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. Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:30:01 +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/ OFFICIAL: 2017 Audi A4 Goes Bigger, Lighter With Predictable Styling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/official-2017-audi-a4-goes-bigger-lighter-with-predictable-styling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/official-2017-audi-a4-goes-bigger-lighter-with-predictable-styling/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101577 After giving the Audi A6 and A7 a refresh last year, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has rolled out the red carpet for their latest A4 in sedan and Avant flavors. The newest compact model promises to be lighter, more efficient, and chock full of technology as Audi tries to claim the premium segment crown. If you expected […]

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2017 Audi A4 Sedan and Avant

After giving the Audi A6 and A7 a refresh last year, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has rolled out the red carpet for their latest A4 in sedan and Avant flavors.

The newest compact model promises to be lighter, more efficient, and chock full of technology as Audi tries to claim the premium segment crown.

If you expected the new A4 to look like anything other than what’s shown in these shots, you may want to crawl out from under that rock. Just like other refreshed models in the Audi range, front and rear lighting gets a sharper look with a more furrowed brow. The Singleframe grille also ditches the rounded corners for a more angular look as Audi attempts to communicate their technology through design.

Thanks to slightly larger proportions, the all-new interior of the A4 features more space for occupants and technology, yet still manages to weigh over 250 lbs less than the outgoing car thanks to a combination of lighter chassis, body and driveline parts.

Though no North American specific engine details were released, the A4 will be available with a laundry list of seven engines for Europe, all of the four- and six-cylinder variety. Three TFSI gasoline engines – a 1.4L I4, all-new 2.0L “ultra” I4 and 2.0L g-tron TFSI that can burn compressed natural gas or Audi e-gas – and four TDI engines – 2.0L TDI, 2.0L “ultra” TDI and 3.0L TDI V6 in two different tunes – will be available at launch. The tiptronic automatic eight-speed will continue along with a manual box, while a new dual-clutch S tronic replaces the outgoing CVT.

Expect the new Audi A4 to arrive in the United States in April of next year.

2017 Audi A4 Sedan and Avant 2017 Audi A4 Sedan and Avant 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Avant 2017 Audi A4 Interior Front 2017 Audi A4 Rear Seats 2017 Audi A4 Sedan Driver's POV 2017 Audi A4 Interior Front 2017 Audi A4 Quattro Drivetrain with Sport Rear Differential 2017 Audi A4 Quattro Drivetrain 2017 Audi A4 Interior 2017 Audi A4 Quattro Drivetrain 2017 Audi A4 Bang & Olufsen Sound System 2017 Audi A4 Drivetrain 2017 Audi A4 Underside Aero 2017 Audi A4 Structure with hang on parts 2017 Audi A4 Structure 2017 Audi A4 Five Link Rear Suspension 2017 Audi A4 Five Link Rear Suspension Quattro with Sport Differential 2017 Audi A4 Five Link Rear Suspension Quattro 2017 Audi A4 Five Link Front Suspension 2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI 2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Power/Torque Curve 2017 Audi A4 Dimensions

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Volkswagen Introducing ‘Budget-Car Family’ By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101537 Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more. CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” […]

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Volkswagen Beetles in Paphos Circa March 2015

Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more.

CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” Reuters reports. Winterkorn added the cars — to cost between €8,000 and €11,000 ($8,932 and $12,225 USD) — would be assembled in China; the original target was between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,670 and $8,932).

Though the low-cost vehicles are aimed for markets in Southeast Asia, Winterkorn says his company would determine “if this is something of interest for other markets as well.” Whether North America is among them, only he and his senior execs know for certain.

(Photo credit: Chris Parker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Mercedes Considering Introducing Convertible SUVs To Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mercedes-considering-introducing-convertible-suvs-to-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mercedes-considering-introducing-convertible-suvs-to-lineup/#comments Sun, 21 Jun 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096577 Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup. Mercedes sports cars and SUVs chief Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once the market for them is found, CarAdvice.com.au writes. He […]

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mercedes-g500-convertible

Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup.

Mercedes sports cars and SUVs chief Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once the market for them is found, CarAdvice.com.au writes. He says the reason Mercedes stopped producing the G-Wagen Cabriolet after 34 years was due to a combination of volume and production reasons, adding such a vehicle exists in “a very slim niche in terms of the SUV portfolio.”

As for who might go for it, Kurz believes China would be a good start for a GLA or GLC convertible, though sales may be an uphill battle:

… China is not very good these days, or in total, in terms of convertibles, in terms of classical sedan-based coupes, in terms of roadsters. And it’s somewhat also the driving force in the meanwhile for the overall portfolio: can it be successful in China?

He adds there are “lots of discussions” and market research regarding convertible SUVs, but no decisions whether to press forward or not have been made thus far.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz)

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Frankfurt 2015: Production-Ready Infiniti Q30 Set For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/frankfurt-2015-production-ready-infiniti-q30-set-for-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/frankfurt-2015-production-ready-infiniti-q30-set-for-debut/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 13:11:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096097 Two years ago in Frankfurt, the Infiniti Q30 debuted before the world in concept form. Come this September, it will return with a production-ready look. The brand is putting the finishing touches on its first-ever compact luxury car, including “dynamic testing and ultimate validation” in the United Kingdom — where development of the Q30 was […]

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2013 Infiniti Q30 Concept

Two years ago in Frankfurt, the Infiniti Q30 debuted before the world in concept form. Come this September, it will return with a production-ready look.

The brand is putting the finishing touches on its first-ever compact luxury car, including “dynamic testing and ultimate validation” in the United Kingdom — where development of the Q30 was completed last year — and across the Channel in Europe.

Following its debut in mid-September, the Q30 will hit European showrooms from Nissan’s production line in Sunderland, England at the end of 2015, with other markets set to get theirs in 2016.

The Q30 and its sibling compact crossover, the upcoming QX30, are expected to receive power from the same 2.0-liter turbo-four found under the bonnets of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA, whose basic underpinnings also provides a foundation for the Infiniti compacts. The exchange is part of a joint venture between Daimler AG and Renault-Nissan.

For now, this spy shot from Infiniti is the best we’ve got until closer to showtime:

Infiniti_Q30_TEASER_image___19_June_2015

(Photo credit: Infiniti)

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Nürburgring Management Bans Manufacturers From Attempting, Publishing ‘Ring Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095969 Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring. During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, […]

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BMW M5 Ring Taxi

Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring.

During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, with the ‘Ring as the backdrop — director J.F. Musial said he received a phone call from Koenigsegg founder and CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg, informing him the track’s management had banned all manufacturers from attempting and publishing times achieved on the famed course. Koenigsegg had planned to put his One:1 through the pace prior to the ban.

The ban stems from an accident during a VLN race in March involving driver Jann Mardenborough, where a spectator was killed as a result. Management reacted by imposing a speed limit at the site where the accident occurred, followed by similar limits on other high-speed portions of the ‘Ring.

While management is set to review the limits at the end of this year, manufacturers are barred from making lap-record runs, even if the entire track was closed to the public for said runs. However, a run recorded by Lamborghini with its Aventador SV was allowed — under the claim the run happened before the limits were in place — while WTCC is permitted to ignore the limits altogether.

(Photo credit: elyob/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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BMW Z2 MX-5 Fighter Dubbed ‘Inessential,’ Cancelled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-z2-mx-5-fighter-dubbed-inessential-cancelled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-z2-mx-5-fighter-dubbed-inessential-cancelled/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093377 Despite models like the i8 and Z4, BMW is more interested in SUVs and crossovers than sports cars these days. Case in point: The Z2 has been cancelled. The Z2 would have gone toe-to-toe with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat’s Spyder beginning in 2016, Car reports, but was deemed “inessential” in the face of […]

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2013 BMW Z3

Despite models like the i8 and Z4, BMW is more interested in SUVs and crossovers than sports cars these days. Case in point: The Z2 has been cancelled.

The Z2 would have gone toe-to-toe with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat’s Spyder beginning in 2016, Car reports, but was deemed “inessential” in the face of both booming SUV sales and a sluggish sports car market by chairman Harald Krüger and R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich, a move in line with sales boss Ian Robertson’s belief the sports car market may never recover.

The roadster would have slotted under the Z4, come with a £20,000 ($31,000 USD) starting price tag, and been limited to three- and four-cylinder engine options delivering their power to the front wheels.

The aforementioned FWD setup would have been the result of the Z2 sharing a platform with the MINI, BMW 1 Series, and the front-driven models in the BMW 2 Series, a setup also shared by the still-alive MINI Superleggera roadster.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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DeLorean Owned By Mrs. DeLorean Goes On The Auction Block http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/delorean-owned-by-mrs-delorean-goes-on-the-auction-block/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/delorean-owned-by-mrs-delorean-goes-on-the-auction-block/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093297 Should you happen to be in Berlin next Friday, you could have a shot at the DeLorean once owned by none other than the former Mrs. DeLorean herself. German auction house Auctionata is putting this particular bit of history on the block in Berlin June 26, Autoblog reports, a gift bestowed by the late John […]

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delorean-erstbesitz-mr-delorean-baujahr-1982-1

Should you happen to be in Berlin next Friday, you could have a shot at the DeLorean once owned by none other than the former Mrs. DeLorean herself.

German auction house Auctionata is putting this particular bit of history on the block in Berlin June 26, Autoblog reports, a gift bestowed by the late John DeLorean in 1982 to his then-wife, actor/model/presenter Cristina Ferrare.

Following the collapse of the company and the marriage, Ferrare sold the DeLorean to its then-new owner in the United States, ultimately garnering 13,540 miles in the three decades it has been on the road.

Bidding for this DeLorean is set to start at €34,000 (around $38,000 USD), though the auction house expects the vehicle to leave the block for anywhere between €70,000 and €100,000 (~$79,000 and $112,000).

Said expectation is in line with the highest price paid for the iconic vehicle: a 1976 prototype sold by Canadian house RM Auctions left the block at Pebble Beach for $110,000 in 2007 ($128,000 in 2015 dollars).

[Photo credit: Auctionata]

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Volkswagen Forges New Auto Union Through Reorganization http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-forges-new-auto-union-through-reorganization/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-forges-new-auto-union-through-reorganization/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092657 Volkswagen Group is reorganizing itself into a decentralized organization with four holding companies to better handle high production costs. German business daily Handelsblatt reports former BMW manager Herbert Diess will head up the first group, expected to be composed of Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat, Automotive News Europe says. Current Audi CEO Rupert Stadler will lead […]

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Audi RS 3 Sportback

Volkswagen Group is reorganizing itself into a decentralized organization with four holding companies to better handle high production costs.

German business daily Handelsblatt reports former BMW manager Herbert Diess will head up the first group, expected to be composed of Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat, Automotive News Europe says. Current Audi CEO Rupert Stadler will lead the second group, featuring Audi, Lamborghini and Ducati, while Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller will be in charge of the third group made up of Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti. Finally, former Daimler truck boss Andreas Renschler will helm the last group of three, set to include VW Commercial, Scania and MAN.

The new structure is expected to improve efficiency and speed-up decision making, each group deciding what models to sell and where to sell them. The group bosses will also have a seat on the main group’s management board, while groupwide positions would be eliminated.

According to investment group Evercore ISI, the move affects mainly the mass-market trio of VW, Skoda and Seat, resulting in a unit delivering 7.6 million units annually with a combined revenue of €119.2 billion ($133.9 billion USD) and €3.2 billion ($3.6 billion) in earnings.

The reorganization also casts aside the plan made by ousted VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piech, which allowed the brands to go their own way while competing amongst each other. Industry observers say this scheme made the overall structure hard to manage, hindering quick reactions to changes in the market.

[Photo credit: Audi]

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BMW Rumored To Be Working On US-Built Tesla Model X Rival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-rumored-to-be-working-on-us-built-tesla-model-x-rival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-rumored-to-be-working-on-us-built-tesla-model-x-rival/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088137 Should rumors of BMW’s latest plans be true, there will soon be another electric SUV rival to the Tesla Model X on the market. According to a report from German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, BMW is looking to enter the electric SUV/crossover game with a rival to the upcoming Model X, Automotive News says. The entrant would […]

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2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

Should rumors of BMW’s latest plans be true, there will soon be another electric SUV rival to the Tesla Model X on the market.

According to a report from German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, BMW is looking to enter the electric SUV/crossover game with a rival to the upcoming Model X, Automotive News says. The entrant would be assembled in Spartanburg, S.C., home of the X Series line of crossovers and SUVs, pending board approval.

However, said SUV would not be an X waiting to give it to the Model X, but a new member of the i Series, forming a triad with the i3 city car and i8 PHEV sports car; the latter two are assembled in Leipzig, Germany.

When asked by Automotive News if the report was true, a BMW representative said it was all “speculation.” If the story does hold up, though, don’t expect to see the new entry right away. According to Evercore ISI global automotive research chief Arndt Ellinghorst, the earliest such a vehicle would hit showrooms would be in 2018.

The i Series SUV would also be the second possible rival to Tesla’s offering, with Audi entering the game in 2018 with its own all-electric SUV; said SUV is set to arrive in concept form at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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Sixth-Gen BMW 7-Series Image Leaked Via Online Configurator http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/sixth-gen-bmw-7-series-image-leaked-via-online-configurator/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/sixth-gen-bmw-7-series-image-leaked-via-online-configurator/#comments Sun, 07 Jun 2015 12:41:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086401 The image might be grainy making it difficult to see the details with clarity, this is the sixth-generation BMW 7-Series. Autocar was able to snap a screenshot of the new full-size luxury sedan as it popped up on one of BMW’s online configurators. According to the official teaser video, we should expect the new 7-Series […]

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bmw-7-series-leak

The image might be grainy making it difficult to see the details with clarity, this is the sixth-generation BMW 7-Series. Autocar was able to snap a screenshot of the new full-size luxury sedan as it popped up on one of BMW’s online configurators.

According to the official teaser video, we should expect the new 7-Series to drop on June 10th – this coming Wednesday – equipped with BMW Laserlight technology (but not for America) and powered by a selection of gasoline engines ranging from a 3.0L I6 and 4.0L V8 to a 6.0L V12. A couple of turbodiesels –2.0L I4 and 3.0L I6 – are also expected.

Underpinned by a modified version of the platform doing duty in the 3- and 4-Series, the next 7-Series will additionally make extensive use of aluminum, magnesium, high-strength steel and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic in order to save weight.

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Donckerwolke Out, Sielaff In As Bentley’s Chief Designer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/donckerwolke-out-sielaff-in-as-bentleys-chief-designer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/donckerwolke-out-sielaff-in-as-bentleys-chief-designer/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085457 Bentley design boss Luc Donckerwolke parted ways with the automaker Thursday, with VW Group interior designer boss Stefan Sielaff taking the helm. Donckerwolke penned numerous designs for the VW Group brand lineup in his 23 years of service with the company, Car and Driver reports, including the first-gen Škoda Fabia and Octavia, Audi A2, Lamborghini […]

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Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Bentley design boss Luc Donckerwolke parted ways with the automaker Thursday, with VW Group interior designer boss Stefan Sielaff taking the helm.

Donckerwolke penned numerous designs for the VW Group brand lineup in his 23 years of service with the company, Car and Driver reports, including the first-gen Škoda Fabia and Octavia, Audi A2, Lamborghini Murciélago, and recently the Bentley Bentayga, Continental GT, and EXP10 Speed 6.

The designer also never held back on his thoughts about automotive design, such as when he slammed Lincoln for copying the Bentley Flying Spur for its Continental concept, which debuted at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. After posting his thoughts on Lincoln designer David Woodhouse’s Facebook, as well as his own account, Donckerwolke and exterior design boss Sangyup Lee laid it all out for Car and Driver:

Asked to elaborate, Donckerwolke told us: “This is not respectable. Such a copy is giving a bad name to the car-design world.” And his exterior design chief, Sangyup Lee, who described the Lincoln as “a joke, seriously,” added, “It is very disappointing, especially for an exclusive brand like Lincoln.”

His comments were supported by his colleagues and the top brass at VW Group at the time, but the latter may be the reason for Donckerwolke’s departure. Though he was said to have left Bentley on amicable terms, Jalopnik posits his open criticism of the Lincoln Continental may have played some role — if not the exact role — in the designer’s sudden departure, which stunned the automotive design world despite the amicable exit. Either way, VW Group nor Donckerwolke offered an explanation for parting ways.

Taking his place as Bentley’s head of design is Sielaff, who will take on the role beginning July 1. He will report to chief engineer Rolf Frech — and not, according to Autoblog, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer — while also maintaining his current role for the overall group, where his boss is chief designer Walter de’ Silva.

Speaking of de’ Silva, it was suggested Donckerwolke would have been among those who would have been chosen to fill de’ Silva’s role once the latter called it a day. Other possible candidates included Sielaff and de’ Silva’s preferred choice, Wolfgang Egger. Whether VW Group will either find his replacement from within the company, from the outside, or bother at all remains up in the air at this time.

[Image credit: Bentley]

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This Is the New 2016 Opel Astra, Supposedly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/this-is-the-new-2016-opel-astra-supposedly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/this-is-the-new-2016-opel-astra-supposedly/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081137 Thanks to a leak from GM Europe, this is the next-generation 2016 Opel Astra before its planned debut later this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Only the five-door hatchback model is shown in the leaked batch, though Opel does plan to offer other variants, including a sedan, wagon and a hotted-up version. Now, let’s see […]

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2016 Opel Astra

Thanks to a leak from GM Europe, this is the next-generation 2016 Opel Astra before its planned debut later this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Only the five-door hatchback model is shown in the leaked batch, though Opel does plan to offer other variants, including a sedan, wagon and a hotted-up version.

Now, let’s see if engineers at Buick here in North America can figure out how to replace the Opel lightning logo with their own tri-shield.

Like the current Astra, the eleventh-generation model – designated Astra K – uses GM’s Delta architecture as a platform and wears similar lines and overall design cues. However, the new model looks to take inspiration from the Opel Monza concept, giving the compact hatchback a more aggressive mug.

2016 Opel Astra

From the photos, we can also glean the new car will be available with Apple CarPlay. GM announced earlier the new Astra will also be available with Android Auto. The interior is finished with a cleaned up center console and dash along with dual gauge pods in the instrument panel and a current-generation version of GM’s digital driver information center.

While this would be a great replacement for the Verano in Buick’s North American lineup (if they’re truly looking for younger buyers), don’t bet on it. GM has stated the Astra isn’t coming back to North America anytime soon.

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Wörthersee GTI Treffen: Where Volkswagens Rule http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/worthersee-gti-treffen-volkswagens-rule/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/worthersee-gti-treffen-volkswagens-rule/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:36:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073658   If you’re into Volkswagens – especially of the modified variety – Wörthersee is to you what Sturgis is for Harley riders or Carlisle to Mopar fans. Thousands and thousands of VW fans take over several small, quiet towns around a beautiful mountain lake and turn them into a festival of belly-scraping Volkswagens, Audis, Seats […]

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Old one and new

Old and new.

If you’re into Volkswagens – especially of the modified variety – Wörthersee is to you what Sturgis is for Harley riders or Carlisle to Mopar fans. Thousands and thousands of VW fans take over several small, quiet towns around a beautiful mountain lake and turn them into a festival of belly-scraping Volkswagens, Audis, Seats and Škodas.

And there’s beer. Lots and lots of beer.

It’s probably the same story with all big enthusiast gatherings. In the beginning, there was a bunch of dudes who shared a taste for a certain kind of car and wanted to get together occasionally. Years came and went. The small, underground gathering turned bigger and eventually massive. Somewhere along the way, business came into the picture, and the party turned into massive show.

Or, in some cases, a county fair on steroids, which is the case with Wörthersee.

Unlike, say, a biker meet or some hot rodder gathering, the GTI Treffen was never really a “counter culture” event. When about a hundred owners of Golf GTIs came to Reifnitz for the first time in 1982, the GTI was just a quicker version of a sensible family hatchback, and the oldest one was not even 8 years old by that time. Not exactly the German equivalent of a souped-up ’32 Ford.

That's how an original Golf II Rallye looks like

An original Golf II Rallye looks like this.

The event was even conceived with the idea of boosting local tourism from the very beginning. In the next three decades, the gathering grew and grew, gained corporate sponsorship from VW itself, and became world famous.

So, how does GTI Treffen look and feel now, after more than three decades since its birth?

I spent three days at the venue itself and in a nearby lakeside town to find out. Here’s the outcome.

The most important thing about Wörthersee is it’s not just one event. It’s two. The “official” one that Škoda wanted me to see – the one with massive stands for all the VW Group brands, plus several tuners and aftermarket brands – looks a bit like a typical motor show that’s been moved from a big hall to a tiny city. The concepts are unveiled, hot girls (sort of – as a Czech, I have high standards for that) are posing around shiny, gleaming cars, as are rally drivers, designers and sometimes even corporate bosses. I’ve even heard the reason for GTI Treffen’s relationship with Volkswagen Group is due to Ferdinand Piëch living nearby – and now that he’s resigned his chairmanship, the amount of money spent on the event will diminish.

The new Scirocco GTS

The new Scirocco GTS

The official, corporate money fueled event is not of major interest, though. The real reason to come here is not to look at some concept cars and factory tuner specials. I came to see what the real volks bring to Treffen.

From what I read, it’s best to come at least a few days – or even a week – before the main, four-day event. I couldn’t do that, but I tried spent as much time as possible walking around, taking pictures and inhaling the atmosphere. I wanted to find out what it was all about.

Getting a grasp of the car culture involved isn’t as easy for me as it may seem. While I’m European, and modifying Volkswagens is one of the prevalent automotive cultures of our continent, I was never into it and I didn’t grow up around people with cars like these. I know American car enthusiasts and their events. I hang around some people with JDM machines. I know people with vintage cars, Italian cars, old Benzes and Beemers. I’ve been active in the “old” Ford community in the past. I even know some guys with air-cooled VWs – but a slammed Golf? Covering an event full of those is about the same for me as if you sent a hipster from Seattle to write about a Nickelback concert.

Bunch of Russian guys, drinking beer

A bunch of Russian guys drinking beer – not vodka, unfortunately.

The basics are, of course, similar to any other automotive gathering. People who share a taste in cars come somewhere and then either park their cars, sit around and drink beer, or drive their cars around while others watch them, drinking beer, before they park their cars in the evening and go for a beer. One could even suggest that with most such events, the cars are nothing but a vehicle, while the beer is the purpose.

With Wörthersee being in Austria, which is in between Bavaria and Czech Republic, it’s quite clear that the beer will be of utmost importance. And it is. As is blaring pop music and scantily clad women. It’s important to note Wörthersee is on the very south edge of Austria near the Slovenian border and the climate here is closer to northern Italy than it is to Central Europe. The temperature hovered around 28 degrees C for most of the event.

Old school?

Old school?

Since I’m no Jack Baruth and I wouldn’t even know what to do with them, I left the girls alone and concentrated on the cars.

The access to the town’s center is restricted during the event, so only “cool” cars can come and cruise there. The others gather around Reifnitz or in other small towns on the lake. Looking at the long stream of “selected” cars in the town, I can’t help but think they look awfully similar to each other. That’s something that can be expected at such a gathering, and the comparison with American or JDM enthusiast events, which came up in my head, is probably a bit unfair. After all, Volkswagens aren’t the most diverse cars in the world and it’s hardly any surprise they look similar.

But there’s still one difference when compared to, say, a VW Beetle gathering. If you randomly choose five VW Beetles from such gathering, they’ll probably be totally different, even if they’re the same car. Odds are, one will be a totally stock, vintage example. The second may be some Cal-look beast, the third can be a tangerine-colored custom monster in the style of ’70s street rods, the third may be a “rat” and the last one in yet another, totally different style.

Yes, those are '50s style Moon caps on a Golf

Yes, those are ’50s style Moon caps on a Golf

Look at cars at GTI Treffen and you don’t see as much variety. Basically, the only thing you’ll see there is a lowered Golf on huge wheels. There will be a few stock Golfs, and a few VW cars that are not Golfs, but they’re usually Golf-based or similar enough to a Golf that it doesn’t matter. In a few rare cases, you get huge Golf-like cars with Audi badges, and in even rarer ones, you’ll see some air-cooled stuff and a handful of supercars. Other than that, it’s Golf, Golf, Golf, Seat, Golf, Golf, Passat, Škoda, Golf, Golf… you get the idea. Even the non-Golf cars are Golfs in one way or another.

What is really interesting, though, is that even though everyone uses basically the same canvas, they use it to paint very different pictures. I guess if you started with anything other than a stanced FWD Volkswagen on large wheels, you would be shot in Wörthersee, or at least not allowed to have any beer, which is similar. At the same time, everyone wants to stand out and be different, so people get creative.

Alex Roy would approve?

Would Alex Roy approve?

The result is a strange but very vibrant car culture, taking many styles of modified cars around the world and melting them into one.

You can’t change the basics. You’ll always have a low hatchback, wagon or maybe sedan – coupe or convertible, in very rare cases – with a front-mounted engine driving the front wheels. Similar lines. Low suspension. Big wheels. And, since the culture is based on Golf GTI and inspired by racing and rally cars, you need to make you car at least look fast.

At the same time, actually going fast has pretty much gone out of fashion for these guys. Many of the cars here may look fast, but only in the same way a Hot Wheels does: oversized wheels, air suspensions, no-profile tires and so on. To make the most of the areas where there’s some space for creativity, owners spend lots of time, money and effort on paint, stickers and various add-ons to make their cars unique. On the surface, these cars are much closer to lowriders than typical American hot rods or JDM tuner cars.

Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe

Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe

And one of the ways to be unique is to give your car a theme. Sometimes, it ends up with something like “LeMons race car meets artisan lowrider”. You see Golfs in camo paint and with military insignias as stickers. You see Golf or Passats with U.S. patrol car black-and-white paint. You see old stuff on the roof racks of MkI Golfs and you see cars made to look like rat rods. In fact, it’s surprisingly popular to use hot rod and rat rod style details, like chrome Moon caps, or insignia and stickers, like Maltese crosses.

In the end, it’s like you took all the world’s car cultures and applied them solely to Golfs. It’s a bit strange for the outsider, but it’s definitely interesting to watch.

The stuffed moose is probably drunk on Jäger A pristine, nearly stock Audi Quattro Old Golf Rally with just a few tasteful mods Two ways to do a Golf II When even a supercar isn't low enough Rat rod. Made of Golf II. Want a nice Golf? Call! Totally pristine, original condition Golf I Yes, those are '50s style Moon caps on a Golf Old one and new Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe Chicks like Golfs, too A statue of a Golf II, made about two decades ago. Family fun in a Golf I Cabriolet The new GTI on the main street That's how an original Golf II Rallye looks like Bora in camo Bunch of Russian guys, drinking beer Stickers Old school?? "quattro" stickers. How 80s. Gulf Racing VW Caddy. Those colors! Alex Roy would approve? A classic on a fancy wheels Wheels are everything That's not broken, that's stance! Matte Seat Changing the wheels Some famous rally driver Rally car and its Wagon cousin Girls at Seat Girls with Seats Rieger tunes many VAG cars Aircooled ones come, too. Everything looks good in Martini colors Some modern metal This rat rod was everywhere A really nice Polo Some really rich hippies An old school Beetle with Porsche wheels Even Up! can be stanced You can also buy stuff It's hot, so people seek water A LONG line of cars Scirocco lying on its belly Yet another US Police car What's this?? BS would approve Octavia sells wheels Lots of taillights US trucks are popular here as showcars Flat black Beetle The new Scirocco GTS A Golf based supercar Really fast Golf once more Das Auto

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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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