Volkswagen's works council wants the company to stop spending so much money developing luxury cars.
'We are not convinced that the planned model range will be successful and will pay off against the huge investments,' said Bernd Sudholt, vice chairman of the workers' representative group. 'VW should better invest in refurbishing our traditional volume production plants instead.'
Sudholt said the council asked the company last week to 'reconsider the investment in the luxury program.'
He said that VW executives promised to discuss improvements to traditional plants.
'During the planning rounds for next year - on November 22 and 23 - more will be decided on this subject,' Sudholt said.
The luxury-model investment is for Bentley and Bugatti and for VW's upper-range D1 sedan and W12 super sports car.
Included in the luxury program are: Passat W12 (due in 2001); D1 (2002); VW Colorado sport-utility (2002); W12 sports car (2003); Bentley MSB (2003) and Bugatti Veyron (2003).
Martin Winterkorn, VW's board member responsible for research and development, said that the original DM6.5 billion investment program has been increased to upgrade the D1.
'These programs always cost more than you expect,' said John Wormald, analyst at UK research group Autopolis. 'But return on investment is low so it would indeed be better to reinvest in VW's traditional plants.