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    William Maley

    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

    There will always be those who try their best to find loopholes. Case in point are some Volkswagen TDI owners who deciding to strip their vehicles for parts before turning them into dealers. This came to light a couple of weeks ago on Jalopnik as it had found various threads on Reddit and TDI forums with such titles as “Will anyone be stripping salvaging parts before selling back?” and "Stripping the Turn-Ins". Why are there owners who are seriously considering this? It comes down to EPA's consent decree which states a vehicle must be 'operatable'. This is defined by the court as, 
    "“Operable” means that a vehicle so described can be driven under its own 2.0-liter TDI engine power. A vehicle is not Operable if it had a branded title of “Assembled,” “Dismantled,” “Flood,” “Junk,” “Rebuilt,” “Reconstructed,” or “Salvaged” as of September 18, 2015, and was acquired by any person or entity from a junkyard or salvaged after September 18, 2015."
    This definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation and some are taking that to mean it is ok to remove a number of parts. In fact, one Volkswagen TDI owner in Ohio basically removed almost everything on his Golf to see if Volkswagen would buy it back and was brought to light by Jalopnik last week.
    But this loophole has been closed. USA Today reports that U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer warned owners last Thursday not to strip their vehicles. This was brought up by Volkswagen's attorney which referenced the Jalopnik story.
    "Clearly the purpose of the agreement by Volkswagen was to accept these cars in the condition that they were in as they were being driven on the road, and not to strip the cars," Breyer said at the hearing.
    Jonathan Cohen, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission told USA Today that the agency is "absolutely against bad-faith behavior by consumers" but also noted that VW cannot reject buybacks based on "the vehicle's superficial condition." (i.e. normal wear and tear).
    Breyer said he would consider taking further action if needed at a later time.
    Source: Jalopnik, 2 , USA Today

    William Maley

    Some good news for 3.0L TDI V6 owners

    There is finally some good news for owners of the 80,000 vehicles equipped with Volkswagen's 3.0L TDI V6. Today in U.S. Federal Court in San Fransisco, District Court Judge Charles Breyer announced that Volkswagen and the U.S. Government have a reached an agreement on the 3.0L TDI settlement. The AFP in a tweet reports the settlement will total $1 billion.
    The agreement will see Volkswagen buying back 20.000 models as they cannot be retrofitted with new parts to make them legal. The remaining 60,000 models will be fixed once Volkswagen and U.S. Government agree on one. No matter which option, there will be compensation, although how much is unknown at this time.
    Breyer admitted during the hearing the two parties still have some issues to hammer out. Another hearing has been scheduled for Thursday for an update.
    Source: AFP, Reuters

    William Maley

    Progress is being made on the 3.0L TDI V6 settlement

    There appears to be some movement on the 3.0L TDI settlement between Volkswagen and U.S. Government. A source briefed on the 3.0L TDI V6 settlement told Reuters that Volkswagen will pay $200 million into a pollution reduction fund. This is on top of the $2.7 billion Volkswagen will be paying for the 2.0L TDI pollution reduction fund.
    This seems to be the only thing the two groups have agreed on at the moment. Yesterday, a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in San Fransisco was pushed back few hours to give them more time to negotiate. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at the hearing the parties have made "substantial progress and I am optimistic that there will be a resolution."
    Breyer has given them until Monday to see if an agreement can be reached. 
    The sticking point in the negotiations over the 3.0L TDI has been how much Volkswagen would offer in compensation to owners who get their vehicles repaired or bought back. Reuters says Volkswagen, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and lawyers for the suing owners have been going at it for weeks.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Another Microbus rumor and it's electrifying!

    It seems every year or so, a rumor comes out that Volkswagen is bringing back the Microbus. The past couple of years have seen rumors talking about the Microbus returning as an electric vehicle. This is the case with the latest Microbus rumor.
    Autocar has learned from sources at Volkswagen that the van is part of a possible five electric vehicle lineup that German automaker wants to launch by 2020. The model is said to carry some of the design cues of the original model with a flat front end and curbside sliding door. Max seating is said to be for seven people.
    In terms of platform, the van will use Volkswagen's upcoming MEB platform that debuted on the iD concept earlier this year. For the van, the platform will be stretched out. This will allow for more batteries with a possible max range of 310 miles. The electric motor will be mounted near the rear axle, making the van rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a possibility by using an electric prop shaft and front-mounted electric motors.
    Source: Autocar
    Pic Credit: Newspress USA

    William Maley

    Some of the higher-ups at Volkswagen don't like the idea of Skoda entering the U.S. market

    As we have been reporting since this summer, Skoda is putting serious consideration into entering the U.S. market. Currently, a decision is expected sometime next year. But ask their parent company, Volkswagen what they think of the idea of Skoda entering the U.S. and they would likely say something to the effect of this,
    “We may be crazy, but we’re not mad. Entering this huge market with an unknown brand, a model range focused on Europe, and a non-existent dealer network is pure suicide. Furthermore, the last thing Volkswagen of America needs now is in-house cannibalization,” said an unnamed Volkswagen board member to Automobile Magazine.
    Without having any support from the parent company, Skoda's plan of entering the U.S. seems dead in the water. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen.
    There is one other interesting tidbit from Automobile Magazine. Reportedly, Volkswagen was considering replacing certain models in U.S. with slightly restyled Skoda vehicles badged as VWs. This idea was scrapped however which is a shame since we could see the likes of the Superb being an excellent replacement for the current Passat as an example.
    Source: Automobile Magazine

    William Maley

    What's in demand at Volkswagen's HQ? Criminal lawyers.

    American criminal lawyers are in demand at Volkswagen. Bloomberg has learned from sources that various executives at the company are hiring lawyers as the Department of Justice begins sending out officials to Germany for meetings to gather evidence for possible criminal charges.
    Volkswagen has already agreed to a $16 billion settlement over the diesel emission scandal. But the Department of Justice is continuing their investigation into whether various Volkswagen executives knew about the cheating software installed on over 10 million diesel vehicles around the world. As we reported back in September, a Volkswagen engineer has pled guilty for being involved in the scandal. 
    Volkswagen has long maintained that none of its executives knew about the software and that it was a rogue group of engineers that went forward with this decision. But as we have been reporting for the past year, various documents and emails that have been leaked out put serious doubts into this claim.
    It is unknown if this investigation involves former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn who stepped down shortly after the scandal broke. 
    If the Department of Justice was to bring Volkswagen executives to court, they could be facing some roadblocks. Germany's constitution doesn’t allow citizens to be extradited outside the European Union. A source tells Bloomberg the Department of Justice is looking into possible ways to bring them to the U.S.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    Volkswagen's hearing on the 3.0L TDI V6 has been pushed back

    Volkswagen and U.S. Government were going to have a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco today for an update on the 3.0L TDI talks. But yesterday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has pushed it back to next month.
    Reuters got their hands on a court order in which Breyer says "negotiations are continuing between the German automaker, regulators, and lawyers representing owners," and a delay "may produce a resolution of the outstanding issues."
    As we reported earlier this month, Volkswagen and regulators have possibly reached a deal for the 3.0L TDI with 60,000 of the affected vehicles being fixed, and the other 20,000 being bought back. There are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, hence the delay.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    What does the replacement for the CC look like?

    The Volkswagen CC is getting a bit long in the tooth and will be soon phased out. But there is a successor to the CC in the pipeline known as the Arteon which the German automaker has begun to start teasing.
    Shown off in a pencil sketch, the Arteon looks very similar to the Sport Coupe Concept GTE shown at last year's Geneva Motor Show - a long front end, stubby rear end, and a coupe-like roofline. Volkswagen says the Arteon will feature a grille that extends into the LED headlights, and frameless windows.
    As for the name, Volkswagen says Arteon is a combination of 'Art' and 'Eon'.
    We'll see the production version next March at the Geneva Motor Show with sales following in the summer.
    Source: Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2

    The Volkswagen Arteon: New Premium Saloon Combines Avant-Garde Design and Dynamic Handling
    Four-door saloon implements new progressive Volkswagen design language Headlights and Volkswagen emblem merge into a wholly new interpretation of the front section Wolfsburg, 28.11.2016 – Three months ahead of its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen is providing a first look at the fascinating contours of its new premium saloon, the Arteon. The totally new model sits above the Passat and emphasises emotion in the upper mid-class.
    In addition to a new and emotive outline Volkswagen is also introducing with the Arteon a highly expressive, horizontally accentuated brand look. The bars of the radiator grille extend into the three-dimensional headlights, while LED lighting elements additionally emphasise the striking layout and demonstrate dominance.
    The four-door saloon impresses both through revolutionary design and great practicality. While the doors' frameless windows reflect the typical stylistic elements of a grand tourer, the top-hinged and wide-opening tailgate provides optimum access to the huge boot. Tobias Sühlmann, Exterior Designer, explains: “At first sight, the Arteon arouses enthusiasm through its expressive design. It then surprises through its practical virtues. This combination is unique."
    The name Arteon – with the emphasis put on the first syllable – is made up of two component parts: 'Art' describes the saloon's harmonious lines and emotionality. The ending 'eon' identifies it, in the same way as Volkswagen's top model for the Chinese market, the PHIDEON, as a premium model.
    The new Arteon is being publicly unveiled for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show; its launch will then follow in summer 2017.

    William Maley

    Diesels making a comeback for Volkswagen's U.S. lineup? No one is sure.

    Will Volkswagen make a return with diesels to the U.S. or not? Unfortunately, we're getting mixed messages on this issue.
    Back in July, Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said diesel would not a core element of the brand going forward. But they could start selling a diesel vehicle in the U.S. again if it makes sense.
    “We are not stopping diesel. Wherever diesel makes sense as a package to the car, we’ll continue. But in reality, we have to accept that the high percentage of diesels that we had before will not come back again,” said Woebcken.
    Last week in an interview with Motor Trend, Woebcken reiterated his earlier statement with the automaker not ruling out diesels in the future. 
    But this week, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess told German business paper Handelsblatt that diesel will not be returning to Volkswagen's U.S. lineup.
    "At the moment we assume that we will offer no new diesel vehicles in the U.S," said Diess. “The reason is the legal framework.”
    Who to believe? We're not sure ourselves. Stay tuned.
    Source: Motor Trend, Handelsblatt, Reuters

    William Maley

    3.0L TDI V6 owners, we have some possible good news for you...

    There is some possible good news for owners of Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators have reached an agreement on fixing and buying back vehicles with this engine.
    The agreement gives Volkswagen the go-ahead to fix 60,000 vehicles with a software update, while the remaining 20,000 vehicles will need to be bought back because they would be too complex to fix. Avoiding the buyback of all 80,000 vehicles involved in this scandal will save Volkswagen about $4 billion.
    "The Court has scheduled a status conference for November 30, 2016 to discuss the matter further. Until that time the Court has ordered that these discussions remain confidential," said Mark Clothier, an Audi spokesman, via email to Roadshow.
    Aside from the court, Volkswagen still needs to reach agreements with owners of the 3.0L TDI V6 who have filed suit against the company and the Federal Trade Commission, which has sued Volkswagen for false advertising. Both groups are demanding that Volkswagen offer the buyback option to all owners.
    Source: Bloomberg, Roadshow

    William Maley

    Volkswagen updates the Golf for Europe

    Volkswagen has unveiled the updated Mark 7 Golf today in Europe. 
    The exterior hasn't seen many alterations aside from new bumpers and LED lighting for the front and rear. But it only disguises the big changes Volkswagen has done.
    It begins in the interior as Volkswagen has swapped the standard insturment cluster for a digital display - think Audi virutal cockpit. All Golfs will also feature touchscreen infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 9.2 inches. The largest screen will offer gesture controls.
    For engines, the Golf will be the first Volkswagen model to debut a new 1.5L turbo-four with two power outputs - 128 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque for the economical BlueMotion and 148 horsepower and 184 pound-feet for the standard engine. GTI models will see an increase in power as well - the standard model sees power jump from 210 to 227 horsepower while the Performance variant now features 242 horsepower. A new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will take the place of the six-speed version.
    In terms of safety, the Golf will come with a new Traffic Jam Assist system that uses the adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist to allow the vehicle to crawl in traffic. There will also be front collision assistance with pedestrian detection and a trailer assist system (for Europe only).
    The updated Golf will go on sale next year in Europe. The U.S. will likely get the updated Golf in the 2018 model year.
    Source: Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2

    In brief – the world premiere of the 2017 model year Golf
    Wolfsburg, November 2016. Volkswagen is digitalising the most successful model in the Group’s history – the Golf – with a major update. The main focus of the 2017 model year is – alongside new engines, keener design and new assistance systems – a completely new generation of infotainment systems. As a world first in the compact class, the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system can be operated by gesture control. With its 9.2-inch screen it forms a conceptual and visual entity with the Active Info Display, which is also new to the Golf. In parallel to this, the range of online services and apps has also been enlarged. The update to the Golf, of which over 33 million have been sold to date, also reflects a new standard for assistance systems in the compact class: technologies such as City Emergency Braking with new Pedestrian Monitoring function, the new Traffic Jam Assist (partially automated driving at speeds of up to 60 km/h) and Emergency Assist, which is also new in this segment, significantly improve safety.
    New TSI engines and a new 7-speed DSG. The progressive digitalisation is accompanied by the enhanced EA211 TSI engine family. The new Golf initially sees the debut of the new turbocharged petrol engine, the “1.5 TSI Evo” – a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder turbo with Active Cylinder Management (ACT). This will be followed by a BlueMotion version producing 96 kW/130 PS. Volkswagen has also boosted the performance of the Golf GTI, the new version of which will produce 169 kW/230 PS and 180 kW/245 PS (GTI Performance) and a new 7-speed DSG (dual clutch gearbox) will gradually replace the 6-speed DSG as a high-efficiency gearbox for the Golf.
    Powerful, more refined design and new LED lights. Volkswagen presents the update to the two- and four-door Golf, the Golf Variant and the sporty Golf GTI and Golf GTE at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg. The more refined design of all new versions of the Golf makes a more powerful impression than ever before. The modifications include new bumpers at the front and rear, new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, new full LED headlights instead of xenon headlights, new front wings, new full LED tail lights – which come as standard for every version of the Golf – as well as new wheels and colours, and the interior of the 2017 model year Golf is finished off with refined new decorative trims and fabrics. The range of equipment versions of the Golf remains unchanged.
    The design in detail – a charismatically enhanced icon
    Confident Golf front section. New details give the Golf’s iconic design yet more unmistakable clarity, in particular the combination of the radiator grille and the headlights, which round off the original stylishly. The lower chrome strip on the radiator grille extends to the left and right as a chrome element (painted red on the GTI and blue on the GTE) and LED daytime running lights out to the headlights (the LED headlights, which either comes as standard or as an optional extra, depending on the equipment version, replace the xenon headlights in the new Golf). The cooling openings in the lower part of the bumper, which have also been redesigned, accentuate the width of the Volkswagen even more than before. The interplay of the new details make the Golf even more striking. Another optical highlight for the versions with Adaptive Cruise Control ACC and/or Front Assist including the City Emergency Braking function with new Pedestrian Monitoring is that the radar sensor for these systems on the TDI, TSI, LNG, GTD and GTI versions will no longer be located (visibly) in the lower cooling air intake in the bumper, but will instead now be hidden behind the VW logo in the upper radiator grille.
    Full LED tail lights as standard. The back of the car has also been made more charismatic: from now on, all versions of the Golf and Golf Variant will come with full LED tail lights. In contrast to many standard LED tail lights, none of the functions of the Golf’s new tail lights will use conventional light bulbs. Also, the top-of-the-range version of the full LED tail lights (available for the 2 and 4-door Golf) will have animated flowing indicators. This version can be recognised by a translucent white LED stripe that turns orange when indicating. Last, but not least, the top-of-the-range version is set apart by a visually striking switch-over between the LED tail light and the LED brake lights when the brakes are applied.
    Refined interior. For the interior of the Golf, Volkswagen’s‎ design division “Colour & Trim” has come up with new decorative trim panels in the doors, the dash panel and the centre console, as well as new seat covers.
    Golf GTI. The sporty GT versions are set apart by colour applications to match the character of the specific Golf version, instead of the chrome strip in the radiator grille and headlights. One of the most important Golf GTI insignias – the red stripe in the radiator grille – is now extended as an even more distinctive feature. The crossbar in the radiator grille and little winglets at the side of the standard dual LED headlights are also red. The back of the 2017 model year Golf GTI is distinguished not only by the new bumpers and the full LED tail lights, but also by the enlarged cross-section of the chrome-plated exhaust pipes.
    Golf GTE. Similar to the Golf GTI, with its red design elements, the latest Golf GTE features the characteristic blue design elements of the plug-in hybrid version. The blue winglets in the GTE’s new LED headlights, which also come as standard, visually emphasise the dynamism of this efficient Volkswagen.
    Golf Variant. The diverse model range of the Golf has traditionally included the Golf Variant. The latest version of this all-rounder is also celebrating its world premiere. A new rear bumper makes the Golf Variant appear even more elongated and elegant. The full LED tail lights, which also come as standard with this version, suit this look perfectly. Just like the Passat Variant, the Golf Variant is also available with sophisticated trapezoidal chrome trim panels, which are directly integrated into the diffuser, as an option.
    Digital Golf – Active Info Display, gesture control and online services
    Digital instrumentation and gesture control.The update of the Golf is most readily visible inside, because the 2017 model year offers a new and increasingly digital display and control concept. It is based on the new Active Info Display and the first infotainment system with gesture control to be offered in a Volkswagen. Along with this, Volkswagen has updated its whole range of infotainment systems. Its most important characteristic is the sophisticated new design, larger touchscreens and, as outlined above, – in the case of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” model – gesture control, which is implemented here for the first time in the Golf's compact car class.
    Active Info Display – the full digital cockpit
    Instrumentation for a new generation. The Golf’s Active Info Display is a fully digital instrument cluster with numerous interactive functions. All of the instruments are displayed virtually on the 12.3-inch colour display. The navigation information can be displayed in 2D or 3D. Its resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels enables extremely precise and sophisticated interactive display of all the details. There are five different information profiles, in which the kind of information and graphics displayed in certain areas changes. The driver can select from one of the following profiles: “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation”. The “Navigation” profile is a good example of the interactive features of the Active Info Display: here, the speedometer and rev counter are moved to the sides to make more room for the map in the middle. Information on driving, navigation and assistance functions can also be integrated into the graphic areas of the speedometer and rev counter, as required. Data such as telephone contact images or CD covers can also be displayed on the Active Info Display. Depending on the model, the graphics can be customised: in the Golf GTI, for example, the graphics use GTI red as a contrasting colour, while the Golf GTE uses GTE blue to help the instruments blend in with the look of the plug-in hybrid. The Active Info Display is available as an optional extra for all versions of the Golf, as an alternative to analogue instruments.
    The latest generation of the MIB – with gesture control for the first time
    World premiere. Gesture control celebrates its world premiere in the compact class with its debut in the updated Golf. It will be available with the top-of-the-range version of the modular infotainment matrix (MIB) – “Discover Pro” as soon as the new model year is launched.
    6.5- to 9.2-inch screens. Volkswagen has replaced all of the existing infotainment systems in the Golf with a new generation of the MIB. The most important feature is that all of the systems now offer a new design and larger touchscreens, although the names of the infotainment systems remain unchanged. The 5-inch “Composition Touch” and “Composition Colour” systems (with a display resolution of 400 x 240 pixels) have been replaced by the new 6.5-inch “Composition Colour” system, with a touchscreen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and the black-and-white “Composition Touch” has been discontinued. The next level up, “Composition Media” and “Discover Media” (incl. navigation) have so far had 6.5-inch screens. They have also been replaced by systems with the same names, but with 8.0-inch screens, while the resolution of 800 x 480 pixels also remains unchanged. The 8.0-inch screen of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system (incl. navigation) will from now on be replaced by a 9.2-inch touchscreen, with the resolution increased from 800 x 480 to 1280 x 640 pixels. The new “Discover Pro” will be the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation with gesture control in addition to proximity sensors – a world premiere in the compact car segment. Volkswagen plans to introduce the new systems in several other product lines in the course of 2017.
    “Discover Pro” in detail. Not only does the “Discover Pro” version of the MIB have a 9.2-inch display with a resolution that has increased from 117 to 155 dpi, it has also been completely redesigned. In contrast to the previous 8.0-inch system used in the Golf, the entire front is spanned by a stylish glass surface (also applies to the new “Discover Media” system). Conventional buttons and controls are a thing of the past with “Discover Pro”; all haptic operation is performed via the touchscreen and five capacitive panels on the left side of the new infotainment system. This vertical bar on the left comprises the functions: “Menu”, “Home”, “On/Off”, “Volume up” and “Volume down” – in other words the main commands, because the driver needs to have direct access to functions such as the volume control. The same applies to the capacitive panel “Home”, with which the driver can get back to the main menu – and thus the home screen – from any of the sub-menus in an instant.
    Individually configurable home screen. In contrast to the previous version of the “Discover Pro”, the driver can now also configure the home screen. The navigation function is displayed  in a large panel on the left of the screen, while there are two smaller panels arranged verticallyon the right. The driver can assign important functions to these two display panels, which are also interactive – for instance the radio or the media library in the top panel and his phone contacts in the bottom panel. Like on a smartphone, as soon as the driver touches the “Home” button – no matter which menu they may currently be in – , the system will return to the personalised home screen, as outlined above.
    Gesture, touch and voice control. Another first – as outlined above – is that the “Discover Pro” system is now performed by gesture and touch controls as well as voice control. Of course, the new “Discover Pro” is also equipped with a proximity sensor, thanks to which even more menu functions appear on the display when a hand comes close to the screen. Despite a range of equipment and functions offered by the new infotainment system hitherto unseen in the Golf, the operation of the system – as is typical of Volkswagen – remains intuitive and simple.
    Gesture control. Gesture control can be used in various different menus. All it takes is a swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items left or right, allowing the driver to scroll through the main menu, change radio stations, flip through the playlist or browse through the Picture Viewer and albums in the media library (CoverFlow). A 'light flare' indicates which options can be operated by gesture control and operation is supported by visual interactive feedback. Successful swipes are also confirmed by a sound effect, which can optionally be deactivated.
    Fully integrated and with maximum compatibility. The range of equipment offered with the “Discover Pro” system also includes an amp with an output of 4 x 20 watts, a DVD drive, two USB ports (Apple compatible), two SD card slots, AUX-IN socket, a 10 GB SSD drive, the full range of music playback capabilities, a movie player, jukebox, podcast player, proximity sensor and voice control as well as navigation. Optional are a “Rear View” (reversing camera), DAB+, up to two extra USB sockets as well as two mobile phone interfaces. In the updated Golf the driver or front seat passenger can simply put their smartphone in a redesigned optional storage compartment with an interface for mobile telephones (“Comfort” mobile phone pre-installation). The highlight here is that the phone can be charged and coupled to the vehicle's external antenna inductively – that is, without cables, (in accordance with the Qi standard). Other optional extras include the Car-Net options “App Connect”, “Security & Service” (new in the Golf) and “Guide & Inform”, while “Media Control” is available as an optional extra for the infotainment functions.
    Media Control. With the “Media Control” app, Volkswagen offers an infotainment interface for tablets (and smartphones). The app can be used to control many of the functions of the infotainment system conveniently from a tablet or phone. Passengers simply connect their tablet to the “Discover Media” or “Discover Pro” infotainment system using the WiFi hotspot. The systems that can be controlled include the radio, all audio and video sources (e.g. USB, CD, DVD, hard drive) as well as the navigation system. The information shown on the menu includes artist, album name and cover. Standard features in the navigation menu are supplemented by an address-search function that uses the Internet and which can also be used to enter selected search results as destinations. Over and above this, rear seat passengers can also send calendar events and address book entries on the tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system as destinations for the navigation system now, turning “Media Control“ into a mobile extension of the infotainment system and an affordable modern-day rear seat entertainment system.
    Volkswagen Car-Net – apps and online services for the Golf
    App Connect. The latest generation of the modular infotainment matrix allows the Golf to connect to current Apple and Android smartphones via App Connect, because, along with MirrorLink™ (Android), App Connect can now also integrate CarPlay™ (Apple) and Android Auto™ (Google) into vehicle infotainment systems.
    Security & Service. This is the first time that Volkswagen has offered the “Security & Service” package in the Golf. This gives the driver mobile access to assistance in a wide range of situations. The highlights include services such as “Automatic Accident Notification”, “Breakdown Call” and “Service Scheduling” (for making maintenance appointments with your garage). Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Centre, which can then arrange for prompt assistance or medical attention, while the system already sends the vehicle data and its location to the emergency services when the driver calls for roadside assistance. Over and above this, “Security & Service” offers functions like online monitoring of “Doors & Lights” as well as information on “Parking Position” (by smartphone or web portal). Anyone who has a learner driver in the family will appreciate “Area Alert” (which automatically notifies you if the Golf is driven in or leaves certain areas) and “Speed Alert” (which is activated as soon as a certain speed is exceeded). Another useful feature is the “Online Anti-Theft Alarm”, which will send you a notification via the Volkswagen Car-Net app on your smartphone or by email if an attempt is made to break into the car.
    Guide & Inform. “Guide & Inform” allows the use of a wide range of online services. It includes an app for the “Discover Media” system and an extended range of apps for the “Discover Pro” system. The services available for “Discover Media” include apps such as “Online POI Search”, “Destination Import”, “Fuel Info” (location and price), “News”, “Parking Info” (location and availability), “Weather”, “Charging Stations” (for Golf GTE and e-Golf) and “Online Traffic Information”. The “Online Traffic Information” service (current traffic situation information) makes it easier to predict how long each journey in the Golf will take, as it feeds data such as traffic density and traffic jams, clearance of traffic jams and other congestion into the navigation system’s dynamic route guidance virtually in real time, so that it can be taken into account. The messages themselves can be viewed in detail via the “Traffic” menu item, while graphics and coloured marks on the map displayed on the screen permanently provide up-to-date information on the traffic situation The “Online Traffic Information” service can thus help you to avoid jams in real time. The larger range of apps for “Discover Media” system also includes Google Street View™, Google Earth™, “POI Voice Search” and “Online Map Update”.
    New assistance systems – increased safety and comfort
    The Golf protects its driver, passengers and pedestrians. If there has ever been a model series that has democratised progress, then it is the first seven generations of the Golf. Systems such as ABS, ESC and later the whole broad spectrum of assistance systems came to be taken for granted by millions of people the world over thanks to the affordable Golf. It was, for example, one of the first cars in the compact class with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Sensor, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist, Driver Alert System, reversing camera (Rear View), traffic sign recognition, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and trailer stabilisation. The updated Golf continues this tradition. With the 2017 model year Volkswagen is expanding the range of assistance systems, adding Traffic Jam Assist, the new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Trailer Assist, which is the first time ever that a trailer manoeuvring system has been available in the compact class, and Emergency Assist. The proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash) has also been refined.
    Traffic Jam Assist – the Golf is capable of partially automated driving.
    Semi-automated driving in traffic jams. Volkswagen has developed Traffic Jam Assist on the basis of Lane Assist (lane departure warning system) and ACC (automatic distance control) for all Golf models with a DSG gearbox. The system makes traffic jams or stop-and-go driving in the Golf much more comfortable. It also makes driving in jams safer, as the assistant helps the driver to avoid the rear-end collisions so typical of traffic jams. By combining various assistance systems the Golf is, for the first time, capable of partially automated driving.
    Lane Assist plus ACC. Lane Assist provides the basis for this system with adaptive lane guidance even at speeds of below 60 km/h. Not only does the system countersteer to make corrections if the car is about to leave the lane, but, with adaptive lane guidance enabled, it also keeps the Golf in the middle of the driving lane or in the driver's preferred position. ACC is also integrated in Traffic Jam Assist as a second assistance system, because, with ACC, braking and accelerating is automatic even at stop-and-go speeds. ACC and Lane Assist thus merge into Traffic Jam Assist, which means that the system enables assisted lateral and longitudinal guidance. The car steers, accelerates and brakes automatically, within the system’s boundaries, but only under the condition that the driver's hands are on the steering wheel and participating in steering, so that the driver can intervene at any time.
    Emergency Assist – in an emergency, the Golf can stop automatically
    The Golf notices if the driver is incapacitated.Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not making any steering, braking or acceleration movements any more, the system initiates various escalating actions to alert the driver, and if the driver remains inactive, it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard warning lights are activated automatically and the Golf executes a gentle steering manoeuvre to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation. ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with the traffic ahead. Finally, the system brakes the Golf gradually to a standstill to avoid a serious accident, if possible.
    Front Assist and City Emergency Braking – detects pedestrians
    Safety in the city. Front Assist is a system which warns the driver and brakes automatically in the event of an imminent collision. One component of the Front Assist system is the City Emergency Braking function. The latest version of the Front Assist function is not only capable of detecting other vehicles, but also pedestrians who are crossing the street. As soon as a pedestrian is at risk, the system warns the driver and eventually slows the Golf down autonomously.
    Trailer Assist – partially automated manoeuvring with a trailer
    Reversing with a trailer is child’s play now.Another novelty in the compact class is Trailer Assist. The idea behind it: Trailer Assist is designed to free the driver of the complicated rethinking needed when reversing with a car and trailer, turning the steering wheel to the left so that the trailer turns to the right – and vice versa. Generally, the goal was also to make reversing over straight and longer distances easier and more exact. Trailer Assist is now capable of doing this almost automatically. To reverse a Golf with a trailer into a parking bay or an entrance from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed on the instrument cluster. This is achieved with image-processing algorithms that use data from the rear-view camera, which monitors and analyses the angle between the car and the trailer. With the help of the mirror adjustment switch, which serves as a sort of joystick, the driver can freely adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Golf executes the steering commands entered by the driver, who only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brake. The driving direction of the Golf is automatically controlled by the electromechanical power steering system.
    Park Assist 3.0 – semi-automated parking and manoeuvring
    Brakes and steers automatically. Park Assist makes it possible to park in any parking space that is parallel or perpendicular to the carriageway semi-automatically, and the system can also exit from parallel parking spaces. In the case of perpendicular parking spaces, not only is parking in reverse supported for the first time in a Golf, but it is also possible to park in a forward direction semi-automatically. The first generation of Park Assist assisted the driver by performing automated steering for parallel parking. The second generation of Park Assist added automatic steering for reverse parking into spaces perpendicular to the carriageway, and parallel parking spaces could also be smaller. In addition, automatic exiting from parallel parking spaces was also possible. The third generation of Park Assist, which is now available for the Golf, also makes it possible, as outlined above, to park forwards semi-automatically in parking bays. Due to its high functional versatility, Park Assist 3.0 can optimally assist the driver, especially in difficult traffic situations, because it speeds up the parking process.
    Proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash) – maximum possible safety
    Be prepared. The Golf is one of the first cars in its class to feature a proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash). The Golf update includes further refinement of the proactive passenger protection system. It also interacts intelligently with the Front Assist system to react to strong autonomous braking interventions and acute collision hazards in order to provide the best possible support to passengers in critical situations. How it works: if the system detects a potential accident situation – for example, through the initiation of hard braking because a brake assistant is activated – the front seatbelts are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the air bag and seatbelt system. When a critical and unstable driving situation is detected – such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention – the side windows and sunroof are also closed, except for a small gap. The reason for this is that when the windows and roof are nearly closed, the head and side airbags offer optimal energy absorption and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness.
    Personalisation – individual settings are saved
    The key serves as your ID. The number of convenience and assistance systems increases with each new generation of vehicles. As outlined above, this is also true of the new Golf. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, often by different drivers of the car. This means that drivers constantly have to restore their personal settings. Volkswagen has designed a new generation of personalisation that simplifies this process significantly. This involves combining the individual settings for a driver into a user account, which is saved by the vehicle. Drivers can open the user management menu to activate their individual user account, and thus implement their individual settings. Drivers simply identify themselves using their car key, which takes place when the Golf is unlocked. This activates initial settings such as adjusting the seat position on the driver's side, which can now be saved using the memory function. An overview of personalisation options in the Golf, depending on the specific equipment version:
    Ambient lighting
    ACC Adaptive Cruise Control
    Front Assist
    Infotainment system (incl. media library, navigation & telephone)
    Automatic air conditioning settings
    Instrument cluster/multifunction display
    Lane Assist
    Light and Sight (“leaving home” and “coming home” functions, rain sensor and automatic dimming rear-view mirror)
    Park Assist
    Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert
    Driver’s seat (seat with memory function)
    New engines and gearboxes – TSI petrol engine saves up to 1.0 litre per 100 km
    New TSI engines and a new 7-speed DSG.Volkswagen has enhanced the EA211 TSI engine family; the new turbocharged petrol direct-injection engines celebrate its debut in the Golf. It’s roll-out begins with the “1.5 TSI Evo” – a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with Active Cylinder Management (ACT) and efficient common rail direct injectiontechnology. The new TSI is particularly agile and refined; it develops its maximum torque of 250 Nm at low revs of just 1,500 rpm. NEDC fuel consumption: 4.9 l/100 km* (equating to 110 g/km CO2*). A BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI Evo with 96 kW/130 PS is also in preparation. The NEDC fuel consumption of this version will be 4.6 l/100 km* (104 g/km CO2*). Among the special characteristics of these high-tech engines are a new combustion cycle (derived from the Miller cycle) and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry (VTG). The engine develops its maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 1,400 rpm. As a world premiere, the 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS also offers an extended coasting function when the engine is deactivated – completely shutting down the TSI when the driver releases the accelerator. Such engine deactivation has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now, as systems like the electromechanical power steering and the brake servo still need to be supplied with energy even when the Evo motor is switched off. This is the case in the Golf 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS; the extended coasting function, which comes as standard, reduces fuel consumption in real-life operation by up to 0.4 l/100 km. Thanks to the coasting function and the other technical innovations, this 1.5 TSI Evo will offer a fuel consumption advantage of up to 1.0 l/100 km, depending on driving style.
    GTI models with improved performance. Volkswagen has also improved performance of the Golf GTI models with this update. With 169 kW/230 PS (an increase of 7 kW/10 PS), the standard version is now as powerful as the previous Performance version, while the power output of the new Golf GTI Performance has risen to 180 kW/245 PS.
    New 7-speed DSG. Volkswagen has also developed a new 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The new DSG will gradually replace all of the 6-speed DSGs used in the Golf to date, helping to cut CO2.

    William Maley

    MQB is sticking around for awhile

    Volkswagen's brand chief Herbert Diess revealed in an interview this past weekend that the modular MQB platform with some minor tweaks will underpin the next two generations of their vehicles.
    "The MQB has high technical substance, so we can use it for the next two vehicle generations without further major investments," Diess told German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung. 
    This move is in an effort to save a bit of cash due to the fallout of the diesel emission scandal. Diess didn't say what kind of tweaks would be done.
    MQB currently underpins a number of Volkswagen vehicles in the world. In the U.S., the entire Volkswagen Golf lineup and upcoming Atlas crossover. 
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Progress is being made on reaching an agreement for the 3.0L TDI V6

    Volkswagen has cleared one hurdle in the form of the 2.0L TDI talks. Now it is working trying to clear the hurdle that is the 3.0L TDI V6.
    Yesterday in U.S. Federal Court in San Fransisco, Judge Charles Breyer got on update on the talks over the 3.0L TDI V6. Breyer said at the hearing that "substantial progress" is being made between Volkswagen and the U.S. Government. People briefed on the talks tell Reuters that Volkswagen might agree on buying back at least 21,000 older Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touraeg models and repair the remaining vehicles, but only if regulators agree on the proposed fix. 
    A number of other issues are still undecided such as how much Volkswagen is willing to compensate owners of vehicles equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6. 
    Breyer set a deadline for December 1st for an update on the talks.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Volkswagen road to redemption begins with a crossover

    Previous Page Next Page Volkswagen has never understood the U.S. marketplace since the first Beetle. Their vehicles were either too expensive or didn't fit the needs of a buyer. But the company hopes with their new 2018 Atlas crossover, they can make end roads into the U.S. market and begin fixing their tattered image.
    The Atlas is basically the production version of the CrossBlue concept that debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Details such as the long grille, flat-topped wheel fenders, a crease along the side, and sloping rear window are here. If you didn't know this was Volkswagen, you would swear it was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Using a stretched version of Volkswagen's MQB modular platform (yes, the same one used in the Golf), the Crossblue measures 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches tall. To put this in perspective, the GMC Acadia is about 4.7 inches shorter and 2.5 inches narrower than the Atlas.
    Inside, the Atlas features three rows of seating for seven people. Volkswagen is quick to point out a clever folding mechanism for the second row that allows someone to enter the third row with a child's seat in the second. As for technologies, all Atlas trims will get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink integration. Optional will be Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit which swaps the standard instrument cluster for a reconfigurable screen and a 12-speaker Fender audio system.
    At launch, the Atlas will come with two engine options,
    Turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 238 horsepower 3.6L VR6 with 280 horsepower No torque figures were given for either engine. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive comes standard for both engines. 4Motion all-wheel drive is only available for the VR6. 4Motion will offer various drive modes for various road conditions. A hybrid model is expected down the road.
    Volkswagen says the Atlas will be available at dealers next spring and will be built at the company's Chattanooga, TN plant. Pricing will be announced before then.
    Source: Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2
    The Chattanooga-built Atlas arrives with a full slate of available driver assistance and technology features, a massive interior and a choice of two powertrains
    Largest Volkswagen ever assembled in America Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eightspeed automatic transmission Seating for two adults in the third row, with innovative access system Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on VR6 models or standard front-wheel-drive Santa Monica, Calif. – The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, unveiled tonight on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of historic Route 66, launches a new chapter in the company’s American history. Built in Tennessee, the seven-passenger Atlas offers class-competitive levels of technology and spaciousness combined with hallmark Volkswagen driving dynamics and attention to detail, all at a price designed to draw customers’ attention in the family SUV segment.
    “This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven, ” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North America Region, Volkswagen. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”
    Engineered from Volkswagen’s award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas draws on the latest Volkswagen design DNA to create a bold new look in the SUV segment. At 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high, Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the U.S., yet it retains classic proportions and clean lines that create a sense of timelessness and precision. Up front, standard LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights combine for a unique visual signature, with optional LED taillights to complete the look.
    Inside, the Atlas makes maximum use of its dimensions to offer space for seven adults and their luggage. The third-row can be easily reached by an innovative folding seat solution, one that works even with child seats installed in the second row. Simple, driver-centric displays enhance the feeling behind the wheel rather than distracting from it; while the available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit allows drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information.
    The available Volkswagen Car-Net® system provides a full suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technology that offers integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. The vehicle also features an available Fender® Premium Audio System that is the most sophisticated yet seen in a Volkswagen, with 12 channels, a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
    The Atlas offers available driver assistance features that had been previously been reserved for premium SUVs, at an affordable level. These include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).
    Also, the Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
    The Atlas arrives with a choice of two powertrains: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® four cylinder with 238 horsepower or the available 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 280 horsepower. Either engine routes power through an eight-speed transmission to help maximize engine efficiency, and the Atlas can be configured either as front-wheel-drive or with available 4Motion all-wheel-drive in VR6 trims. The 4Motion system has a Driving Mode Selection feature that allows the driver to select specific parameters based on driving conditions. EPA fuel economy estimates will be released ahead of the launch in the Spring of 2017.
    The Atlas is built alongside the Passat at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant, the result of an additional $900 million investment by Volkswagen in the facility. The Chattanooga plant is the only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.
    Previous Page Next Page

    William Maley

    The beginning of the end of the diesel emission scandal

    Almost five months after Volkswagen and the U.S. Government announced they had reached a settlement totaling $14.7 billion over the 2.0L TDI engine scandal, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has given the final approval today in San Francisco . The approval marks a pivotal moment for the German automaker as they begin to move away from a scandal that has done a lot of harm not only to them, but also diesel fuel.
    The majority of the settlement will be used by Volkswagen to give owners of vehicles equipped with the 2.0L TDI four-cylinder two options,
    Have Volkswagen buy back the vehicle at NADA trade-in value before the scandal broke along with a one-time cash payment Wait for Volkswagen to come up with a fix for the 2.0L TDI (a one-time cash payment is included) The remainder of the settlement will be split between offsetting the excess emissions and the development of zero-emission vehicles.
    “Final approval of the 2.0L TDI settlement is an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process. Volkswagen is committed to ensuring that the program is now carried out as seamlessly as possible for our affected customers and has devoted significant resources and personnel to making their experience a positive one,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc in a statement.
    Work is still being done on a settlement for the 85,000 vehicles equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6.
    Source: Volkswagen, Reuters
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and certain affiliates (together, Volkswagen) announced today that Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted final approval to the settlement agreement between Volkswagen and private plaintiffs represented by a Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to resolve civil claims regarding eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI vehicles in the United States. Concurrently, Judge Breyer also approved a Consent Decree between Volkswagen and the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California by and through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Attorney General; and a Consent Order between Volkswagen and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. All three agreements were previously announced. 
    “Final approval of the 2.0L TDI settlement is an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process. Volkswagen is committed to ensuring that the program is now carried out as seamlessly as possible for our affected customers and has devoted significant resources and personnel to making their experience a positive one,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
    Volkswagen remains focused on resolving other outstanding issues in the United States and continues to work towards an agreed resolution for customers with affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engines.

    William Maley

    Volkswagen's most important model readies itself for a refresh

    The Volkswagen Golf is one of the German automaker's most important vehicles - currently is the best-selling vehicle in Europe. To keep this title, the automaker is planning a refresh for 2017.
    According to Autocar, Volkswagen isn't making any major changes to the exterior. There will be reshaped bumpers and revised head and taillights. The big changes are inside as Volkswagen is planning to implement its own version of Audi's virtual cockpit - 12.5-inch to display gauges along with the ability to display a map. Higher-end Golfs will be available with a large 9.5-inch touchscreen with the ability to use gesture controls.
    Engines are expected to include a turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder that is currently used in the Up and Polo along with re-worked versions of the 1.4L turbo-four. The 1.5L gas and diesel engines have been delayed according to sources because Volkswagen is redirecting their engineering efforts because of the diesel emission mess.
    Volkswagen will be revealing the revised Golf in a couple of weeks.
    It is unknown if and when the U.S. will see the refresh. Our money would be Volkswagen showing them for the 2018 model year.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    A report says Volkswagen's current CEO didn't know about the scandal till it broke

    Volkswagen can take a sigh of relief as it appears the current CEO, Matthias Müller, didn't have any prior knowledge of the diesel emission cheating. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) got their hands on a report done by Jones Day which said Müller didn't find out the scandal till the EPA made the announcement - September 18, 2015 if you're wondering. Only a week later, Müller would be named CEO of Volkswagen. 
    Still, Müller's track record on dealing with the diesel emission mess is spotty. He has said the scandal was just a 'technical problem' and a misunderstanding about U.S. law - claims that were deemed false and got Müller in hot water.
    Source: Bild am Sonntag via Reuters

    William Maley

    Even though the settlement hasn't gotten final approval, a majority of owners have signed up for it

    The settlement between the U.S. Government and Volkswagen still has to be approved by a federal court judge, but we're already getting some indications of what owners are planning to do when it is approved.
    Car and Driver got their hands on a memorandum filed at U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein - the firm representing owners in the case. The memorandum argued for the deal to get final approval - ahead of an October 18th hearing. But this memorandum also revealed some staggering numbers. At the time Car and Driver wrote their story, more than 311,000 owners - about 65 percent of the total 475,000 vehicles eligible - have registered for the settlement benefits. This is surprising since there is no deadline at the moment and deal hasn't been approved.
    The firm said in the memorandum the level of response for the settlement “a landslide referendum in favor of settlement approval, by any standard.”
    Owners who have signed up have the choice of either having Volkswagen buy back the vehicle at a value before the scandal broke or having the vehicle if and when a fix is approved. No matter which option is chosen, Volkswagen will also hand out additional money. 
    Source: Car and Driver

    William Maley

    Volkswagen's three-row crossover might have a different than first thought

    For the past few months, we have been reporting that Teramont  was the possible name for Volkswagen's upcoming three-row crossover. But it seems the model will be named something else. 
    Automobilwoche reports that the new crossover will wear the 'Atlas' nameplate. Volkswagen filed trademark applications for the name with the U.S. Government back in April. According to Automotive News, the Atlas name shows that VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken made good on a promise back in July that the crossover “much easier to pronounce, American-style name”.
    A Volkswagen spokeswoman declined to comment on the 'Atlas' name.
    Volkswagen is planning to show the new three-row crossover at an event on October 27th. 
    Source: Automobilwoche via Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Pic Credit: Auto Sina

    William Maley

    You could be seeing some of Volkswagen's commercial vehicles at your local dealer

    If there is one bright spot in Volkswagen, it has to be their commercial division. Through August, the division has seen sales increase 8.2 percent to 308,500 models. With their success, it should come as no surprise they are considering moving into other markets such as the U.S.
    Eckhard Scholz, Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division CEO tells Reuters that the United States "are still a highly interesting market." A lot of this comes from many commercial vehicle manufacturers operating in the U.S. are taking ideas from their European counterparts. But when asked about possibly selling vehicles in the U.S., Scholz said,
    "A lot of things come to mind but at the moment I have nothing concrete to say."
    Volkswagen's commercial division handles the Caddy, Transporter, and Crafter vans, along with the Amarok pickup. 
    This isn't the first time that Volkswagen has considered bringing over some of their commercial vehicles. Last year, then CEO of Volkswagen of America, Michael Horn said the automaker was looking at possibly bringing over one of their vans into the U.S.
    But there is a big elephant in the room; the diesel emission scandal. A fair number of commercial vehicle buyers like diesel engines for fuel economy and the ability to handle heavy loads. But Volkswagen may have a very difficult time trying to get diesel engines certified in the U.S. They might have to go with gas engines for the time being which could limit their appeal. 
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    We have some bad news and some possible good news

    There are changes afoot in the Volkswagen Golf family. We'll begin with the bad news, the two-door Golf GTI will be no more in the U.S. Car and Driver was able to confirm this news with Volkswagen. Why? 
    “The trend is clearly shifting toward four-door models,” said Volkswagen of America’s marketing chief, Hendrik Muth.
    Originally, Volkswagen was planning to offer the two-door GTI for 2017, but only in the base S trim. 
    Now for the possible good news, Volkswagen is considering adding all-wheel drive to the standard Golf. During the press launch of the Golf Alltrack, Volkswagen's vice president of product marketing and strategy Dr. Hendrik Muth explained that adding 4Motion to the Puebla, Mexico factory has brought forth new possibilities. The Truth About Cars asked if one of the possibilities was adding all-wheel drive to the standard Golf and Muth answered "Yes".
    Volkswagen wants to give Subaru a real challenge in the compact class. The Japanese automaker is the only one that offers all-wheel drive on their standard compact models - Impreza and XV Crosstrek. 
    Source: Car and Driver, The Truth About Cars
    Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

    William Maley

    How much will a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack set you back?

    Volkswagen has announced pricing and various details on the upcoming 2017 Golf Alltrack this week.
    The Golf Alltrack differs from the Golf SportWagen with 0.6-inch higher ride height, underbody guard for the front bumper, a larger gas tank (14.5-gallon for Alltrack vs. 13.2-gallon for Golf SportWagen), and 4Motion AWD as standard. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 22 City/30 Highway. 
    Pricing begins at $26,670 for the Golf Alltrack S with the manual and $27,770 for the DSG (prices include an $820 destination charge). The S gets leatherette seats, heated front seats, cruise control, an eight-speaker audio system, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with a backup camera.
    The Golf Alltrack SE starts at $30,250 with the manual or $31,350 with the DSG. SE models feature a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry with push-button start, and a Fender audio system. Wrapping up the Golf Alltrack lineup is the SEL which kicks off at $33,710 for the DSG. SEL models come with a 12-way power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, and navigation.
    S and SE models can be equipped with an optional Driver Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, parking steering assist, and rear park distance control for $845. SEL models get all of these features along with high beam control and bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting for $1,995.
    The 2017 Golf Alltrack arrives at dealers in a few weeks.
    Source: Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Sep 11, 2016
    MSRP ranges from $26,950 for the S model to $32,890 for the top-tier SEL trim 4Motion® all-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control, Alltrack-exclusive “Off Road Mode,” and increased ground clearance provide exceptional performance on a variety of road conditions Available advanced driver assistance systems include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist), Lane Departure Warning system (Lane Assist), and High Beam Control (Light Assist) Golf platform offers the utility of a compact SUV—cargo volume, roof rack—without compromise in road manners High-tech features include a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect and an available Off-Road HMI section for the MIB infotainment platform Herndon, VA – The Golf Alltrack, the eagerly awaited derivative of the Golf SportWagen, marries that vehicle’s practicality and fun-to-drive nature with the capabilities of 4Motion® all-wheel drive and rugged exterior styling. The Alltrack offers an affordable yet upscale alternative to existing all-wheel-drive wagons that are on the market.
    The Alltrack uses Volkswagen’s powerful yet fuel-efficient 1.8-liter TSI® turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine, which makes 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The TSI engine will initially be offered with a six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual transmission available later in the model year. The latest generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive system features a fast-acting center differential. Golf Alltrack will be available in three trims—S, SE and SEL—and will be in dealer showrooms in October.
    The Golf SportWagen body shape is immediately evident in the Alltrack, but there is absolutely no mistaking the two. Despite the overall length and width remaining roughly the same at 180.2 inches and 70.8 inches, the overall height has been increased because ride height is elevated by 0.6 inches. This change in proportions helps to make for a bolder, more capable appearance without compromising the pillars of Volkswagen design DNA—tight, crisp lines and understated-yet-modern surfaces.
    From the front, the Alltrack’s rugged character becomes even more apparent, with a redesigned bumper and added underbody guard, a matte-aluminum low-profile radiator grille crossbar extending into the headlights, a lower silver crossbar that incorporates standard foglights and unique black honeycomb grilles.
    The Alltrack’s profile also provides differentiation from the SportWagen, with body cladding on the side sills and around the wheelarches that carries over to the lower areas of the redesigned bumpers. Unique accenting can also be seen in the silver roof rails, Reflex Silver side mirrors and lower window chrome molding. A panoramic sunroof is standard equipment on SE and SEL grades. Also obvious from the side are the standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy “Valley” wheels (18-inch “Canyon” on the SEL) and the impressive ground clearance of 6.9 inches.
    At the back, the Alltrack sports dark-red taillights and a new bumper that is highlighted by dominant silver underbody protection, matching the style of the side sills and incorporating chrome exhaust outlets on either side. “Alltrack” and “4Motion” badging also make it clear this is a distinctly different vehicle than its Golf brethren.
    In addition to the standard foglights and LED Daytime Running Lights (all trims) with automatic headlight activation (SE and SEL only), a Driver Assist & Lighting Package is available for the Alltrack SEL that adds automatic headlight adjustment and replaces the halogen headlights with Bi-Xenon units.
    Inside, the Alltrack offers the same spacious 94.3 cubic feet of passenger volume as the SportWagen, as well as 30.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 66.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Headroom also remains the same at 38.6 inches, as does the front and rear shoulder room of 55.9 and 53.9 inches and front and rear legroom of 41.2 and 35.6 inches.
    Despite having the same measurements, there are some notable differences that make the Alltrack’s upscale cabin stand out. V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces—including a unique “Marrakesh” brown color option—are standard equipment across the line, along with heatable front seats. A 12-way power driver seat is standard on the SEL trim. The unique interior equipment of the Alltrack adds a black headliner, a 4Motion-branded chrome strip on the center console, stainless-steel door kickplates with the Alltrack logo, and custom aluminum-look pedals.
    In addition to the expansive interior space, driver controls are positioned to help optimize ergonomics and usability. The seat position, height of the shifter and the spacing between the pedals are fine-tuned for increased driver comfort. This driver-centric design focus is evident from the center stack, which is angled towards the driver, a feature frequently seen in premium luxury or performance vehicles. Ambient lighting further highlights this upscale character, as well as the use of premium materials throughout, such as the soft-touch plastics and leather-wrapped handbrake, shifter knob and multi-function steering wheel.
    An equal amount of attention has been paid to helping to optimize comfort and convenience throughout the lineup. The Alltrack comes equipped with a long list of modern comfort, convenience and entertainment features, including power windows, locks and mirrors, rearview camera, Bluetooth® technology and Volkswagen Car-Net® Security and Service. KESSY® keyless access with push-button start is standard equipment on SE and SEL trim levels, as is the Fender® Premium Audio System, while Climatronic® automatic dual-zone climate control is standard on SEL models. The Alltrack S is equipped with an eight-speaker audio system.
    As standard equipment across the Alltrack line, the MIB II infotainment system not only creates the foundation for the next generation of Volkswagen’s Car-Net connected vehicle services platform, but also offers one of the most comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features available in the automotive industry today. The Composition Media unit is standard in S and SE trims, while the Discover Media navigation unit is found in the SEL trim. Both MIB II units are anchored around a 6.5-inch, 800x480 capacitive color touchscreen display with proximity sensor.
    The Alltrack SEL also features the Discover Media unit, which upgrades the 6.5-inch touchscreen with 2.5D Navigation, one-shot voice destination entry, predicts possible destinations based on often used routes, and Destination Entry with Quick Search and Auto-complete, and Car-Net Guide & Inform.
    Compatible smartphone integration is a key part of this system, offering users the ability to run certain smartphone apps directly on the vehicle’s display through services like Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirroLink®.  Alltrack’s infotainment system also offers AUX-in, SD card and USB multimedia interfaces with Apple iPhone® and iPod® compatibility, as well as a rearview camera display and Bluetooth technology with audio streaming for compatible phones. Other features include the ability to sync two phones simultaneously, along with a JPEG viewer, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, HD Radio and support for lossless audio file format (Free Lossless Audio Codec FLAC).
    Security & Service
    With the Car-Net Security & Service suite, owners can access their VW remotely through vw.com/carnet as well as a smartphone app, providing access to the features available from virtually anywhere your mobile device is connected to wireless internet.
    Available security related features include Automatic Crash Notification, which can automatically notify an operator who can contact first responders in the event of an collision; Manual Emergency Call, a feature that allows for quick access to customer specialists at the touch of a button; Roadside Assistance, for added peace-of-mind in the event of trouble on the road; and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which uses VW Car-Net Security & Service to assist law enforcement with locating your vehicle in the event that it is stolen.
    In addition, Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service offers layers of convenience, such as remote vehicle access, remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash (of lights), last parked location information, and remote status check (doors and windows).
    The Car-Net Security & Service also offers Family Guardian, a suite of features that help families. Features including speed alert, which can notify the owner of the vehicle when the preset maximum speed limit is exceeded; and boundary alert, which can alert you if the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary.
    Diagnostics and maintenance information is also available through VW Car-Net. A Vehicle Health Report allows Volkswagen customers to check to see an overview of vehicle diagnostics. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net Security & Service can not only alert the customer, but also provide a simple way to schedule a dealer visit. It can even identify the closest dealer in case you need a recommendation.
    Customers purchasing new Volkswagen models equipped with Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service connected vehicle services (not including App-Connect) will receive a no-charge trial for six months after purchase. To extend the benefits of this connectivity system, customers can choose from a number of Volkswagen Car-Net payment options: 1 year, for $199; 2 years for $378; 3 years for $540; or, month-to-month, for $17.99.
    Guide & Inform. Car-Net Guide & Inform offers an enhanced navigation and infotainment experience for Volkswagen customers. Volkswagen has incorporated technologies that enhance existing navigation offerings while adding an additional level of information that empowers owners.
    Satellite navigation is refined with Car-Net Guide & Inform, which incorporates several layers of information right onto the screen. MIB II-equipped Volkswagen models with in-vehicle navigation systems feature real-time fuel prices, sports scores, movie information and weather data as part of the three month SiriusXM Travel Link trial. Volkswagen customers will also enjoy real-time traffic information and a complimentary three-month SiriusXM Traffic trial.
    Customers purchasing new Volkswagen models equipped with Volkswagen Car-Net connected vehicle services (not including App-Connect) will receive a no-charge trial for six months after purchase. To extend the benefits of this connectivity system, customers can choose from a number of Volkswagen Car-Net payment options: 1 year, for $199; 2 years for $378; 3 years for $540; or, month-to-month, for $17.99. App-Connect can be used free-of-charge and is not included as part of the subscription-based services. Car-Net Guide & Inform services are provided by SiriusXM, and following the three-month trial period of SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic, customers can contact SiriusXM at www.siriusxm.com to learn how to initiate paid subscriptions to these services.
    The Alltrack shares its 1.8-liter TSI engine with other members of the seventh-generation Golf lineup. This four-cylinder gasoline unit is a member of the latest EA888 engine family, utilizing turbocharged induction and direct fuel injection to help achieve excellent efficiency while still delivering impressive power. Output is rated at 170 horsepower at 4500 rpm and a stout 199 pound-feet of torque beginning at just 1600 rpm.
    Across all grades, Alltrack is launching with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission will be available early in 2017 on the S and SE trimlines. Regardless of transmission, power is routed to all four wheels via the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
    Also unique to Alltrack is a large 14.5-gallon fuel tank, which offers a greater range for adventure than SportWagen’s 13.2-gallon tank. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.
    4Motion all-wheel-drive system
    One of the Alltrack’s key features is the 4Motion permanent all-wheel-drive system. The latest-generation 4Motion system is activated before any wheelspin occurs, helping eliminate nearly all traction losses. The system achieves this by using an advanced control function based on specific driving conditions. When operating under a relatively low load or when coasting, the front wheels are driven and the rear wheels are decoupled, which can help save fuel. However, the rear wheels can be engaged in fractions of a second whenever necessary via the center differential, which is activated by an electro-hydraulic oil pump.
    A control unit continually calculates the ideal drive torque for the rear wheels and controls how much the multi-plate clutch should be closed by activating the oil pump. The oil pressure increases the contact pressure at the clutch plates in proportion to the torque desired at the rear axle. So, the amount of pressure applied to the clutch plates can be used to continuously vary the amount of torque going between the front and rear wheels, up to a maximum of 50 percent at the rear axle.
    In addition to the center differential that acts longitudinally, electronic differential locks (EDL) that are a function of the electronic stability control system act laterally. The system can briefly brake a wheel that is slipping, enabling uninterrupted and stable transfer of drive power to the wheel on the opposite side.
    As a member of the modern Golf lineup, Alltrack is built on the same MQB chassis architecture as the rest of the line. The unitary construction chassis has two solid-mounted subframes with bolt-on front fenders, and utilizes new technologies such as laser clamp welding, which produces “wobble seam” welds in a wave pattern to help maximize strength in a limited space, offering up to four times the strength of a traditional spot weld.
    The stamped steel body and chassis boasts a large percentage of high-strength, hot-formed steel. This technology, along with the use of newly developed ultra-high-strength steels, allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without any loss in strength. Additionally, thanks to the use of selective thickness for parts, a single component can be tailor-rolled to have as many as 11 zones of varying thicknesses.
    Thanks to the extensive use of modern construction techniques and high- and ultra-high strength steels, Alltrack’s chassis manages to remain lightweight despite its upscale features and enhanced crash structure. Throughout the car, incredible attention to detail has optimized components—such as the seats, air conditioning system, and even the electrical architecture—to help save weight.
    The Alltrack has its own, unique suspension tuning, with a ride height that is raised by 0.6 inches. Up front, a strut layout uses coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar, with a multilink arrangement with coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar at the back.
    The Golf Alltrack’s braking system features 11.3-inch vented front discs and 10.7-inch solid rear discs with standard three-channel ABS with electronic brake pressure distribution. The rack-and-pinion steering features electric power assist and features a 13.6:1 ratio that allows for 2.76 turns from lock to lock and a vehicle turning circle of 35.8 feet.
    The Alltrack features a unique Driving Mode Selection that enables an Off Road Mode setting. This driving profile alters the ABS system and accelerator pedal character and activates the hill descent function, helping Alltrack deliver exceptional performance off the beaten path. The available Off-Road HMI that is part of the navigation system displays compass, steering angle, and altitude when driving off-road.
    Alltrack is also equipped with the XDS+® Cross Differential System—a feature originally developed for the performance-oriented GTI model. This technology acts somewhat like an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, working by actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps stability, but can also help improve handling and cornering performance.
    Like the rest of the Golf line, Alltrack provides an intelligent combination of both passive and active safety systems. The 2017 Alltrack has been given a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
    A standard feature on all 2017 Alltrack models is the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping to reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
    The Alltrack also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions. All Alltrack models are equipped with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
    Driver Assistance Systems
    The Alltrack S and SE are available with the Driver Assistance Package (MSRP $845) that adds Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist). The Alltrack SEL can be equipped with the Driver Assistance & Lighting Package ($1,995), which includes the above-listed systems and adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Lane Departure Warning system (Lane Assist), High Beam Control (Light Assist), and Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS).
    Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses forward facing radar to maintain a set speed while helping maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. The driver sets the speed and the desired spacing via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and can use the accelerator, brake pedal, or steering wheel to cancel or override the ACC function. All system messages appear in the central multifunction display.
    When the roadway ahead of the vehicle is empty, the system maintains the set speed. Alltrack models fitted with automatic transmissions and ACC can match the speed of a vehicle in front and come to a stop, as well as resume ACC control after the driver presses the accelerator pedal or the “resume” button on the steering wheel. On manual transmission Alltrack models, the ACC ceases to operate below 19 mph.
    Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning helps warn the driver of critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster, and, if necessary, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to slow the vehicle if the driver fails to brake. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system.
    If there is an indication that the vehicle is unintentionally straying from its lane, an available Lane Departure Warning system can actively countersteer to help keep the vehicle in the lane above 40 mph. The system’s camera can recognize visible lane markings (one side can suffice) and, using a special algorithm, calculates the risk of the car leaving the lane. If the driver takes their hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, or the vehicle crosses a lane marking without use of a turn signal, the system countersteers and later provides an audible warning and a visual signal in the instrument cluster, asking the driver to take over steering.
    The system works in the dark and/or in fog, but will not engage if it cannot properly detect lane markings. If the turn signal has been set before crossing a lane marking, the Lane Departure Warning system will not engage or give a warning. The driver can “override” the system at any time by applying minimal force, and is not relieved of responsibility to make conscious driving decisions.
    Park Distance Control uses ultrasonic sensors located in the front and rear bumpers to monitor a range of up to five feet in front or behind the vehicle. The system is activated when reverse gear is engaged or below a speed of 9 mph and helps provide guidance when parking or in tight situations. The system has audible and visual warnings when the car starts to approach parked cars or static objects from the front or rear.
    Park Assist can automatically steer the car into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces in reverse. After pressing the Park Assist button – once for parallel and twice for perpendicular – the driver only needs to activate the accelerator pedal and brake once a gear is selected.
    The driver can override or deactivate the steering assistance at any time by turning the steering wheel, disengaging reverse gear or pressing the button. Below 25 mph, the system can scan both the left-hand and right-hand sides of the road, for example in a one-way street, for any parking spaces as it drives past. By activating the turn signal, the driver stipulates which side of the road they wish to park on.
    Limited Warranty
    2017 Golf Alltrack models are offered with Volkswagen’s standard five-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain limited warranty and three-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) new vehicle limited warranty.
    Model Line-up
    Destination on all Golf Alltrack models is $820
    Alltrack S
    $25,850 with manual transmission (late availability)
    $26,950 with automatic transmission
    Alltrack SE
    $29,430 with manual transmission (late availability)
    $30,530 with automatic transmission
    Alltrack SEL
    $32,890 with automatic transmission
    Competitive Set
    Subaru Outback
    Subaru XV Crosstrek

    William Maley

    The first Volkswagen engineer pleads guilty for his role in the diesel emission scandal

    The first person has been charged in the U.S.' Volkswagen diesel emission probe. Today at the U.S. Federal Court in Detroit, James Robert Liang, leader of diesel competence for Volkswagen from 2008 until June of this year entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act. 
    According to grand jury indictment filed back in June and unsealed today,  “Liang and his co-conspirators, including current and former employees, and others, agreed to defraud the U.S. and VW customers, and violate the Clean Air Act, by misleading the U.S. and VW customers about whether VW diesel motors complied with U.S. emissions standards,” prosecutors wrote.
    Documents showed Liang was on the team that developed the diesel engine at the center of this scandal, the EA 189 2.0L four-cylinder back in 2006. The team realized that the engine wouldn't meet the strict U.S. standards on nitrogen oxide emissions while also attracting “sufficient customer demand.” Thus the decision was made to develop and install the 'defeat device' software on the EA 189 to pass emission tests. This engine would be installed on various Volkswagen vehicles starting in 2009.
    In 2014, Liang's team would update the software to help cut down on warranty claims. Engineers believed the reason for the increase in claims was due to the vehicle operating with the defeat device on for too long. Around this time, U.S. regulators would begin asking Volkswagen questions about the discrepancies between the amount of emissions being emitted during lab tests and in real-world driving. Various Volkswagen employees either lied when talking with regulators. 
    “I know VW did not disclose the defeat device to U.S. regulators in order to sell the cars in the U.S. That’s what makes me guilty,” said Liang to the court.
    Liang faces up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. In a plea agreement signed on August 31st, prosecutors say in exchange for his agreement to cooperate with the probe, the U.S. government agrees not to use any new information about Liang’s own criminal conduct during the sentencing hearing expected to take place on January 11th. Liang's cooperation could help out in the investigation and shine a light on more people involved.
    When asked for comment, Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan declined.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, The Detroit News

    William Maley

    This web only becomes more and more tangled

    If there is one thing we have learned during the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, it is this: Just when you think you have everything figured out, there is always a surprise waiting around the corner to add a new twist. 
    Bloomberg reports that Bosch allegedly asked Volkswagen for legal protection over damages from the defeat device it helped developed. This allegation comes from a revised lawsuit filed by Volkswagen owners in the U.S. against the two companies. The filing says this request was in a letter sent to Volkswagen June 2, 2008.
    “Plaintiffs do not have a full record of what unfolded in response to Bosch’s June 2, 2008, letter. However, it is indisputable that Bosch continued to develop and sell to Volkswagen hundreds of thousands of the defeat devices for U.S. vehicles” even after it acknowledged in writing that the use of software as a “defeat device” was illegal in the U.S. according to the filing.
    “Volkswagen apparently refused to indemnify Bosch, but Bosch nevertheless continued to develop the so-called ‘akustikfunktion’ (the code name used for the defeat device) for Volkswagen for another seven years,” the filing goes on to say.
    In the original suit filed last month, it alleged Bosch played a key role in conspiring with VW on developing the defeat device and concealing information about it when U.S. regulators started asking questions. At the time, Bosch rejected the claims as “wild and unfounded”. What changed within a month? Lawyers representing the owners uncovered more information.
    Bosch spokesman Rene Ziegler declined to comment on this story to Bloomberg.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    Volkswagen changes gears, plans a mass-market strategy for the U.S.

    It slices! It dices! No, we're not trying to sell you a set of knives. This is the best way to describe Volkswagen's strategy for the U.S.; price cuts.
    Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen will be changing their strategy in the U.S. to become more mass-market in the U.S. This will mean a wider product range and lower prices. The hope is the strategy can reverse a downward spiral in U.S. sales that has been taking place before the diesel scandal broke.
    Volkswagen for many hasn't been able to crack the U.S. market. Despite becoming the world's largest automaker in terms of sales this year and making up 10 percent of total automobile sales in Europe, Volkswagen has been a blip in the U.S. In the past ten years, Volkswagen has never gotten up to 5 percent of U.S. (At the moment, Volkswagen only makes up 1.7 percent of total U.S. auto sales). The German automaker has tried making the Jetta cheaper and making a Passat for the U.S., which hasn't gotten them anywhere. It doesn't help that Volkswagen has missed the boat with growing demand for crossovers in the U.S.
    “Volkswagen is facing an uphill battle to revive the brand in the U.S. Volkswagen is struggling with the loser image of the past, and now in the present the brand is burned. They need a good story that assures people it’s really a new start. Just adding another SUV won’t do it,”  said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
    We don't think going for a mass-market plan is a good idea either at the moment. But who knows, it could be the thing that saves VW.
    Source: Bloomberg

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  • Posts

    • Looks cool I can't wait till magazines will do a full comparison with Wrangler.  Hopefully with Defender too.
    • The 2021 Ford Bronco shows how serious the automaker is to creating a real threat to the Jeep Wrangler. With two and four-door versions, seven different trims, a number of off-road features, and other goodies, there is a lot to digest. So let us dive in. It Certainly Looks the Part Ford's designers leaned heavily on the first-generation (1963-1977) Bronco as inspiration for the new model. The boxy profile is here, as is the "BRONCO" front grille. Unlike Broncos of the past, Ford is offering two and four-door versions. Before you ask, the doors are removable. While being slightly heavier than the Wrangler, the Bronco's doors are frameless that not only makes them more compact to store, but also makes it feel more like a convertible. If you're wondering about the side-view mirrors, Ford moved them from the doors to the front cowl. Which brings us to the Bronco's tops. The two-door version will only come with a hardtop, while the four-door comes with both a soft and hardtop. Ford claims that removing the top on the Bronco will be easier and quicker than on the Wrangler, we can't wait to see that claim be put to the test. One item that the Bronco doesn't have is the ability for the front windshield to fold down like on the Wrangler. Roadshow asked Ford officials and this is what they wrote, Moving inside, the Bronco leans more on being purposeful and plain. There are some clever touches such as grab handles molded into the dash, a set of dedicated buttons on top of the dash for various off-road features, and built-in drains in the floor to wash out the interior. Ford's latest infotainment system, SYNC 4 will come standard in the Bronco - either in 8 or 12-inch touchscreen.  Turbo Power! Ford is going all-in on turbocharged power for the new Bronco. The base engine is the 2.3 EcoBoost four-cylinder packing 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This will come standard with a seven-speed manual. Before you start thinking this is similar to what you'll find in a last-generation Chevrolet Corvette or Porsche 911, the seventh-gear acts a crawler gear. With the upgraded 4x4 system, it can achieve a 95:1 crawl ratio for peak climbing prowess. A ten-speed automatic is optional. Next step up is the 2.7L EcoBoost with 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This is paired solely with the ten-speed automatic. Both engines have four-wheel drive as standard - in this case a part-time system with a two-speed, shift-on-the-fly electronic transfer case. Optional is a full-time system with a 4-Auto setting. GOAT Doesn't Mean "Greatest of All Time" for Bronco If you checked our Bronco Sport story from last night, you may have seen something called GOAT. This in Bronco terms means "Goes Over Any Type of Terrain" - i.e. seven different drive modes. Those modes are, Normal Eco Sport Slippery Sand Baja Mud/Ruts Rock Crawl There is also hill-descent control and Trail Control, the latter being an off-road cruise control system. How About that Suspension? Up front, the Bronco utilizes a independent suspension setup with twin-A control arms and coilovers. The back utilizes a live axle with trailing links and coil-over springs. On certain versions, a electro-hydraulically actuated sway bar can be disconnected while under load. It will automatically reconnect at speeds above 20 mph. If you want a slightly deeper dive into the Bronco's suspension, I highly recommend Dan Edmunds' piece on Autoblog. How Much and When I Can Get One? First the bad news, the 2021 Ford Bronco will not be available at dealers until next spring. This might be a good thing considering Ford's previous launches haven't gone over so well (see Explorer). As for pricing, the base two-door will begin at $29,995. The four-door kicks off at $34,695. Prices include a $1,495 destination charge. The rest of the lineup is as followed (two-door, four-door), Big Bend: $34,880, $37,375 Black Diamond: $37,545, $40,040 Outer Banks: $40,450, $42,945 Badlands: $43,590, $46,085 Wildtrak: $50,370, $52,865 First Edition: $60,800, $64,995 (Author's Note: As of this morning, Ford has announced that all First Editions of the Bronco have sold out.) Car and Driver has a good piece breaking down each trim and what comes equipped. As we mentioned in our Bronco Sport story, you can put a reservation on a 2021 Bronco with a $100 deposit. Hopefully, Ford's servers are up to the task as they were struggling last night. Source: Ford Press Release is on Page 2 ALL-NEW 2021 BRONCO TWO-DOOR AND FIRST-EVER FOUR-DOOR MODELS: BUILT WILD SUVS WITH THRILLING 4X4 CAPABILITY, READY FOR FUN Built Wild™: Ford Bronco returns as the flagship of a new all-4x4 family of rugged SUVs, with a classic two-door and a first-ever four-door; both are engineered with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing, Capability and Innovative Design for segment-leading 4x4 capability, long-term off-road performance and dependability Thrilling: Bronco features powerful EcoBoost® engines with segment-exclusive 7-speed manual transmission and available 35-inch tires; Bronco excels with available best-in-class 94.75:1 crawl ratio, ground clearance, suspension travel and water fording capabilities, plus breakover and departure angles Ready for fun: Bronco two-door and four-door models can get you to the trails fast with quick-release stowable roof panels and doors on select versions; available cutting-edge off-road drive technologies and segment-exclusive digital trail mapping allow owners to easily plan, record and share their experiences via an all-in-one app Infinitely customizable: Bronco launches with more than 200 factory-backed aftermarket accessories for more capability, personalization and style, and with a base MSRP of $29,995; 2021 Bronco two- and four-door SUVs can be reserved at ford.com starting today for $100 DEARBORN, Mich., July 13, 2020 – Ford today unveils the 2021 Bronco – including a classic two-door and first-ever four-door – the flagship of an all-new family of rugged off-road vehicles. The all-4x4 Bronco brand is Built Wild™ and ready to deliver thrilling experiences with its heritage-inspired style, engineering and smart off-road technology, plus innovative features to help outdoor enthusiasts create adventures in the most remote corners of the world. “We created the Bronco family to elevate every aspect of off-road adventure and equipped them with class-leading chassis hardware and exclusive technologies to raise the bar in the rugged 4x4 segment and take people further into the wild,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer. “They’re built with the toughness of an F-Series truck and performance spirit of Mustang – and come wrapped in one of the most stunning and functional off-road designs that’s true to the original Bronco design DNA.” The all-new Bronco re-enters the scene with an all-4x4 lineup with production beginning in early 2021 and first models arriving in Ford dealerships next spring. Bronco owners can choose from an extensive lineup of more than 200 factory-backed accessories for maximum personalization, enabling dealers to provide outfitting-on-demand for each customer’s individual adventure needs. Built Wild 4x4 confidence Just like the first-generation Bronco, nicknamed G.O.A.T., the mission of the all-new 2021 Bronco is to deliver maximum 4x4 go-anywhere, anytime capability and confidence. Bronco incorporates off-road mapping and drive technologies to give novice adventurers as much fun as hard-core off-road experts, while its Built Wild durability makes for lasting performance in the harshest of conditions for generations to come. “Bronco’s advanced four-wheel-drive technology is at the core of its off-road capabilities, and at the heart of it all is Bronco’s exclusive Terrain Management System™ with G.O.A.T. Modes™ that is designed to help drivers better navigate any type of terrain,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco consumer marketing manager. Up to seven driver-selectable modes are offered including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, with Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl for off-road driving. Two 4x4 systems are offered on all Bronco models, a base setup and advanced 4x4. The base system utilizes a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the optional advanced system features a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H. Power is distributed to a Dana™ 44 AdvanTEK® solid rear axle and Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit – both with available Spicer® Performa-TraK™ electronic locking differentials for improved traction over rough terrain. Available segment-first Trail Toolbox gives Bronco owners a suite of exclusive technologies to elevate their off-road experience. This includes Trail Control™ – cruise control for low-speed trail driving, while Trail Turn Assist tightens off-road turning radiuses through torque vectoring, and the innovative Trail One-Pedal Drive acceleration/braking control makes for more precise and confident slow-mode rock crawling. Segment-leading levels of off-road capability are possible thanks to Bronco’s available best-in-class 11.6-inch ground clearance, maximum 29-degree breakover angle and 37.2-degree departure angle, plus best-in-class water fording capability of up to 33.5 inches. Off-road capability is further reinforced by exposed tow hooks in the front and rear and available heavy-duty modular steel bumpers with integrated Ford Performance accessory winch mount. Bronco’s strategically placed steel shields protect critical hardware. Higher-capability models get an available front bash plate, plus shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank. For those taking on the roughest rocky terrain, Bronco’s available side rock rails are strong enough to support the weight of each side of the vehicle. “Bronco two- and four-door models leverage the company’s Built Ford Tough durability and performance testing and take it even further off-road with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing in the harshest possible environments, including the brutal trails of the King of the Hammers off-road competition,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford enterprise product line management, Icons. Thrilling performance borne of Bronco DNA Thanks to Bronco’s legendary Baja racing DNA, each model brings forth a thrilling off-road experience and delivers it with modern, heritage-inspired style. It all began in a Ford design studio with a life-size digital scan of a first-generation model that served to influence the proportions and design of the all-new Bronco for maximum off-road capability and performance. “Similar to the first-generation model, Bronco’s square proportions, short overhangs and wide stance are optimized for off-road adventure,” said Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer. “The side profile features a flat, no-nonsense surface with clear-cut edges and robustly flared fenders. Large, open wheel wells are a modular design with a quick-release attachment for simple customization. All-new Bronco architecture for two- and four-door models is based on a fully boxed, high-strength steel chassis that delivers available best-in-class suspension travel – 17 percent more both front and rear over the closest competitor to thrive in rugged environments. To deliver thrilling high-speed off-roading and overall driving performance, every Bronco comes with an independent front suspension for improved control, confidence and comfort. At the rear, a rugged solid axle design featuring coil springs with five locating links delivers both strength and off-road control. Long-travel position-sensitive Bilstein® dampers with end-stop control valves at every corner are available for added off-road durability and reduced harshness. An available segment-exclusive semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar disconnect design provides maximum articulation and increased ramp angle index for off-camber terrain. This innovative system bests competitors by disconnecting during articulation; it can reconnect under all conditions to improve steering and stability at higher speeds. Segment-first 35-inch off-road tires direct from the factory are available on every trim level of two- and four-door Bronco, while available segment-first beadlock-capable wheels allow customers to elevate off-road capability, regardless of price point.  “Race-bred EcoBoost® engines and our segment-first 7-speed manual and available 10-speed automatic transmissions give the all-new Bronco the optimal combination of power, torque and gear ranges to perform in a wide variety of terrains and uses,” said Pericak. Best-in-class projected gasoline-powered horsepower and torque is available with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, which is projected to produce 310 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 2.3-liter EcoBoost is targeted to deliver best-in-class four-cylinder torque of 310 lb.-ft. with an expected 270 horsepower. For maximum low-speed rock-climbing capability, a segment-first 7-speed (6+1) manual transmission paired with the available advanced 4x4 system with automatic on-demand engagement generates a class-leading available crawler-gear ratio of 94.75:1. An available segment-first SelectShift® 10-speed automatic transmission makes for easier driving on- and off-road, while offering a maximum 67.8:1 crawl ratio with the available advanced 4x4 transfer case. Ready to head effortlessly into the wild Both Bronco two- and four-door models make the open-air experience quick, easy and fun. Two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system – left and right front sections and a rear section – molded-in color and an available premium painted modular top with four sections that adds a removable panel over the rear seats and cargo area. Four-door models have four removable roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section. Roof panels on all models can be removed by one person by unlocking the latches from the interior. First-row panels stow away onboard on two-door models. All modular hardtops have rear quarter windows that are removable in three easy steps – snap, push and lift away in a fraction of the time it takes for competitors – without removing the roof panels. By locating the sportbar behind the second row, both Bronco two- and four-door models offer the largest overall open-top view in its class to take in the sunshine or to gaze at the stars at night. A cloth soft top, standard on four-door models, provides easy access to the open air and a unique tilt-up function for quick access to the rear cargo area. For customers who don’t want to choose between a soft or hardtop, the four-door model can be optioned with both. Every Bronco comes with class-exclusive frameless doors that make them easier to remove than what competitors offer. On four-door Bronco models, all four doors can be stored onboard with protective door bags. Exclusive cowl-mounted mirrors maintain sideview visibility when the doors are removed. Trail sights on the front fenders also serve as tie-downs, reminiscent of the first-generation Bronco, have a 150-pound capacity for securing longer items like canoes. High-tech interior designed for the outdoors Inside, all Bronco models are purpose-built and ready for action. The instrument panel is inspired by the first-generation model, with gauges and controls clearly visible and intuitive. Colors and materials are inspired by natural palettes and outdoor gear. With off-road functionality paramount, materials are tough and rugged. A multifunction color LCD instrument panel is front and center with the transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes controller in the center console. Available grab handles are integrated into the modular instrument panel and center console, while available MOLLE hooks are mounted in the seatbacks. Attachment points are built into the instrument panel to mount a bring-your-own-device rack, with 12-volt power connections to easily mount cameras, navigation units, phones or other devices. Further setting Bronco ahead of the off-road competition is an available segment-exclusive 12-inch SYNC® 4 system with over-the-air updates and seamless integration to the FordPass Performance app with off-road navigation – a Bronco class-exclusive feature that allows owners to easily plan, navigate and share their off-road adventures. The SYNC system also displays the available 360-degree camera system with class-exclusive off-road spotter views to provide additional visibility in technical pursuits such as rock crawling. Bronco’s advanced topographic trail maps and more than 1,000 curated trail maps are powered by class-exclusive trail content from NeoTreks’ AccuTerra® Maps, Trails Offroad trail guides and FunTreks trail guides. “The trail mapping system available on Bronco is truly a game-changer in the off-road community,” said Grueber. “It works online or off on either of the navigation-capable 8- or 12-inch SYNC systems, allowing users to select one of hundreds of available curated trail maps to map out and then track, capture and share their adventures with others.”   To make post-adventure cleanups simple, fast and painless, select Bronco models come with washable rubberized floors with integrated drains and marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces that resist mildew. Instrument panel surfaces are wipeable, with seamless silicone rubber on the dash-mounted hero switches, while rubber touchpoints protect against dirt and water. Six available upfitter switches mounted overhead are silicone-sealed to protect against the elements and to make customization easy, with pre-wired leads to key accessory points. A modern high-strength steel roll cage with integrated side curtain airbags in the upper structure and seats helps protect passengers from side impacts and complements driver and front passenger airbags. Available Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technologies plus standard AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ and Trailer Sway Control help instill driver confidence. Equipment series redefine customization An all-new experiential-based equipment series provides unique flexibility to align capability with the adventure interests of each customer. Seven unique Bronco series are offered, with matched color and trim combinations. When combined with four content packages, numerous available options, 11 color choices and more than 200 dealer-installable accessories, personalizing an all-new Bronco SUV has never been easier. Series range from a base Bronco, a no-frills SUV for those who want to customize their own, to Big Bend™, Black Diamond™ and Outer Banks™ with a variety of options and colors, topping out with Wildtrak™ and Badlands™ for more extreme off-road adventuring. A limited-production First Edition™ will be offered at launch. Reservations begin today As with the five generations before it, the all-new 2021 Bronco two-door and four-door models will be built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. More detailed information, including vehicle specs, accessories and full pricing and options, will be provided closer to launch. MSRP for the base two-door Bronco is $29,995, including $1,495 destination and delivery. Reservations for Bronco two- and four-door models can be made for $100 beginning at 8 p.m. EDT today at ford.com.  View full article
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