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William Maley

VW News: Volkswagen Announces Matthias Müller As New CEO, Undergoes A Major Restructuring

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After a meeting of Volkswagen's Supervisory Board today, Porsche CEO Matthias Müller has been named as the CEO of Volkswagen. Rumors of Müller's appointment have been swirling around for the past week.

 

"My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation," said Müller in statement.

 

Müller has a difficult task ahead of him as he'll need to right the ship at Volkswagen due to the ongoing crisis. He will also oversee a massive reorganization of the company. This begins with newly formed North American region structure which combines the USA, Mexico, and Canada. Heading up this structure will be the current chairman of Skoda, Winfried Vahland.

 

Michael Horn, the President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America will be sticking around, contrary to reports from yesterday.

 

Source: Volkswagen, New York Times, Bloomberg

 

Press Release is on Page 2


 

MATTHIAS MÜLLER APPOINTED CEO OF THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP

 

Sep 25, 2015

  • Müller remains Chairman of Porsche AG until a successor has been found


Matthias Müller (62) has been appointed CEO of Volkswagen AG with immediate effect. This was decided by the Supervisory Board at its meeting in Wolfsburg today (Friday). Müller is currently Chairman of Porsche AG in Stuttgart. He will continue in this function until a successor has been found.
The interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, Berthold Huber, underscored: "Matthias Müller is a person of great strategic, entrepreneurial and social competence. He knows the Group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy. We expressly value his critical and constructive approach."

 


Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group Works Council, commented: "When it comes to leadership appointments the Volkswagen Group does not need hasty decisions. We know and value Matthias Müller for his determination and decisiveness. He does not work on his own, rather he is a team player. That is what Volkswagen needs now."
Matthias Müller said: "My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation. Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry. If we manage to achieve that then the Volkswagen Group with its innovative strength, its strong brands and above all its competent and highly motivated team has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before."
Matthias Müller was born in Chemnitz (Saxony) on June 9, 1953. He completed his high school education in Ingolstadt followed by an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with AUDI AG. He then studied computer science at Munich University of Applied Sciences. After obtaining his master's degree in computer science, Müller resumed his career with AUDI AG in Ingolstadt in 1978, becoming Head of the Systems Analysis Division in 1984 and Head of Project Management for the Audi A3 in 1993. He assumed responsibility for Product Management at Audi AG, SEAT and Lamborghini in 1995.
Müller moved to Wolfsburg as Head of Product Management of the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen brand in 2007 and also became a General Representative of the Volkswagen Group. He has been Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and a member of the Executive Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE since 2010. In his function as Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Müller was appointed member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG effective March 1, 2015.

 

Matthias Müller's current contract as a Board member of Volkswagen AG will continue to apply in his new function as CEO. This contract runs until the end of February 2020. Matthias Müller succeeds Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, who offered his resignation on Wednesday.

 

THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP IS RESTRUCTURING: SUPERVISORY BOARD PASSES RESOLUTIONS FOR NEW ORGANIZATION

 

Sep 25, 2015

  • Brands and regions to be strengthened
  • Vahland moves from Škoda to the Volkswagen brand Board of Management
  • De Meo, Maier and Stackmann in new functions
  • Board Member for Sales Klingler leaves the Group
  • Contract with Board member for Procurement Garcia Sanz extended


The Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG approved a new management structure for the Group and the brands as well as for the North America region today (Friday) in Wolfsburg. The interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Berthold Huber, commented: "The new structure strengthens the brands and regions, gives the Group Board of Management the necessary leeway for strategy and steering within the company, and lays a focus on the targeted development of future-oriented fields."

 


Details of major changes:

 

Reorganization of the North America region / Successor Prof. Vahland
The Supervisory Board decided on the reorganization of the Group's activities in North America. The markets in the USA, Mexico, and Canada will be combined and significantly strengthened to form a new North America region. Effective November 1, the Group's activities in the region will be led by Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland (58), formerly Chairman of the Board of Directors at Škoda, who in this new role becomes a member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management. Prof. Vahland's successor as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Škoda will be Bernhard Maier (55), until now Board Member for Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG. Michael Horn (52) remains President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

 

Porsche brand group with Bentley and Bugatti
At Group level the management structure will be oriented even more systematically to the modular toolkits. These toolkits feature standardized technical components for each automotive vehicle segment (volume, premium, sport and commercial vehicles). Consequently, a Porsche brand group with Bentley and Bugatti will be established for the sportscar and mid-engine toolkit. The toolkit strategy will come under the even closer guidance of the Group CEO; a separate department will be set up for this purpose. The Audi brand group with Lamborghini and Ducati will be continued as will the Truck Holding, and the Power Engineering and Financial Services business lines. The volume brands Volkswagen (with principal responsibility for the modular transverse toolkit), SEAT, and Škoda will be represented by one member each in the Group Board of Management.

 

New Group functions for efficiency and future-oriented fields
Group functions will concentrate more closely on efficiency and future-oriented fields; organizational units, for example for Group product strategy, new business fields, cooperations and holdings, connected car activities, and CO2 steering, will therefore be set up. According to Huber, "new, strong Group functions, such as for standardization and harmonized production processes, will lay the timely foundations for efficient decision-making. We will become faster and more agile." Furthermore, a Chief Technology Officer will analyze and, if necessary, co-steer technical developments throughout the Group as mandated by the Group Board of Management.

 

Upgrading of brands and regions
At the same time, existing corporate bodies, structures and processes will be streamlined at Group level, in particular by strengthening the brands and regional accountability. To that end the Volkswagen brand will introduce a management structure with four regions, each led by a local CEO with a direct reporting line to the brand Chairman, Herbert Diess.

 

Streamlining the Group Board of Management
The production department at Group level, until now led by Thomas Ulbrich in an interim capacity, will be abolished with immediate effect. This is one consequence of delegating responsibility to the brands and regions. Berthold Huber commented: "Going forward, the brands and regions will also have greater independence with regard to production. So it follows that they should also hold the responsibility for these activities."

 

The interim Supervisory Board Chairman emphasized that "one key point is that we are scaling back complexity in the Group. In recent weeks, we have already undertaken important steps such as separating Group and brand functions." He said the developments of the last few days had underscored the urgency of this project: "We will not lose any time. The new management model will be implemented at the beginning of 2016." This would bring the Board greater freedom to address urgent issues concerning Group strategy, development and steering.

 

Further Board of Management changes
The Supervisory Board extended the contract with Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz (58), Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for Procurement, by five years.

 

Christian Klingler (47), member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for Sales and Marketing and member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management with responsibility for Sales and Marketing, is leaving the company with immediate effect as part of long-term planned structural changes and as a result of differences with regard to business strategy. This is not related to recent events. The new CEO Matthias Müller will head the Sales department at Group level in an interim capacity until further notice.

 

Jürgen Stackmann (54), previously Chairman of SEAT, will take over Christian Klingler's function as a member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management. Stackmann is succeeded by Luca de Meo (48), currently Audi AG Board of Management member for Sales and Marketing. These personnel changes become effective from October 1.


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The start of a cleaning of the house, reduction in the number of highly paid executives, managers, etc. and a reorganization that will allow VW/Audi/Porsche to reduce cost even more is what I think will happen along with the single pane of glass visibility to wine over folks.

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    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
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      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
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      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
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      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
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      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
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      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      In a month's time, Europe will be switching from much maligned New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Automakers are scrambling to get models certified under this new procedure. This presents a big problem for Volkswagen as they don't have enough engineers to make sure their vehicles to meet the new standards.
      According to Reuters, Volkswagen lost a number of engineers that specialized in engine calibration ever since the company revealed they were using illegal software on their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests.
      “Engine development expertise has been lost,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
      It is so bad, that Volkswagen believes it will affect their financial results for the second half of this year as they might not be able to get a number of vehicles out on the road. The company said there would a bottleneck of certain model variants between now and October.
      Volkswagen is working hard to try and overcome this problem. They have plucked BMW engine development expert Markus Duesmann last week to try and get through this mess.
      Source: Reuters

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      In a month's time, Europe will be switching from much maligned New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Automakers are scrambling to get models certified under this new procedure. This presents a big problem for Volkswagen as they don't have enough engineers to make sure their vehicles to meet the new standards.
      According to Reuters, Volkswagen lost a number of engineers that specialized in engine calibration ever since the company revealed they were using illegal software on their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests.
      “Engine development expertise has been lost,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
      It is so bad, that Volkswagen believes it will affect their financial results for the second half of this year as they might not be able to get a number of vehicles out on the road. The company said there would a bottleneck of certain model variants between now and October.
      Volkswagen is working hard to try and overcome this problem. They have plucked BMW engine development expert Markus Duesmann last week to try and get through this mess.
      Source: Reuters
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen's Chattanooga, TN plant will soon have two more vehicles rolling off the line.
      Hinrich Woebcken, VW's North American CEO told Autocar that the upcoming I.D. Buzz and Crozz EVs for the region will be built at Chattanooga.
      “For strong product momentum, they need to be produced in the USA. It’s not possible to come into a high-volume scenario with imported cars. We want to localise electric mobility in the US,” said Woebcken.
      Woebcken also revealed that the models would be 'Americanized'.
      Source: Autocar

      View full article
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