Volkswagen in Brazil Will Sell Some Cars With Blank Plates on the Dash

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The global chip shortage has greatly affected car buying this year, with many car dealerships seeing reduced inventories for certain makes and models. Now, Volkswagen in Brazil says it will be selling some cars without infotainment systems as a result of the shortage.
According to Motor1, Volkswagen says the semiconductor shortage means certain cars will be sold with a plastic cover over the area in the center console where the 6.5-inch infotainment system would be.
A closeup of the front of a Volkswagen
Certain Volkswagen models in Brazil will be sold without infotainment systems.

Volkswagen’s affected models in Brazil

According to Jalopnik, new models of Volkswagen Gol, Voyage, and Fox are being sold with blank radio plates.
Reports also say that Volkwagen is opting to sell the cars without radios rather than halt production or store the radio-less cars on a lot and just have them sit there until radios could be installed, which would have been the only other alternatives for now.
But reportedly, the models without infotainment systems will be slightly cheaper. So, selling the cars with blank plates allows Volkwagen to keep production lines going while offering a discount to drivers who opt to buy a car with fewer features than normal.

Solution for Volkswagen buyers

There is some good news for those wanting to buy one of the models but are hesitant due to the lack of infotainment system. All of the affected cars are prewired and already have all six speakers built in.
That means that all you’d have to do is buy and install your own head unit if you wanted to. In fact, customers are being invited to purchase a separate infotainment system from Volkswagen dealers as an accessory.
As Jalopnik points out, though, the fact that Volkswagen is offering separate infotainment systems to purchase and install raises an interesting question—if the company has the units on hand, why not just install them in the cars in the first place?
Jalopnik theorizes that the infotainment systems in stock may not be the ones that usually go into these entry-level cars, which are pretty basic models. In fact, the affected models range in price from $11,800 to $14,055.

A simple interior

So, it’s clear that the cars affected are among Volkswagen’s least expensive. The Fox model is a small sedan and is already an old vehicle, so without the infotainment system, the interior looks “shockingly austere,” says Motor1.
In addition, the Fox is being retired anyway and production is set to end in a few months, along with the Voyage Sedan.

The ongoing microchip shortage

It’s not the first time this year that a car company has had to make a unique decision based on the global microchip shortage. As we previously reported, Mercedes-Benz and other automakers have been forced to shift strategies due to the ongoing shortage.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that the global chip shortage may be far from over. As Forbes points out, there were indications this summer that the shortage may have been easing up. That may not actually be the case, as carmakers are taking more steps recently to reduce production.
In fact, Toyota plans to cut production by 40% in September, reports Forbes. Ford and Volkswagen may also cut or idle production.

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