There’s been much talk lately about the possibility of Czech automaker Škoda entering the American market, spurred by news of the brand trademarking some model names in the USA.
The idea is that Škoda could complement or even replace Volkswagen on American soil with its larger, cheaper cars. But can it make sense? Can Škoda offer something that VW can’t? Is it better suited to American tastes? And, is it cheap enough? Let’s look at all these question with the eyes of someone who’s familiar both with Škodas and with American cars and consumer tastes.
America — would you buy a modern Škoda?
According to AutoGuide, Škoda submitted four separate trademark applications for “Skoda Superb”, “Superb”, “Octavia”, and “Yeti” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on May 24 and May 25, 2016. USPTO has yet to publish them for opposition.
While this is nothing new for Škoda (the company has continually filed trademarks in America since the 1920s), it’s worth noting what the company applied to trademark compared to what it usually trademarks.
Call it a friendly occupation.
The Czech Škoda brand chose a tough-sounding name for its upcoming Kodiaq SUV, but the Alaskan town (and bear, and island) that inspired its name was left with one “k” too many.
Something had to change. So, the townsfolk went to work bringing the two names into line for one day only, as Škoda’s cameras rolled. (Read More…)
Volkswagen’s slow roll-out of fixes for recalled diesel vehicles in Europe has hit a snag.
Authorities in Europe have put the brakes on a series of Volkswagen recalls after greater fuel consumption was allegedly recorded in models that have undergone the diesel emissions fix, Automotive News Europe is reporting.
Reports say that fuel economy suffered after the fix, forcing Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to halt the repairs of 2.0-liter Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda models.
Volkswagen will officially recall all of its illegally polluting diesel engines in Germany, German newspaper Die Welt reported Monday (via Reuters), the first step in a wave of recalls to fix 11 million cars worldwide.
Roughly 2.5 million cars in Germany will be recalled — 1.5 million Volkswagens, 500,000 Audi and 500,000 Skoda- and Seat-branded cars — with work beginning in January. Last week, the German transportation authority approved Volkswagen’s fix for 1.6-liter cars, which included an “air calming” pipe ahead of the intake’s air sensor. The company’s 1.2- and 2-liter cars may only need software fixes.
Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board will review Volkswagen’s proposal submitted earlier this month for fixing 482,000 cars in the U.S. It’s unclear what those fixes may be. During congressional testimony in October, Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn said it would be a combination of hardware and software fixes.
Volkswagen in Germany announced Wednesday its fix for millions of its 1.6- and 2-liter diesel engines in Europe that are illegally spewing nitrogen oxides and have cost the company billions in a massive worldwide scandal.
According to the automaker, a small “flow transformer” would be fitted in front of the air mass sensor in 1.6-liter, EA189 engines. The small transformer will calm air leaving the air filter before reaching the sensor. Volkswagen says the calmer air will allow the sensor to more accurately measure airflow for combustion. The fix would take less than an hour. For 2-liter engines, the proposed fix would be a software update and would take 30 minutes. Both plans have been approved by the German transportation authority.
Both fixes may be headed to cars in the U.S. However, the announced plan was in Germany for engines only on sale in most of Europe. Volkswagen submitted its U.S. plan last week to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, but details of that plan haven’t been released.
Update: A spokesman for Volkswagen of America said U.S. cars aren’t affected.
Volkswagen announced Friday that more than 400,000 of its cars with “irregularities” in reported carbon dioxide emissions were new cars, which could shed new light on how many more cars the beleaguered automaker would have to pay for.
This month, Volkswagen announced 800,000 cars emitted more carbon dioxide than reported to regulators. Of those cars, Volkswagen announced Friday that 430,000 were 2016 models across many of the automaker’s brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat. It’s unclear how many older models may be added to the list of cars that emit more carbon dioxide. (Read More…)
Volkswagen on Monday said that internal testing revealed 800,000 Volkswagen cars may emit more carbon dioxide than reported and could cost the company $2.1 billion more in penalties.
New CEO Matthias Müller apologized for the deception.
“The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG deeply regrets this situation and wishes to underscore its determination to systematically continue along the present path of clarification and transparency,” he said in a statement. (Read More…)
Volkswagen Group will recall 8.5 million vehicles in the European Union’s 28 member states, including the 2.4 million vehicles it is already being forced to recall by the KBA, Germany’s transportation authority, the automaker announced Thursday.
Vehicles from the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands are included in the recall. The latest EA 288 diesel engine is not part of the recall.
Volkswagen said it will begin to rollout fixes in January 2016.
Chairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tapped to lead a new North American Volkswagen region, will be leaving the Volkswagen Group, it was announced Wednesday.
Vahland will not be taking the N.A. role which would have given him the responsibility of overseeing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets.
“Differing views on the organisation of the new Group region have led to this decision,” Škoda said in a release on Wednesday, though the automaker was careful to point out that “this decision is expressly not related to current events on the issue of diesel engines.”
A replacement for Vahland in North America has not yet been announced.