It’s no secret that we here at TTAC don’t agree on everything when it comes to cars, culture, or politics (Or sports. Using memes to troll staffers who cheer for rival teams is a favorite pastime in our Slack channel).
We don’t speak as one editorial voice, nor do we practice neutral news reporting — we allow for editorializing, analysis, and commentary/opinion, as long as we’re fair, factually accurate, honest, and upfront about any potential biases. It’s one thing I love about working here — I can, if appropriate, put a little commentary into a news post. Overall, I try to allow everyone to be free to express themselves.
Yet, for all our various viewpoints, sometimes we agree on something. And I was right there with Matt yesterday when he fumed about Volkswagen becoming Voltswagen. The change is official, by the way — VW confirmed it.
Remember the all-electric Microbus successor Volkswagen was chirping about a few years ago? If you don’t, you can be forgiven. Despite the model receiving loads of press after the automaker acknowledged it would indeed be coming to North America, reports on its progress started becoming incredibly rare by 2019. With #VanLife trending inside the United States, VW would be an absolute fool not to start offering something trendy to fit the bill and the horribly named I.D. Buzz seems an ideal candidate. However, it feels as though the company has forgotten our market while it preps the model for Europe.
There’s reportedly no reason to worry. Volkswagen has confirmed that the model will be showing up on our shores in 2023 after it’s made a splash across the pond. But there will be a few stipulations.
The electric-vehicle revolution keeps chugging along, one small crossover at a time.
Last month, the Ford Mustang Mach-E graced my garage. This week, I got about 48 hours, give or take, in the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4.
The two aren’t really the same, but they are similar – both are crossovers, both are EVs, and both are key early, if not first, steps taken by their respective manufacturers into the world of mass-market EVs.
Volkswagen’s strategy chief since 2015, Michael Jost (59), has announced that he will be departing after more than a decade with the company. While the cynics among us will undoubtedly jump to conclusions about the botched launches of VW Group’s new EVs and the all-important Mk8 Golf, the man himself claimed that his primary reason for leaving is to ensure the wellbeing of his family.
Jost confessed via his website that he’s only been spending weekends with his kindred since 1996 and would ideally like to make that a full-time position. A year under COVID restrictions apparently made the man reassess his life, resulting in his decision to abandon his demanding role at VW.
Several years ago now, I called the Volkswagen Atlas three-row “ German comfort food.” It remains that – a boxy, slightly bland crossover that nonetheless does the basics well.
Enter the Cross Sport, which is supposed to liven things up, at least a little, by being lowered and shortened, while losing the weight that comes with the nip/tuck and the removal of the third row of seats (at least in theory. With all-wheel drive, the 2.0T is a skosh heavier than a four-cylinder, three-row Atlas. Generally, however, the two-row is lighter.). The front facelift that matches the larger Atlas is also meant to make things more interesting.
These changes only go so far. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here we have a vehicle that is smaller but no less comfortable, and as you will see, that is just fine.
The Rare Rides series featured a Passat wagon once before, in the long ago time of 2018. It was a 1992 G60 with all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and supercharged engine. Staying true to quirky form, today’s newer and more luxury-oriented Passat pairs its all-wheel drive grip with an eight-cylinder engine.
Do you ever get the feeling that everything even remotely fun and interesting is being thrown on the pyre of progress so we can collectively live safer, duller lives? Case in point, Volkswagen is dismantling its racing operations so the 169 people it employed can be reincorporated. Responsible for the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R racer that showcased some of the performance advantages of EVs to attentive audiences around the globe, the team will now be responsible for building ID models intended for mass consumption.
While we’re sure spreading their engineering prowess around will benefit VW’s core brand, it’s unfortunate that it came at the expense of the brand’s motorsport activities — modest as they might have been in 2020.
As the U.S. election devolves into deciding which political party committed the most fraud, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said a victory by Democrat Joe Biden would be the ideal outcome for any German automakers seeking to mass-produce electric cars. Hardly surprising, considering the Biden-Harris campaign website says it would regulate the dickens out of fossil fuels, moving aggressively toward alternative energy sources and electrification while pressing other nations to do the same.
“A Democratic program probably would be more aligned with our worldwide strategy, which is really to fight climate change, to become electric,” the CEO told Bloomberg on Thursday.
Volkswagen isn’t listening to Corey, apparently. Just like the rest of us don’t, either! Ba-zing!
I kid, I kid. We all have takes, and we all poke fun at each other on Slack. But Corey just recently wrote that the Volkswagen Arteon needs to die. And yet, it continues to live.
We already mentioned how Volkswagen is being added to the list of automakers using a tourist town in the Southwest to name a crossover and/or SUV. Now we have the full details on the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.
In addition to the Taos, there’s the Dodge Durango, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Tucson, others I am almost certainly forgetting at the moment, and now, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.
The Audi Albuquerque or Dodge Denver can’t be far behind.
I was thinking about Volkswagen this weekend, as you do. We’ve all seen the recent reports that the company is losing money, betting big on the new electric ID lineup, and about to sell its halo supercar brand Bugatti.
But I think the company has another, product-centric issue in North America as you might’ve guessed by the title above. The Arteon must go.
Volkswagen Group, the largest automotive manufacturer in the world, is reexamining its relationship with high-performance subsidiaries as it continues pouring money into electrification. Burned by a diesel emissions scandal of its own making half a decade ago, VW leadership now views electric cars as the only path forward — especially in regard to its more mainstream brands. While they aren’t getting identical treatments, VW, Audi, Seat, and Skoda are all presumed to be adding EVs to their production lines over the next few years.
Porsche’s long-term strategy also seems heavily dependent on battery power, but the road ahead is much less clear for ultra-premium brands like Lamborghini and Bugatti. With volumes and lineups order of magnitudes smaller than the core brands, Volkswagen would be incurring a gigantic expense to develop upper-echelon performance EVs that might not appeal to their existing fans. The same goes for upscale motorcycle brand Ducati as the two-wheeled world has become divided on electric and gas-powered bikes. Volkswagen’s management board and directors have decided the situation calls for an all-hands meeting in November to decide what should be done and how to remain financially prudent in a period of economic strife.
The New York Times, or one writer paid by the New York Times (one journalist’s take or analysis or opinion doesn’t represent the entire paper, you know), had a piece out a couple days ago claiming the dawn of the EV age is now.
Somehow, I missed this article until now. But let’s a look at its assertions, shall we, and see what is and is not accurate?
I’ve written before that the Volkswagen Golf GTI is almost the perfect car for automotive scribes – available with a manual, affordable, and hatchbacked. Really, it’s the perfect car for almost any enthusiast on a budget who doesn’t want to sacrifice utility at the altar of sport.
Then there’s the Golf R, which is a hopped-up GTI that is better in most respects, save one: Price. It’s no cheapo.
Enter the GTI TCR. This track-focused car fills the gap between the GTI and R and is rumored to make 296 horsepower.
We recently wrote about the upcoming Volkswagen compact SUV that the company has been teasing ahead of an October debut.
Now we have a name, if not much else. Well, we do know at least one other thing – it will be unveiled (virtually, we presume) on October 13.
Oh, and one other thing – it will be built specifically for the North American market.
Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is one of five former Volkswagen executives who will be standing trial in a German court over their actions in the diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Seen in spy photos, in conceptual drawings, and as a prototype, the upcoming Volkswagen ID.4 crossover launches on September 23rd, with the potential to arrive in the greenest U.S. states by year’s end. The vehicle marks the end of a half-decade journey for the automaker that began with a very expensive scandal and ended with a new direction and philosophy.
Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, knows that green doesn’t sell on virtue alone. His aim is to position the ID.4 as a competitor to popular compact crossovers that just happens to be electric.
The ID.4 isn’t the first all-electric Volkswagen to reach consumers in the United States. That distinction goes to the e-Golf, but that model’s all washed up after 2020. A new family of emission-free VWs await global buyers, with European customers poised to take delivery of the first of the bunch: the ID.3 hatchback.
Overseas orders for that MEB-platform car began in June, with the first deliveries scheduled for September.
For U.S. customers — a crop of buyers used to larger, more capable vehicles — the ID line starts at the number 4. And that vehicle just started production in Germany.
The next time certain product planners in Wolfsburg look in the mirror, they have a question to ask themselves: “How did we let the Volkswagen Passat get so damn dull?”
Especially after a refresh.
It’s not like the company is incapable of producing quality, fun sedans. The Jetta GLI is a hoot. The Arteon might struggle to find buyers, but that has little to do with the car’s dynamics, as it’s pretty fun to pilot. Even the non-GLI Jetta mixes practicality and pleasure well enough.
Why, then, did the Passat, which was once relatively engaging, if not an outright sports sedan, get so boring?
Volkswagen of America used model names that didn’t match up to those of its European counterparts for much of the 1970s and 1980s. The Golf was the Rabbit through 1984 and the Passat started out as the Dasher and then became the Quantum over here. I find the occasional Dasher or Quantum during my junkyard voyages, but nearly all of the Quantums that have survived into our current century will be gasoline-burning Syncro Wagons. Diesels? After the Oldsmobile Diesel 350 debacle of the late 1970s and early 1980s, few Americans had the guts to buy a new oil-burner.
Have you seen a Volkswagen Arteon in traffic?
Odds are, you probably haven’t.
According to our friends at GoodCarBadCar, Volkswagen sold less than 3,000 units in 2019, and 788 through March of this year. To date, there hasn’t been a month in which more than 400 units were sold.
Volkswagen just revealed the new Tiguan. For next year.
Why did the brand take the virtual wraps off the refreshed version of the Tiguan a year and a half before it goes on sale here, as a 2022 model? Because Europe gets it first. It goes on sale there “shortly.”
Might as well just gather media via Skype and tell us all about it now, apparently.
You’re forgiven for forgetting the Volkswagen Arteon exists.
That’s not necessarily the car’s fault. It’s a fairly good large sports sedan, but it plays in a class that has been overshadowed by the crossover craze, and top-level Arteons are priced so that similar Audis start to look appealing.
As I wrote when the car launched, the biggest challenge the Arteon faces is finding the right buyer.
It’s very unlikely this is the first car that comes to mind when someone thinks of Volkswagen.
“Schläfer” is the German word for sleeper, or so Google tells me (I spent my foreign language education on Spanish, and I can perhaps order in a restaurant using that language. Maybe). Perhaps it should just be changed to 2019 Volkswagen GLI.
Yeah, there are still sleeper cars on the market – and this delightful spin on an already reliable German econobox is one of them.
I’ve found the normal Jetta to be solid, affordable transport. But for those who want to spice up their schnitzel, so to speak, the GLI does the trick nicely. And unlike just about all of the other sporty compacts, include corporate stablemate Golf GTI, it does so without advertising what it is. Your mother-in-law won’t know this is a performance car, unless you dig deep into the throttle. Or downshift in anger to pass a slowpoke.
What happens to an OEM that may have been caught napping while its competitors race to fill every possible niche with crossovers?
It takes its three-row crossover, lops off the third row and some rear space, gives it a name that plays off the existing moniker, and puts it out there.
Hence we have the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, which shares its platform with the Atlas (the wheelbases are even the same) but loses about three inches of length and a bit more than two inches of height while offering seating for just five.
Volkswagen bestowed the mildest of refreshes on its midsize Passat for 2020, but you’ll be forgiven if you didn’t notice. These days, people are too busy trying to tell the recently enlarged Jetta apart from its slightly beefier stablemate.
Even the previous Passat’s six-speed automatic carried over for 2020.
With Volkswagen charging ahead (ahem) on electrification, the automaker now admits the current Passat may be the last.
In the most recent installment of Your Author’s CPO Volkswagen Follies, I shared the slow process which was the purchase of my 2019 Golf Sportwagen. At the end of that piece, I mentioned it was already at the dealer for a rattle after two weeks of ownership.
It’s back in my possession now, and it’s fixed. Any bets on how long it took, and how many trips were made to the dealer’s service center?
All of you have shared in my car shopping experience, which began at the end of 2019. Starting with a solicitation for recommendations back in October, the process of finding the right replacement for a 2012 Outback extended longer than planned and was punctuated with a particularly poor experience at a Volkswagen dealer.
But it was all worth it, because now I’ve got a new (used) wagon.
The air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle was pretty well obsolete when North American sales took off during the late 1950s, and so this mid-1930s design had become shockingly obsolete by the 1970s. Still, Americans understood the Beetle as a comfortably known quantity by that time and the price tag was really cheap, so Beetles and Super Beetles still sold well in 1973.
In the parts of the continent where the Rust Monster remains meek, plenty of these cars still exist, enough for them to be fairly common sights in the big self-service junkyards. Here’s a ’73 Super Beetle in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.
When your author’s 2019 Golf SportWagen (to be revealed soon) went into the shop for warranty work after just two weeks of ownership, the dealer provided a service loaner for a couple days (or four). And it was a brand new Passat, but one company PR would never release into the hands of any journalist: the most basic version.
Let’s see if the spacious S sedan is an Ace of Base.
I’ve shared my experience in choosing a suitable replacement for my Subaru Outback recently. And while that mission was accomplished successfully at the end of December (story coming soon), I was left with a tale to share about a particular dealership and its “customer service.”
Time for a quick story about how not to treat the customer.
Because high-performance German cars require exactly the sort of regular maintenance and attention that most American car owners aren’t so good at doing, I find plenty of nice-looking factory-hot-rod Audis and VWs and Mercedes-Benzes during my junkyard travels. Most of those cars get scrapped because something expensive broke and the third or seventh owner wouldn’t or couldn’t spring for the repair.
Today’s Junkyard Find is different, though — here’s a GTI GLX that was running well enough to drive to the crash, found in a Denver-area self-service yard.
Recently I reached out to you, dear readers, for some suggestions on replacing a 2012 Subaru Outback. The wagon has occupied my driveway for the past two years, but, for reasons outlined previously, it’s time for it to go. My initial idea for a replacement was a Kia Niro, but that didn’t seem like it was going to pan out. So I turned to the real experts around here.
Comments poured in, and four suggestions were clear. Let’s narrow things down a bit.
The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport brings a rakish rear hatch to the refreshed Atlas line, but limits the midsize crossover’s seating configuration to five passengers. Once nestled inside VW’s upcoming Atlas variant, those five occupants will enjoy VW’s next generation Car-Net technology platform, while drivers can expect to be coddled by upgraded driver assistance technologies.
The Cross Sport applies an Audi Q7-esque not-a-coupe treatment that dials up the elegance, even when concealed by camouflage vinyl. If this is all it takes for buyers to feel like they’re avoiding the soccer parent image, then VW can expect to attract a style-sensitive buyer pool ready and willing to lose the small third-row seats. Even though the rear overhang is 5.7 inches shorter than the standard Atlas, it gains storage capacity in the transformation as a result of the removal of those rear seats. In its place is a flat load panel that covers a space-saver spare tire and optional Fender subwoofer. There’s actually a decent volume of unfinished storage capacity I’d expect many owners to find useful for infrequently used items.
In the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.
Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?
The patriarch of the Volkswagen Group family, Ferdinand Karl Piëch, died in a Bavarian hospital on Sunday at the age of 82, Bloomberg reports. German newspaper Bild broke the story.
As CEO of Volkswagen Group from 1993 to 2002, Piëch, grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, led the VW brand back from the brink of bankruptcy and added a host of glitzy brands to the corporate fold.
The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal may be receding into the past, but many of the cars at the center of the controversy remain — and not just the ones that owners wouldn’t let go of.
According to a report in the New York Times, some 100,000 of the roughly 380,000 diesel-powered vehicles VW bought back as part of its environmental penance remain in America — unsold, but still in high demand. And thanks to an two-part emissions fix rolled out in 2017, these remaining vehicles could be yours.
It’s become something of a fascination for this writer: scrutinizing the latest car commercial to earn the wrath of Britain’s all-seeing Advertising Standards Authority — an ominous and monolithic-sounding name if there ever was one.
One assumes there’s a moisture-stained, Brutalist-style concrete structure dedicated to preserving the sensibilities of UK viewing audiences somewhere in the greater London area. Bureaucrats and other pencil-pushers file in after abandoning their Austin Allegras and Morris Marinas in a rain-soaked parking lot, umbrellas in hand.
Having said that, let’s move on to the latest car company to run afoul of the UK ad cops: Volkswagen.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess shot down rumors of a potential investment in electric car maker Tesla on Thursday, shortly after a German magazine claimed the VW boss was hot for the idea.
Manager Magazin, whose English translation is unknown, reported that the American automaker’s battery and software prowess had Diess thinking of a share buy, with an unnamed VW manager claiming the CEO “would go in right away if he could.”
The blue oval. The three-pointed star. The roundel. The four rings. When it comes to cars, some logos are more identifiable than others, but Volkswagen’s glistening chrome emblem ranks near the top of the easy recognition chart.
It’s classic, simple, and maybe a little dusty. Which is why VW plans to change it.
While reports arose last year of a looming, “colorful” change to the highly visible logo, we now have a better idea of what to expect when the automaker shows its new face in Frankfurt next month.
One hopes, anyway. While marketing won’t save you from a roadside breakdown (it might, in a roundabout way, get you into that situation), it nonetheless exists on the periphery of the automotive realm, subtly impacting sales. If a campaign is successful, the impact might be more than subtle. If it’s bad, the automaker is suddenly open to jokes and criticism.
Then the PR types in the comms department go to work.
One company that’s seen plenty of action in both departments in the recent past is Volkswagen. If you’re unfamiliar with this obscure German brand, you may remember it as the company selling “clean diesel” cars with fantastic fuel economy a number of years back. With that scandal now fading in the rear-view, the effort to rebrand the company as a receptive steward of the earth is well underway. And the man who’ll lead that charge in America is Saad Chehab, former communications dude for Kia Motors America.
It’s tumultuous times for fans of the long-running Golf nameplate. As Volkswagen slowly births an eight generation of the popular compact (an official European debut is scheduled for this fall), Golf devotees in North America find themselves having to say goodbye to a number of variants.
The Golf SportWagen and Alltrack? They’re gone after the current model year. There’s a strong possibility that the plain-Jane Golf itself will fade from view in the near future, leaving only the sportier versions to tempt hatchback buyers of greater means.
Speaking of sporty Golfs, the hottest of VW’s compact hatches will also stage a disappearance for 2020.
Volkswagen is abandoning SportWagen and Alltrack versions of the Golf in the United States. You already know why; crossovers are all anyone ever thinks about anymore. While we’re over here having sweaty fever dreams about sedans and extended hatchbacks, the rest of America is pulling up graphic crossover comparisons online — with the blinds tightly drawn, hopefully.
The front and all-wheel-drive wagons apparently could not keep up with VW’s crossover lineup, which currently accounts for more than half of Volkswagen’s sales in the U.S. and is only expected to get bigger.
Developing electric cars for scale in Europe takes time, money, resources and commitment. Volkswagen has the new, advanced MEB architecture designed just for that purpose. There are other automakers, though, who need to have an option. For Ford, that answer was simple. They already are working with VW on several projects, so it makes sense to expand that relationship into platform sharing.
In an announcement that also included VW’s investment into Argo AI, Volkswagen committed to providing 600,000 MEB units to Ford for a new electric vehicle that’ll be manufactured and sold within Europe. That includes all of the electric components, according to Dr. Herbert Diess, VW’s CEO. Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett said that it would be “built Ford proud.”
The large-car class is a weird place these days. Not exactly a ghost town, but not exactly a hotly contested segment, either.
Rear-drive remains the purview of the Dodge/Chrysler bunch, while the rest of the segment consists of entry-luxury cruisers (Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES) and semi-sporty cars such as the Acura TLX, Nissan Maxima, Buick Regal GS, four-cylinder Kia Stinger – and now the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.
Finally reaching our shores after a delay due to unspecified homologation hangups, the Arteon is positioned as the brand’s flagship, and it is in some ways a successor to the late CC.
Volkswagen gave us a crack at driving the Arteon, offering an opportunity to figure out exactly where it fits in the market.
The early-21st century fad for retro-styled cars, including the PT Cruiser, Chevrolet HHR, Mini Cooper, and Fiat 500, got its start with the late-1990s introduction of the Volkswagen New Beetle (we’re still waiting for a Nissan model made to look like the Datsun F-10). Like most people (and especially like most who had ever owned a real air-cooled Beetle), I grew weary of the sight of these allegedly cute cars after a few years, and as a result I’ve been ignoring the many examples I find during my junkyard travels.
These cars make up an important piece of our collective automotive history, though, and I resolved that I’d shoot the first one I found on a recent wrecking-yard trip. Here it is, straight from the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay!
Volkswagen’s latest iteration of the Jetta is a well-rounded commuter car, but a tad boring. VW had an easy fix for that in mind – just implant the heart of the GTI hot hatch along with some Golf R bits. Boom, instant sports sedan.
There’s been a GLI version of the Jetta since 1984, and every previous one I’ve driven has been a fun little hoot to drive; a way to put a little spice in the otherwise sorta bland Jetta recipe. This one, though, ups the ante. Instead of a nice little sprinkle of seasoning, someone in the kitchen doused it with cayenne pepper.
What you get here is not just a Jetta that’s more fun to drive, but a proper affordable sport sedan.
There’s a reason why the Volkswagen Golf GTI is fetishized by journalists and enthusiasts as perhaps the perfect daily-driver sporty car.
Because if it isn’t, it’s damn near close.
Changes for 2018 were minimal. The 2018 got a mild standard horsepower bump (assuming you’re using premium fuel) to 220, up from 210. Other changes included a reshuffled trim lineup, newly available LED headlights, larger infotainment, and driver-assist tech that was now standard on the SE and Autobahn trims. It also gained the Golf R’s brakes and an available electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
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- MelanieRichardson GOOD
- El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
- FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
- Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
- Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.