The car held the potential of remarkable economy from its normally-aspirated 1.9-litre diesel engine by harnessing the momentum utilisation concept - using an automatic control system to switch it off during overrun and when idling. But in the 12 months it was on offer across Europe, only 4,000 examples found buyers - while sales of the similarly-priced Golf turbodiesel model reached more than 56,000, is was revealed by Deotroch Meyerdierks, Volkswagen's head of environment and transportation.
'It was a mistake for us to allow these two cars to compete. But the technology which went into Ecomatic will be improved, refined and used again by us in future. It will find its way into standard production cars,' said Meyerdierks.