Curbside Classic 1987 Volkswagen Fox This German Fox Has A Brazilian Accent — Volkswagen Fox hatchback

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Volkswagen Fox hatchback

Curbside Classic: 1987 Fox: This German Fox Has A Accent

September 25, 2013

By it seems that Volkswagen has almost everything to find in the American market.  The original VW we covered Here ) was a true Car” (the German of which is “Volkswagen”). Since it has built sports coupes, sedans, buses, campers, pickups, vans, and even a sedan that stickered out at or six-figures. For good reasons, or otherwise, many VWs have quite memorable cars, but have been quite Today’s car is among the latter.

VW its mark (many, many if we may speak monetarily) in the low end of the market.  The was the car that put West Germany on after the Second World shortly thereafter, it took the lower end of the American car market as It was a simple vehicle, much so than many thought be successful here in the States–particularly it came from a country had been our foe during two massive still within memory of car buyers.  However, the Beetle was so and offered such value it slowly built a following against all odds, came to own the market.

By the early 1970s, the Beetle’s were numbered, at least in its country and in the U.S.  More and capable vehicles from other countries were now displacing the venerable bug. By the the Rabbit debuted in the U.S. as a model, shoppers for an inexpensive new car had good choices, few (if any) of were available at Volkswagen The Rabbit, although small by standards, was far from inexpensive; it proved to be a very popular pricing problem lay with the itself: the Rabbit (Golf was not really designed to be a cheap car and the rate between the German DM and the Dollar only compounded the

By the time the 1985 Golf Mk II along, VW dealers were to carve out a niche by offering that delivered the experience of a road car at a lower price a BMW, Audi or Mercedes. has VW ever figured out a better-working since then?)  The new and Jetta were inexpensive by standards, but for someone not part of the set, they still cost a lot of For example, my 1985 GTI (with sunroof and stereo) stickered at $12,000.  That sounds quite a bargain now, but at the that kind of money a decently equipped Crown  What’s more, there plenty of American and Japanese selling cars in the $7,000 – range.  To top (or bottom) it off, the Hyundai Excel was advertised at a base price, and the new Yugo was $1,000 below the 

The Peoples Car company had a solution.  In VW had introduced a car built in Brazil and to the Latin American market–the VW Yes, the Gol.  The Gol, a bit here ,  was the first version of the VW BX platform, which borrowed from the earlier Audi (CC Here ).  Two of the most significant were the Gol’s shorter and its use of a  longitudinally front-mounted Beetle Within a few years, the car evolved to use of a variety of water-cooled gasoline and power plants.  VW decided one of the higher-content versions of the Gol, a car in 1983 as the Voyage, would a perfect modern-day Peoples Car for the American market.

The 1987 Fox showed up in the U.S. in the late of 1986.  How did it fit into VW’s scheme for the American market?  some of you know, but I have figured it out.

First, the car was built in Brazil, to counter the exchange rate that had made late-’70s cars so expensive in the U.S. Was anything wrong with a VW from Brazil?  Not really, that at the time, “German-ness” was the only thing bringing into VW dealerships.  The VWs built in Pennsylvania  seemed to suffer a bit of among Americans.  Whether or not, the German-built cars reputed to be better than American-built counterparts. A Brazilian-built VW one never offered in Germany) to have one strike against it before it was unloaded from the

The Fox was offered in two- and four-door versions, as well as a nifty wagon.  Now, I loves me a two-door station wagon, and I that there are probably three-thousand people in the country who with me.  Two-door had never sold well  in the in the ’50s and ’60s, and to introduce one in the era of child seats was, an interesting idea.  That any line of inexpensive cars in the without a hatchback and a four-door had just swung the bat for strike

Volkswagen Fox hatchback

The Fox did have one positive:  Its initial price of about $6,100–about a over a Hyundai–still undercut the Toyota Corolla by quite a However, a comparison shopper see right away where the lay.  Was it a problem that the car with only a four-speed Sure, a five speed was added, but never was an automatic on the Fox during its entire American not exactly a recipe for success in the U. S.

Also, Toyota had built up a as the kind of car you could drive and about until it was time to in.  Since the advent of engines, VW has never been to earn that kind of for itself.  It may not have helped the Fox was powered by pretty much the 1.8-liter four as the Golf and that it was a bad engine, but when brands were offering and 1.6-liter engines in their cars (and with transmissions, no less), the Fox was probably not all economical either.

These towers in the cargo area no 4×8 sheets of plywood for this

In the car’s favor, it did offer a good fun-to-drive quotient its price class.  Nevertheless, VW did seem to catch on to the idea of the car’s Audi roots at a price.  And where the larger came in GTI or GLI trim levels, the Fox got that kind of love headquarters.  From 1987-90 years the wagon was offered) the Fox about 104,000 cars, or 26,000 units per year on After the line was pared to two lightly refreshed coupe and sedan for 1991-93, VWOA sold 60,000 cars.

I was a VW owner when the Fox hit the showroom, and I was intrigued by the little car–not enough to trade my GTI for one, but I that the Fox would find a Alas, the Fox embodied every one of mistakes that VWOA has to make in the American market.  For a trying to sell Fahrvergnugen, North American buyers a equipped vehicle not good for Europe was a fail. In the late German austerity minus the driving experience did not sell It still doesn’t.  Add in the fact it didn’t particularly distinguish from a service and repair and we have a car that was never all that frequently when new and has disappeared from the rustier of North America.


For all its failings, is still something about little red two-door wagon calls my name today, as it did in late 1986.  Had VW found a way to this more of a little car, with all of the Fahrvergnugen at a price, it might have had a hit on its But VW was trying for cheap, basic A Peoples’ Car.  But a true Car must either be durable and to repair like a Cavalier, or deep-down quality like a or Civic.  The Beetle, of course, was of those things.  The Fox, was neither, and it faded quickly. a fox is considered a predator.  This one out to be the prey.

Volkswagen Fox hatchback
Volkswagen Fox hatchback
Volkswagen Fox hatchback
Volkswagen Fox hatchback

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