Volkswagen walked journalists through its much-hyped electrification strategy at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, giving the automotive media a preview of the automaker’s plans.
MEB, which is an acronym for the German Modularer Elektrobaukasten, is the platform underpinning the company’s push from internal-combustion engines to electrified vehicles. The company intends to roll out 50 battery-electric vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrids across Volkswagen Auto Group’s 12 global brands between this year and 2025 as part of a larger strategy to field 300 electrified vehicle models across the dozen brands by 2030.
That’s obviously an aggressive strategy — one requiring a closer look.
Volkswagen has big plans for mild hybrid powertrains and fully electric vehicles, but the perpetually popular Golf GTI’s successor won’t be a point of contention for motoring purists. That’s because VW has reportedly pulled a screeching U-turn on that model’s electrification.
According to Autocar, the eighth-generation Golf’s hot (but not hottest) hatch variant won’t go the hybrid route. Instead, company engineers have concerned themselves with incremental improvements over the current model. No electro-mobility here; just fun hatch.
Volkswagen spent the past year and change hinting that its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant could become ground zero for an electric American product offensive, and guess what? That’s exactly what VW plans to do.
In a not-at-all surprising announcement, the German automaker said it plans to build electric vehicles at its only American plant, which just happens to have plenty of excess capacity. Backing up this promise is $800 million, which, in addition to funding the necessary tooling, should lead to the creation of 1,000 new jobs.
Months of speculation and rumors came to an end in Detroit Tuesday, as auto giants Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group officially announced they will take their relationship to the next level.
After signing a Memorandum of Understanding last year, initially to explore joint commercial vehicle production, the two automakers now say their pact will birth a midsize pickup truck for global markets. Volkswagen Ranger, anyone?
The sky’s apparently the limit when it comes to the variety of vehicles that might emerge from Volkswagen’s dedicated MEB electric architecture. While the automaker’s looming EV onslaught already contains a hatchback, crossover, microbus, panel van, and possible luxury sedan, VW feels something’s missing: a tough, off-road ute.
One VW exec is pushing hard to give electric vehicles a brawnier image.
Ford and Volkswagen, two auto giants who spent much of 2018 making eyes at each other and playfully batting away rumors (and sparking a few of their own), might lay their relationship bare in Detroit next week.
The two automakers have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding, partnering initially with the aim of developing joint light commercial vehicles. But that was just the start. Over the course of the past year, this partnership grew to include pickup swaps, electric vehicle platform sharing, joint U.S. plants, and God knows what else — at least according to rumors. Both companies made it clear something big was brewing, but always fell back to a “we’re just talking” line.
Now, it looks like we have a time and place for the announcement.
Concerned that customers won’t buy vehicles from its upcoming electric product tsunami for fear of missing their turn at the plug, Volkswagen is offering a fairly novel solution: mobile charging stations that also require recharging, presumably from a much larger charging station. A power station, for example.
The takeaway from Volkswagen’s lesson in energy packaging is “Buy an electric Volkswagen. You’ll be fine.”
It’s especially bad at speeds below “parking lot.” Foot off brake, crawl, foot on brake, repeat. It’s even worse when you’re piloting a stick – shift to first, release clutch pedal, roll, brake, clutch in, shift to neutral. And repeat.
Not all commuting is that slow, of course. There’s also the block-to-block drag race. First to the next stop sign or stoplight wins. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit 30 mph and get to third gear before doing it all over again.
Maybe the writing’s on the wall for the midsize car; many would agree it is. And, perhaps Volkswagen feels this will be the last Passat. Whatever the motivation, the German automaker isn’t putting maximum effort into the next-generation model, due out for the 2020 model year.
While the brand’s upcoming sedan will receive a much-needed styling revamp and new content, the bones beneath it won’t change, nor will the hood conceal the latest in electrified wizardry.
The eight-generation Volkswagen Golf is on the way, but, with still roughly a year to go before its unveiling in Europe, the automaker needs to keep Golf fandom primed. Thankfully, VW’s been more judicial in its teasing than, say, Toyota or Fiat Chrysler. Like any great romance, the timeless art of seduction demands space between advances.
So here we have the latest — an elegant sketch that looks like the logo for a 1950s European air carrier. It’s the 2020 Golf. Yes, it’s hard to see the 48-volt mild hybrid system in that image.
Having already set a lap record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year, Volkswagen’s I.D. R has served the company well. Intended to showcase the brand’s might in electrification, the blisteringly fast R is as much a purpose-built track car as it is a marketing tool, and its long-term plans involve setting more records.
For 2019, VW wants to set a new lap record at the Nürburgring. Officially, the German automaker is only interested in defeating the Nio EP9’s record for electric vehicles. But we know that the I.D. R is a forced to be reckoned with. An overall victory would not be beyond the realm of possibilities and Volkswagen knows it.
Certain green-tinged websites would sure want you to believe it. At the Handelsblatt automotive summit in Volkswagen’s home base of Wolfsburg, Germany this week, VW strategy chief Michael Jost etched a tombstone for the internal combustion engine.
But is the coming decade really the last one to feature VWs with exhaust pipes?
Months of speculation fueled by the increasingly chummy relationship between Ford and Volkswagen has given way to new possibilities. The two partners, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year, might leap further into bed than initially thought.
To hear VW CEO Herbert Diess tell it, the two automakers might soon share American assembly space. And can Tennessee expect a new plant? It’s on the table.
We’re going to be sick of this thing by the time it shows up. Volkswagen’s latter-day electric Microbus, which goes by the name I.D. Buzz, stands to sprout a panel van variant when it appears early next decade.
Riding atop VW’s dedicated MEB architecture, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is envisioned as a single-motor, rear-drive vehicle — unlike the twin-motor, AWD vehicle it’s derived from. While the cargo variant isn’t expected to grace a curb near you until 2022, a three-wheeled electric bike built by VW will apparently see the light of day next year.
Who’s excited for micro-mobility?
Volkswagen’s supervisory board meets Friday to discuss how to handle the next decade of vehicle development, with CEO Herbert Diess expected to present a strategy that includes Ford as a key partner. The two automakers already have a Memorandum of Understanding with an eye on commercial vehicles, but VW could take the relationship further. Much further.
Ford’s Jim Hackett admits the talks are going well, but the CEO isn’t about to leap into bed without taking precautions.
Through the end of October, Volkswagen of America’s efforts to gain a 5 percent share of the country’s new vehicle market (by 2020) continued apace, with sales up 5 percent over the same period a year earlier. This sales bump has two crossovers to thank, not cars.
No, definitely not cars.
Still, VW CEO Herbert Diess, when questioned about the brand’s slowly deflating car lineup, doesn’t believe the future involves a light truck-only landscape. To him, the limitations of existing battery technology means future buyers won’t decrease their horizons just for the sake of cargo space. The sedan, Diess claims, is probably not in danger.
Volkswagen doesn’t want competitors unsurping its electric car efforts, so there’s a plan afoot to give buyers what they want at a much lower price, sources claim. Two reports, citing those with knowledge of a strategy not yet approved by the automaker’s supervisory board, state the company plans to go cheaper than its upcoming line of I.D.-badged EVs.
How cheap, you ask? How about $21,000?
A new Volkswagen pickup for Brazil? Yawn. As much as small, cheap pickups turns this writer’s crank, the image that came to mind upon hearing news of this week’s São Paulo unveiling was a weird amalgam of the late Ford Courier and VW Fox.
Then I looked at pictures of the VW Tarok concept, which is said to almost exactly mirror the production vehicle bound for that market. My, my — what a fetching little truck. Sporting pretty much the exact same wheelbase of the Atlas and bearing a bed that extends in both directions, the MQB-platform vehicle is a versatile and stylish little unibody runabout.
Isn’t this pretty much what Hyundai has in mind for North America, assuming it pulls the trigger on the Santa Cruz?
After weeks and months of rumors, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has confirmed that a badge-engineered version of the Ranger pickup is one of the possible product tie-ups between his company and Ford.
In a sit-down with Automotive News, Diess said that, while VW’s partnership with Ford is mainly focused on commercial vehicles for the European market, a range of mutually beneficial opportunities exist between the two automakers. With its overseas-market Amarok pickup growing long in the tooth, VW can easily see a Ford in its future. American buyers could see a Volkswagenized Ranger, too.
According to sources who spoke to Reuters, Volkswagen Group has more interest in pursuing technological relationships with new partners, especially Ford, than continuing on with Audi as its main development hub. At least for a while.
VW CEO Herbert Diess will reportedly unveil a 10-year plan to his company’s board later this month, part of an efficiency initiative born of diesel fines and the need to stay ahead of rivals. While the move would lessen Audi’s importance in the group, VW would stand to save big on R&D costs. Meanwhile, Ford might get access to VW’s electric vehicle architecture.
Pretty much everything is on the table at this point. At least, that’s the way it looks to industry observers. The partnership announced between Ford and Volkswagen back in June has the potential to birth any number of outcomes — from jointly developed commercial vehicles (the initial aim), to badge-swapped overseas small cars, autonomous vehicle hardware, and perhaps even borrowed electric vehicle architecture.
As it prepares the launch of its MEB-platform electric vehicles, Volkswagen’s not saying “no” to letting Ford have a piece of the action.
Say the words “drop-top utility vehicle” and American minds desperately conjure up memories of Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Dodge, and International Harvester models of the 1970s — anything to avoid visions of the defunct Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and somehow still alive Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet. That latter model, it should be noted, is not for everyone.
In the Volkswagen stable, one convertible still exists in the North American market — the Beetle Cabriolet — but that model disappears after 2019. The retractable hardtop Eos left the scene a couple of years ago, hot on the heels of the long-running Golf Cabriolet. In Europe, VW dealers stock exactly zero convertibles, but that will soon change.
Right around the time Americans lose access to a drop-top VeeDub, Europeans will get a new one. And, naturally, it will be an SUV.
Ford Motor Company is engaged in hurried discussions with Volkswagen, with the German automaker seen as a sure-fire way to reverse falling fortunes in overseas markets. Ford needs help in Europe and Latin America, especially — a situation made clear in Thursday’s quarterly earnings report.
Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding with VW in June, the scope of Ford’s partnership has expanded from its initial focus on commercial vehicles. There was already room in the MOU’s wording for the two companies to go further. Now, it looks almost certain that passenger vehicles will become part of the plan.
The world needs to adopt North America’s penchant for high-riding SUVs if Volkswagen has any hope of building a clean, green, safe future for your kids. That’s basically the message coming from the automaker, which wants 50 percent of its global product mix to be made up of crossovers and SUVs by 2025.
High-margin SUVs will bolster the brand’s business, the company says, helping bring in the cash needed to eventually take your internal combustion engine and steering wheel away.
The three-row Atlas was the midsize utility vehicle Volkswagen needed, but the model’s entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is apparently the engine Volkswagen doesn’t want.
For 2019, the Atlas seems some unusual rejigging occur at the bottom end of the trim ladder. Unless you’re totally stoked with the idea of having the least amount of power going to the fewest number of wheels, you’ll end up paying more.
Back in June, we brought you news that Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seemed to be working on a relationship — potentially yielding jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. At the time, both companies issued a joint memorandum of understanding about potential product alliances.
With the Blue Oval’s stock price in the dumpster, Jim Hackett constantly nattering about “fitness,” and VW’s desire to increase its market share in America, it wouldn’t be the oddest of marriages if these two companies joined forces in more than just the commercial market.
Stranger things have happened … like DaimlerChrysler. Wait, that’s probably a bad example.
Volkswagen’s Passat has long been the choice for Euro-fetishists who believe themselves too good to purchase a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. That decision was easier to make in 2012, when VW moved 117,023 of them in the United States, diesel cars were still tolerated, and Japan had basically given up on styling its vehicles. But things are different now.
Diesel might as well be a four-letter word when not affixed to trucks and Japan’s automakers have gone mental with their newer designs. Volkswagen only sold 60,700 Passats in the U.S. last year. The automaker needs to work some real magic if it hopes to bring that number up in the years to come. While Europeans get ready to wrap their paws around an MQB-based Passat, Americans remain stuck with an older platform shared with China, South Korea, and the Middle East.
Fortunately, it looks like VW has been hard at work in Asia, delivering a sharp new sedan for the Chinese market that it might share with the U.S. next year.
Scott Keogh, head of Audi of America, will switch jobs on November 1st. The 49-year-old, who joined Audi in 2006 and ascended to the U.S. president’s chair in 2012, will take over Volkswagen’s North American operations next month, replacing Hinrich Woebcken.
While Keogh’s predecessor began easing VW in a new direction in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, Keogh needs to be just as much of a fixer.
Tesla deserves credit for building useable, long-range electric cars, but shares a good deal of the blame for causing the public to associate EV driving with the expenditure of one’s retirement savings. Fledgling technologies carry a steep price in the early days, and other automakers weren’t immune from this reality. A base 2011 Nissan Leaf cost $32,780 before destination and federal incentives and offered 73 miles of range. A 2018 model retails for $29,990 and offers 151 miles.
Volkswagen, currently planning a massive electric vehicle assault on the Western world, knows the price gap between ICE cars and EVs is a major impediment to adoption. That’s why it’s couching its pricing strategy in terms buyers will understand.
Volkswagen Group has delayed the U.S. launch of its flagship Arteon sedan for a few more months as it waits for that all-important emissions certification. Apparently, Europe’s switch to the updated Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) has created an extensive approvals backlog.
While the United States still uses the EPA’s less forgiving FTP-75 and HWFET, Europe is in the process of abandoning the ironically named New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for WLTP. Presumably, VW wants to ensure its vehicles are green lit by the EU before it starts manufacturing them for the U.S. Unfortunately for the automaker, it stands to lose sales in the interim.
Sprinkle a bag of cash on an area and what happens? The highest authority in said area collects it all and then decides how to dole it out. And, just like at a children’s birthday party, the squabbling soon begins — usually sparked by one guest complaining that another got a larger slice of cake.
That’s what’s currently happening in Texas, where a city with dirtier air claims it’s being short-changed after seeing the windfall headed to a smaller, cleaner city. No fair!
Many crossovers are really just tall wagons, and the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan looks the part. It has a boxy overall shape with angles and curves mixed in. Drop its ride height, and it’s a wagon.
Fine. That’s sort of the point – crossovers promise the utility of wagons with a taller seating position. We’ve been over this before.
Getting a crossover to stand out requires a little extra effort, beyond just being a tall wagon. In the case of the Tiguan, Volkswagen remembered that it’s the same company that makes the Golf/Golf GTI, and has the MQB platform available for use in underpinning its compact crossover. Unlike the larger, bulkier Atlas, which also shares the platform but is tuned for comfort – the Tiguan makes better use of the sportier aspects of its platform.
Volkswagen Group is interested in teaming up with other automakers to establish a new industry standard for self-driving technology. While the move would likely help streamline development, VW’s primary concern seems to be legal protection in the event an autonomous vehicle makes a mistake.
The idea of an automaker preparing itself to better cope with the legal ramifications of accidentally killing one of its customers isn’t particularly encouraging, but it’s at least understandable.
The Volkswagen Beetle, a machine that has a grand total of three (count ’em) generations since its introduction, will be ushered out the factory door in Puebla next July. The modern Bug, as we know it today, showed up as a concept car in 1997 and entered production a couple of years later as the New Beetle. In 2011, the car found itself restyled and rechristened as simply the Beetle, just like the old Beetle. But not the New Beetle, even though most people continued to call the New New Beetle the New Beetle, despite its official name being simply Beetle.
Achtung! No one ever said naming conventions had to make sense.
Whatever you want to call it, production of the car will wrap up in mid-2019. As a send off, VW has crafted a special model option called the Final Edition.
Just a year ago, Volkswagen Group announced it wasn’t just going to build a series of standalone electric car models — it wanted an EV version of every model in its stable. The automaker may as well have tried buying the rights to the Green Giant mascot from B&G Foods, too.
A year later, former CEO Matthias Müller’s replacement is discovering that lofty promises don’t come cheap. The automaker’s goal is well out of reach, unless it starts making more money.
Kiss the never-ending Summer of Love goodbye. Leaves are falling from the trees, there’s a chill in the air, and Becky from Sacramento just left with your best friend — and wallet. After two latter-day revivals, the Volkswagen Beetle, formerly the New Beetle, formerly the Beetle, formerly the KdF-Wagen, looks to be entering its final model year.
There’s no concrete plan to return it to the lineup at any point in the future, either, despite the tie-dyed dreams of certain wistful VW executives. Maybe this truly is the end.
A judge hearing a case brought by investors against Volkswagen has deemed its former corporate head, Martin Winterkorn, was too slow in addressing the emissions test cheating that steered the automotive giant into colossal U.S. fines. It’s an early blow against the German company in a suit seeking $10.6 billion in damages for stock losses suffered when the scandal finally became public.
“Anyone acting in good faith would have followed up on this information,” Judge Christian Jaede of the ex-CEO during the second day of hearings held at the Braunschweig higher regional court. “This appears not to have happened.”
If there was ever an engine type best associated with my youth, it was the V6. Most of my parents’ cars had ’em, the car I drove to high school (and bought not long after) had one, my friends’ cars had ’em. It was a V6-filled world — and one that now looks pretty distant in the rear-view.
Volkswagen has let slip details of its 2019 Passat, and the changes coming to the final model year of this generation means another V6 engine option drops from the automotive landscape. That leaves just two models in the non-premium midsize sedan space that still offer six cylinders beneath their hoods, and one of them is on its final pass around the sun.
The diesel emissions scandal that continues swirling around Volkswagen’s German workforce is merely a far-off cloud for the folks at Volkswagen of America. Sunny skies reign, thanks to a decision to go heavy into “Americanized” crossovers.
Sure, the Jetta and Golf families continued their downward trajectory, joined in the descent by VW’s Passat sedan, but those lost sales are more than made up for by two nameplates: Tiguan and Atlas. Break out the iced tea.
A product onslaught with a questionable sales future is on the way from Volkswagen, but Americans, as well as Europeans, won’t necessarily have to purchase one to add it to their lifestyle.
Under its “We Share” ride sharing venture, Volkswagen plans to offer up its line of I.D. electric vehicles to urbanites who don’t own a car, but still wish to use one from time to time. Users won’t have to worry about a disappearing tax credit, that’s for sure.
Volkswagen Group intends to fire a group of employees implicated in the diesel emissions fraud scandal. German prosecutors in Brunswick have identified an inner circle of 39 “suspicious engineers” it believes contributed directly to the emissions cheating. It’s expected that VW will carry out these terminations as quickly as possible, with additional waves of firings to follow.
According to Handelsblatt, Volkswagen made the decision to cleanse its ranks after being granted access to the prosecution’s investigation files in July. The automaker followed up with a series of employee “interviews” and a month-long review process. VW has already announced the dismissal of six high-ranking employees, with former development head Heinz-Jakob Neußer (Neusser) being the most noteworthy.
Midst the turmoil of a diesel emissions scandal and the crisis that followed in late 2015, there was a quiet but striking development inside Volkswagen’s U.S. showrooms.
Americans were buying Golfs. A lot of Golfs. More Golfs than at any point since Ronald Reagan was president. Volkswagen Golf volume nearly doubled, year-over-year, in 2015, and Volkswagen nearly sustained that level in 2016 before rising to a 31-year high of 68,978 sales in 2017.
A trend it was not. Seven months into 2018, Golf sales are nosediving.
Unsealed documents from a German prosecutor’s office shed light on current Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess’ knowledge of the costly diesel emissions scandal. Back in late July, 2015, Diess, having just taken the helm of the VW brand after arriving from BMW, sat in on a fateful meeting, German magazine Der Spiegel reports.
It seems that, for the executives at that table, the key to avoiding prosecution depends on how dumb they can claim to be.
Germany Tells Owners of Cheating Volkswagen Diesels to Get Their Cars Neutered or Hand Over the Registration
Germany’s federal motor transport authority, die Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), told dieselgate holdouts that haven’t yet fixed their emissions-cheating cars to get them repaired or prepare to have their registration revoked. In fact, officials in Hamburg and Munich have already taken several Audi and VW vehicles off the road.
It’s no wonder there’s cold feet among the citizenry. Reports out of Germany last year revealed that engines returned from the fixes behaving like a person suffering from an incredibly traumatic experience. They just weren’t the same anymore. Some units saw up to a 10-percent decrease in performance and likely ended up with a less-beefy torque curve biased toward higher engine speeds. Fearing that the Volkswagen Group’s “emissions repair” could effectively neuter their car, those abstaining from the recall are now left with no recourse.
Fans of the Golf R, a machine generally accepted as being the most serious car … in the world, will have the chance to jazz up their ride with VW’s Spektrum Program, now available on the Golf R.
The program will allow customers to choose from 40 custom order colors in addition to the five standard colors. Price for such largesse? $2,500.
As part of its penance for pumping untold amounts of smog-causing pollutants into America’s air over the span of roughly six years, Volkswagen paid a steep price. Yes, there was the financial cost of the diesel scandal — a price tag topping $20 billion, covering fines, buybacks, repairs, etc. Then there was the shame, with VW execs issuing public apologies so frequently, you’d think they were congressmen.
As fines and public apologies aren’t that uncommon in the automotive sphere, it’s the third act that must really grind the gears of execs in Wolfsburg. The automaker now has to do something no self-respecting car company would ever do: It has to showcase another company’s products, and not in a bad light.
The introduction of Volkswagen’s well fleshed-out Tanoak concept at this spring’s New York Auto Show showed just how versatile the company sees its Atlas midsize crossover. Sporting a reasonably useable bed and a design that’s more butch than that of Honda’s unibody Ridgeline, the Tanoak was made to tease.
Would Americans gravitate towards it? Could VW add a full-on truck to its lineup, bolstering its SUV push? These are the questions VW wanted answered before committing extra dollars and Chattanooga assembly plant space to the project.
Apparently, the Tanoak’s still in the running.
Our personal biases frequently lead us to condemn any number of advanced automotive technologies. That’s partly because we’re dinosaurs who fetishize vintage automobiles that, in reality, are actually far worse than we like to pretend. But it’s also because most modern-day tech sucks harder than a jet-powered Dyson. A large portion of that problem stems from automakers implementing technology solely to appease regulators or line their pockets with cash.
Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. You sometimes end up with things like power windows, torque vectoring, the dual clutch transmission, and satellite navigation. And while it’s still handy to know how to read a map, GPS has made car-based voyages a breeze, and it’s only getting better.
Waze, a preferred navigation app for many, offers community-confirmed accident information, fuel pricing, and speed traps. Since its purchase by Google in 2013, the system now finds itself baked into Android Auto. Things are progressing rather nicely, as a new partnership with Volkswagen implements features that cater specifically to driving enthusiasts.
Large money transfers initiated by former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn early last year have German investigators wondering if the executive may have believed a criminal charge was incoming.
Already indicted in the U.S. on fraud charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions scandal, Winterkorn (seen above with Yoko Ono) remains under a cloud of suspicion in his homeland. Though he’s claimed no early knowledge of the diesel engine manipulation, the former top boss remains under scrutiny from methodical German prosecutors who recently arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
Recently, the probe’s focus turned to large sums of money leaving the country in the lead-up to the U.S. indictment.
In the wake of Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal, VW turned its attention to electric vehicles. Yup, EVs, and many, many crossovers. Can’t forget those.
At the time, building the brand’s future EVs in America seemed like the right thing to do — good PR, and good penance for its dirty crimes. The plan’s still a go, as VW’s Chattanooga assembly plant has plenty of excess capacity, but it’s now focused on two particular models.
In case you thought the Volkswagen I.D. R’s impressive victory at Pikes Peak was a fluke, it managed another one over the weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. On Saturday, Romain Dumas crawled inside the cockpit of the I.D. R and motored it up the hill in a blistering 43.05 seconds — setting a new record for electric vehicles.
The previous record for an EV was set in 2013 by Jonny Cocker, who drove the Lola-Drayson B12 69/EV across the line in an already savage 47.34. If you’re wondering what the all-time course best is, it’s 41.6 seconds — Nick Heidfeld drove a McLaren MP4/13 up the hill back when Goodwood still allowed Formula One cars to participate in the event. Compared to Pikes Peak, Goodwood is an exceptionally short and relatively simple course. But that’s like saying the sun is bright when you compare it to a desk lamp. It’s also unimportant.
The point is they are both stretches of road that allow cars to compete on an even playing field, and the I.D. R once again proved that electric vehicles have placed a target on the back of gas-powered performance.
Even though the United States has already penalized and fined the crap out of Volkswagen for selling vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating defeat devices, the company remains in hot water. Earlier this month, Germany imposed a fine of $1.2 billion over the “dieselgate” scandal.
“Volkswagen accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it,” the company said. “Volkswagen, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.”
On Monday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a $10 billion settlement between Volkswagen and the owners of 2.0-liter TDI vehicles that came equipped with the illegal software. The ruling pertains to roughly 475,000 customers. VW agreed to offer owners of the 2.0-liter diesels between $5,100 and $10,000 in compensation, in addition to the value of the vehicle.
Following Volkswagen’s disastrous, reputation-fouling diesel scandal, the brand quickly pivoted to utility vehicles in a bid to recapture lost U.S. sales. So far, so good on that front. The Atlas is a strong contender in the midsize field and the new-generation Tiguan saw a surge of buyers after VW added a third row and piles of length.
Still, the lineup isn’t fully fleshed out. While the old-generation Tiguan (called the Tiguan Limited) remains as a small crossover offering, that model disappears for the 2019 model year. VW hasn’t even named its compact successor, a model initially geared solely for the North American market.
Meanwhile, overseas buyers already have two small VW crossovers to think about — the T-Roc, already on sale, and now the T-Cross.
Last March, Volkswagen confirmed that once the current-generation Beetle runs its course, there won’t be another. It was thought — and hoped, for some VW execs — that the automaker would switch the iconic model to electric drive, thus keeping the brand’s heritage alive while at the same time fulfilling its promise to unleash scores of EVs into the marketplace.
Not so, it seems. “Two or three generations [of Beetle] is enough now,” said VW R&D chief Frank Welsch in an interview with Autocar. “You can’t do it five times and have a ‘New New New Beetle.’”
Well, that was spring, and this is summer. Apparently, VW hasn’t completely ruled out the return of the people’s car. Should the model stage a reappearance, however, prepare yourself for some sacrilegious changes.
Volkswagen’s I.D. R Pikes Peak all-electric race car made history at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past weekend, becoming the fastest vehicle ever to tackle the mountain.
The intent was for VW to restore its honor (after leaving the event in shame in the 1980s) and best the EV record set by course veteran Rhys Millen in 2016. But the German automaker’s electrified demon handily smashed that record. With a total time of 7:57.148, the Volkswagen I.D. R has proven its mettle and its driver, Romain Dumas, will be cemented as a Pikes Peak legend on par with Rod Millen and Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima.
The previous unlimited class record had gone untouched since 2013, when Sébastien Loeb throttled his Peugeot 208 T16 across the finish line in a very lean 8:13.878. Unless another manufacturer becomes absolutely hellbent on building the ultimate hill climb car, we expect Volkswagen to hold the record for a while.
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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.