The chip shortage has claimed yet another victim, or victims plural, now that Volkswagen in Brazil is selling a few of its small cars without any infotainment system at all. Brand new models of the Volkswagen Gol, Voyage and Fox are being sold with blank radio plates.
It makes sense that Volkswagen would continue production of some of its entry-level cars, choosing instead to let drivers take them off the lot without radios. The alternative to that would be to halt production, or to shore up the radio-less cars on a lot and just have them sit there for who knows how long.
Both of those options seem silly if the only hold-up with these models is the infotainment.
A spokesperson for Volkswagen did, however, confirm that models without infotainment will be slightly cheaper, according to Motor1. That’s appropriate.
Selling these cars as they are — blank plate and all — means VW keeps its production lines rolling, while drivers get a discount for buying cars with less features. This is assuming that the discount VW cited is commensurate with the lack of infotainment, but the good news is that the affected cars are prewired and already have all six speakers built-in. All drivers have to do is buy and install their own head unit.
That may be a problem, but it’s nothing an after market harness and YouTube can’t fix. I think installing a radio is a pretty standard and fun project.
Drivers can also opt to buy “separate infotainment” from the dealer as an accessory, per Motor1, but that raises the following question: If dealers have infotainment units, why not just put them into these models in the first place?
It could be that the infotainment in stock is not what usually goes into the entry-level cars. These are pretty basic models, after all, which are among the cheapest of VW’s lineup in Brazil. Of course, since it’s a dealer accessory you can bet the “separate infotainment” is going to be pricy. For reference, the models affected range from R$61,690 to R$73,350. That’s around $11,800 to $14,055.
If I were in Brazil and was looking at one of these VW models, I would opt for no infotainment at all and take my discount. I would then put that money towards a head unit that has no earthly business in such a car and I would put the blank plate in a drawer for track days in my 2021 Volkswagen Gol.