.

A friend in Germany sent me a link to an article entitled "Mit Ferdinand Piëch im neuen Phaeton" on the German news site FAZ.NET.  He thought I'd find the piece interesting as it has to do with VW's imperious and brilliant leader, Dr.Ferdinand Piech, a man I've seen many times, greeted once (it healed a wart on my hand), and who probably doesn't know I exist although he's seen my work many times.

The article is in German so I filtered it through Google Translate.  Never a perfect translation but good enough for me.  Buried in the article was a question about VW's future and wider product plans. VW is huge, not many Americans realize how huge, and the scope of the vehicles produced covers quite a range and circles the globe.

Here's the most interesting bit, note Dr. Piech's answer after the writer's statement/question:

"But the VW group has indeed set for the future not just on cars. Piëch: 'Correct. The truck business is very important. Motorcycles, co-generation plants, marine engines 115,000 hp, with turbines. All that we can do.'" [italics mine - DK] 

Apparently the most powerful and richest auto industry man in the world still has a twinkle in his eye for motorcycles.  Maybe he's just talking about Suzuki as the "Motorräder" part of the game but I'd never try guess Piech's intent, smarter men than me have tried and lost big time.   It will be very interesting to see how motorcycles fit into his still unfolding global vision for Volkswagen.  At the least, I'm hoping that Piech's passion for winning (he designed the Porsche 917 amongst other cars and set the parameters for the Bugatti Veyron) will cause him to funnel additional buckets of money into Suzuki's floundering MotoGP program.


FLHX_Dave said...

Whoa...a VolksCycle. I have not much love for Suzuki bikes. I had a GS in the 80's and in my humble opinion is sucked. Kept having valve problems and electrical problems.

However I love VW cars. So maybe they could put out a really kick ass bike. I would never own another Suzuki...just me, but if VW was involved in putting together a bike, I just might change my mind.

Interesting stuff Doug. Now go out and pull some strings and get some blueprints for the bike of the future for us.

Unknown said...

I would like to have another company in on the action. The Japanese have become a bit homogenized. Maybe more than a bit. Seeing some new influence in an established company like that would be great.

mq01 said...

hmmm, could be interesting. personally i found the quality good of the older 60's vw's. the new cars i have known have all had strange problems; windows falling out of tracks, exterior light lenses and interior handles coming loose... hmmm...

Doug Klassen said...

MQ, As it happens I know the whole sordid story behind some of those problems you described. I'll just say that sometimes smart engineers make stupid decisions!

Greybeard said...

VW is a leader there, and technology is now coming around where a diesel touring machine is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Thanks Doug for the intriguing post.

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