The Truth About Cars » Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 25 May 2015 14:29:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/germany/ Reborn Borgward Hires Walker As CEO, Debuting New Model In Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071682 Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again. Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and […]

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1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe

Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again.

Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and 2006.

Christian Borgward, chairman and grandson of founder Carl Borgward, praised Walker’s “profound industrial background and broad knowledge of the premium automotive segment in Germany,” while Walker had this to say about his new role:

I’m honored to lead this respected German brand into the future. Borgward is a legendary global brand which has set industrial milestones and created brilliant stories in history. Several of its innovations and classic cars have been widely acclaimed in the industry and I am confident that Borgward will win back its place in the international automotive industry.

The historic automaker plans to unveil its first model in over five decades this September during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show – the automaker itself returned to the scene at this year’s Geneva Auto Show – which is said to be an SUV meant to invoke “affordable luxury.” Power for the new model may either come from a hybrid or full-electric system, and production is set for 2016.

Borgward assembled over 1 million vehicles between 1919 and 1961, disappearing from the scene when financial issues forced it into liquidation. The revived automaker has financial backing from Chinese truck manufacturer Beiqi Foton, which produces trucks in a joint venture with Daimler.

[Photo credit: Steve Glover/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class – New Engine Candy, Same Old Boxy Wrapper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-mercedes-benz-g-class-new-engine-candy-old-boxy-wrapper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-mercedes-benz-g-class-new-engine-candy-old-boxy-wrapper/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:10:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061002 As Mercedes-Benz rolls out its all-new 4.0-liter V8, engineers in Stuttgart have decided the bi-turbo mill will fit right at home in the aging Gelandewagen, a luxo-utility military-born vehicle that hasn’t seen a major update in 25 years. The immediately recognizable box-on-wheels is due for a complete overhaul for 2017. In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz needs to keep their […]

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Mercedes-Benz G-Class (BR 463) 2015

As Mercedes-Benz rolls out its all-new 4.0-liter V8, engineers in Stuttgart have decided the bi-turbo mill will fit right at home in the aging Gelandewagen, a luxo-utility military-born vehicle that hasn’t seen a major update in 25 years.

The immediately recognizable box-on-wheels is due for a complete overhaul for 2017. In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz needs to keep their top-line SUV fresh to captivate the attention of celebrities and athletes and their conspicuous consumption. That’s not to say the updates are insignificant, however.

The new 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 in the G550 is a variation of that found in the Mercedes-AMG GT and C63. In the G-Class, the V8 is good for 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque sent to all four wheels, compared to its 5.5L V8 predecessor with 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of twist.

Other G-Class models see bumps in power as well, including the 571 hp V8 powered G63 and 612 hp V12 motivated G65 – the latter coming to the U.S. for the first time. All V8 powered models are said to improve fuel economy thanks to a new start/stop system.

One model many would love to come to North America – the diesel V6 powered G350d – will continue to be forbidden fruit for those of us in the colonies.

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Volkswagen Supervisory Board Meeting Monday To Discuss New Chairman http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 16:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060674 A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement. The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close […]

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Volkswagen Group Logo TTAC Style

A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement.

The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close to the issue says a decision isn’t likely today, however.

Though Huber is leading the search, the former IG Metall boss isn’t up for consideration to helm the company permanently. Whoever is chosen for the role, though, “needs a high degree of automotive expertise and authority,” and would ideally be a VW outsider who can govern neutrally, according to Union Investment fund manager Ingo Speich, whose group holds 0.6 percent of VW preference shares.

As for who is up for consideration, speculation points to Continental AG chairman Wolfgang Reitzle and Porsche SE chairman Wolfgang Porsche; VW and its works council have not commented on potential candidates as of this writing. Reitzle was recently suggested by Piëch to fill his vacated seat on the board alongside former Siemens manager Brigitte Ederer instead of the board’s choice of his two nieces, a move the former chairman opposed.

[Image credit: Volkswagen]

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Volkswagen Won’t Cut Prices to Chase Market Share in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 15:37:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059338 Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing. “We believe it’s […]

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volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08

Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing.

“We believe it’s the right strategy over the long term,” Christian Klingler told AN.

He stated Volkswagen has a long-term approach to protecting profits and won’t try to chase volume at its expense. Similar problems are being experienced in other markets like Brazil. Also, even with the euro down versus the American dollar, most U.S. sales volume comes from North American-built vehicles, negating any possible positive currency impact.

Much of Volkswagen’s sales slump can be attributed to their current model mix. The brand does not offer a competitive crossover between the long-in-the-tooth Tiguan and much more expensive Touareg, a segment currently experiencing significant growth.

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Aston Martin All-In On SUV, Lamborghini Still On Fence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058346 Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor. Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million […]

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Aston Martin Logo

Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor.

Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million ($152 million) already issued and the remainder doled out over the next 12 months.

What does that investment buy? A new “luxury crossover GT” based upon the DBX concept shown at the 2015 Geneva and Shanghai auto shows, for one. CEO Andy Palmer said as much in the press release:

This additional long-term funding, will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade. The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations. The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini is still thinking about adding an SUV to its lineup, though no decision has been made, as CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Autoblog last month:

If we do a third model, then it’s better to have the SUV as this is a growing segment, a more emotional segment, a segment which is very well-distributed in terms of volume all over the planet. And therefore this is a car which is more likely.

The potential successor of Lamborghini’s sole outing in the SUV market – the LM002 – would have a design more appealling to current Lamborghini owners. It would also bring a significant amount of sales to the brand: the Urus concept from 2012 was projected to move 3,000 units per year; the brand itself sold 2,530 units in 2014.

Winkelmann adds the SUV would be the perfect platform for a hybrid powertrain, citing the SUV’s packaging and weight behind the reasoning.

[Photo credit: Aston Martin]

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Ferdinand Piëch Objects Appointment Of Nieces To Volkswagen Board http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ferdinand-piech-objects-appointment-nieces-volkswagen-board/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ferdinand-piech-objects-appointment-nieces-volkswagen-board/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057114 Ferdinand Piëch isn’t Volkswagen’s chairman anymore, but he doesn’t want a couple of his relatives to replace him and his wife on the board, either. After Piëch and his wife, Ursula, left the supervisory board after a failed attempt to oust CEO Martin Winterkorn from his position last week, the board’s members appointed Louise Kiessling […]

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Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Ferdinand Piëch isn’t Volkswagen’s chairman anymore, but he doesn’t want a couple of his relatives to replace him and his wife on the board, either.

After Piëch and his wife, Ursula, left the supervisory board after a failed attempt to oust CEO Martin Winterkorn from his position last week, the board’s members appointed Louise Kiessling and Julia Kuhn-Piëch – Piëch’s nieces – to fill the vacated seats on the behest of the company’s management board, Automotive News Europe reports. The appointments were immediately approved by the local court in Braunschweig.

The elder Piëch made his objection to their appointment, citing their limited industry experience as his reason. Instead, he wants former BMW and Premier Automotive Group exec Wolfgang Reitzle and former Siemens chief Brigitte Ederer, with Reitzle a likely candidate to fill the chairman position.

Little is known about Kiessling and Kuhn-Piëch thus far. The former is an Austrian businesswoman who studied vehicle design in London, the latter works in real estate. Both were chosen by the entire family outside of Ferdinand Piëch, with their appointments maintaining the balance of power of the Porsche-Piëch clan.

Whoever does end up in the vacated seats, they will serve out the remainder of Ferdinand and Ursula Piëch’s term, set to end in 2017.

[Photo credit: Roger/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Canada Loans €400M to Volkswagen for Chance at Supplier Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/canada-loans-e400m-volkswagen-chance-supplier-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/canada-loans-e400m-volkswagen-chance-supplier-table/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055073 As Volkswagen plans to expand in Chattanooga and Puebla, the Canadian government is loaning €400 million ($433.8 million USD) to the German automaker in exchange for possible future supplier business. Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation (an entity owned entirely by the Government of Canada), announced the “financing is designed to create opportunities for qualified small and medium-sized […]

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Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

As Volkswagen plans to expand in Chattanooga and Puebla, the Canadian government is loaning €400 million ($433.8 million USD) to the German automaker in exchange for possible future supplier business.

Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation (an entity owned entirely by the Government of Canada), announced the “financing is designed to create opportunities for qualified small and medium-sized Canadian companies to win new business with the global automotive giant as they grow their operations in North America.” The loan is being extended to Volkswagen with “market-rate interest and administrative fees.”

“There’s no doubt Canada needs Volkswagen more than Volkswagen needs Canada,” said Phil Taylor, spokesperson for EDC, to the Windsor Star.

The financial agreement gives smaller Canadian companies exposure to Volkswagen as they tool up their North American operations for future product. Suppliers can register their products or services on a website run by EDC.

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Volkswagen Takes Silver In Quarterly Sales Amid Lingering Leadership Battle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052129 While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015. Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next […]

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2013 Volkswagen Up

While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015.

Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next month, the chairman denied the allegations to German newspaper Bild, Automotive News Europe reports.

Piëch said he had agreed to support Winterkorn following a meeting with board members in Austria last week. However, broadcasting network NDR says the chairman doesn’t feel bound by the agreement, and is seeking support from the Porsche and Piëch families to oust the CEO. The two families hold 50.7 percent of VW voting rights, a factor that could sway the state of Lower Saxony and German unions to vote in favor of Piëch’s chosen champion for the role. Both groups, though, stand firm behind Winterkorn and the board’s decision.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015. According to AutoGuide, the automaker sold 2.49 million units from its family of brands between January and March 2015, edging out General Motors for the second spot on the sales podium by 70,000 units; Toyota retains the gold for now. The figure is also a 1.8-percent improvement compared to 2014.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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VW Group Board Supporting Winterkorn In Leadership Conflict http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050873 VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch. The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, […]

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Winterkorn, Piech, Piech - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch.

The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, and the German state of Lower Saxony. The board also let it be known they may extend Winterkorn’s contract beyond 2016 and should Piëch refuse to agree to public support of the CEO they would demand Piëch’s resignation.

The leadership battle is linked to a few problems Piëch has had with Winterkorn for some time, particularly VW’s ongoing sales woes in the United States. Alongside similar problems in Brazil, overall profits taking a downturn, and competitor BMW grabbing the green-car title among the German automakers, Piëch believes the CEO lacks the vision needed to pull his company into a better place in the industry. For now, though, Piëch is holding to his part of the deal with the board.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Continental AG Interested In Partnering With Apple In Car Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/continental-ag-interested-partnering-apple-car-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/continental-ag-interested-partnering-apple-car-project/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016658 Whether or not Apple is actually building a car, German tire manufacturer Continental AG wants in. Reuters reports CEO Elmar Degenhart said his company would be interested in teaming up with the tech giant as a partner if the latter decides to enter the automotive industry as a car manufacturer. Degenhart added that he was […]

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IMSA Continental Tire Challenge Mosing Porsche Cayman

Whether or not Apple is actually building a car, German tire manufacturer Continental AG wants in.

Reuters reports CEO Elmar Degenhart said his company would be interested in teaming up with the tech giant as a partner if the latter decides to enter the automotive industry as a car manufacturer. Degenhart added that he was impressed with Apple’s “excellent reputation on information and communication systems,” as well as its financial strength.

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Land Rovers, Jaguars Et Al Leave Höegh Osaka After Month At Sea http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991122 Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany. According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly […]

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Land Rover Hoegh Osaka

Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany.

According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly after departing for Germany through the English Channel. Around 1,400 premium vehicles were onboard, including Land Rover Defenders, Jaguar XFs, MINIs, a Rolls-Royce Wraith, and a Porsche Boxster.

Presently, each of the 1,400 vehicles aboard are being inspected for any damage, especially the type that would mean a final ride to the crusher. The final total won’t come until early next week at the latest, though a decision to follow in Mazda’s footsteps — the automaker scrapped 4,700 units aboard the Cougar Ace in 2006 — would prove costly; the total value of Höegh Osaka’s cargo stands at £30 million ($45 million USD).

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Volkswagen Moving Ahead With New Phaeton Despite Itself http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-moving-ahead-new-phaeton-despite/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-moving-ahead-new-phaeton-despite/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989922 Despite cost-cutting measures meant to save the automaker €5 billion annually by 2017, Volkswagen is moving ahead with a new Phaeton by 2018 at the latest. Reuters reports the revamp of the €76,000 ($86,000 USD) executive car would cost up to €650 million ($733 million) according to Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, flying in the […]

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phaetons

Despite cost-cutting measures meant to save the automaker €5 billion annually by 2017, Volkswagen is moving ahead with a new Phaeton by 2018 at the latest.

Reuters reports the revamp of the €76,000 ($86,000 USD) executive car would cost up to €650 million ($733 million) according to Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, flying in the face of a pledge by VW to cut production costs and non-profitable models in order to save €5 billion ($5.6 billion) annually by 2017. He adds that the Phaeton — the €1 billion ($1.13 billion) pet project of Chairman Ferdinand Piech that has lost €28,000 ($32,000) per unit sold between 2002 and 2012 alone — is “the most irrational project” as far as budgeting goes, yet lives on because Piech and CEO Martin Winterkorn “cannot let go of their fondness for luxury products.”

Additionally, the Phaeton would not only have a hard time doing battle against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series as far as sales go (85,000 units annually for the S and 64,000 for the 7 compared to an estimated 11,900 for the new model between 2017 and 2020), but it would also struggle against its own stablemate, the Audi A8. U.S. sales are another likely challenge, as well, considering the automaker’s own struggles in understanding the U.S. market.

Nonetheless, VW is preparing the second-gen Phaeton for its showroom debut between 2017 and 2018, with a PHEV version coming down the pipe, as well.

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German Automakers Rally In Support of US-EU Trade Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989578 Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition. Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela […]

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Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition.

Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, would be the largest such agreement put into play when signed. The deal would deliver a gain of €119 billion ($135 billion USD) for the EU and $131 billion for the U.S. by 2027, which equals an average of €545 ($620) and $910 for a family of four in their respective locations. Eighty percent of the gains would be the result of eliminating duplication costs linked to maintenance of two different bureaucracies and regulations.

However, German union IG Metall and various consumer groups take issue with key parts of the agreement, if not the entire agreement itself. For the union, the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism — which grants corporations the right to sue the government if revenue is lost due to government policy — is unacceptable, as are the threats of softening environmental and consumer protections, and hollowed workers’ rights. Other groups fear U.S. companies could force European legislators to draft policies in the former’s favor, and “harmonize safety or product standards downward.”

As for why the German automakers are rallying, the aforementioned harmonization would allow all automakers to focus on one set of safety and emission standards, thus allowing for the possibility of buying a new car from a different market without waiting 25 years first. That said, the agreement could collapse without majority support from all 28 members of the European Parliament.

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Next-Gen Audi Q7 First VW Product With Diesel PHEV Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956754 When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option. Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be […]

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When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option.

Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be the second diesel PHEV sold in Europe, joining the €56,200 ($69,000 USD) Volvo V60.

The announcement follows statements made this summer by development chief Ulrich Hackenberg, who said the Q7 and the A8 would come with a diesel PHEV option, combining a 3-liter V6 engine with an electric motor, but didn’t say which would be the first out of the gate with said option.

As for the move itself, Hackenberg and CEO Rupert Stadler both proclaimed PHEVs would be the company’s best solution for low-emission vehicles, with greater range than pure electrics being the biggest factor.

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BMW: We’re Not Working With Tesla On Anything http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-working-tesla-anything/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-working-tesla-anything/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954977 Were you hoping BMW and Tesla would join forces for the future of electrification? Not so fast. According to Wirtschafts Woche, a BMW representative stated the company will not be buying shares in the California-based automaker, nor offering much more than its carbon fiber technology, which BMW states is open to all comers. The Bavarians […]

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Were you hoping BMW and Tesla would join forces for the future of electrification? Not so fast.

According to Wirtschafts Woche, a BMW representative stated the company will not be buying shares in the California-based automaker, nor offering much more than its carbon fiber technology, which BMW states is open to all comers. The Bavarians believe the only benefit from a relationship with Tesla would be in favor of the latter, claiming CEO Elon Musk would enjoy the PR from such a collaboration.

The statement comes on the heels of an interview by Der Spiegel with Musk, who proclaimed his company was in talks with BMW to “collaborate on battery technology or charging stations,” something that was news to BMW. The automaker also has no interest in working on a battery factory with Tesla, stating such things can be purchased from its suppliers. Musk said he had plans to build a factory in Germany within five to six years.

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BMW Unveils 3 Series PHEV Prototype, Plans For Future PHEVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-unveils-3-series-phev-prototype-plans-future-phevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-unveils-3-series-phev-prototype-plans-future-phevs/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954681 BMW’s i Series is lending its technology to the automaker’s core portfolio, spurring a new generation of PHEVs in so doing. The automaker introduced the prototype for the 3 Series PHEV in France, which pairs a four-cylinder gasoline engine — based on the TwinPower Turbo mill — with an electric motor, both of which are […]

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BMW 3 Series PHEV platform prototype

BMW’s i Series is lending its technology to the automaker’s core portfolio, spurring a new generation of PHEVs in so doing.

The automaker introduced the prototype for the 3 Series PHEV in France, which pairs a four-cylinder gasoline engine — based on the TwinPower Turbo mill — with an electric motor, both of which are linked to BMW’s eDrive technology found in the i3 and i8.

Beyond the 3 Series PHEV, BMW plans to deploy eDrive among the rest of range, with the aim of having PHEVs handle long-distance travel while pure electrics — and possibly hydrogen down the road — deal with urban mobility requirements. The system will also help the Bavarians deliver high-performance models whose emissions fall under 100 g/km of CO2, with future PHEVs models expected to provide 100 kilometers of range in full-electric mode, 20 kWh of capacity in their lithium-ion packs, and a combined power rating of 500 kW.

From 2015 forward, the eDrive system will be assembled in the automaker’s plant in Dingolfling, creating 200 jobs surrounding the technology, with “many tens of millions of euros” invested into the plant over the next five years.

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Uber Hitting E-Class Taxi Roadblock In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954649 Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model. According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger […]

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Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model.

According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger — average age of 3.5 years — and more luxurious, as well.

Familiarity — or lack thereof — is another factor in grabbing mind share. Berlin-based consultant Boris Knoblich says that while Uber’s lower fares are attractive, he didn’t know “anything about those drivers or the cars they’re driving.” Per Die Zeit, 73 percent of Germans feel the same way, showing no interest in the transportation network company, even if its fares are lower.

Uber’s German boss, Fabian Nestmann, is attempting to change those opinions and to bring the fleet on par with the taxis. Regarding the latter, Uber is considering making direct deals with automakers for newer, higher-quality vehicles. Nestmann also suggested in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last month that the German government drop mandatory health checks or local geography testing for tax drivers, likely to help his company make further in-roads into the market.

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Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946586 With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may […]

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With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few.

Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.

However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.

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Zetsche: There’s No Money In The EV Stand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/zetsche-theres-money-ev-stand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/zetsche-theres-money-ev-stand/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941673 Though Daimler made $780 million off of its recent Tesla stake sale, CEO Dieter Zetsche says there’s no money in the EV stand. AutoblogGreen reports Daimler is leasing its Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive for €399 ($498 USD) a month for 36 months with a down payment of €8,473 ($10,582) due at signing in European showrooms. […]

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Though Daimler made $780 million off of its recent Tesla stake sale, CEO Dieter Zetsche says there’s no money in the EV stand.

AutoblogGreen reports Daimler is leasing its Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive for €399 ($498 USD) a month for 36 months with a down payment of €8,473 ($10,582) due at signing in European showrooms. Were Zetsche to have his way, however, those payments would be higher:

You can reasonably say that nobody today is making a battery-powered vehicle that’s economically viable in its own right. Manufacturers will not see a return within a reasonable time on the billions they’re investing now.

Zetsche’s remarks echo those of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who would rather spend $10,000 on a more profitable product than lose said amount every time a Fiat 500e is sold. On the other hand, Nissan and Tesla — the latter having worked with Daimler on the B-Class Electric Drive — have found their respective gambles paying off thus far, though neither are planning to show their hands just yet.

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Daimler, Volkswagen Urge Independence From Google Data Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939705 Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.” Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s […]

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Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.”

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s ability, urging its fellow automakers to develop automotive data platforms that would secure sensitive customer information from the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant.

According to Bloomberg, VW boss Martin Winterkorn says that while his company seeks a connection with Google’s data systems, it still wants to have dominion over its own vehicles, citing “potential conflict” rising from making consumer data available to Google. Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche stated similar concerns with Google:

Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain. It’s at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That’s where we need to negotiate.

Zetsche also found the discussion of in-house data systems among automakers like his company and Volkswagen encouraging, proclaiming the move would maintain independence against the rising tide of “third parties,” such as Google’s Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay and BlackBerry’s QNX OS, as it would “boost” Daimler’s position “when working with Google.”

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Mercedes-AMG Buys Stake, Enters Partnership With MV Agusta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-amg-buys-stake-enters-partnership-mv-agusta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-amg-buys-stake-enters-partnership-mv-agusta/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939681 Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG high-performance luxury brand has decided that two wheels aren’t so bad after all, putting down an undisclosed sum for 25 percent of Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta S.p.A. In addition to the stake, Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta will enter into a long-term partnership with a focus on sales and marketing toward consumers […]

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Mercedes-AMG + MV Agusta

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG high-performance luxury brand has decided that two wheels aren’t so bad after all, putting down an undisclosed sum for 25 percent of Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta S.p.A.

In addition to the stake, Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta will enter into a long-term partnership with a focus on sales and marketing toward consumers of both high-end cars and motorcycles. No word was given, however, on whether any manufacturing and design DNA will enter into the mix down the road as a result of the new partnership.

MV Agusta President/CEO Giovanni Castiglioni expressed his pleasure with the partnership, stating Mercedes-AMG’s investment would allow his company “to further expand globally,” as well as accelerate said growth. In turn, MV Agusta would “further enhance” his partner’s leadership in the high-performance game. Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers agreed, adding that the partnership would give his company access “into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts.”

MV Agusta has sought a dance partner for some time, ever since the Harley-Davidson partnership made in 2008 dissolved completely just two years after. Earlier this year, rumors pointed to Fiat to be the one to take the company’s hand; the rumors did not pan out.

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Russian Billionaire Steps In To Keep The Nurburgring Alive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/russian-billionaire-steps-keep-nurburgring-alive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/russian-billionaire-steps-keep-nurburgring-alive/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939649 Home to many a ‘Ring time, as well as one 24-hour FIA GT3 throwdown with as many competitors and fans as it can fit, the Nurburgring has found a new owner in Russian billionaire Viktor Kharitonin. Autoblog reports Kharitonin — founder of Russia’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pharmstandard — took over from previous owner Capricon, who […]

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Home to many a ‘Ring time, as well as one 24-hour FIA GT3 throwdown with as many competitors and fans as it can fit, the Nurburgring has found a new owner in Russian billionaire Viktor Kharitonin.

Autoblog reports Kharitonin — founder of Russia’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pharmstandard — took over from previous owner Capricon, who paid €77 million ($96 million USD) for the track in a bankruptcy sale. Capricon couldn’t keep up with the monthly €5 million ($6.2 million) payments, however, which was when Kharitonin rode in to save the day.

Since then, the 1,342nd richest individual in the world has set up a holding company named NR Holding AG to oversee operations, as well as paid the next installment for December well in advance of the due date. Kharitonin’s company holds two-thirds of the Nurburgring, with German motorsports company GetSpeed maintaining the remaining third.

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Daimler Expanding Sprinter Production To North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934770 When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America. Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the […]

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When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America.

Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the NAFTA region,” according to Mercedes’ head of vans, Volker Mornhinweg.

Presently, the U.S.-bound Sprinters are made in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, then sent over in CKD form to Ladson, S.C. for reassembly. Around 23,000 Sprinters were sent in this manner to U.S. customers in 2013, the sales second only to Germany.

As for where the new plant will be built, Mornhinweg says the exact location would be chosen in the coming months, with sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico being examined.

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Projects In Germany, US Closer To Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Manufacturing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/projects-germany-us-closer-low-cost-carbon-fiber-manufacturing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/projects-germany-us-closer-low-cost-carbon-fiber-manufacturing/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931938 Though carbon fiber is being used more extensively in new vehicles, the high costs associated with building a vehicle out of the material have kept it to the likes of the Lexus LFA and BMW i Series. This could soon change, however. Bloomberg reports MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH, with financial backing from BMW, Audi, […]

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Though carbon fiber is being used more extensively in new vehicles, the high costs associated with building a vehicle out of the material have kept it to the likes of the Lexus LFA and BMW i Series. This could soon change, however.

Bloomberg reports MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH, with financial backing from BMW, Audi, Airbus, Siemens and around 70 other manufacturers, have made progress on reducing the cost of carbon fiber, with the goal of slashing 90 percent of the total cost. Klaus Drechler, head of the €80 million ($102 million USD) project, as well as professor at the Technical University of Munich, explains:

We’ve certainly reached a halfway point on our cost-cutting target for suitable carbon-fiber parts. We’ll see a lot more carbon-fiber use in the next generation of cars. The key is to really drive automation [in production]. There are different scenarios about how carmakers can use carbon fiber — extensively like BMW, with a carbon-fiber chassis, or with smaller components.

Similar cost-reduction efforts are being carried out in the United States at the Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The consortium, established in 2011, has partnered with Ford, Dow Chemical and other companies in developing lower-cost carbon fiber materials.

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Paris 2014: Volkswagen XL Sport Unveiled, Powered By Ducati http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-volkswagen-xl-sport-unveiled-powered-ducati/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-volkswagen-xl-sport-unveiled-powered-ducati/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923001 What happens when you mashup Italian motorcycle power with German engineering? The Volkswagen XL Sport happens. The more metal version of the two-seat, hyper-efficient XL1, the XL Sport gets its power from the Ducati 1199 Superleggera sport bike. The two-cylinder 1199cc powerplant pushes 197 horsepower (at 11,000 rpm, no less) and 99 lb-ft of torque […]

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What happens when you mashup Italian motorcycle power with German engineering? The Volkswagen XL Sport happens.

The more metal version of the two-seat, hyper-efficient XL1, the XL Sport gets its power from the Ducati 1199 Superleggera sport bike. The two-cylinder 1199cc powerplant pushes 197 horsepower (at 11,000 rpm, no less) and 99 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto to the back. The vehicle also receives upgrades to the chassis, sport suspension and ceramic brakes.

Aside from having more power and more aggressive bodywork, the XL Sport also sports more weight, coming in at 1,962 pounds — thanks in part to the Ducati two-pot — compared to the XL1’s svelt 1,700 pounds.

Inside, it’s still an XL1 for the most part, but now boasts a digital gauge cluster providing performance data to the driver as they shift the seven-speed via flappy paddle. Polycarbonate windows help reduce weight, but don’t expect to hit the Starbucks drive-thru: the windows are fixed in place.

Despite its supercar looks, the car is as quick off the line as a Ford Fiesta ST, moving from naught to 60 in 5.8 seconds, with a top speed of 168 mph.

Alas, much like the XL1, it’s not likely anyone outside of Europe — if at all, in this case — will ever bring home an XL Sport. Only 250 of the former will be assembled for sale in European markets — deliveries having commenced this summer — retailing for approximately $146,000 USD to start.

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