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  1. About a year ago, European antitrust regulators became very suspicious that BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen were involved in a longstanding automotive cartel that colluded on restricting certain emissions control devices for the market. Raids were carried out at various facilities, but nothing came out. That changed yesterday as the European Commission has opened a formal investigation. "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy for the European Commission in a statement. "These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers." The technologies in question include selective catalytic reduction systems that reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides from diesel cars, and "Otto" particulate filters that capture particulate emissions from gas vehicles. The commission also revealed the group discussed common requirements for car parts and testing procedures, though there isn't evidence to say if they were illegal or not. It is also mentioned that there was no evidence that the automakers coordinated in the use of defeat devices. Daimler and Volkswagen told Reuters they were cooperating with the commission. BMW said it would continue to support the authority of the commission. Source: Reuters, European Commission Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible collusion between BMW, Daimler and the VW group on clean emission technology Brussels, 18 September 2018 The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether BMW, Daimler and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche) colluded, in breach of EU antitrust rules, to avoid competition on the development and roll-out of technology to clean the emissions of petrol and diesel passenger cars. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars. These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers." In October 2017, the Commission carried out inspections at the premises of BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Audi in Germany as part of its initial inquiries into possible collusion between car manufacturers on the technological development of passenger cars. The Commission's in-depth investigation focusses on information indicating that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, also called the "circle of five", participated in meetings where they discussed inter alia the development and deployment of technologies to limit harmful car exhaust emissions. In particular, the Commission is assessing whether the companies colluded to limit the development and roll-out of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in the European Economic Area, namely: selective catalytic reduction ('SCR') systems to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides emissions from passenger cars with diesel engines; and 'Otto' particulate filters ('OPF') to reduce harmful particulate matter emissions from passenger cars with petrol engines. The in-depth investigation will aim to establish whether the conduct of BMW, Daimler and VW may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices, including agreements to limit or control technical development (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). At this stage, the Commission has no indications that the parties coordinated with each other in relation to the use of illegal defeat devices to cheat regulatory testing. The Commission will carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome. Other topics discussed by the companies The Commission's formal investigation concerns solely the emissions control systems identified above. These were only some of the issues discussed by the "circle of five". Numerous other technical topics were discussed, including common quality requirements for car parts, common quality testing procedures or exchanges concerning their own car models that were already on the market. The "circle of five" also had discussions on the maximum speed at which the roofs of convertible cars can open or close, and at which the cruise control will work. Cooperation also extended to the area of crash tests and crash test dummies where the car companies pooled technical expertise and development efforts to improve testing procedures for car safety. At this stage the Commission does not have sufficient indications that these discussions between the "circle of five" constituted anti-competitive conduct that would merit further investigation. EU antitrust rules leave room for technical cooperation aimed at improving product quality. The Commission's in-depth investigation in this case concerns specific cooperation that is suspected to have aimed at limiting the technical development or preventing the roll-out of technical devices.
  2. About a year ago, European antitrust regulators became very suspicious that BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen were involved in a longstanding automotive cartel that colluded on restricting certain emissions control devices for the market. Raids were carried out at various facilities, but nothing came out. That changed yesterday as the European Commission has opened a formal investigation. "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy for the European Commission in a statement. "These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers." The technologies in question include selective catalytic reduction systems that reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides from diesel cars, and "Otto" particulate filters that capture particulate emissions from gas vehicles. The commission also revealed the group discussed common requirements for car parts and testing procedures, though there isn't evidence to say if they were illegal or not. It is also mentioned that there was no evidence that the automakers coordinated in the use of defeat devices. Daimler and Volkswagen told Reuters they were cooperating with the commission. BMW said it would continue to support the authority of the commission. Source: Reuters, European Commission Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible collusion between BMW, Daimler and the VW group on clean emission technology Brussels, 18 September 2018 The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether BMW, Daimler and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche) colluded, in breach of EU antitrust rules, to avoid competition on the development and roll-out of technology to clean the emissions of petrol and diesel passenger cars. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars. These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers." In October 2017, the Commission carried out inspections at the premises of BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Audi in Germany as part of its initial inquiries into possible collusion between car manufacturers on the technological development of passenger cars. The Commission's in-depth investigation focusses on information indicating that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, also called the "circle of five", participated in meetings where they discussed inter alia the development and deployment of technologies to limit harmful car exhaust emissions. In particular, the Commission is assessing whether the companies colluded to limit the development and roll-out of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in the European Economic Area, namely: selective catalytic reduction ('SCR') systems to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides emissions from passenger cars with diesel engines; and 'Otto' particulate filters ('OPF') to reduce harmful particulate matter emissions from passenger cars with petrol engines. The in-depth investigation will aim to establish whether the conduct of BMW, Daimler and VW may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices, including agreements to limit or control technical development (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). At this stage, the Commission has no indications that the parties coordinated with each other in relation to the use of illegal defeat devices to cheat regulatory testing. The Commission will carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome. Other topics discussed by the companies The Commission's formal investigation concerns solely the emissions control systems identified above. These were only some of the issues discussed by the "circle of five". Numerous other technical topics were discussed, including common quality requirements for car parts, common quality testing procedures or exchanges concerning their own car models that were already on the market. The "circle of five" also had discussions on the maximum speed at which the roofs of convertible cars can open or close, and at which the cruise control will work. Cooperation also extended to the area of crash tests and crash test dummies where the car companies pooled technical expertise and development efforts to improve testing procedures for car safety. At this stage the Commission does not have sufficient indications that these discussions between the "circle of five" constituted anti-competitive conduct that would merit further investigation. EU antitrust rules leave room for technical cooperation aimed at improving product quality. The Commission's in-depth investigation in this case concerns specific cooperation that is suspected to have aimed at limiting the technical development or preventing the roll-out of technical devices. View full article
  3. A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers Which one of these crossovers is right for you? Exterior Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint. Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. Interior The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics. The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan. Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded. Infotainment A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints. Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue. Powertrain Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package. With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway. Ride & Handling When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside. Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel. Value The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away. The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge. Verdict It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-5 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26 Curb Weight: N/A Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $30,945 As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package - $1,395.00 Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00 Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00 Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00 Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Tiguan Trim: SE 4Motion Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400 Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23 Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $30,230 As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge) Options: Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00 Front Fog Lights - $150.00 View full article
  4. The end of the Volkswagen Beetle is coming. Volkswagen announced last week that production of the iconic coupe and convertible will end next July at the company's Puebla, Mexico. Before the final curtain call, Volkswagen will be building a Final Edition version. Available as a either a coupe or convertible, the Final Edition will be available with two exclusive colors - Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue. You can also get it in white, black, or grey if the exclusive colors don't interest you. Convertibles aside from those painted in Safari Uni will get a light brown top. A set of multi-spoke 17-inch wheels are standard on the SE, while 18-inch retro styled wheels come on the SEL. For the interior, the Final Edition comes with seats that have pleating. SE models come upholstered in a combination of leatherette and cloth, while the SEL makes do with leather. Power comes from the same 2.0L turbo-four found in other Beetles. It produces 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Pricing for the 2019 Beetle Final Edition is as followed, SE Coupe: $23,940 SEL Coupe: $26,890 SE Convertible: $28,190 SEL Convertible: $30,890 Prices include a $895 destination charge. Source: Volkswagen Volkswagen Announces Beetle Final Edition Special models celebrate Beetle’s rich heritage as third-generation is set to end production in 2019 Herndon, VA (September 13, 2018) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it will end production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year—Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. “The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it. But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ—which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus—I would also say, ‘Never say never.’ We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.” Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models include exclusive equipment and unique upscale décor elements designed to send the Beetle off in style. Models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run in Mexico, where the vehicle is assembled. The 2003 Última Edición (last edition) models were only available in two colors—beige and light blue. Today’s Final Edition models will feature two unique colors: Safari Uni—a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige, a color from the New Beetle—and Stonewashed Blue, a nod to the 1970 Jeans Bug and most recently seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim. Final Edition models are also available in Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Grey. Convertible Final Edition SEL models in every exterior color except Safari Uni are available with a unique Brown soft top. Final Edition coupe models feature standard chrome treatments like the Última Edición models, in addition to body-color side mirrors, heated washer nozzles (all standard features across the Beetle Convertible lineup), as well as a sunroof. Final Edition SEL models are equipped with Bi-Xenon® headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED taillights, and fog lights. All Final Edition models replace the typical “Turbo” badge on the tailgate with a “Beetle” badge. Unique wheels complete the exterior transformation of Beetle Final Edition models. Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design. Final Edition SEL models are shod with 18-inch white aluminum-alloy wheels in a disc design that is reminiscent of the Última Edición’s body-colored steel wheels fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tires. Inside, all Final Edition models are equipped with standard KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with unique “Beetle” clip, stainless steel pedal caps, Climatronic® automatic climate control, gloss black center console, a unique Safari Uni color dashpad with the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin” that harkens to the color-matched interior treatments in the Última Edición, and three-color ambient lighting. Final Edition SE models feature cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats, while SEL models offer standard diamond-stitched leather seating surfaces. Final Edition SE models feature a Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display, Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices, USB multimedia port, SiriusXM® radio (three-month trial subscription), Voice Control, and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect smartphone integration. Final Edition SEL models upgrade to Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, as well as Fender® Premium Audio. All 2019 Beetle models, both convertible and coupe, are powered a 2.0 liter TSI® engine that puts out 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. All models are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and the EPA-estimated fuel economy rating is 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. To meet the demands of American drivers, all Beetle Final Edition models offer driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control. Pricing for the 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe starts at $23,045 for SE models and $25,995 for SEL models. Beetle Convertible Final Edition pricing starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SEL models. The destination charge for all Beetle models is an additional $895. View full article
  5. The end of the Volkswagen Beetle is coming. Volkswagen announced last week that production of the iconic coupe and convertible will end next July at the company's Puebla, Mexico. Before the final curtain call, Volkswagen will be building a Final Edition version. Available as a either a coupe or convertible, the Final Edition will be available with two exclusive colors - Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue. You can also get it in white, black, or grey if the exclusive colors don't interest you. Convertibles aside from those painted in Safari Uni will get a light brown top. A set of multi-spoke 17-inch wheels are standard on the SE, while 18-inch retro styled wheels come on the SEL. For the interior, the Final Edition comes with seats that have pleating. SE models come upholstered in a combination of leatherette and cloth, while the SEL makes do with leather. Power comes from the same 2.0L turbo-four found in other Beetles. It produces 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Pricing for the 2019 Beetle Final Edition is as followed, SE Coupe: $23,940 SEL Coupe: $26,890 SE Convertible: $28,190 SEL Convertible: $30,890 Prices include a $895 destination charge. Source: Volkswagen Volkswagen Announces Beetle Final Edition Special models celebrate Beetle’s rich heritage as third-generation is set to end production in 2019 Herndon, VA (September 13, 2018) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it will end production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year—Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. “The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it. But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ—which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus—I would also say, ‘Never say never.’ We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.” Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models include exclusive equipment and unique upscale décor elements designed to send the Beetle off in style. Models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run in Mexico, where the vehicle is assembled. The 2003 Última Edición (last edition) models were only available in two colors—beige and light blue. Today’s Final Edition models will feature two unique colors: Safari Uni—a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige, a color from the New Beetle—and Stonewashed Blue, a nod to the 1970 Jeans Bug and most recently seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim. Final Edition models are also available in Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Grey. Convertible Final Edition SEL models in every exterior color except Safari Uni are available with a unique Brown soft top. Final Edition coupe models feature standard chrome treatments like the Última Edición models, in addition to body-color side mirrors, heated washer nozzles (all standard features across the Beetle Convertible lineup), as well as a sunroof. Final Edition SEL models are equipped with Bi-Xenon® headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED taillights, and fog lights. All Final Edition models replace the typical “Turbo” badge on the tailgate with a “Beetle” badge. Unique wheels complete the exterior transformation of Beetle Final Edition models. Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design. Final Edition SEL models are shod with 18-inch white aluminum-alloy wheels in a disc design that is reminiscent of the Última Edición’s body-colored steel wheels fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tires. Inside, all Final Edition models are equipped with standard KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with unique “Beetle” clip, stainless steel pedal caps, Climatronic® automatic climate control, gloss black center console, a unique Safari Uni color dashpad with the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin” that harkens to the color-matched interior treatments in the Última Edición, and three-color ambient lighting. Final Edition SE models feature cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats, while SEL models offer standard diamond-stitched leather seating surfaces. Final Edition SE models feature a Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display, Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices, USB multimedia port, SiriusXM® radio (three-month trial subscription), Voice Control, and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect smartphone integration. Final Edition SEL models upgrade to Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, as well as Fender® Premium Audio. All 2019 Beetle models, both convertible and coupe, are powered a 2.0 liter TSI® engine that puts out 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. All models are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and the EPA-estimated fuel economy rating is 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. To meet the demands of American drivers, all Beetle Final Edition models offer driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control. Pricing for the 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe starts at $23,045 for SE models and $25,995 for SEL models. Beetle Convertible Final Edition pricing starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SEL models. The destination charge for all Beetle models is an additional $895.
  6. Volkswagen put forth an ambitious plan to offer an electric version of each model it sells. The automaker set aside about 20 billion euros ($23 billion), but that will not be enough according CEO Herbert Diess. “The burden for our company, such as the cost of bringing to market electric cars, will be higher than expected,” Diess said in a interview with Volkswagen's internal newsletter, obtained by Bloomberg. “This is particularly so since some of our competitors have been making more progress.” Diess didn't give a new figure in the interview, but did say the company needs to "reduce expenses more to be able to invest in future technology and weather crises". Volkswagen has been working on improving its profitability since a 2016 labor pact and massive reorganization of its 12 brands. The Volkswagen brand has seen its profitability increase from 1.8 to 4.1 percent last year. But Diess said they need higher profits. “We need higher profits to finance our future. Four percent is a minimum, 5 percent to 6 percent allow for some future investments and with 7 percent to 8 percent we’re crisis-ready.” Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required) View full article
  7. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 vs. Volkswagen Tiguan

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers Which one of these crossovers is right for you? Exterior Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint. Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. Interior The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics. The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan. Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded. Infotainment A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints. Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue. Powertrain Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package. With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway. Ride & Handling When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside. Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel. Value The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away. The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge. Verdict It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs. Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Mazda Model: CX-5 Trim: Grand Touring AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26 Curb Weight: N/A Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $30,945 As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package - $1,395.00 Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00 Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00 Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00 Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Volkswagen Model: Tiguan Trim: SE 4Motion Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400 Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23 Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $30,230 As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge) Options: Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00 Front Fog Lights - $150.00
  8. Volkswagen put forth an ambitious plan to offer an electric version of each model it sells. The automaker set aside about 20 billion euros ($23 billion), but that will not be enough according CEO Herbert Diess. “The burden for our company, such as the cost of bringing to market electric cars, will be higher than expected,” Diess said in a interview with Volkswagen's internal newsletter, obtained by Bloomberg. “This is particularly so since some of our competitors have been making more progress.” Diess didn't give a new figure in the interview, but did say the company needs to "reduce expenses more to be able to invest in future technology and weather crises". Volkswagen has been working on improving its profitability since a 2016 labor pact and massive reorganization of its 12 brands. The Volkswagen brand has seen its profitability increase from 1.8 to 4.1 percent last year. But Diess said they need higher profits. “We need higher profits to finance our future. Four percent is a minimum, 5 percent to 6 percent allow for some future investments and with 7 percent to 8 percent we’re crisis-ready.” Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required)
  9. 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 View full article
  10. If you're planning on picking up a 2019 Volkswagen Passat, then you might be disappointed by the limited amount on configurations on offer. The Car Connection reports that Volkswagen will be cutting down the 2019 Passat lineup to just two models - the Wolfsburg Edition and SE R-Line. Wolfsburg Edition: 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring as standard. A sunroof and 18-inch wheels are optional. SE R-Line: LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, lane keep assist, navigation, and Fender audio system. Along with the drop in trims, the 280 horsepower V6 will be going away in 2019. This leaves the turbo 2.0L four-cylinder and six-speed automatic as the sole powertrain choice. We're not sure as to why Volkswagen is slicing up the Passat lineup. Our two possible guesses is the declining sales of midsize sedans or Volkswagen readying a next-generation Passat that could arrive as early as 2020. No word on pricing or on-sale date. Source: The Car Connection View full article
  11. William Maley

    Volkswagen Cuts Down Passat Lineup for 2019

    If you're planning on picking up a 2019 Volkswagen Passat, then you might be disappointed by the limited amount on configurations on offer. The Car Connection reports that Volkswagen will be cutting down the 2019 Passat lineup to just two models - the Wolfsburg Edition and SE R-Line. Wolfsburg Edition: 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring as standard. A sunroof and 18-inch wheels are optional. SE R-Line: LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, lane keep assist, navigation, and Fender audio system. Along with the drop in trims, the 280 horsepower V6 will be going away in 2019. This leaves the turbo 2.0L four-cylinder and six-speed automatic as the sole powertrain choice. We're not sure as to why Volkswagen is slicing up the Passat lineup. Our two possible guesses is the declining sales of midsize sedans or Volkswagen readying a next-generation Passat that could arrive as early as 2020. No word on pricing or on-sale date. Source: The Car Connection
  12. For 2019, Volkswagen is swapping engines on certain Golf models to help boost fuel economy. The Car Connection reports that the Golf and Golf SportWagen will swap the turbocharged 1.8L four for the Jetta's turbo 1.4. The smaller engine produces 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen is also adding more gears to the transmissions - six-speeds for the manual and eight for the automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates are not available at the moment. All-wheel drive variants (Golf SportWagen S AWD and Alltrack) will keep the turbo 1.8. Its unclear from TCC's story whether it will get the updated transmissions - Alltrack already gets the six-speed manual. There's also some feature changes for the 2019 Golf, Golf: Base S models add automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring as standard. SE models will now come equipped with adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Golf SportWagen: Mirrors the Golf, along with the top-line SEL model being dropped. Golf Alltrack: S models get automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. SE adds LED headlights as an option. SEL models get a six-speed manual as an option. Source: The Car Connection View full article
  13. William Maley

    2019 Volkswagen Golf Downsizes Its Engine

    For 2019, Volkswagen is swapping engines on certain Golf models to help boost fuel economy. The Car Connection reports that the Golf and Golf SportWagen will swap the turbocharged 1.8L four for the Jetta's turbo 1.4. The smaller engine produces 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen is also adding more gears to the transmissions - six-speeds for the manual and eight for the automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates are not available at the moment. All-wheel drive variants (Golf SportWagen S AWD and Alltrack) will keep the turbo 1.8. Its unclear from TCC's story whether it will get the updated transmissions - Alltrack already gets the six-speed manual. There's also some feature changes for the 2019 Golf, Golf: Base S models add automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring as standard. SE models will now come equipped with adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Golf SportWagen: Mirrors the Golf, along with the top-line SEL model being dropped. Golf Alltrack: S models get automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. SE adds LED headlights as an option. SEL models get a six-speed manual as an option. Source: The Car Connection
  14. William Maley

    Review: 2018 Mazda CX-9 vs. Volkswagen Atlas

    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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. We know that the current Volkswagen Beetle will soon be heading off to the great parking lot in the sky sometime next year, and that a direct replacement will not happen. But there is talk about bringing back the Beetle as an electric vehicle. Volkswagen's design chief Klaus Bischoff revealed to Autocar that he has already made a sketch of a possible Beetle EV, but it will be some time before the automaker makes a decision whether to move forward with this or not. Some of this comes down Volkswagen wanting to get the bigger-selling electric cars into production first (see I.D. hatchback and I.D. Crozz) before moving onto the 'emotional' models. “Our duty is to get the volume [ID] models under way. These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it’s an overload. Then we [can] move into more exotic cars and the field of emotion,” said Bischoff. If Volkswagen does give the green light for a Beetle EV, what could it look like? According to Autocar, the model could grow in size and get two extra doors. “The Beetle of today is a very attractive two-door coupé or convertible, but it is limited in the amount of cars that it can sell because it’s a niche. If you look at MEB, the shortest wheelbase [possible] is the ID [hatchback]. If you took that and did the Beetle on it, you have plenty of room so there’s no compromise in functionality any more. So it could be a very attractive car,” explained Bischoff. We know there is a fan of an electric Beetle, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. “We could [build an electric Beetle], because it is rear-wheel drive, no grille. If we wanted to do a Beetle electrically, it would be much better than the current car. Much closer to the history of the Beetle," Diess told Car and Driver back in October. Source: Autocar View full article
  20. William Maley

    Volkswagen Beetle Could Be Reborn As An EV

    We know that the current Volkswagen Beetle will soon be heading off to the great parking lot in the sky sometime next year, and that a direct replacement will not happen. But there is talk about bringing back the Beetle as an electric vehicle. Volkswagen's design chief Klaus Bischoff revealed to Autocar that he has already made a sketch of a possible Beetle EV, but it will be some time before the automaker makes a decision whether to move forward with this or not. Some of this comes down Volkswagen wanting to get the bigger-selling electric cars into production first (see I.D. hatchback and I.D. Crozz) before moving onto the 'emotional' models. “Our duty is to get the volume [ID] models under way. These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it’s an overload. Then we [can] move into more exotic cars and the field of emotion,” said Bischoff. If Volkswagen does give the green light for a Beetle EV, what could it look like? According to Autocar, the model could grow in size and get two extra doors. “The Beetle of today is a very attractive two-door coupé or convertible, but it is limited in the amount of cars that it can sell because it’s a niche. If you look at MEB, the shortest wheelbase [possible] is the ID [hatchback]. If you took that and did the Beetle on it, you have plenty of room so there’s no compromise in functionality any more. So it could be a very attractive car,” explained Bischoff. We know there is a fan of an electric Beetle, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. “We could [build an electric Beetle], because it is rear-wheel drive, no grille. If we wanted to do a Beetle electrically, it would be much better than the current car. Much closer to the history of the Beetle," Diess told Car and Driver back in October. Source: Autocar
  21. We're coming up on three years since the Volkswagen diesel scandal came to light. It caused the German automaker to spiral downward with various fines, lawsuits, people either stepping down or being arrested, and sales tanking. By now, you would think that the pain is done and over. But you would be wrong. Reuters reports today that prosecutors in Germany have fined Volkswagen a billion euros ($1.18 billion) over diesel emission cheating. In a statement, Volkswagen will accept the fine, therefore admitting responsibility for the cheating. "Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome," the company said. By accepting the fine, Volkswagen hopes "the active regulatory offence proceedings" being conducted will come to an end. It will unlikely end the various criminal cases that German prosecutors are working on against various Volkswagen executives. Source: Reuters View full article
  22. We're coming up on three years since the Volkswagen diesel scandal came to light. It caused the German automaker to spiral downward with various fines, lawsuits, people either stepping down or being arrested, and sales tanking. By now, you would think that the pain is done and over. But you would be wrong. Reuters reports today that prosecutors in Germany have fined Volkswagen a billion euros ($1.18 billion) over diesel emission cheating. In a statement, Volkswagen will accept the fine, therefore admitting responsibility for the cheating. "Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome," the company said. By accepting the fine, Volkswagen hopes "the active regulatory offence proceedings" being conducted will come to an end. It will unlikely end the various criminal cases that German prosecutors are working on against various Volkswagen executives. Source: Reuters
  23. William Maley

    May 2018: Volkswagen of America

    VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA REPORTS MAY 2018 SALES RESULTS Sales totaled 31,211 units, an increase of 4 percent compared to May 2017 Year-to-date sales totaled 143,957 units, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2017 Sales of the all-new 2018 Tiguan totaled 8,579 units, its best month to date Jetta sales totaled 6,821 units, with the all-new 2019 Jetta accounting for 2,147 units Sales of the Chattanooga-built Atlas totaled 3,923 units Herndon, VA — (June 1, 2018) Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) today reported sales of 31,211 units delivered in May 2018, an increase of 4 percent over May 2017. With 143,957 units delivered year-to-date in 2018, the company is reporting a 7.5 percent increase in year-over-year sales. “The all-new 2019 Jetta, which launched in the middle of May, has been well received. We’re excited to build momentum with this vehicle and look forward to having the all-new Jetta, with its bold design and innovative features, as part of our strong offering of vehicles for the summer months ahead,” said Derrick Hatami, Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and After Sales for Volkswagen of America. “We had our best month to date for the 2018 Tiguan as we continue to see encouraging numbers for our growing lineup of family-friendly SUVS.” May 2018 marked the start of sales for the all-new 2019 Jetta, with deliveries beginning mid-month. A fully integrated “Betta Getta Jetta” marketing campaign was launched alongside the vehicle’s release, highlighting the all-new Jetta’s innovative features and attributes that include an available 10-inch configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit; available 10-color ambient lighting system; available 400-watt BeatsAudio™ sound system; and standard, fuel-efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. The all-new 2018 Tiguan had its best month to date with 8,579 units sold in May 2018. The 2018 Tiguan, alongside the Tennessee-built 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, continue to bolster Volkswagen’s growing SUV portfolio. SUV sales accounted for nearly 50 percent of total volume for the Volkswagen brand year-to-date, a significant rise over 13.5 percent as of May 2017. May 2018 Sales May 18 May 17 Yr/Yr% change May 18 YTD May 17 YTD Yr/Yr% change Golf 765 1,281 -40.3% 3,458 5,872 -41.1% GTI 1,396 1,734 -19.5% 7,907 9,041 -12.5% Golf R 529 282 87.6% 1,770 2,110 -16.1% e-Golf 76 381 -80.1% 744 1,655 -55.0% Golf SportWagen 1,261 3,525 -64.2% 6,826 13,689 -50.1% Total Golf Family 4,027 7,203 -44.1% 20,705 32,367 -36.0% Jetta Sedan 6,814 11,535 -40.9% 25,726 45,496 -43.5% Jetta SportWagen (now Golf SportWagen) 7 N/A N/A 58 N/A N/A Total Jetta 6,821 11,535 -40.9% 25,784 45,496 -43.3% Beetle Coupe 1,011 1,005 0.6% 4,377 4,101 6.7% Beetle Convertible 481 824 -41.6% 2,462 3,133 -21.4% Total Beetle 1,492 1,829 -18.4% 6,839 7,234 -5.5% EOS* N/A 1 N/A N/A 1 N/A Passat 4,757 5,455 -12.8% 18,563 29,870 -37.9% CC 67 109 -38.5% 263 821 -68.0% Tiguan Limited 1,355 2,068 -34.5% 7,732 15,218 -49.2% 2018 Tiguan 8,579 N/A N/A 38,314 N/A N/A Touareg 190 204 -6.9% 1,298 1,244 4.3% Atlas 3,923 1,610 143.7% 24,459 1,610 1,419.2% TOTAL 31,211 30,014 4.0% 143,957 133,861 7.54%
  24. Since 2014, there have been numerous rumors about Apple's self-driving project known as Titan. At one time, the project had a 1,000 workers with the goal of designing and building a self-driving electric vehicle. But numerous issues and changes in vision has caused the project to be majorly behind scheduled. A new report from the New York Times shines a light at the current circumstances. According to sources with knowledge of the project, Apple signed a deal with Volkswagen late last year that would see the automaker provide less than two dozen of T6 Transporter vans to the technology company. Apple will equip the vans with their self-driving tech and be used as shuttles around their Cupertino base. The sources say the vans are "consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention". A number of former Apple employees added that the project "lacked a clear plan beyond the vans, including any near-term commercial goals." Volkswagen wasn't Apple's first choice for an automaker partner. BMW and Mercedes-Benz were the tech company's first and second choices. Various discussions would be held with both German automakers, but would ultimately go no-where as they balked at Apple's request "to hand over control of the data and design." Other automakers were spoken to, but wouldn't go far as automakers were not ready to give up control or Apple wanted " a more attractive partner." Volkswagen, however, jumped at the chance, as it was seen as a way to help improve their reputation after the diesel emission mess. It's unclear whether this deal will only be for the vans or extend further. Source: New York Times
  25. Since 2014, there have been numerous rumors about Apple's self-driving project known as Titan. At one time, the project had a 1,000 workers with the goal of designing and building a self-driving electric vehicle. But numerous issues and changes in vision has caused the project to be majorly behind scheduled. A new report from the New York Times shines a light at the current circumstances. According to sources with knowledge of the project, Apple signed a deal with Volkswagen late last year that would see the automaker provide less than two dozen of T6 Transporter vans to the technology company. Apple will equip the vans with their self-driving tech and be used as shuttles around their Cupertino base. The sources say the vans are "consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention". A number of former Apple employees added that the project "lacked a clear plan beyond the vans, including any near-term commercial goals." Volkswagen wasn't Apple's first choice for an automaker partner. BMW and Mercedes-Benz were the tech company's first and second choices. Various discussions would be held with both German automakers, but would ultimately go no-where as they balked at Apple's request "to hand over control of the data and design." Other automakers were spoken to, but wouldn't go far as automakers were not ready to give up control or Apple wanted " a more attractive partner." Volkswagen, however, jumped at the chance, as it was seen as a way to help improve their reputation after the diesel emission mess. It's unclear whether this deal will only be for the vans or extend further. Source: New York Times View full article

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