Originally, I wanted to borrow an Octavia RS as the ultimate example of the “nice things you Americans can’t have”. But then I decided not to. I had three reasons. First, the RS, unlike “ordinary” Skodas, isn’t readily available in any shade of brown. Second, I had already tested a diesel, manual wagon recently. And third, the diesel wagon really isn’t the Octavia RS you really want. It’s a compromise, something you choose as a company car, because gasoline engines are verbotten by your company’s policy and you need the space for hauling stuff to your vacation home each weekend.
Today’s recall announcement by Toyota estimated to span at least 6.4 million vehicles, serves as a nice distraction from the ongoing recall occurring at cross-town rival General Motors. The Best & Brightest are free to squabble about which faceless corporate entity with zero regard for their individual well-being is the superior one. The rest of us have bigger fish to fry.
Why do we continue to lust after the Volkswagen Scirocco when the Audi TT exists? They’re similar cars, with a similar shape and if the two were to be sold in North America, their pricepoints wouldn’t be terrible far off one another. The answer is simple – because we must fetishize every vehicle that doesn’t make it to our shores are a priori superior to whatever dull crap is being gobbled up by Americans. Except that the TT has just leapfrogged the Scirocco, and it will be coming to North America.
With plans to give the world more of their wonders, such as the XL1, Twin Up! and Jetta, through 2018, Volkswagen has opted to shield their product spending from cost-cutting.
More drama in the ongoing Volkswagen unionization fight in Chattanooga: Volkswagen USA is not keen on the union, while Volkswagen’s management board is divided on the matter. One thing that seems certain is the prospect of a secret ballot vote on the union, according to Reuters.
A German business publication published a report this week claiming that Volkswagen won’t meet its 2015 profit goals, in part due to the costs associated with the new MQB modular platform.
As you know, TTAC has been following the modularization trend in the industry with great interest. At TTAC, you received an early heads-up on Volkswagen’s MQB kit architecture four years ago, and we followed it ever since. TTAC was one of the first to tell you that Toyota is working on its own kit architecture, called “Toyota New Global Architecture,” TNGA for short. More than a year ago, we told you about Nissan’s Common Module Family (CMF). Now, everybody is talking about kits and modules. Let’s talk a little more. (Read More…)
(Note: This story is not for the TL;NR crowd. If you need it in one short sentence: If your car company isn’t working on a kit architecture, kiss them good-bye.)
Call it coincidence, but immediately after TTAC flogged GM for having missed the kit architecture train, and for being chained to the antique platform model well into the next decade and possibly beyond, GM launched operation pushback. It could not be tolerated that the supposedly “New GM” was painted as a company with out-of-touch technology, so Selim Bingol rallied his troops.
The first skirmishes were fought by GM partisans dropped behind the lines of the story. Their comments seemingly were taken from a common sheet of talking points:
(This story intentionally appears on a weekend. This type of partisan usually works 9-5.)
Most large automakers are working on a modular architecture of some sort. Farthest ahead appears to be Volkswagen, which already is rolling out new car after new car on one of four related kit architectures, and which is rumored to be working on one master kit. The other day, Toyota showed me glimpses of its new kit architecture, first cars to be expected in 2015. Today, GM showed us this chart. And there are no kits on it. (Read More…)
Looking a bit like a hybrid between the Range Rover Evoque and a Subaru Outback, the VW CrossBlue Coupe Concept is the smaller companion to the larger CrossBlue that debuted at Detroit. The Coupe has a twin-turbo V6 and a plug-in hybrid system making 409 horsepower, but don’t expect that to make it into production. Hopefully the CrossBlue’s diesel engine does carry over to the production version, which is rumored to be the next Tiguan.
Despite a chorus of largely uncritical reporting, there is a growing contingent of those who question VW’s claim that their new MQB modular architecture will bring about significant savings. The latest among them is Bernstein Research. A report by noted analyst Max Warburton (who recently authored the definitive study on Chinese cars) questions VW’s claims and shows how MQB may be helpful, but not nearly as significant as VW claims. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that these reports are meant for end-user investors, not necessarily industry types.
1 million units a year. That’s going to be the minimum volume necessary for car makers to survive, if you believe SEAT boss James Muir. His struggling brand sold just 320,000 cars last year, and their exposure is largely limited to economically ill countries in the sunny areas of Europe.
VW will reward the manual-diesel-wagon brigade with not one but two products set to satiate your Euro lust. In addition to the next generation Golf Variant (aka the Jetta SportWagen), Volkswagen confirmed that the next-gen Golf GTD will make it to our shores as well.