The Truth About Cars » Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:45:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com VW Inches Closer To Badly Needed Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/vw-inches-closer-badly-needed-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/vw-inches-closer-badly-needed-crossover/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:15:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958305 After throwing enthusiasts a few wagon-shaped bones at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen is set to debut the long-roof product that really matters for the auto maker’s American division: a crossover. A concept version of a future Tennessee-built crossover is set to debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Unlike the high-end Touraeg and the […]

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After throwing enthusiasts a few wagon-shaped bones at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen is set to debut the long-roof product that really matters for the auto maker’s American division: a crossover.

A concept version of a future Tennessee-built crossover is set to debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Unlike the high-end Touraeg and the compact Tiguan, the future CUV will be a traditional five and seven seat affair, like a Ford Explorer or a Honda Pilot.

A VW CUV may be anathema to the enthusiast idea of VW as a purveyor of Euro-diesels and GTI hatchbacks, but the CUV represents a way to fill a glaring hole in VW’s American lineup, which is not getting much traction in a constantly-growing American car market.

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Volkswagen Unveils Plans For 5 Series/E-Class Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957841 The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton. AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets […]

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The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton.

AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets receiving the sedan while the Europeans can buy either style.

Regarding platforms for the sedan, VW is considering either its MQB architecture — following the next-gen Passat in 2017 — or Audi’s MLB platform, which underpins the A6. Power is expected to come from four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, and would be linked to all four corners via DSG and Audi’s Quattro AWD system.

The proposed base price for the model would begin at €37,500 ($46,500 USD), and would be assembled in either China, Mexico or North America. The new model would go on sale sometime near the end of this decade.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-volkswagen-golf-1-8-tsi-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-volkswagen-golf-1-8-tsi-manual/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 13:31:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950089 13 years ago, the Golf-based Volkswagen GTI produced 180 horsepower from a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. Over the last week, I’ve been driving a brand new Golf that’s also fitted with a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder. It generates 170 horsepower. In 2002, you could pair Volkswagen’s 1.8T with a 6-speed manual transmission. Our test car used […]

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2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI13 years ago, the Golf-based Volkswagen GTI produced 180 horsepower from a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. Over the last week, I’ve been driving a brand new Golf that’s also fitted with a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder. It generates 170 horsepower.

In 2002, you could pair Volkswagen’s 1.8T with a 6-speed manual transmission. Our test car used a 5-speed manual.

Is this progress? Strangely, yes.

To begin with, the horsepower comparison is deceiving. The new car makes way more torque: 185 lb-ft at 1600 rpm compared with 173 lb-ft at 1950 rpm. There’s also progress in the form of efficiency: It travels 25% farther on a gallon of fuel, according to EPA testing procedures. On regular fuel. The old car drank premium.

Though it’s not a spec-sheet superstar, the new 1.8T is still a very quick car when mated to the 5-speed manual. And though the transmission would surely benefit from a tall sixth gear and feels as though it could use more tightly spaced ratios, shift quality is excellent. The clutch is friendly, with no learning curve required.

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSIOver the course of a decade and multiple generations, the Golf has made gains. Not in terms of outright power, but in overall refinement and the quality of the driving experience. These upgrades are unlikely to change the fact that most American small car buyers won’t consider a Golf. Like the well-behaved child who always carries his dishes back to the sink with two hands and efficiently and correctly finishes his homework, but who still sees all his parents’ attention paid to his delinquent little brother, der neue base Golf does its level best but still isn’t as desirable as its siblings.

This four-door, manual-shift Golf, loaned to us for a week-long visit by Volkswagen Canada, would carry a USD base price of $21,515, delivery included. As a mid-grade Comfortline example with one option package, this Golf featured a sunroof, leatherette upholstery, and dual-zone climate control. Absent the optional Fender system, audio quality was still more than acceptable. Volkswagen’s 2.0L turbodiesel adds $1300 or less to the cost in the United States. In Canada, where the price of diesel fuel is more closely comparable to the price of regular gasoline, it’s a $2500 upcharge.

With fuzzy carpeting spread across the front doors’ storage compartments and a dash covered in material so squeezable I expected fruit juice to come pouring out, there’s no doubt that the Golf’s perceived quality quotient tops the class. The infotainment system, on the other hand, lags — both in actual use and behind the segment leaders like Mazda Connect. It’s not a terrible system to use – I liked how it allowed me to scroll through satellite radio stations without actually selecting one – but the graphics and operational speed are behind the times. The 5.8-inch screen also seems too small for a proper backup camera, or is it just that the camera isn’t a particularly good one, washed out as it was in daylight and too dim later in the day?

Golf (13 of 13)Comfort is a key Golf edge, with first-rate seats and a huge range of adjustment for both seats and steering wheel. Wind and road noise is just something the owners of other small cars encounter; the Golf offers a proper luxury car ambience, only decontented.

Rear seat space doesn’t impress, however, as the placement of the especially narrow Diono Radian RXT carseat in the middle position required adults alongside to slam the door directly into their hip. Sure, it’s a small car, but many small cars these days offer more usable interior width. Hatchback versions of the Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and Subaru Impreza all have more overall space for humans.

The Golf does possess a bit more space behind the rear seat than the 3 and Impreza, however, and the cargo area is shaped like a box with little intrusion. Seats-down capacity beats the Elantra, as well. Of course, all are surprisingly practical cars, yet they also help to clarify the appeal of small crossovers, as our Baby Jogger Summit X3 needed its wheels removed if it was to fit under the cargo cover in the Golf. Where’s the Golf R wagon when you need it?

Like virtually all continuing nameplates, the Golf has certainly grown over the span of generations. This Mk7 car is 167.5 inches long on a wheelbase of 103.8 inches; 2.6 inches longer than the Mk4 car we mentioned earlier with a wheelbase that’s been stretched nearly five inches. Yet the growth has been contained. Relative to modern machines, the current Golf is just under two feet shorter than a new Toyota Camry and just 7.5 inches longer than the 2015 Honda Fit. It’s 14.7 inches shorter than the latest Jetta, with slightly less wheelbase and slightly greater width.

Golf (3 of 13)Those tidy dimensions are central to the Golf’s on-road appeal. It’s as tossable as a properly set-up subcompact but as unflustered as a much larger car. Mid-corner pavement protrusions don’t bother the Golf even when you’re driving as enthusiastically as you might in its GTI sibling. The Golf’s brake pedal could be firmed up, but the weight of other controls is in keeping with the car’s mission. It’s not a hot hatch, but there’s no mistaking this ordinary Golf (on unaggressive 205/55R16 Continental ContiProContacts) for anything other than the foundation of a great hot hatch. With quicker turn in, sharper throttle response, and just a little more stiffness in the suspension, it would be a wonderful all-rounder. It is not crying out for more torque.

A Mazda 3 offers much of the Golf’s driving appeal but lacks its hushed cabin and always-serene ride quality. Subaru’s Impreza does not come close to matching the Golf’s upmarket interior but offers Vermont’s favourite all-wheel-drive system. It’s obviously difficult for the Golf to match the value and content of the Hyundai Elantra GT and Kia Forte5, but the driving experiences between those cars and the remarkable Golf are worlds apart.

Over the course of the last ten months – but not in the last two – the Golf lineup has been outsold in the U.S. by its own offspring, the GTI. With the Mk7 now widely available, the non-GTI/R/E Golf lineup doubled its U.S. October volume. Yet at 2351 units, it was by no means a popular car in America. According to HybridCars.com, diesels account for 41% of the non-GTI Golfs sold this year. The Golf family is Germany’s best-selling vehicle line, the UK’s fourth-best-selling vehicle, and Canada’s tenth-best-selling car in October.

2015 Volkswagen Golf cargoAside from a frumpy radio and a sunroof visor which crudely slides back and forth, the Golf is an impressive piece, not just lacking in glaring faults but full of admirable elements. One might wonder why Americans are so indifferent, until one realizes that this compact hatch costs about as much as a base Camry. The Golf 1.8 TSI is a car I want, it’s just not a car I want to pay for, not with these interior dimensions and not on this continent. Not when this car travelled 28 miles per gallon in a mix of city and highway driving while the last Golf TDI we tested did 41.

Oh, summon a little compassion for the well-behaved gas-fired Golf. Even when reviewed positively, the whole story deteriorates into praise of its oil-burning sibling. We might as well pile on by mentioning the superior styling of the Mk1’s round headlights.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Volkswagen LT 28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1973-volkswagen-lt-28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1973-volkswagen-lt-28/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950569 As far as I know, the Volkswagen LT van was never sold new in the United States, and this is the first one I’ve ever seen in an American wrecking yard. At first glance, I assumed it was some sort of Grumman or specialty body on a Big Three chassis. But as soon as I […]

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18 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs far as I know, the Volkswagen LT van was never sold new in the United States, and this is the first one I’ve ever seen in an American wrecking yard. At first glance, I assumed it was some sort of Grumman or specialty body on a Big Three chassis.
09 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut as soon as I saw this VW/Audi four-cylinder in the front, I knew I was looking at something German (and incredibly, dangerously slow).
06 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt makes sense that someone in the San Francisco Bay Area would want to drive a European-market box truck, and it has the stickers to suit that image.
10 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like a very useful vehicle for urban deliveries, though extended highway drives must have been pretty miserable with double-digit horsepower moving this big box.
15 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of cargo space.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2015-volkswagen-golf-1-8-tsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2015-volkswagen-golf-1-8-tsi/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:30:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949281 For all its foibles, I loved the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine in the Volkswagen parts bin. It provided an audible grunt you couldn’t get anywhere else for the same amount of money and, in its early days, was the best way to buy cheap torque without going diesel or turbo. Thanks to a finer focus on […]

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2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI (4 of 30)

For all its foibles, I loved the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine in the Volkswagen parts bin. It provided an audible grunt you couldn’t get anywhere else for the same amount of money and, in its early days, was the best way to buy cheap torque without going diesel or turbo.

Thanks to a finer focus on fuel efficiency — a strength the five-pot did not possess — the base 2.5-litre is now gone. Instead, we have a new 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, dubbed 1.8T or 1.8 TSI, delivering the same amount of horsepower, more torque, and better fuel economy than the outgoing 2.5 five-cylinder.

Our tester for the week, a 2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI Comfortline (Canada), is the mid-trim option in the Golf lineup and equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. Ticking off the optional Convenience Package adds automatic headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Climatronic dual-zone electronic climate control, light assist, Panorama tilt and slide power sunroof, and rain sensing wipers. The whole package before taxes and freight rings in at $24,590 CAD.

(For you folks living in Canada’s pants bemoaning my Canadian pricing, it’s hard to find an equivalent in the US Golf trim matrix that matches up, so you’ll have to do a little digging on your own.)

2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI (28 of 30)

The new 1.8 TSI is a fantastic little motor but does miss some of the charm of the old 2.5 inline-5. Thanks to the wizardry of turbocharging, the four-cylinder produces a very healthy 170 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. It also does duty in other Volkswagen lineup models, such as the Beetle and Jetta.

It won’t leave your wallet empty at the pumps either, returning 7.6L/100km (31 MPG) and running on regular gas instead of premium.

The rush of torque comes on fairly early and the most fun is had when shifting at least 1,000 rpm before redline so you can feel the torque through each gear change. This is a car that will actually reward you for shifting slowly and letting the revs drop a bit.

2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI (17 of 30)

The five-speed manual is crisp, notchy, and great for people who actually enjoy rowing their way through the gears. With solid feedback and tight gating, the gearbox might be a little too much for the novice driver though. I’d suggest the Fiesta with its long throws and lighter feedback for that crowd. But, for those who’ve already mastered the third pedal, this is as good a choice as any, except for the fact it is down a gear versus a few of its competitors.

Being the first Golf to ride on the new MQB Volkswagen platform also brings with it new characteristics in ride and handling. The Golf now rides like a much bigger car, smoothing out the bumps in the road while the body stays relatively stable. The softer ride does mean the Golf suffers slightly when chucking it around corners. But, unless you are trying to recreate the car chase scene from Ronin, you should be just fine.

There are two trends Volkswagen has bucked with the new Golf — one for the better and the other for the worse.

The first one comes down to design, as the Golf eschews the sloped rear glass used by the Mazda3 Sport and other hatchbacks in favour of a more two-box silhouette. This gives the Golf decent cargo space in the rear. Also, and this is the big kicker, Volkswagen hasn’t brought the beltline up to such a level that makes it hard to see out of the rear of the car. While the Golf gets a nifty backup camera hidden behind the VW badge, you don’t need to rely on the camera to reverse from a parking space. That’s a very welcomed surprise.

2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI (6 of 30)

But, the one trend where Volkswagen really needs to play catch up is from an infotainment point of you. Specifically, the Golf has a serious lack of USB ports, and by that I mean it has exactly zero of them. Instead, Volkswagen still wants you to use the proprietary iPod connector and a car charger that pops into the plug that used to be a cigarette lighter. VW — you should really know better.

Also a point of pain is the beige-and-black two tone interior available on Comfortline models in Canada. While the materials are top drawer, the two-tone scheme cheapens it all just a bit. Again, VW — you should really know better.

2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 TSI (14 of 30)

Even with these slight issues, the Golf is a solid contender (though, if I were at Motor Trend, I wouldn’t be giving the Golf a Car of the Year award). For those who enjoy driving but don’t necessarily enjoy the firm ride, compromised visibility, or stick-on infotainment screen of the Mazda3, this is your next choice. Also, turbocharging makes everything a bit more fun.

But, if you desire something with slightly sharper handling, USB ports, or an interior that doesn’t mutter how boring you are, there are other options.

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VW Bringing Golf SportWagen 4Motion, Alltrack To US In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949993 Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016. Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike. The Alltrack variant, unveiled […]

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Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016.

Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike.

The Alltrack variant, unveiled at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, will be paired against the Subaru XV Crosstrek with the aim of capturing a piece of the U.S. small crossover market, gain more overall U.S. market share, as well as using more of the Puebla, Mexico factory where the Golf is assembled now.

As for the standard SportWagen, FWD versions will arrive sometime this coming spring, while tooling for the AWD 2016 model is beginning to be installed. Horn expects the SportWagen to make up 50 percent of all Golf sales once VW completes its lineup expansion.

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Los Angeles 2014: A Modest Proposal For Volkswagen Of America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:37:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948545 Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet […]

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Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet does not make a business case for a new vehicle line). But maybe VW of America can meet us half way.

Back in 2006, Volkswagen offered a Jetta 2.0T, with the engine and suspension from the GLI, but without the body kit, big wheels, red brake calipers and tartan seats. I was fortunate enough to drive one during my college years, and found it a nice compromise between the boy racer GLI and the bog standard 2.5L Jetta.

Maybe we can get a Golf wagon 2.0T? Take the GTI’s engine and chassis tuning, but leave out the AWD, the big wheels and all the other expensive stuff that will lead to a bloated price tag and excess inventory (ahem, Golf R32).

 

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Los Angeles 2014: Volkswagen Golf R Wagon Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-volkswagen-golf-r-wagon-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-volkswagen-golf-r-wagon-debuts/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:01:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946721 After teasing us with a “concept” at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen is debuting a production of the Golf R wagon – but we may not get it in North America. Mechanically, the Wagon is identical to the Golf R, retaining its 296 horsepower 2.0T 4-cylinder, Haldex AWD and DSG gearbox. While it is […]

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After teasing us with a “concept” at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen is debuting a production of the Golf R wagon – but we may not get it in North America.

Mechanically, the Wagon is identical to the Golf R, retaining its 296 horsepower 2.0T 4-cylinder, Haldex AWD and DSG gearbox. While it is certainly a go for world markets, VW has said nothing about a North American on sale date. Perhaps they are gauging public reaction yet again before making a decision?

 

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VW Establishes New Labor Organization Engagement Policy For Chattanooga Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944745 Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives. Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent […]

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Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives.

Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent for any group of employees,” but does allow those groups three levels of access and dialogue with the plant’s top brass when a given group represents at least 15 percent of the employees.

The first level grants groups who represent 15 percent of the floor the right to hold a meeting once a month during non-work hours, along with monthly meetings with VW HR, and the ability to post announcements. The second level — 30 percent representation — allows groups to meet once a week, as well as invite non-employee group personnel to meet up once per month, and quarterly meetings with the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee. Finally, groups who represent 45 percent or more of the floor can reserve floor spaces “as reasonably needed,” meet with HR biweekly, and the executive committee monthly.

Eligibility for any of the tiers includes adhering to the standards set by the National Labor Relations Board, with membership rolls evaluated by a third party twice per year.

UAW treasurer Gary Casteel said his union would soon meet with VW officials to “remind them” of the commitments made between the union and the automaker earlier this year in Germany, as well as offering to help verify the roll for UAW Local 42, which claims to have more than a majority of the plant’s 3,200-plus workers.

Meanwhile, American Council of Employees interim president Sean Moss applauded the policy, proclaiming Volkswagen had “officially recognized the need for a local group that puts the needs and interests of its members ahead of outside political forces,” and ensures groups aside from the UAW have a say in how the plant will be organized.

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VW Unveils New 10-Speed DSG, Other Technologies From Innovation Workshop http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944441 At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels. On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 […]

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Volkswagen TDI

At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels.

On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the new 239 horsepower twin-turbo diesel unit in the Passat could be pushed to 268 horsepower with electric assist, variable valve trains, and an optimized gas exchange cycle. The mill also burns a gallon of diesel for every 44 miles, while VW’s newest stop-start system cuts power at 4 mph, as well as at higher speeds when the accelerator is released. A mild hybrid system uses energy recovery to further efficiency.

Inside, the driver will be able to make use of either Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto thanks to the latest version of MirrorLink and its App Connect software. VW also introduced a prototype navigation system that “takes notes” of where the driver prefers to go without the need to be first called upon. They can also check on their car’s vitals via updates to VW’s Car Net’s Security & Service suite, connecting drivers to the Internet to determine what fluids, if any, need to be topped-up prior to a trip, as one example.

Other technologies on display at this year’s workshop include dashboards and glass sunroofs whose pigments and coatings block infrared radiation; lightweight construction and materials techniques derived from motorsport — specifically the 2014 Polo R WRC; and need-based air-conditioning systems for EVs such as the e-up! and e-Golf.

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Volkswagen USA Ends 18-Month Streak, Sort Of Increases October Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volkswagen-usa-ends-18-month-streak-sort-increases-october-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volkswagen-usa-ends-18-month-streak-sort-increases-october-sales/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:08:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942153 As Isaac Newton didn’t say, to go up, Volkswagen had to go down. U.S. sales of Volkswagen brand vehicles declined 18% in October 2013, year-over-year, a 6182-unit decline in a market which expanded by 114,000 units, or 10%. Looking back, October 2013 was Volkswagen’s seventh consecutive month of decline, a streak which would continue all […]

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Jetta TDI 2015As Isaac Newton didn’t say, to go up, Volkswagen had to go down.

U.S. sales of Volkswagen brand vehicles declined 18% in October 2013, year-over-year, a 6182-unit decline in a market which expanded by 114,000 units, or 10%. Looking back, October 2013 was Volkswagen’s seventh consecutive month of decline, a streak which would continue all the way through the third quarter of 2014.

Yet this sharp decline last year enabled Volkswagen of America to announce, “increased traffic in our showrooms,” and an 8% increase in total volume for October 2014. Increases, yes, compared with a period of dramatic decrease.

This is nothing new in the world of auto sales reporting. We examine year-over-year sales comparisons for seasonal purposes – month-over-month results are skewed by the fact that Americans buy far more cars in, for instance, March than in February. And in this case, year-over-year refers to a comparison between 2014 and 2013. Volkswagen is not lying or deceiving or following anything but standard industry practice by celebrating their increased showroom traffic and increased total sales as showroom traffic and total sales as October 2014 compares with October 2013.

But after a streak of some 18 months (a streak we discussed on TTAC last month, in a September Subaru-related chart, and in an August SUV article) we feel duty-bound to point out that, while the streak has ended, we did not just witness a Volkswagen USA burst.

With 30,313 October sales in 2014, Volkswagen’s volume last month was down 12% compared with October 2012. The brand’s market share fell from 3.14% in October 2012 to 2.33% in October 2013 and then rose only slightly to 2.37% in October 2014.

Volkswagen
October 2014
October 2013
October 2012
Jetta
14,607 11,710  13,476
Passat
6,513 7,258  8,355
Golf
4,076 2,249  2,914
Beetle
1,941 2,555  2,439
Tiguan
1,803 2,153  2,752
CC
593 1,289  2,238
Touareg
578 549 965
Eos
202 261 331
Routan
105 841
Total
30,313  28,129  34,311 

These figures are still disappointing for the brand, particularly when one takes into account the arrival of a new Golf. Total Golf family sales were up 81% year-over-year to 4076 units, a 40% increase compared with October 2012. But the Golf isn’t the major Volkswagen player in America that it is elsewhere, accounting for just 13% of the brand’s volume last month.

The Passat bears much of the responsibility for the low totals in each of the last two Octobers. 8355 were sold in October 2012, but Passat volume fell 13% to 7258 in October 2013 and then dropped to just 6513 units in October 2014. This marked the third occasion this year in which fewer than 7000 Passats were sold in a single month and the third-lowest Passat month since 2012 began.

The Jetta sedan is once again a savior for Volkswagen in the United States. 11,253 Jetta sedans were sold in October 2012, but sales slid 10% to 10,161 in October 2013. 13,372 were sold in October 2014.

Excluding the Jetta sedan and the Golf family from the equation, Volkswagen USA sales slid 18% in October 2014. That figure is relevant, odd as it may sound, as it reveals the decreasing appeal of Volkswagen’s other models. Beetle sales slid 24% in October 2014, the disappearing Eos was down 23%, Passat sales fell 10%, CC sales fell 54%, Tiguan volume was down 16%. Touareg volume was up 5%, or 29 units.

Moreover, it reveals a great deal about the brand’s current circumstances. October 2014 Volkswagen USA volume wasn’t particularly healthy; it just wasn’t as unhealthy as it was at this time a year ago.

But the streak has ended.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper Type P22 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1981-volkswagen-vanagon-westfalia-camper-type-p22/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1981-volkswagen-vanagon-westfalia-camper-type-p22/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930666 This being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely […]

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12 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely stereotype-reinforcing Steal Your Face Edition ’83, and that’s it prior to today’s find. An ordinary Vanagon with most of the parts gone, I’m not shooting it. A Vanagon Syncro (which I believe to be the most unwise money-pit available on four wheels or a Westfalia Camper, on the other hand, I’m always willing to photograph those rare birds. Here’s a squalid ’81 Westy that I found at a Denver yard last week.
17-Racing_Vans_In_24_Hours_of_LeMonsBy the way, it turns out that a VR6-swapped Vanagon Westfalia can get around Sears Point pretty quickly.
05 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is a P22, which (from what I can tell from skimming fanatical Vanagon websites) was the lightweight “day camper” version.
07 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe pop-up roof tent is long gone, of course.
14 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt appears that this van got de-camperized quite a while before it took the final ride to the junkyard.
03 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPatina!
06 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot a whole lot left here, and I must assume that the stuff that made it a Westfalia lives on in other Vanagons (or was burned as biohazardous waste, take your pick).

01 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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September 2014 Sales: Even Uglier For Volkswagen USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-got-even-uglier-volkswagen-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-got-even-uglier-volkswagen-usa/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 12:02:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926513 Following 17 consecutive months in which year-over-year volume at the Volkswagen brand declined in the United States, sales fell 19% in September 2014. These September results ended a third quarter in which VW USA sales fell 15% and a nine-month period in which sales were down 14%. Few brands have experienced such a drastic decline in […]

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Golf lineupFollowing 17 consecutive months in which year-over-year volume at the Volkswagen brand declined in the United States, sales fell 19% in September 2014.

These September results ended a third quarter in which VW USA sales fell 15% and a nine-month period in which sales were down 14%.

Few brands have experienced such a drastic decline in America’s expanding automobile market in 2014. Mini, which is slowly providing dealers with new versions of their core Hardtop model, has fallen 21%. Scion – a trio of outdated models, a city car that’s roundly outsold by the Smart Fortwo, and the FR-S – is down 15%. Even Volvo, struggling Volvo, is off 2013’s (rather awful) pace by just 9%; and September Volvo sales were up 11%.

Volkswagen is therefore among disappointing and disappointed company. In terms of September sales alone, Volkswagen’s U.S. volume fell to a four-year low: down 19% year-over-year, down 28% compared with September 2012, down 4% compared with September 2011.

Two years ago, in September 2012, the Volkswagen brand owned 3.1% of the U.S. market. Fast forward to last month, and the brand’s market share had fallen by a full percentage point to just 2.1%.

At the end of the first quarter last year, Volkswagen sales were up 4% compared with the first quarter of 2012, the year in which annual VW sales in America ended up rising to their highest level since 1973; more than doubling the brand’s 2009 output. By this stage last year, we knew something was amiss. Through the first three-quarters of 2013, America’s new vehicle market had grown 8% and Volkswagen sales were down nearly 3%.

“Amiss” turned into “ugly” by year’s end. Sales fell 7% from 2012’s near four-decade high.

Nine months later, the introduction of Volkswagen’s global favourite, the seventh-generation Golf, has not been nearly enough to overcome the losses at the rest of the brand.

September sales of the Beetle plunged 49%. (Included in that total is the Beetle Convertible, sales of which nose-dived 52% last month.) The CC was down 56%. Sales of the cancelled Eos were down 27%. Passat? down 8%. Tiguan? Down 30%. Touareg? Down 2%. The defunct Routan resulted in 232 fewer sales.

Volkswagen USA sales chartTotal Jetta sales fell 23%, as sedan volume dropped by 22% and the SportWagen slid 32%, losses equal to 2474 and 590 units, respectively. The Jetta range was America’s 21st-best-selling vehicle line in September 2013; 37th one year later. From 24th on year-to-date terms in 2013, the Jetta dropped to 29th over the last nine months.

Total Golf sales rose by just 1360 units as Volkswagen’s other models combined for 7284 fewer sales, a 24% loss. GTI volume shot up 48% to 1600 units, 46% of the Golf’s total. (It’s the better seller over the last nine months, with 57% of all Golf sales.) Non-GTI Golfs were up 93% to 1887 in September.

Thus, Volkswagen’s steady decline in the United States stands at 18 months and counting. The whole Subaru vs. Volkswagen thing is increasingly invalid. Meanwhile, across the northerly border, Volkswagen sales jumped 12% last month to the brand’s highest September total ever. The Volkswagen brand’s Canadian market share held steady at 3.8%. It was Volkswagen Canada’s sixth consecutive month of growth; the 42nd in the last 45; and sales are up 7% this year in a market that’s up less than 6%.

Back in the USA and elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, Audi sales were up 14% in September and Porsche sales jumped 17%. Audi generated 23% of the brand’s volume with the A3 and Q3. More than half of Porsche’s sales are derived from the Cayenne and Macan.

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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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Volkswagen-XL-Sport-2

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.

Volkswagen-XL-Sport-4 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-2 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-3 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-6 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-5 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-7 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-12 Volkswagen-XL-Sport-3 (1) Volkswagen-XL-Sport-2 (1) Volkswagen-XL-Sport-11

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UAW, IG Metall Working To Jointly Organize Chattanooga VW Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/uaw-ig-metall-working-jointly-organize-chattanooga-vw-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/uaw-ig-metall-working-jointly-organize-chattanooga-vw-plant/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:04:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921489 While former EICs Schmitt and Niedermeyer documented the increasing co-operation between the UAW and IG Metall, recent developments have taken the relationship to new twists and turns. First there was the appointment of IG Metall bigwig Bernd Osterloh to VW of America’s board of directors. Now, Reuters is reporting that the two unions, along with the […]

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PosterMXAnyMeans

While former EICs Schmitt and Niedermeyer documented the increasing co-operation between the UAW and IG Metall, recent developments have taken the relationship to new twists and turns. First there was the appointment of IG Metall bigwig Bernd Osterloh to VW of America’s board of directors. Now, Reuters is reporting that the two unions, along with the VW global works council, have signed a letter of intent to represent VW workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.

Since the UAW lost a 2013 vote to represent the plant’s workers, various machinations have occurred. A “voluntary” union local was established by the UAW in an attempt to organize the plant’s labor force, only to be met with another outfit that was distinguished by its anti-UAW stance.

Despite the “voluntary” nature of the UAW’s Local 42 (as its known), the bargaining unit could be recognized by VW if a majority of workers decide to join it. This would be a major coup for the UAW, which is desperate to make headway in organizing a foreign plant, as well as IG Metall, which would further solidify its influence in Volkswagen Group affairs, after causing a stink at the massive Wolfsburg assembly plant, where VW is experiencing labor unrest amid a bumpy rollout for its new MQB based cars.

Osterloh’s appointment to the VWoA board and the organization of Chattanooga workers under the auspices of the UAW may simply be the price that Chattanooga has to pay for getting the new 7-seat VW crossover. VW, ever careful not to piss off IG Metall, has never adopted an anti-UAW stance despite insider reports claiming that unionization was not a desired outcome. But in the spirit of “Solidarity Forever“, IG Metall appears to determined to bring their UAW brothers into the plant, even if they have to let them in via the side door.

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Can Ocean City Enforce Maryland Vehicle Laws On Out Of State Cars? Well, They’re Gonna Try http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-ocean-city-enforce-maryland-vehicle-laws-state-cars-well-theyre-gonna-try/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-ocean-city-enforce-maryland-vehicle-laws-state-cars-well-theyre-gonna-try/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920450 You know Facebook’s passe when the cops are using it to talk to citizens. In this case, it’s the Ocean City (MD) Police Department, warning visitors to the H2O International event of their “zero tolerance policy” for traffic violations, vehicle modifications, and compliance with Maryland motor vehicle regulations. Even if the motor vehicle in question […]

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oceancity

You know Facebook’s passe when the cops are using it to talk to citizens. In this case, it’s the Ocean City (MD) Police Department, warning visitors to the H2O International event of their “zero tolerance policy” for traffic violations, vehicle modifications, and compliance with Maryland motor vehicle regulations.

Even if the motor vehicle in question is registered somewhere else.

This video shows “stanced” cars, featuring “poke and stretch” running gear where the tire is deliberately chosen to be considerably narrower than the rim. Think of it as the opposite of the 285-width-tires-on-a-7-inch-wide-wheel thing that SCCA National Solo types do. Most of these cars have some sort of air-ride suspension so they can be dropped on or near the ground, which causes some fairly outrageous negative camber. The Ocean City Police vigorously prosecutes cars like this at H2O, going to far as to impound them, as seen happening to a stanced TSX at around the three-minute mark.

I cannot recommend that readers watch the entire video but I did, mostly to get a sense of who goes to the H2O thing. I wasn’t surprised: by and large it’s awkward young men of all ethnicities, with a bunch of puppy fat and goofy clothing, having fun and harming no one. They’re very excited about having a cooler full of Bud Light or playing beer pong or just hanging out on the sidewalk. There’s a little bit of dangerous driving in the video but frankly you can see worse on the Chicago or Detroit freeways every day of the week.

So why bother them? Well, they have money. They’ll pay fines, they’ll pay tickets. Most of them are very nice kids and the last thing they want to is have a warrant out for their arrest, even if it’s not in their home state. They’ll lead chants and yell at the police from a distance but this ain’t Ferguson or Watts and nobody’s actually going to do anything on either side. In fact, you could argue that the police harassment is desired by the participants, at least on a subconscious level. For the rest of their safe, reasonable, middle-class adult lives they’ll be able to remember how they once drove a stanced-out Jetta to Ocean City and called some cop an asshole. It’s cathartic and helpful and I’d bet you that if there were no cops at H2O this year a lot of people would miss them. It’s their Woodstock. It’s their chance to fight the system, and if the system doesn’t show then there’s nothing to fight.

Some major percentage of you will have watched 90 seconds of the video by this point and decided, “I don’t care if the OCPD harasses those mooks. Hell, I rather approve of the idea that you shouldn’t be allowed to drive some bagged-out rustbucket with fifteen degrees of negative camber and a nightmarishly unsafe tire installation on the freeway.” Well, I don’t want to come across all Martin Niemoller on you, but these amiable morons with their visible wheel lips and ironic T-shirts and NISMO posters in their mothers’ basements are sort of canaries in the coal mine for the rest of us.

Until the day comes that California manages to impose its state vehicle regulations by fiat on the rest of the United States — and may that day never come — the presence on your vehicle of an out-of-state tag should be an absolute and unquestionable defense against motor vehicle specification enforcement of any type. Yes, that freedom could certainly be abused; think of all those twentysomething children of divorce whose fathers live somewhere else. Yet the minor abuses do not justify the major abuses that could be commonplace were it to be any other way.

As an example: Residents of southern states where deep tint is legal and virtually necessary due to the sunlight should not be afraid to drive through Ohio where every cop has a light meter and expects that your windows will not be any darker than the factory tint on a Somerset Regal’s windshield. If you live in Kentucky and don’t have to run a front plate, you shouldn’t have your car impounded in Ohio because it doesn’t have a front plate. Conversely, Ohio-registered cars from counties where there is no emissions checks shouldn’t be subject to drive-by monitoring in California.

As a society, we’ve come to expect that, although the vast majority of laws are the same everywhere in the country, there are exceptions and those exceptions should be respected. For that reason, the holder of a “shall-issue” concealed-carry permit from Indiana shouldn’t expect to be allowed to carry his gun on the New York subway. Nor should a Montana rancher be granted a special dispensation to graze his cattle in Central Park.

So long as personal vehicles remain the key to American freedom of mobility, however, it is critical that they be allowed to travel unimpeded through this country, with their owners free from the fear of persecution or impounding. The protection of Ocean City’s residents from “stanced” cars is not sufficient justification for a departure from this national understanding. So today I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with every awkward twenty-something with “illest” in his Subaru. Every tatted-up wanna-be thug with a private-school background and a poke-and-stretch setup on his M3. Every floor-staring, bowl-haircut, Magic-the-Gathering-playing doofus* with two thousand hours’ worth of labor in his Rabbit pickup. I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with them to demand that we treat them, and the rest of us, like hard-working, decent American citizens who are causing no trouble and deserve no punishment.

I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. I’m not sure I’d go within ten miles of that place for ten thousand bucks.

* It takes one to know one. Untap, upkeep, draw!

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Paris 2014: Volkswagen Takes The Golf Wagon Outback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-volkswagen-takes-golf-wagon-outback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-volkswagen-takes-golf-wagon-outback/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:10:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917882 This is the second time that Volkswagen has trotted out a butch-looking station wagon-on-stilts under the Alltrack moniker. The last version, a Passat, debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show. This newest version is based on the Golf Wagon, and packs TDI diesel or turbocharged gasoline engines. Haldex AWD is standard. While the Alltrack […]

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golf_alltrack_03

This is the second time that Volkswagen has trotted out a butch-looking station wagon-on-stilts under the Alltrack moniker. The last version, a Passat, debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

This newest version is based on the Golf Wagon, and packs TDI diesel or turbocharged gasoline engines. Haldex AWD is standard. While the Alltrack is confirmed for the European market, I’m wondering about the chances for this model coming to North America. VW showed an all-wheel drive Golf Wagon at the 2014 New York Auto Show, but this seems like a more likely option, given the success of the Subaru Outback.

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Editorial: Stop Trying To Make Phaeton Happen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-stop-trying-make-phaeton-happen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-stop-trying-make-phaeton-happen/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:51:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917338 In the hagiography of automobiles beloved by enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Phaeton is revered as an icon of technological brilliance, rejected in America by a marketplace of Philistines too self-conscious to appreciate its technological brilliance or unmatched discretion. For once, it’s an estimation not entirely divorced from reality. But given the disastrous results that resulted in a […]

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In the hagiography of automobiles beloved by enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Phaeton is revered as an icon of technological brilliance, rejected in America by a marketplace of Philistines too self-conscious to appreciate its technological brilliance or unmatched discretion. For once, it’s an estimation not entirely divorced from reality.

But given the disastrous results that resulted in a brief, two-year stint for the Phaeton, one would expect that VW of America, which is desperately trying to rebuild their fortunes in the American marketplace, would be gun shy about reviving the Phaeton in America.

Instead, the Volkswagen Group’s terminal insecurity about the Volkswagen brand’s standing in the marketplace has led it to launch a two-pronged attack, with two luxury sedans planned for both China and the United States.

Legend has it that the Phaeton came about because VW boss Ferdinand Piech was incensed that Mercedes-Benz dared to tread on VW’s territory by launching the front-drive A and B-Class cars as competitors to VW’s small hatchbacks. So he decided to retaliate by going after the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and create the best car in the world.

The approach was flawed, for a number of reasons. First of all, VW had already acquired both Audi and Bentley, which were far better candidates for the job (and ended up sharing the A8 and Flying Spur platform with the Phaeton). Second, as any mainstream brand knows, it’s much, much harder to move upmarket than it is to reach downmarket. Mercedes, BMW and even Audi are able to move downmarket with ease. In the case of Audi, it’s a particularly astute move, since the rebadged Golfs they sell as lower-end Audis can reap fat margins using shared technology, whereas mainstream C-Segment cars have traditionally been a tough place to make any profit.

The flaws in Piech’s logic should have been obvious to anyone with even the briefest hint of cognitive abilities, but his shadow looms large over the Volkswagen group. His management team and board of directors failed to do their duty in acting as a check on his grandiose vision of Volkswagen besting one of the oldest luxury marques in the business. As a result, Volkswagen dealers were saddled with a product that was wholly unsuited for their showrooms, provided a dealership experience that was by all accounts horrific and somehow, Volkswagen wants to do it all over again.

As someone who covers the industry, I am often reluctant to make grand proclamations about strategic direction or product offerings. The OEMs tend to make decisions based on sound reasoning, empirical evidence and careful research and planning. VW’s recent choices, on the other hand, look like some alternate universe where product-focused enthusiasts are running the show with a myopic understanding of what the marketplace wants.

Crossovers are the hottest market right now, but VW’s only offerings are overpriced and not designed with American tastes in mind. Their lineup of sedans enjoyed a brief sales bump upon introduction (spurred on by aggressive pricing and incentives) but has failed to make any major headway. Sales have been on a continuous decline, while former bit players like Subaru have been rapidly eclipsing the VW brand. Meanwhile, reports assert that the next-generation Phaeton has already been completed, even though VW’s crucial mid-size crossover has only just found a production site.

To be fair, the Phaeton has enjoyed modest success in other global markets. But in America, where Volkswagen still hasn’t figured out who and what it wants to be, the Phaeton’s revival can hardly be seen as anything but gross mismanagement. Volkswagen still lacks crucial product like a range of crossovers that are appropriate for the American market, or a range of sedans that actually appeal to the American consumer. Sales have been continuously declining, and Audi is keeping the ship afloat. VW’s Chattanooga factory has also faced a series of skirmishes with the UAW, and VW has been unable to keep out foreign meddlers from interfering in their operations.

Ferdinand Piech, and to a lesser extent, Michael Horn, appear to be fiddling while the VW brand’s American operations burn to the ground. Or perhaps they’re determined to see Piech’s vanity project succeed, no matter what the cost.

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Volkswagen’s American Phaeton Will Start At $70k, Will Surely Fail Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:15:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916994 Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000. According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make […]

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Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000.

According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make a return, though this will likely not be sold in the United States.

Despite sorely needing a larger crossover and a refresh for key products like the Jetta, Volkswagen is persisting with their dream of selling a high-end sedan in the United States, at a price point that is encroaching on their premium marques like Audi and Porsche. The Phaeton, for all its engineering excellence, was a massive flop in the United States. 

On the other hand, the product VW most sorely needs in America, is conspicuously absent from their lineup, and VW has only just settled on where it will be produced, after a round of serious horse trading and internecine squabbling. The Phaeton, according to AN, has apparently been completed already, but VW seems content to continue the current car’s production run, owing to its popularity in China.

This, dear readers, is a great example of how the company continually seems to misunderstand the American market. Rather than get to work on plugging the biggest hole in its lineup, the company persists on a fool’s errand masquerading as a vanity project.

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The Definition Of Insanity: Selling A Premium Volkswagen And Expecting Different Results http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/definition-insanity-selling-premium-volkswagen-expecting-different-results/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/definition-insanity-selling-premium-volkswagen-expecting-different-results/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:24:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916458 If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then Volkswagen has gone certifiably bonkers. Volkswagens unrelenting determination to have consumers accept the notion of a premium priced Volkswagen has led them down the path of insanity before: first, the Phaeton, then their planned, cut-price Phaeton […]

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If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then Volkswagen has gone certifiably bonkers.

Volkswagens unrelenting determination to have consumers accept the notion of a premium priced Volkswagen has led them down the path of insanity before: first, the Phaeton, then their planned, cut-price Phaeton for America, which is apparently on track despite Phaeton 1.0’s spectacular failure.

Now, VW is preparing a China-specific premium sedan based on the Audi A6L. Apparently not contend with its exponentially higher volumes, VW wants Audi’s profit margins too. And the best way to accomplish that is, apparently, by making an expensive sedan priced perilously close to Audi, with a badge that, even in China, will be difficult for premium consumers to swallow.

Apparently, a crackdown on luxury car spending by government officials has created a market for upscale vehicles without premium badges, but it seems difficult to understand how this niche will sustain planned volumes of 50,000 units annually, even in the booming Chinese market.

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Bark’s Bites: Let’s Play TTAC Fantasy Garage! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915874 All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they […]

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All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they represent.

It’s all about Fantasy Football, man! That’s right, people who’ve never played or coached a single down of competitive football in their lives can live vicariously through the players that they picked for their weekly lineups. In fact, people often are faced with the dilemma of rooting against their favorite teams so that they can get fantasy points.

So what if we could take the game that is responsible for the highest rated show on television and make it all about what we care about—cars? Of COURSE we can!

The way many fantasy leagues work is that they have a dollar amount assigned to each player, and teams can only spend up to the pre-determined “salary cap” for their league. For example, you might really want Peyton Manning, but your team salary cap is $100M and Manning would count $25M, so it might behoove you to choose Russell Wilson, who only counts $600K against the cap.

So let’s play Fantasy Garage! The average price of a new car in the United States is $32K, so we’ll use that as our number for figuring out our salary cap—nine classifications x $32K=$288,000. Use MSRP, not market pricing. We’ll use market segment classifications, and you’ll need to pick a car for each classification without going over the cap to create the “best” garage you can. You must pick a car that can be bought new for the 2014 or 2015 model years.

The classifications are (examples in parentheses):

Two-seater sports car (MX-5, Boxster, F-Type, Z4, Corvette)

Four-seater sports/pony car (Camaro, Mustang, Challenger)

Subcompact (B segment—Fiesta, Fit, Sonic, Versa)

Compact (C segment—Cruze, Focus, Civic, Sentra, 2 series)

Mid-size (D segment—Accord, Camry, Altima, 3 series)

Full-size (E segment—300, Taurus, Impala, A6)

Small CUV/SUV (CX-5, Escape, X3, Equinox)

Mid-size CUV/SUV (Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Highlander, Q7)

Pickup Truck (all sizes—Canyon, Silverado, F-150, RAM 1500, Tundra, Titan)

Here’s my version—see if you can beat me (it’s all subjective but I’m the final judge).

Two-seater: 2015 Mazda MX-5 sport ($24,765)

Four-seater: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack ($35,420)

Sub-compact: 2015 Ford Fiesta ST w/Recaro package ($23,235)

Compact: 2015 VW Golf GTI Autobahn ($30,415)

Mid-size: 2015 BMW 435i ($49,950)—or the 335i variety if you insist on playing by the rules.

Full-size: 2015 Chevrolet Impala 2LT ($31,110)

Small SUV/CUV: 2015 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD ($26,215)

Midsize SUV/CUV: 2014 Ford Flex SEL AWD ($32,495)

Pickup Truck: 2015 GMC Canyon SLE All-Terrain Package ($33,195)

Did it! My Salary Cap number is $286,800, giving me $1200 of room to spare in case my Fiesta transmission blows.

All right, now it’s your turn—quibble with my picks and make your own. Remember, pick one car for every category, and you cannot go over $288,000. Go!

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Chart Of The Day: Subaru vs. Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-subaru-vs-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-subaru-vs-volkswagen/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:53:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912882 It’s not a brand new thing, this Subaru-besting-Volkswagen trend. But when Subaru outsold the Volkswagen brand in the United States in 2009 and 2010, Subaru was on a rapid upswing despite the market’s sharp decline, and all auto sales results were thought to be skewed by the recession. Year-over-year, Volkswagen volume shot up 26% in […]

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Subaru vs Volkswagen sales chartIt’s not a brand new thing, this Subaru-besting-Volkswagen trend. But when Subaru outsold the Volkswagen brand in the United States in 2009 and 2010, Subaru was on a rapid upswing despite the market’s sharp decline, and all auto sales results were thought to be skewed by the recession.

Year-over-year, Volkswagen volume shot up 26% in calendar year 2011 and 35% in 2012, a 113,731-unit increase. But 2013 volume fell 7%, and though the total number of sales was still far higher than anything Volkswagen had recently achieved, 2012 aside, there was cause for concern. Volkswagen’s new Passat, which, when 14,462 were sold in late December 2012 looked to have potential, slid 6% in a slowly growing midsize market. Volkswagen’s next big launch was to be the Golf, a car which, in America, simply didn’t have the potential for restore-the-brand volume that the Jetta and Passat sedans possess, or were thought to posess.

So here we are, with Subaru having reported its highest monthly U.S. sales total ever in August and Volkswagen having reported 17 consecutive year-over-year declines. Not all of the products marketed by these two brands in the United States are necessarily direct rivals, but they are both seen by many of their own buyers as slightly upmarket mainstream brands: Subaru arrived at this point after, until recently, fostering a niche status, while Volkswagen has consistently played on its German heritage.

The contradictions are obvious. Subaru is a tiny, part-Toyota-owned Japanese automaker. Volkswagen is the headline brand for the world’s second-largest automaker. The average margin of Subaru’s “victories” over Volkswagen during the last four months has been 13,693 units.

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A Hot Hatch Polo Match http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hot-hatch-polo-match/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hot-hatch-polo-match/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:15:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914410 At 155 inches long, the current Volkswagen Polo fits neatly in between the size of the MK1 and MK2 Volkswagen GTI hatchbacks. That’s a foot shorter than the current MK7, and in GTI trim, an enticing competitor to the Ford Fiesta ST. For 2015, the Polo GTI gets a nice bump in power. Out goes […]

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At 155 inches long, the current Volkswagen Polo fits neatly in between the size of the MK1 and MK2 Volkswagen GTI hatchbacks. That’s a foot shorter than the current MK7, and in GTI trim, an enticing competitor to the Ford Fiesta ST.

For 2015, the Polo GTI gets a nice bump in power. Out goes the nifty twincharged 1.4L 4-cylinder, in favor of VW’s corporate 1.8L turbo mill. With 189 horsepower and about 2600 lbs to move around, the Polo GTI just nips the Fiesta ST to 60 mph (6.7 seconds, versus 6.9 for the Ford) while offering a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG, as well as a nicer looking interior.

Unfortunately, the Polo GTI is not in the cards for North America. A shame, since the new MK7 platform has now morphed into something beyond a mere compact hatchback in terms of size. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth have both shown that there is a market for hot hatches that are still small in stature. And for all its technical brilliance, the GTI, as Jack mentioned, just lacks that ineffable quality that puts a smile on your face – something that the Fiesta ST has in spades. The economics of importing a subcompact for sale in America are likely tough to justify for VW, but that won’t stop me from lusting after a Polo GTI.

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The Volkswagen Eos Is Dead: Here’s Why http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-eos-dead-heres/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-eos-dead-heres/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:09:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912786 RX-8, FJ Cruiser, XLR: just some of the recent nameplates which at one time generated healthy sales activity in the U.S., but after slowly fading in un-updated form, were put out to pasture. Now we can add to that list the Volkswagen Eos. Cars like the Eos, which major on style over practicality, are prone […]

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2012 Volkswagen EosRX-8, FJ Cruiser, XLR: just some of the recent nameplates which at one time generated healthy sales activity in the U.S., but after slowly fading in un-updated form, were put out to pasture. Now we can add to that list the Volkswagen Eos.

Cars like the Eos, which major on style over practicality, are prone to early bouts of desirability which wanes as newer, fresher, brighter, bolder, faster machines enter the fray. It’s not surprising to see interest in these vehicles dry up more quickly than it does with a midsize sedan or smaller crossover.

Consider the Chevrolet Equinox. Sales in the Equinox’s category have been steadily rising – vehicles such as the top-selling Honda CR-V and Ford Escape recorded record-high U.S. sales in 2013. But they are newer examples of the breed. The Equinox, on the other hand, was introduced in second-generation form for the 2010 model year. Yet in 2013 it, too, posted record-high U.S. volume.

On the other side of that coin, consider the Chevrolet Corvette. Although it’s a relatively common car for a vehicle of its type, at least in the United States, Corvette sales in its sixth iteration declined sharply in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and didn’t recover as the overall size of the new car market grew somewhat in 2010, growing only slightly in 2011 and 2012.

New is necessary. Corvette sales, now in C7 Stingray form, jumped 166% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and are up 236% so far this year. The Corvette is on track for its best U.S. sales year since 2006.

The Volkswagen Eos is certainly no Corvette, but neither were the Mazda RX-8, Toyota FJ Cruiser, or Cadillac XLR. (Actually, the XLR was sort of a Corvette.) The point stands, regardless. An automaker can’t introduce a sporty little convertible, even one without trackday intentions, and expect consumer interest to remain level during its tenure.

The first and only Eos has been around since the latter portion of 2006, when Mercury was selling a Montego – when Mercury was – and when an Eos buyer could have also looked at a Pontiac G6 GTP convertible.

Though facelifted, the Eos was always as it always was. Equipped with Volkswagen’s ubiquitous 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder or, in the early part of its lifespan, a 3.2L V6, the Eos was a relatively attractive front-wheel-drive convertible. Along with the front-wheel-drive Volvo C70, it was tasked with fighting premium Germans from below and affordable droptop performance cars from above.

Most definitely from above. Back in the beginning, Mazda would sell you an MX-5 PRHT for about $5000 less.

And yet, the Eos was a new thing, and thus, when Mazda USA sold 15,075 more affordable MX-5s in 2007, Volkswagen sold 12,744 Eos convertibles. And in 2008, the Eos actually outsold the MX-5. The Eos outsold the MX-5 again in 2010 and 2011. Isn’t this a recipe for printing money? Sell the more expensive car, the one that shares a great number of parts with countless other high-volume machines?

Yes, it was, until Volkswagen invited a Beetle Convertible back to the party. Volkswagen USA sold 4178 Eos cabrios in 2013 (down from a peak of 12,837 in 2008), a figure which compares unfavourably with Volkswagen’s 18,050 Beetle Convertible sales. That’s more than the Eos’s total from all of 2012, 2013, and the first eight months of 2014 combined.

The Eos is dead because, by VW’s choice, it hasn’t been at all new since 2006 and because, by VW’s choice, the iconic and ancient Beetle nameplate became new again.

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Brazilian Truth Commission May Sue Auto Makers For Crimes Against Humanity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/brazilian-truth-commission-may-sue-companies-crimes-humanity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/brazilian-truth-commission-may-sue-companies-crimes-humanity/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:30:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909674 João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that […]

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João Paulo de Oliveira found it hard to find another job after he was fired by Rapistan, a Michigan-based conveyor belt maker, in 1980. He was detained or arrested another five times until the Brazilian military dictatorship, that had successfully realized a coup d’état in 1964, and returned power to civilians in 1985. Oliveira claims that no other company would hire him after he lost his job, and hge was constantly threatened by police. His crime? Being a union member at a time the military considered strikes as subversive communist movements.

Oliveira declares that he and many other union members suspected that private companies, including many auto makers collaborated with the state’s repressive forces. Apparently, his suspicions have been borne out.

Last Monday, September 8th, the Truth Commission, an organization installed by the federal government as an attempt to investigate human rights violations during those dark years, called the press to clarify and give their position on the rumors and news that have been circulating for days about companies collaborating with the State in its repression of labor movements.

According to the Commission, recently unearthed documents confirm that almost 70 Brazilian and multinational companies acted as “information sources” on union members and workers who were suspected of leading strike movements and of belonging to left-wing organizations. These documents contain name and addresses of the suspects as well as the names of companies that monitored their workers “in order to collaborate with the censorship and repression system during the last years of the civil-military dictatorship” in Brazil.

Sebastião Neto, executive secretary of the work group in charge of investigating collaboration between civilians, companies and military claims that, “Volkswagen, according to the documents, functioned as a sort of intelligence central of that group”. That group included other companies like Brazilian Petrobras, Engesa, Confab and multinationals like Ford and Ericson. They collaborated by keeping tabs on who showed up at union meetings, and exchanged information on worker movements and their plans for strikes and demands on working conditions.

Perhaps the most damning document as it hurt people on a personal level, was one found in the public archive of the state of São Paulo, dated 1981. In it are the names and addresses of some 450 workers and union members and the names of at least 67 companies that gave the information.  Among the auto sector companies charged with giving names are Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Chrysler, Scania, Westinghouse, Rolls Royce, Toyota and Toshiba, among other Brazilian corporations.

Lawyer Rosa Cardoso, coordinator of the Commission affirms that, “what happened in Brazil were selective arrests based on information given by companies. Almost 40 percent of those who were dead and disappeared at the time were workers.” According to her, even though the companies were not directly involved in the disappearances, these companies may be accused of crimes against humanity. “Arbitrary and illegal arrests and in places where torture happened are also considered torture in international law”. Such was the case as these illegally detained workers didn’t even have arrest warrants expedited against them.

The lawyer affirms the Commission will present in its final report by December 16. It will include two chapters reporting the persecution of workers and the unions, and the relations between companies and the dictatorship. To help clarify this aspect, Cardoso promises a public hearing where representatives of the companies mentioned in the documents will be called upon to present their testimony.

Being accused as a sort of coordinator of the collaboration between military and companies, Volkswagen has declared that they will conduct their own investigation. According to them, Volkswagen is the only large-scale company in Brazil that, so far, has made a public commitment to “investigate any and all traces” of collaboration between its employees and the military regime. According to a release given to the press, Volkswagen claims they are, “internationally recognized as a company that treats seriously its corporate history”. In Brazil, Volkswagen claims, “the company will deal with this matter in the same way”.

Other companies so far have not commented or have downplayed their responsibility. According to this article, dated Friday, September 5, Mercedes Benz claims that the company “does not confirm” the alleged collaboration and is “non-partisan and zeals for the confidentiality of employees’ data”.  Ford has refused to comment. Toyota and Fiat, who now owns Chrysler through FCA, stated they have no registers of the “possible abuse” that occurred back in that time. Toyota, thorough its local Public Relations department wrote, “We would like to remind others that we are discussing something that happened over 30 years ago”.

Reviewing all the information available a cynic might think the Truth Commission is only interested in reparations. A more generous person might believe that people are interested in revisiting the past to point out mistakes and not repeat them in future. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle and it seems evident that at the time there was a struggle in Brazil between those who wanted to keep the status quo and those who would subvert it. Workers and unions probably helped the re-democratization of the country along, while many in the military and civil society believed such actions were fundamental in thwarting a Communist takeover. Companies may have helped the military out of fear or ideology. It is terrible that people got killed or hurt. In the end, relations between civil society, labor movements and government will be better understood because of the efforts of the Commission and hopefully mistakes, on both parts, will be avoided going forward.

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