Tag Archives: VW

VW Launches Its Own Car-Net Mobile App on Certain 2014 Models

By Clifford Atiyeh

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo convertible

Car-Net, VW’s mobile app, will be available on certain 2014 models, including the Beetle.

After a short fling with OnStar that broke up in 2005, Volkswagen buyers have missed the magic satellite’s capability to unlock their cars or dial 911 immediately after a crash. Now that Hyundai offers its own telematics system (known as Blue Link), VW’s eye in the sky is back under a completely new name.

VW Car-Net delivers all the usual features we’ve come to expect from such systems, with several buttons on the overhead console that put you in contact with a call center any hour of the day—whether you’re looking for the closest place to get a cheeseburger or to report an actual emergency. A dedicated web site and iPhone app are also available for other features.

Among the main services:

  • Automatic Crash Notification: When the system detects an accident (airbag deployment or a rollover), a call automatically connects vehicle occupants to a VW Car-Net customer specialist. Information about the vehicle and its location are transmitted to the VW Car-Net Response Center. Appropriate emergency services can then be dispatched to the vehicle’s location.
  • Roadside Assistance: The car’s location and vehicle identification number (VIN) are sent to the call center, either by pressing a button or loading the app (Android phones will be supported later).
  • Agent Destination Assist: General Motors allows owners to download directions from OnStar even on vehicles without a navigation system, but VW requires your vehicle to be equipped with the optional navigation system for this feature to work.
  • Stolen Vehicle Assistance: In the same way that the Mercedes mbrace2 system tracked the Boston Marathon bombers in a stolen Benz, VW’s system will perform the same function when police contact the Car-Net system. However, Car-Net can’t slow the car or disable the engine as with OnStar and Hyundai Blue Link.
  • Last Parked Location: Sometimes parking garages can feel like entrapment; we’d have liked to use this app the last time we parked at Boston’s Logan Airport.
  • Remote Vehicle Status: The odometer, fuel gauge, and estimated range all can be displayed on the app. The app also can tell you if the doors, hood, trunk, sunroof or convertible top are open or closed, though only the doors can be unlocked remotely (and not locked as in other systems). Car-Net also offers text alerts when the car exceeds a preset speed limit or if it travels outside a certain area.

After a six-month free trial, Car-Net costs $17.99 per month or $199 for one year. Two-year ($378) and three-year ($540) contracts save some money in the long run and are competitive with other automakers. Only one subscription bundle is offered.

The service is standard on all 2014 Beetle, Eos, and CC models. On the 2014 Passat, Jetta, and Tiguan, Car-Net comes on every model except the base trims. It’s unavailable …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Volkswagen Will Bring the Phaeton Back to America—Just Not for Another Two Years

By Jens Meiners

The next generation of the Volkswagen Phaeton will, in fact, be offered in the U.S., but don’t expect it to be unveiled any time soon. There is no substance to rumors that it will be unveiled at the 2014 Detroit auto show, company sources have told Car and Driver. Look instead for a debut late in 2014 or 2015, likely at a European or Chinese auto show, before coming to market as a 2016 model. There is no urgency on VW’s part to replace the venerable luxury sedan.

The original Phaeton, a pet project of Ferdinand Piëch that was launched in 2002, has not performed well in North America—or anywhere else, for that matter. It was yanked from American VW dealers after the 2006 model by former VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder as part of his power struggle with Piëch, who heads the supervisory board. However, a company insider tell us that the discontinuation of VW’s S-class–fighter was “one of the smartest decisions ever,” adding, “We couldn’t give them away.”

The Dresden-built luxo-cruiser serves as the technical basis for Bentley’s Continental GT and Flying Spur, actually surpassing both in several aspects when it comes to attention to detail. Despite that enormous technological merit, the Phaeton has been let down by Volkswagen’s image—it’s awfully tough to sell the uninitiated on a $93,000 VW, even if it does have chops good enough for Bentley.

The second generation of the Phaeton is being developed to make use of the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which is loosely shared with the Audi A8, and will return to American showrooms. Our intelligence suggests that the new Phaeton will be powered by a choice of a turbocharged VR6, a turbocharged V-8, a V-6 turbo-diesel, and potentially a hybrid in some form. Unfortunately, we hear there’s very little chance that the Group’s famous W-12 has a future in the Phaeton. Even if engineered to perfection, as we fully expect the next Phaeton to be, it won’t be quite the same without four banks of cylinders providing seemingly endless thrust for the most luxurious VW-badged ride imaginable.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Official: Seat Leon ST longroof revealed

By Damon Lowney

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Seat has officially unveiled the Leon ST – the first estate/wagon version of the Leon ever offered – which expands the third-generation Leon and Leon SC lineup that went on sale last year.

With the introduction of the ST (Sport Touring) comes driver-assistance technology new to the Leon range, including adaptive cruise control, adaptive chassis control and progressive steering. But the main reason you’d opt for the estate is probably for its cargo capacity, which starts at 20.7 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and stretches to 51.9 cubic feet when they’re folded down. Seat did a good job keeping the Leon’s identity after revising it into wagon form, but despite the ST’s clean lines, it comes very close to looking like a small minivan to our eyes. Perhaps that opinion will change after we view the new wagon in person.

Volkswagen-owned Seat uses the Golf’s chassis for the Leon series, as well as VW engines. Seat claims the ST was designed with fuel efficiency in mind, and its light weight (for a wagon, at least) of 2,718 pounds for the base model and range of small, direct-injected, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines support that claim. Engines range from 1.2 to 2.0 liters in size and have between 104 and 182 horsepower. All told, Seat claims the Leon ST with the worst fuel efficiency will still net drivers a stellar 53.3 miles per gallon on average, using the European cycle.

Since Seat doesn’t sell cars in the US, you’ll have to wait for the next VW Jetta SportWagen if you want something like this Leon ST package. For more details, check out Seat’s press release below.

Continue reading Seat Leon ST longroof revealed

Seat Leon ST longroof revealed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Slumping VW rolls back US sales targets

By Damon Lowney

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After three years as one of the fastest-growing car brands in the US, Volkswagen has hit a sales rut, and it can’t get out. In response, Volkswagen Group of America downgraded VW’s 2013 US vehicle sales target to 440,000, from the original target of about 486,000, reports Automotive News. The stair-step incentive program under which dealerships earn bonuses also was restructured early this month, yet VW USA remains committed to its goal of producing 800,000 cars annually by 2018.

Many VW dealerships rely on bonuses earned from an incentive program to make a profit, and the program was built around sales targets. But the reality of VW sales in 2013 had a number of dealers resorting to sales tactics that strained relationships with customers and other dealers in an attempt to meet the targets. This was reflected in a recent National Automobile Dealerships Association’s survey that ranked VW’s dealer policies last.

Volkswagen of America COO Mark McNabb has indicated that, through lowering US sales targets, simplifying bonus calculations and giving the incentive program clearer goals and more predictable monthly payments, VW is trying to ease the pressure on dealerships that rely on the bonuses, Automotive News reports.

Dealers are confident that sales will pick up when new models roll in, but VW dealership owner and chairman of the company’s national dealership council, Jim Ellis, admits that right now VW is “getting kicked around a little bit here,” reports Automotive News, by stronger-than-expected competition in the compact and midsize sedan segments.

Slumping VW rolls back US sales targets originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Nissan design to show more Chinese influence

By Brandon Turkus

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Nissan is going to be leveraging the weight of the Chinese market by selling cars influenced by the People’s Republic in other markets around the globe. The influence of Chinese design is further proof of the country’s importance on a global scale. Nissan isn’t the only manufacturer that’s looking to leverage China’s burgeoning design talent, as BMW, Volkswagen, and General Motors have all set up facilities.

In fact, VW and GM have both used Chinese talent to design cars, in the Passat and Buick LaCrosse, respectively. Nissan has already tested the waters with its Beijing studios, penning the Friend-Me Concept from this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Where GM and VW used their Shanghai-based studios as more consultancies than anything else, though, Nissan is aiming to have the Beijing studio design a global car.

According to Nissan’s global design head, Shiro Nakamura, that’s already happening. Nakamura told Reuters that Nissan is two years from launching a Chinese-designed global model that will see sales in both North America and Europe, in addition to its home market. While Nakamura wouldn’t elaborate on what the new model’s styling would entail, there’s a focus on what the Chinese call daqi.

A difficult to describe and translate word, daqi is what Chinese customers look for in their cars. Whether daqi translates to global markets remains to be seen, though. We’re cautiously optimistic, based on what we’ve seen over the years. The looks are more advanced, more dramatic and are rapidly leaving behind the photocopier designs which typified much of the country’s early design efforts.

If you’re still nervous about a Chinese-designed car, just know this – the design Nissan chose beat out competitors from London, San Diego, and Nissan’s home studio outside of Tokyo. That has us looking forward to what comes out of the People’s Republic.

Nissan design to show more Chinese influence originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

The Continental: More G-Wagens, a New Škoda, and Happy Birthday to an Icon

By Jens Meiners

The Continental

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

A nice success story for my favorite off-roader, the Mercedes-Benz G-class: The Swiss army has decided to replace the 4189 G-wagens currently in service with brand-new versions. The old vehicles have been in the fleet for two decades and are fitted with 2.3-liter gasoline engines, but the new Gs get a 184-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel and a five-speed slushbox.

The Swiss army models are part of the 461 vehicle line, which has been partially substituted by the more plush and advanced 463 series since 1990. However, the 461 remained in production for military and government use, and it was even offered to private customers as well. Today, the purposeful 461 is still offered in several global markets as the G300 CDI Professional. It’s not cheap; in Germany, it costs almost exactly two-thirds as much as the G500 (which is sold as the $113,905 G550 in the U.S.). Cost aside, it is the quintessential G-wagen—and, philosophically, the opposite of the recent embarrassment that is the G63 AMG 6×6.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback

New Škoda!

Another attractive Škoda signifies both the brand’s strength and the return of the hatchback in Europe. The Rapid, essentially a low-cost vehicle that is rebadged as the SEAT Toledo and the Volkswagen Santana, now comes as a five-door hatchback. Škoda’s boss told me about it over dinner last year: It is called the Spaceback and is 7.1 inches shorter than the sedan and more useful. From the rear view, the large glass area looks futuristic, but the side view, with a third window behind the rear door opening, recalls a station wagon.

It is interesting to compare the Rapid with the Volkswagen Golf Mk VII: The Spaceback’s length and height is almost identical to the VW’s specs, but it is slightly narrower. The Škoda’s platform is a mixture of components from the Volkswagen Polo and previous-generation Golf, and therefore it does not reach the latest Golf’s level of sophistication. A lot of the Golf’s (mostly optional) assistance systems are not available here, and the engine range is topped by a 122-horsepower, 1.4-liter four. For customers looking at a GTI or a fully optioned regular Golf, the Rapid Spaceback won’t be an option. But for those who merely seek reliable transportation, the Czech relative might work just as well. Especially since it is a very pleasant and convincing car from behind the wheel, as I found out last year when I drove the Rapid sedan at its launch in Bratislava.

Opel Vivaro

Opel’s Stylish Van

The Opel Vivaro is the offspring of a curious cooperation, being essentially a rebadged Renault Trafic that was styled under the tutelage of former Renault chief designer Patrick Le Quement. And it will soldier …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Report: VW Phaeton coming back to US, could be revealed in Detroit

By Seyth Miersma

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Since its ignominious departure from the US car market in 2006, there have been any number of on-again/off-again rumors about the Volkswagen Phaeton returning to our shores. With that said, VW’s aggressive goals in terms of worldwide sales dominance would seem to countenance all manner of new product; taking a second stab at a halo-luxury car for the US, included.

At least that’s the gist of a new report from Bloomberg, which dangles the idea of a new Phaeton potentially being “shown to US consumers in January,” or just in time for the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

Short on specifics and citations, the Bloomberg report seems to rely on the expansionist behavior of VW as a whole over the last few years, and a few statements of positivity from VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. The publication quotes Winterkorn as saying, “A brand as large as Volkswagen needs a halo project in the upscale segment.” Bloomberg also states that Winterkorn was “confirming” the Phaeton’s return to the US.

The supposedly Detroit-bound Phaeton demonstrator could come in concept form, as a way of better judging public reaction to the reintroduction of the sedan. Pending a greenlight, the next-gen Phaeton is likely to share architecture with the Audi A8, with the potential good for a hybrid version, as well.

VW Phaeton coming back to US, could be revealed in Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Volkswagen Taigun going into production, but not for US

By Jonathon Ramsey

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We last mentioned the Volkswagen Taigun when discussing the subcompact crossover that Volkswagen will be bringing to the US in 2016. Well, turns out the Taigun won’t be that crossover, but it is going into production for other markets outside the US according to a report in Autoweek. Based on the same platform as the Up!, the Taigun is two size classes – not one – beneath the Tiguan, and is seen by VW as lacking the dimensions and power that the US crossover brigades demand. It’s the same reasoning that will probably keep the Ford EcoSport, a Taigun competitor, from coming here.

The Autoweek piece says the Taigun, with a wheelbase two inches longer than the Up! and a seating position that puts the driver 2.5 inches higher, will only use front-wheel drive. Three-cylinder gas and diesel engines, as well as a natural gas option, will provide motivation; manual and dual-clutch transmissions will do the shifting. The concept, for example, uses a 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 109 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, it seems the patent drawings spied in China weren’t lying, AW saying the production version will remain close to the concept. For a driving review of the concept, head over to AW.

A solid date for release hasn’t been given, but 2016 is the expected timeframe. That would have it on sale at the same time as the compact crossover we are meant to get, which will sit above it and below the next-generation, long-wheelbase Tiguan due also to be shown in 2016.

Volkswagen Taigun going into production, but not for US originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

2014 Volkswagen CC

While Volkswagen has been able to get a more laser-like focus on the family sedan market with its mid-size Passat, it’s “four-door coupe,” the CC, has served a completely different role in the VW lineup. With more intrigue, fashion sense, and visual interest–as well as a few more luxury items and trims–it locks into the German… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

The Continental: Goodwood Festival, a Fantastic Peugeot, VW and Diesel News

By Jens Meiners

Peugeot RCZ R

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

This powerful Peugeot bowed at Goodwood.

Mere weeks after our very own John Lamm went for a spin in the Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour, the one-of-a-kind concept suffered a literal blow at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We hope the crashed, Lamborghini-powered sports car/SUV, which required some 50,000 man-hours to build, will be fixed.

Peugeot RCZ R

Besides hosting some crashes, Goodwood also served as the backdrop for a few new vehicle launches. There was the 154-mph Skoda Octavia RS reveal, and now Peugeot has unveiled a 266-horsepower variation of its two-seat RCZ sports car dubbed the RCZ R. It is powered by a version of the 1.6-liter “Prince” engine that was co-developed with BMW; a version is used by Mini, as well as several Peugeot and Citroën models. The RCZ R’s mill is called EP6CDTR, and it is force-fed by a twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver 243 lb-ft of torque. The sprint from 0 to 62 mph takes 5.9 seconds, and Peugeot governs the top speed at 155 mph. Based on the 308 compact sedan, the RCZ is a beautifully executed and fun-to-drive sports car that competes directly with the Audi TTS and Nissan 370Z.

I hear that Audi is celebrating 30 years of its quattro GmbH subsidiary with three special editions. The brand will make 30 units (each) of the A5 cabriolet, the RS6 Avant, and the RS7 Sportback. They are distinguished by their color schemes and equipment level, but they don’t have exclusive performance options. There’s no word on whether the A5 or the RS7 variants will be offered in the U.S.; regardless, I predict they will be sold out in no time. Besides, the RS6 Avant is not sold in the U.S.—sorry to bring that up again.

For the 2014 model year, Volkswagen has killed the V-6–powered Touareg in the German market. Only the V-6 and V-8 TDI remain, as well as the annoying hybrid. Other markets keep the V-6 (actually a VR-6), and the Middle East even gets the fantastic 4.2-liter V-8. For an SUV that once ruled the segment with a W-12 engine—it was available on the first-generation Touareg, and almost ruined me when I tested it for two weeks thanks to its vociferous appetite—killing a regular gasoline option is kind of sad.

VW Golf BlueMotion

No need to apologize to the birds: The Golf BlueMotion doesn’t need wind power.

GTD, Diesel Impresses

Of course, VW’s diesel engines are fairly impressive. At the launch of the Euro-spec SportWagen in Amsterdam last week, I had the opportunity to drive the Golf BlueMotion, which, despite a sprightly 105-horsepower 1.6-liter TDI, …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Report: Volkswagen lays off 500 Chattanooga workers

By Jeffrey N. Ross

Filed under: , , ,

The redesigned Volkswagen Passat has been a decent seller since its debut in 2011, but sales have apparently dropped off enough that the automaker is trimming some of the employees from its Chattanooga, TN assembly plant. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen will be cutting shifts and laying off 500 contracted workers in response to slowing sales.

Currently, the plant has three teams running 10-hour shifts Monday through Saturday, but starting May 13, this will be reduced down to two teams running 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday. This will be done to reduce dealer inventory (the article says that VW dealers, on average, have a 97-day supply of Passats) and production capacity (currently running at an annual pace of 170,000 units, which is more than the 150,000 annual units the plant was planned to produce).

This, of course, isn’t saying that the Passat has been a failure since VW added 200 full-time employees to the plant in February 2012 to keep up with increased demand. The AN article says that automakers frequently overstaff plants during the launch of a new product – or in this case, a new product and a new plant – but eventually reduce the workers as things run smoother and more efficiently.

Volkswagen lays off 500 Chattanooga workers originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Apr 2013 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Volkswagen iBeetle gets integrated iPhone dock, little else

By Zach Bowman

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Apple fans have been itching to see the tech giant flex the full muscle of its iOS operating system in an automotive infotainment system for years, which is why we turned all sorts of excited when we caught wind of the Volkswagen iBeetle. The machine is headed to the Shanghai Motor Show for a debut, and VW promised it would be one of the “first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple.” Listen closely, and you can hear the contented sigh of a million wallets opening.

Go ahead and close those up, kids.

In reality, the iBeetle offers little more than a dash-mounted dock and a special app that shows a few vehicle functions, which is about as far from an infotainment revolution as you’re likely to find. In fact, the setup is little more than a factory rehash of aftermarket items, and hardly worth a whole model debut at an international motor show. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that Apple relishes in changing the shape and form of its darling handheld at every generation. Volkswagen better be prepared to keep pace with appropriate docking mechanisms for the upcoming iPhone 5S, 6, 6S, et al.

This is the kind of kit we expect to see as a bullet point on an option sheet, but instead, VW has made this dock+app an entire model by including special “Disc” wheels and iPhone-matching color schemes. The iBeetle will land on dealer lots in the US in 2014, but you can probably make something similar yourself today with an aftermarket dock and an iTunes gift card’s worth of third-party apps. Scroll down for the full press blast.

Continue reading Volkswagen iBeetle gets integrated iPhone dock, little else

Volkswagen iBeetle gets integrated iPhone dock, little else originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Apr 2013 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe is a green fun-machine we want to drive

By Seyth Miersma

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Think back to January’s Detroit Auto Show. Those of you that are fans of the Volkswagen brand, impressed with green technology or simply fall into the “diesel geek” category, will almost certainly remember VW’s CrossBlue concept with its diesel/electric hybrid powertrain, seating for seven, and somewhat awkward crossover styling. It was an impressive piece of future tech, to be sure, though it left something to be desired in the, well, desirability department.

Here in Shanghai, VW has brought along a CrossBlue Coupe concept that would seem to include most of the goodness of the original, but flavored with more sport and style this time around.

The CrossBlue Coupe makes use of the same electric drive components as the larger three-row concept: two electric motors (front and rear) powered by a 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery. However, where the original concept made use of a TDI four-cylinder, the Coupe substitutes a 295-horsepower, direct-injection, gasoline-burning V6.

In terms of performance, this combination of powertrains is impressive. Total system output is rated at 415 hp. With power flowing through a six-speed DSG transmission, the CrossBlue Coupe will scoot from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 5.9 seconds, and will continue on to a top speed of 147 mph.

The CrossBlue Coupe will scoot from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds, and will continue on to a top speed of 147 mph.

Even with that go-fast ability, however, the Coupe doesn’t belie its “blue” origins. As in the original concept, the CrossBlue coupe offers all-EV operation with a maximum range of 21 miles, and a top speed of 75 mph (though likely not both of those at the same time). VW quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 79 miles per gallon on the European cycle – 34.1 mpg when running on the V6 alone – and a total theoretical range of close to 720 miles.

The CrossBlue coupe is shorter and lower than its three-row progenitor, but just as wide. The result, as you can see, is a far sleeker and more aggressive looking crossover that looks quite planted on its 22-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, we find an interior that is quite high-tech though not unrecognizable from the VW interiors on the current line. A muted black and gray pallet is accented with brightwork and a thick yellow trim line that surrounds the cabin. There’s a dominating 10.1-inch touchscreen up front, complete with proximity sensors, which is used to control all of the vehicle systems and entertainment options. In the back seats, passengers find twin iPad Mini units on the headrests (seen above), which they can use to, “enjoy audio, video and online programs.” Sounds like just the thing for the family’s summer road trip to

From: http://feeds.autoblog.com/~r/weblogsinc/autoblog/~3/AYgX60NMoh4/

VW Is Already The World's Leading Automaker

By Joann Muller, Forbes Staff

, and Volkswagen AG are all vying to be the world’s largest automaker, and the race is tight when it comes to vehicle sales. Toyota sold 9.7 million cars and trucks last year, compared to GM‘s 9.29 million and VW‘s 9.1 million. But if you’re wondering which carmaker is the biggest, most powerful company in the industry, it’s no contest: Volkswagen.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2013/04/18/vw-is-already-the-worlds-leading-automaker/

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel EPA-Rated at 46-mpg Highway

By Kirk Seaman

Chevrolet has announced that the new-for-2014 Cruze diesel will get an EPA-estimated 46 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. With its 2.0-liter turbo-diesel making 148 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, the diesel joins the base 1.8-liter four and the optional 1.4-liter turbo four already available in the Cruze powertrain lineup. The addition of the diesel is the news; how its fuel economy stacks up against its siblings and the competition, however, is another matter.

Getting 46 mpg on the highway is a laudable achievement for the diesel; the automatic-equipped Cruze Eco gets 39 mpg and the Eco with the six-speed manual gets 42 mpg. Drill a little deeper, though, and the comparisons become less favorable: the automatic Eco matches the diesel’s city rating of 26, while the manual betters it by 2 mpg.

Then there is the matter of dollars and cents. At $25,695, the Cruze diesel is $4010 more than the Cruze Eco with an automatic and $5205 more than the manual. And with diesel fuel currently costing about 40 cents more per gallon than regular unleaded, it’s going to take owners a whole lot of highway driving to recoup the extra cost of the diesel-engine option.

Chevy wants you to pay no attention to that Cruze Eco behind the curtain, and would instead like you to consider the Volkswagen Jetta TDI as the bow-tie diesel’s real competition. The Jetta costs about $700 less than the compression-ignition Cruze, but the Chevy comes with more standard features, including MyLink infotainment, larger 17-inch aluminum wheels, leather seats, and a two-year maintenance plan. Chevrolet also offers a powertrain warranty that is the same in years (five) but better in miles (100,000 versus the VW’s 60,000). On the fuel-economy front, the Jetta gets ratings of 30/42; that puts the Cruze up by 4 mpg on the highway but down 4 mpg in the city.

The Cruze diesel will go on sale this spring in “high-indexing diesel cities” such as Baltimore and Milwaukee. Later this fall, it will be available nationwide and in Canada. While we’re always glad to see a new choice in the world of compression ignition, we’re still not sure how Chevy’s new diesel is going to find its place in the market. With diesel sales up in 2012 by more than 25 percent according to some estimates, Chevy is hoping the Cruze can get in on some of that oil-burning action.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/caranddriver/blog/~3/7Sd-jHz0Cuk/

Report: GM outsold VW globaly in first quarter, Toyota reports numbers next week

By Michael Harley

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General Motors released its first quarter sales figures this week, reporting that it sold 2.36 million cars and trucks worldwide. That figure represents an increase of 3.6 percent when compared to the same period last year. GM‘s growth was attributed to many factors, including global Cadillac sales that were up 26 percent and Chevrolet posting a one percent increase over last year (this marked Chevy’s tenth straight year of record global sales).

Volkswagen came in just behind GM, as the German automaker reported global sales from January through March at 2.27 million vehicles, an increase of five percent when compared to last year. While that number was strong, VW is cautioning that markets outside China and the US, such as those in Europe, are becoming a challenge as economies falter.

Yet to report sales is Toyota, current holder of the global world sales crown (the Japanese company sold 9.75 million cars last year, against 9.29 million sold by GM and 9.1 million vehicles sold by VW). Even though GM and Toyota both say they don’t care who sells the most units, it is unquestionably a strong bragging point and sales equate to revenue. That said, Toyota will report its first quarter numbers next week.

GM outsold VW globaly in first quarter, Toyota reports numbers next week originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe concept sketches leaked ahead of Shanghai

By Steven J. Ewing

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A handful of sketches of the Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe concept have leaked onto the web ahead of its official debut at the Shanghai Motor Show this week. The sketches show a small crossover from the German brand that could likely rival the Mercedes-Benz GLA that was also revealed this week. The leakage comes courtesy of German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, and follows in the footsteps of the larger, three-row CrossBlue concept that debuted in Detroit earlier this year.

The Coupe, however, will likely ditch the CrossBlue’s third row of seats, and if the larger Volkswagen concept is supposed to hint at the next-generation Touareg, perhaps this smaller, swoopier concept is our first look at the smaller Tiguan successor. All we know is that it’s based on Volkswagen’s flexible MQB small car architecture, and a lot of its elements could work its way across the VW lineup in the future.

Under the hood is reported to be a turbocharged V6 paired with two electric motors, good for a combined output of 409 horsepower. The CrossBlue Coupe concept can apparently sprint to 62 miles per hour in just 5.9 seconds, has an all-electric range of about 20 miles, and will reportedly achieve 78 miles per gallon in the US. Impressive.

We’ll have more details on the CrossBlue Coupe concept later this week, so stay tuned for all the official goods, as well as live impressions direct from Shanghai.

Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe concept sketches leaked ahead of Shanghai originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Can Ford Beat GM in China?

By John Rosevear, The Motley Fool

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Changan Ford general manager Nigel Harris presented the Focus ST at last year’s Auto China show. The high-performance Focus ST is the latest variant of Ford’s hot-selling Focus to arrive in China. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

There’s no doubt that Ford has had a lot of success in China lately.

The latest Ford Focus, introduced in China last spring, has been a huge hit – big enough to make the Focus the world’s best-selling car in 2012, according to analysts at R.L. Polk.

But the Focus was just the first of a wave of new Fords set to come to China over the next few years. The Kuga SUV, a twin to the Escape sold here, arrived in February – and sales have already been strong.

How strong? This strong: Ford’s sales in China are up 54% so far this year. In just a few short years, Ford has gone from near-invisibility to outselling Toyota in China.

But can Ford’s Chinese operation catch up to longtime nemesis General Motors , which has had a huge head start?

GM is already one of China’s giants
It’s a daunting proposition. In terms of total vehicle sales, GM is the China market leader, with archrival Volkswagen close behind. GM had a commanding 15.6% share of the Chinese market last year, outselling Ford by more than six to one. VW was second with 14.5%.

But many of those sales aren’t “passenger vehicles”, they’re small commercial vans. GM has a stake in a joint venture that makes inexpensive little commercial vans sold under the Wuling brand name. It’s a minority position, and it doesn’t make a ton of money for the General, but it comes with something GM values very highly – the right to count all of Wuling’s sales as GM‘s.

But if you factor out the Wulings, it’s VW that looks like the top dog. According to LMC Automotive figures cited by Reuters, VW had 19.5% of China‘s passenger vehicle market last year, to GM‘s 10%.

But no matter how you slice it, catching up to GM will be a daunting task for Ford. The Blue Oval had a 3% market share in China in 2012, about the size of Subaru’s presence here in the U.S. And while Ford has already gained ground – the company had a 3.6% share in the first quarter of 2013 – it clearly has a long way to go to catch up to GM.

Ford is investing big for major growth
That said, Ford has geared up to expand in a big way – but not in pursuit of GM, necessarily. Instead, the Blue Oval is in pursuit of profit growth. Ford has been investing big in new factories, new engineering centers, and infrastructure in China and other parts of Asia.

Despite that big investment – almost $5 billion – Ford’s Asian operation, the bulk of

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/17/can-ford-beat-gm-in-china/

A Quarter-Century of Volkswagen’s California

By Jens Meiners

A quarter-century ago, Volkswagen discovered the motorhome. Before then, conversions of its rear-engined T2 and T3 buses—the latter known in the U.S. as the Vanagon—were handled by aftermarket companies such as Westfalia or yacht-maker Dehler. But these elaborate, if compact, motorhomes became unaffordable, and VW moved to fill the niche. Based on the T3, the first-generation California hit the market. It was succeeded by a California version of the T4, and the current T5 also is available as a California model—a perfect companion to explore the roads far from the beaten path.

The naming of the California models was and is no coincidence. VW’s affordable motorhomes are a nod to the incredible popularity the T2 and the T3 enjoyed in America’s West Coast—particularly among the surfer and hippie communities, where it was sometimes fondly referred to as the “Love Bus.” Today’s California is about love as much as it is about leading the segment—with diesel engines of up to 180 horsepower and an available gasoline engine with 204 horsepower. The gallery below provides a look of the California’s evolution from T3 through today’s T5.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/caranddriver/blog/~3/YlCcPEI5VFU/

Report: Wife of VW paterfamilias Piëch up for Audi supervisory board

By Michael Harley

Ferdinand and Ursula Piech

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In a move seen as yet another way for the controlling Piech-Porsche family to leverage its muscle over the continent’s biggest automaker, Ursula Piech – wife of chairman Ferdinand Piech – is set to join the Audi supervisory board at the annual shareholder’s meeting on May 16. Putting Piech‘s wife, a 56-year-old kindergarten teacher, on the board is seen as just a formality as the Piech and Porsche families already control more than 90 percent of the Porsche SE holding company (owner of a majority of Volkswagen common stock).

Although formally trained to educate young children, this isn’t Ursula Piech‘s first corporate role. In 2010, Piech chose his wife to be deputy head of two Austria-based foundations that control owned stakes in Porsche and VW. She took a seat on the board of Wolfsburg-based VW almost a year ago.

Chairman Piech will turn 76 next week, and his wife is set to take over her husband’s interests when he dies.

Wife of VW paterfamilias Piëch up for Audi supervisory board originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Apr 2013 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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