Porsche Powertrain Boss Arrested in Germany: Report

Jörg Kerner, Porsche’s head of powertrain development, has reportedly been arrested by German authorities for playing an alleged role in Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

Kerner, who sources say is being held on remand due to the potential of being a flight risk, was appointed director of Porsche’s powertrain development division in October 2011. Before that, Kerner worked for supplier Robert Bosch GmbH from 1986 to 2004, after which he oversaw development of engine electronics and software for Audi.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The 2018 Mid-size Import Sedan Showdown

This will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.

All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Drive - Moving Forward Gracefully

Most of us mature as we age, sanding off the rough edges and perhaps muting some of the rowdier aspects of our characters for the sake of grace and politeness. This often accompanies a shift in behavior to accommodate some more upscale habits and hobbies – dressing better as your bank account grows, for example. Or maybe taking in operas instead of rock concerts.

Not all youthful spunk is lost, however – even the most cultured of the gray-hair set cuts loose once in a while.

Peek at the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, which marks the car’s seventh generation, and you can see this process in action. Interior materials and road manners suggest a car that prefers a gentle life rather than a sporty trashing, but the exterior design, which remains conservative overall, uses details such as character lines to infuse some enthusiasm that was missing in recent years, possibly in a bid to cut a bit loose.

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Diess Named Volkswagen Group CEO As Company Plans a New Way of Managing Brands

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess, 59, now pulls all the levers at Volkswagen Group. On Thursday, the automaker’s supervisory board appointed Diess as CEO and said goodbye to Matthias Müller, who stepped down from the top position “by mutual agreement,” effective immediately.

The shakeup at the top comes as Volkswagen Group changes the way it manages the multiple brands under its corporate umbrella. There’s now a plan for six new business areas (plus the formation of a China region), with VW Group brands organized into three tiers — volume, premium, and super premium. All of this, in VW’s view, should lead to a streamlined decision-making process and a nimbler company.

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Convoy? Toyota's Hino to Join Forces With Volkswagen's Truck Unit

Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp are forming a truck-based alliance, allegedly to cut R&D costs. While the two automakers joust for the title of biggest in the world, their trucking arms must have had a rough 2017 to necessitate an alliance solely on the grounds to limit development expenditures… right?

Not exactly. Volkswagen Truck & Bus actually had a really good year. Strong sales pushed revenues up 12.1 percent, and operating profits before special items increased by 26.8 percent (for over $2.41 billion). Meanwhile, Toyota’s Hino saw operating profits improve by 21.5 percent. So why bother with the alliance of both truck builders saw strong returns based on their respective sizes?

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Volkswagen 'Considering' Replacing CEO Matthias Mller With the Diess Man

Volkswagen Group is thinking about replacing chief executive Matthias Müller with the head of its VW brand, Herbert Diess. According to inside sources, however, the decision already appears to have been made. When questioned about staffing changes, the company said it was “considering evolving the leadership structure” as it relates to the the management board — which could extend to a change in CEOs.

An automaker typically wouldn’t even hint at such a thing if it wasn’t already a done deal. That means Müller is almost guaranteed to be moving on soon, bringing his extended history with the company to a close. A true company man, Matthias completed a tooling apprenticeship at Audi in 1977, before a reprieve where he left to study computer engineering. Returning to the brand in 1984, Müller moved up the ranks swiftly — eventually becoming CEO of Porsche in 2010 and replacing Martin Winterkorn as Volkswagen AG’s CEO during 2015’s diesel emissions scandal.

While his contract is good until 2020, the company could still press for an early retirement. In fact, some reports even have Müller removed from his post already.

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Rare Rides: The 1992 Volkswagen Passat Syncro G60

Today’s Rare Ride is a reader submission by one Eric T. Perusing Craigslist in Frasier Crane’s hometown of Seattle, he came upon this quite uncommon Volkswagen Passat wagon. It’s a variant never sold by American dealers, but available on the Canadian side of the border in very limited quantities.

It’s all-wheel drive, has a manual transmission, and is supercharged.

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It Might Take More Than American Enthusiasm to Make This Volkswagen Truck a Reality

Volkswagen’s Atlas Tanoak concept was one of the few interesting products to emerge from last week’s New York auto show, but the Atlas-based pickup remains a one-off for now. The automaker plans to judge consumer interest before making a decision to scrap the idea or sign off on a production version. Naturally, with VW staking it’s U.S. fortunes on light trucks, the volume-seeking company would like to get as much mileage out of its Atlas architecture as possible. See the two-row Atlas Cross Sport for Exhibit B.

But does the Tanoak’s future hinge on Americans expressing an overwhelming desire for a VW truck? Not entirely.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Sporty Compact Sedans From 2006

In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we concerned ourselves with unpopular large luxury sedans. The general B&B consensus at the end of the day was that none of them were a great purchase idea (see, you’re getting the point now). In the comments, Brian E. suggested we cover a trio of compact-ish sporty sedans he evaluated in real life, back in 2006.

So let’s travel to those days before the Great Recession and pick apart some sporty import sedans. By they way, they all have automatic transmissions.

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Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak: A Concept Pickup to Chew On

We told you the other day that Volkswagen planned to dangle a carrot in front of American consumers. Well, here it is. Like what you see? If you do, Volkswagen wants to know about it, as this Atlas Tanoak concept truck could become a reality — provided enough people feel the same as you.

Eager to gain a stronger foothold in the U.S. light truck market, VW would love to market a unibody pickup built off a lengthened version of its Atlas platform. Unlike the crossover market, however, truck buyers can be fickle. Tribal, even. Does the midsize Tanoak have what it takes to mix it up with the likes of Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota?

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Fewer Seats, More MPGs: Volkswagen Debuts Atlas Cross Sport in New York

Regardless of where we think Volkswagen’s true strengths prevail, the company is dead set on electrification. Granted, much of this is the direct result of the diesel emissions fiasco. But it doesn’t appear to be solely interested in providing lip service to an angry public; it wants to build these cars and it really wants you to be excited about that.

The brand’s current lineup doesn’t include much in the way of electrics, e-Golf notwithstanding, but CEO Matthias Mueller has promised to unveil a new EV “virtually every month” as its multi-billion-dollar investments into new battery technologies and charging infrastructure begins to bear fruit. In the meantime, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing VW parade a steady stream of electric concept vehicles. Normally, these are part of Audi’s e-tron lineup or the VW’s new I.D. sub-brand. However, the electric push has started spilling over into the core brand, and the latest product is more than just a battery-driven green machine. It feels tangible, like it might be meant for everyone — not just EV enthusiasts.

Volkswagen’s Atlas is a relatively spacious three-row, midsize crossover — fairly fuel efficient for its size, but not a hoot to drive. VW wants to remedy this by hybridizing the MQB platform, chopping a row of seats, and adding a helping of power that won’t jack up your weekly fuel bill. More importantly, this two-row model seems to bridge the gap between practicality and fun.

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Are Americans Ready for a Volkswagen Pickup? VW Aims to Find Out

Buyers in foreign markets enjoy far greater midsize pickup choice than their counterparts in North America. Besides the usual products from General Motors and Ford ( the latter of which we’re only just being introduced to), there’s offerings from Mitsubishi, Fiat, even Volkswagen. Has decades of full-size truck dominance made North America too unforgiving for smaller entries? Sales of the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevrolet Colorado say otherwise.

There’s midsize ground to be gained here, but no new model faces a guarantee of success. Volkswagen, which sells the body-on-frame Amarok (seen above) overseas, apparently wants to find out how Americans would feel about a smaller, lighter entry in the midsize pickup game. According to sources, it wants to find out this week.

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Rare Rides: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum, From Volkswagen of Yore

After our last few Rare Rides were utterly luxurious and brougham in nature, it’s time to get back to the basics of motoring. A practical box where the windows are manually operated (quaint!) and number of buttons on the dash can be counted on two hands.

It’s a Volkswagen Quantum wagon from 1986.

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In a Shocking Turn, Volkswagen Bestows R-Line Trim on 2019 Arteon

Don’t cut yourself cleaning up that juice glass you just dropped.

Yes, it’s true, the company that enjoys carving out slightly sportier iterations of existing models that aren’t actually any faster than stock is at it again. Volkswagen, which brought you screamers like the R-Line Jetta, Tiguan, and Atlas, plans to work the same magic on the brand’s upcoming flagship.

The 2019 Arteon, appearing later this year with a single powerplant and front- or all-wheel-drive, will take on the role of “brand shaper,” says VW’s North American region CEO Hinrich Woebcken, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune from the automaker’s across-the-board product strategy. So, what does R-Line bring to the swoopy CC’s replacement?

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Extensive Probing Continues In Germany

While companies are often found guilty of sketchy and illicit behavior, it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to feel some measure of sympathy for German automakers. The same goes for the government officials whose job it is to repeatedly raid the homes and offices of people employed by those manufacturers. Once gain, German prosecutors have searched both Volkswagen and BMW over diesel-related shenanigans.

Volkswagen saw 13 of its offices raided in Wolfsburg throughout the month of March. Braunschweig-based authorities seized physical and digital files in the hopes of catching the automaker in a lie from 2015. At the time, VW claimed an in-house investigation found it had understated fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on no more than 36,000 vehicles. Considering the diesel emissions scandal affected far more vehicle than this, as well as the company’s much higher earlier estimate, prosecutors hope to catch the company out.

Meanwhile, BMW saw its facilities searched over suspicions that it employed a defeat device to circumvent diesel emission testing. The automaker said authorities were looking into “erroneously allocated” software on the BMW 750d and BMW M550d.

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Atlas, Part 2: Volkswagen Announces Five-passenger SUV for Chattanooga

We’ve known for some time that Volkswagen plans to capitalize on the success of the three-row Atlas SUV by building a slightly less commodious variant, and now it’s official. On Monday, the automaker announced the second all-new vehicle to roll out of its Chattanooga assembly plant, promising a concept version of the five-passenger midsize SUV at this month’s New York Auto Show.

The fact that VW is bothering to create a concept, even as it calls the model a “variant” of the Atlas, has us wondering just how different the vehicle can be in outward appearance. Then there’s the issue of a name.

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VW Hopes to Take Revenge on Entire Mountain With I.D. R Pikes Peak Racer

Electric vehicles have been a sore spot for many motorsport enthusiasts — odd, considering they offer massive performance gains via gobs of instant torque. There’s just something about EVs that keeps them from gaining mass appeal. That said, Formula E is gaining some traction and automakers continue developing high-end electrics in the hopes of turning a profit and paving the way for mainstream models.

Volkswagen Group, which has promised to shift deep into electrification in the coming years, really needs to make these cars appealing. Its I.D. product line for the VW brand has spawned numerous concept vehicles with an emphasis on building positive associations. The Buzz is the most obvious example. Essentially the battery-electric reincarnation of the Microbus, the Buzz aims to help customers see EVs as friendly and fun, while tacking on some nostalgia for good measure.

However, the Buzz doesn’t offer heart-pounding excitement or mind-warping performance, so VW had to build a battery-powered racer. Announced last year, teaser images of the model showed a full-tilt insane vehicle outfitted in hill-climb gear. Volkswagen claims the model will enter into the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for 2018 to take revenge on behalf of a Mk. II Golf from 1987.

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ISIS on the Assembly Line: Volkswagen Ordered to Rehire Suspected Militant Who Threatened Co-workers

In 2016, Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory fired an employee named Samir B. He had been working for the automaker for 8 years, mounting tires, but after the company said he began threatening co-workers and telling them of his pledge to join Islamist ISIS fighters in Syria, they had to let him go.

VW felt the threats were serious and worried he might stage a terror attack during a stockholders’ meeting at the company’s Wolfsburg headquarters. Now, a German court has ordered Volkswagen to reinstate him.

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The 5 Percent Solution: Volkswagen's Not Giving up on Its U.S. Market Share Dream

Volkswagen doesn’t make much of a fuss about becoming the world’s largest automaker these days, mainly because it’s already cleared that hurdle — and in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, no less. In the United States, however, one long-helg goal remains elusive: reaching a 5 percent market share.

While the automaker claims its top priority is shoring up its U.S. business with new, Americanized product, old dreams die hard. VW still wants the kind of market share it enjoyed in 1970, but it’s not even halfway to reaching that goal.

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Noted Diesel Lover Promises 'Practically' One New EV Per Month

Just a week after claiming diesel technology will “ see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future,” Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller said his company is prepared to bestow “practically one new electric model per month” on a world that’s apparently fallen out of love with diesel.

It’s a jarring change of tone from comments made at the Geneva Motor Show, but Müller’s not talking about next month or next year. Once the company’s MEB platform electric vehicles hit full production, he claims, expect the product floodgates to open. We’ve grown properly cynical about lofty EV promises, as well as the public’s supposed unquenchable desire for said vehicles, but Müller insists it’s the real deal.

Backing up the CEO’s claim, Volkswagen apparently has suppliers lined up to make it happen.

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Volkswagen Chooses An Interesting Name for Its New Chinese Brand

China’s all about electric vehicles and clean, green everything, or so the [s]tankies[/s] granola types claim, and automakers from Detroit to Germany can’t wait to get their hands on a piece of that market. In Volkswagen’s case, China’s thirst for EVs spawned a brand new brand.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with language, the name of VW’s EV-focused brand could mean something very bad, depending on who reads it.

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Volkswagen's North American Boss Wants a Brand That's so American, It Hurts

Reading the long-from retrospective of Hinrich Woebcken’s life in Automotive News, this author can’t help but think of a friend who, like Volkswagen of America’s CEO, spent his early life in Rochester, New York. In the executive’s case, it was an exchange program in the late Seventies.

This friend, after odd jobs accumulated a sufficient stockpile of cash, went out and bought his first car — a white Volkswagen Fox, which I believe he later rolled (with limited damage). The choice of buying a Fox wasn’t unusual, even in a market awash in cheap Detroit iron. Foxes were small, economical, presumably better built than the domestic competition, and above all else, affordable.

It’s the latter virtue Woebken wants to return to the VW fold, as paying extra for “German engineering” isn’t nearly as popular as it once was.

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Volkswagen: Once This Beetle's Gone, It's Not Coming Back

After going from the people’s car to the hippie’s car and, finally, to the car of semi-urban professional couples with no kids, Volkswagen’s retro Beetle has entered the home stretch. Despite a movement within Volkswagen HQ to keep the iconic shape around for a new generation, the German automaker now claims there’s no future for the Beetle.

Yes, once the current model disappears, it won’t crawl back out of the grave as an electric car or any other such thing. Get your tie-dyed shirt ready for the funeral.

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Volkswagen CEO Really Wants the Good Old Days Back, Predicts Diesel Resurgence

Despite a multi-billion-dollar emissions scandal, a massive corporate black eye, and all signs pointing towards a future devoid of diesel passenger cars, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller isn’t willing to let go of the past.

While addressing media at the the Geneva Motor Show, the VW boss — perhaps angered by all the newfangled electric cars in attendance, one of which is a Volkswagen — predicted the public would soon realize the error of its ways and return to the comforting arms of diesel propulsion. There’s a renaissance on the way, he said.

However, the fly in Müller’s soothing ointment appears in the form the The Government and the industry’s (and public’s) inclination to go where the incentives are.

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Volkswagen Strips Down Its Vizzion, Promises a Semi-conventional Sedan

Volkswagen’s Vizzion of the future — a fully autonomous concept car with an all-knowing hologram chauffeur and suicide doors — just came back down to Earth. The sedan will now start life as a normal car, albeit one with two electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Positioned as the flagship of Volkswagen’s upcoming line of I.D.-badged electric models, the Vizzion is on track to start production in 2022. With this car, VW gains a lower-priced alternative to vehicles like Tesla’s Model S and Porsche’s Mission E.

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2019 Volkswagen Touareg: The SUV That's Too Exclusive for America

Ahead of its premiere at the Beijing auto show this spring, the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has appeared in an official teaser video wearing next to nothing, as far as camo goes.

Crisp lines and upmarket styling cues set this VW utility vehicle apart from, say, the three-row Atlas, which is all we’ll ever see of a midsize vee-dub ute on this side of the ocean. That’s because the all-new 2019 Touareg is just not suited for life in America. Many would say its predecessor wasn’t, either.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Three Flaming Hot Compacts; One Will Actually Burn

With his last Ace of Base segment, Matthew Guy got everyone talking about the base Volkswagen GTI S. It went so far as to cause certain members of the TTAC staff to build GTIs over at the Volkswagen website. I didn’t do that, because I was busy ruminating on the difficult choices a Buy/Drive/Burn entry on hot hatches might offer. It’s difficult to write said entry the way I want, because the STI isn’t available as a hatchback anymore. So we’ve got hot compacts today.

Three hot [s]hatches[/s] grr, compacts, from different manufacturers. One gets purchased, one you borrow, and one burns to the ground. Last time, it became apparent that some of you don’t know the rules, so here are the rules and you should read them before you scroll further. Let’s get speedy.

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Cool It With the Names Already: From Volkswagen, a 'Vizzion' of the Future

You probably remember the old Jerry Seinfeld routine about ridiculous car names.

“Integrity? No, Inte-grah.”

In a just world, Volkswagen’s naming policy for its electric concept cars would see the company hauled before the courts on charges of crimes against the English language. However, it’s mainly a free world, and we’ll just have to grin and bear the fact that VW’s latest concept calls itself the I.D. Vizzion — surely the worst name in a line of upcoming cars that started with the I.D. and moved on to the I.D. Crozz and I.D. Buzz.

Occupants of the [s]Vision[/s] Vizzion, should it one day become reality, won’t ever use their hands for steering, but they’ll certainly use them to talk to the car.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI S

Ages ago, the GTI was a trim level of the Golf, bringing the heat to a funky little hatchback and virtually creating a segment. Now, there are actually three different flavors of GTI: S, SE, and Autobahn.

Given the vast gulf in price of the three, and my love for affordable yet fun wheels, your humble author naturally thinks the base model leads the way.

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The World Needed a Second Crossover Convertible, and Volkswagen Answered the Call

You’ve no doubt read about how demand for the defunct Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet will surely fund the retirements of those willing to let go of their beloved vehicles. In the wake of that model’s cancellation, only a single drop-top crossover remained: the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet.

Well, not for long. Volkswagen has announced its newest crossover, the Golf-based T-Roc, will give fans of this peculiar segment a cheaper option. The T-Roc, which sported a targa top and two-door layout when it first appeared in concept form in 2014, converted to a typical four-door hardtop when launched last year. Now, there’ll be a two-door soft-top arriving for 2020.

Arriving, we should point out, an ocean away. VW has different plans for North American consumers, and you can bet on it not having an open-air option.

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL R-Line Review - German Comfort Food

We all like comfort food. It’s not sexy, it may even be bland, but it keeps us feeling full and fulfilled. Meatloaf, a basic steak and potatoes, a hot turkey plate – all of these items serve that purpose.

I don’t know enough about German cuisine to guess what constitutes comfort food in Wolfsburg, and I don’t want to stereotype with guesses about spaetzle and schnitzel. Whatever passes for hale and hearty fare in Lower Saxony likely shares a lot with the feel of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.

Big, boxy, and brawny-looking, the blocky Atlas has one main mission – get up to seven folks from point A to B simply and comfortably. While there are plenty of modern features, that doesn’t mean there’s frills or design silliness, and while it offers enough power to do the job, it’s not precisely built for speed.

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A Car! A Car! - Volkswagen's 2019 Arteon Is Not, in Fact, a Crossover or Some Such Thing

Forgive the headline writer’s apparent shock. He thought Volkswagen was all about SUVs now, yet before him stands a premium midsize fastback sedan from none other than that German utility vehicle giant. Well, “sedan” isn’t entirely accurate.

In the interest of giving passenger cars that extra little bit of added utility, automakers are suddenly pretending it’s the late ’80s again, grafting liftbacks onto the back of sedans from Audi to Buick to VW. The strange-sounding Arteon is no exception. Arriving for the 2019 model year, VW’s Arteon dons a rear liftback as it accepts the role of the brand’s new flagship, replacing the departed CC.

With SUVs and crossovers taking over the world, it’s always interesting to see a new car model appear.

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Volkswagen Chooses Patsy in Diesel Exhaust Experiment Controversy

Volkswagen AG suspended chief lobbyist Thomas Steg on Tuesday as its “first consequences as a result of animal tests.” If you’ll recall, German automakers were faulted with funding experiments on monkeys (and also people) that haven’t gone over well in the media. Both Daimler and VW say they will conduct investigations to get to the bottom of how something like this could have happened.

At its meeting today, Volkswagen Group’s Board of Management accepted a proposal made by Steg, who heads external relations and sustainability, that he be suspended until a full investigation is completed.

“We are currently in the process of investigating the work of the EUGT, which was dissolved in 2017, and drawing all the necessary consequences. Mr. Steg has declared that he will assume full responsibility. I respect his decision,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller in a statement.

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta: The Wind Cries MQB

Volkswagen today took the wraps off its latest salvo in the compact sedan market, the new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. Based on the MQB platform that also has produced the Golf, Tiguan, and Atlas, the newest Jetta promises more interior room via a longer wheelbase and increases in overall length, width, and height — with a starting price $100 less than the outgoing model.

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VR6 Power: Volkswagen Unveils the Passat GT

We’re going to wager you don’t often think of the words “Passat” and “GT” together in the same sentence too often, unless your military buddy who works in General Technical rocks a VW sedan as his daily whip.

You will now, though, as Volkswagen plans to introduce a production model of a concept car it showed at the L.A. Auto Show. Under the hood? A VR6 engine, displacing 3.6 liters and making 280 horsepower.

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Volkswagen Gives Tiguan a Price Haircut as Sales Soar

Volkswagen’s pre-dieselgate “take over the world” scheme appears to have returned in a smaller, more manageable form. Now, VW’s plan is simply to plunder the compact crossover segment — not an easy task, given the fierce competition.

The automaker’s strategy involves spanning the segment with two vehicles carrying the name badge. The old, criticised-for-its-size Tiguan continues on as the Tiguan Limited, while the new-for-2018 next-generation model ferries three rows of passengers on a nearly 11-inch longer wheelbase. Now, we learn of Phase 2 of VW’s plan. Chop the price.

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Volkswagen Trademarks a Pickup Name, But Is It Worth Pulling the Trigger on Another Midsize?

Amarok. The worst sounds mystical, conjuring up images of hairy Ice Age beasts and the grizzled 24-year-old grandfathers who once hunted them. Amarok also refers to a midsize Volkswagen pickup that’s built in Argentina and sold overseas, a pickup the automaker now wants to trademark in the United States.

Is this the first step towards Volkswagen — or a partner — joining the midsize pickup fray in America, or simply a “just in case” exercise? Volkswagen’s not saying. However, looking at the overall midsize pickup segment, is there really a case to be made for a new player, especially when there’s already a Ford Ranger on the way?

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VW Attempting to Block Emissions Audit in Constitutional Court

Volkswagen Group said on Thursday that it would be petitioning Germany’s constitutional court to overturn the appointment of a special auditor to investigate the actions of its management during its diesel emissions scandal. Appointed last November, the auditor’s goal is to establish whether or not VW’s top brass withheld information about the manipulation of vehicle emissions as they related to testing.

Even thought the automaker has said it wanted to improve transparency shortly after the scandal kicked off in September of 2015, Volkswagen wants the work of the auditor suspended prior to the constitutional-court hearing against it. This begs the question: Does VW still have something to hide or is it so fed up with the litigation surrounding “dieselgate” that it’ll do just about anything to keep officials from dredging up the past?

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Volkswagen's Short-term Crossover Plan: Get Asses In Seats By Removing Seats

The first salvo in Volkswagen’s battle to win the hearts and cash of the American populace arrived in the form of two crossovers: the new full-size Atlas and the vastly updated (and enlarged) second-generation Tiguan.

Both models sport three rows of seating, a key strategy for expanding the brand’s sales volume and appeal. Phase Two of the company’s U.S. campaign, however, involves ripping those seats out.

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My $1.6 Million Fleet in 2017 - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In a year of great political transition, there was also much change afoot at The Truth About Cars and more than a few alterations made in the way my life intersects with the automotive industry.

2017 was crazy. Yet midst all of the external upheaval (Trump, TTAC, Apple skipping the iPhone 9, the launch of a new Honda Odyssey) and an array of internal disorder (GoodCarBadCar’s acquisition, a move to rural Prince Edward Island, Miata purchase, new job) there was at least one constant.

I drove a ton of cars. Many tons of cars, to be more accurate.

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Union Dos and Don'ts: Volkswagen Chops Salaries and Bonuses for Works Council Amid Investigation

Volkswagen has slashed salaries and suspended the bonuses of 14 members of its works council, including council head Bernd Osterloh, as officials investigate alleged overpayments. In May, it was made public that German prosecutors were looking into current and former executives at VW under suspicions that they paid the labor chief an “excessive” salary.

This was followed by a November raid, after which the council claimed the probe didn’t “target Osterloh.” Members specified that all payments were in line with Germany’s legal guidelines. The offices of VW’s chief financial officer, Frank Witter, and personnel director Karlheinz Blessing were also searched.

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Volkswagen to 'Electrify America' With 2,800 EV Charging Stations

Volkswagen Group has been a quite the busy bee when it comes to bolstering EV charging infrastructure. In addition to breaking ground on Europe’s new fast-charging network before the end of this year (with help from Daimler, BMW, and Ford), the brand’s Electrify America subsidiary is preparing to fulfill a court order that will force it to live up to its name.

A signification portion of VW’s emissions scandal penance involves investment into eco-centric technologies and the beefing up of the United States’ electric vehicle infrastructure. So, on Monday the company announced plans to install 2,800 EV charging stations in 17 of the largest U.S. cities by June of 2019.

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Hey, Look - Volkswagen Finds Itself In the Midst of Another Diesel Recall

Volkswagen, most recently seen lecturing European governments on the need to ditch the diesel subsidies that, until recently, made it the continent’s most popular fuel, has a bad case of timing.

Just a day after Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller not-so-subtly touted his company’s newfound green bona fides, telling a German newspaper, “We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies,” another diesel-related scandal broke. On Tuesday, Germany’s automobile regulator, KBA, issued a recall of VW’s top-end diesel SUVs.

The reason? Undeclared defeat devices, apparently designed to make the late-model 3.0-liter vehicles run cleaner while undergoing emissions testing. If this doesn’t sound familiar, you’ve been dead for the past two years.

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Still Hot After All These Years: Not Every Passenger Car Model Has One Foot In the Grave

I often joke that not only are we all destined to buy a crossover in the near future, we’ll one day become crossovers. Oh, how the TTAC guys laugh…

Still, it’s hard to avoid the crossovers-are-replacing-cars narrative, as it isn’t some far-out theory — it’s a cold, hard reality. Crossover and SUV market share grows each year as buyers abandon traditional passenger cars in favor of a vehicle that does everything at least marginally.

That said, not every model faces the same rate of abandonment. Certain cars — through a hazy combination of performance, value, nameplate recognition, and other, more nebulous factors — haven’t yet been dropped off on the front steps of the orphanage by their once-loving guardians.

Let’s take a look at some surprisingly healthy performers in the non-premium, non-sports car class. Cars that aren’t declining in popularity, as this analysis isn’t about overall volume. Guess what? None of these vehicles are the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, two models currently locked in a battle for midsize sedan supremacy (and worthy of their own singular coverage).

Hard to believe, we know, but there’s loyalty and desire to be found elsewhere.

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Hey, That's My Bike! Sale of Ducati Shelved by Audi CEO

Like an overspending spouse whose partner has commanded they sell their toys to pay off debts, Volkswagen put all its options on the table earlier this year in a bid to raise some cash.

After mulling a sale of Ducati during the darkest days of Dieselgate, VW now plans to hang on to the brand. Recently taking action to curb costs and cut red tape, chief executive Rupert Stadler said the company is “gradually increasing our financial and organizational leeway.” Sounds like VW has found a few more coins amid the couch cushions.

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VW's Bringing a New Jetta to Detroit; Still Won't Outsell the Honda Civic

The standard Volkswagen Jetta rarely sets any hearts aflutter, given its sensible and sober styling and insomnia-curing interior. However, it is the marque’s bread-and-butter — its best-selling nameplate by many orders of magnitude, so mention of a redesign deserves notice.

Set to be shown at the Detroit show in January, it’ll likely launch as a 2019 model with new sheetmetal riding on the company’s MQB platform. Images that have surfaced around the ‘net seem to suggest a machine that’s sleeker and more expressive than today’s Jetta.

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Nabbed in Miami Bathroom, Volkswagen Executive Gets Seven Years for Role in Diesel Conspiracy

The judge didn’t go easy on the former Volkswagen executive. Oliver Schmidt, 48, former general manager of Volkswagen’s U.S. Environment and Engineering Office, was sentenced to seven years in prison and handed a $400,000 fine Wednesday for his role in covering up the automaker’s diesel emissions deception.

Schmidt’s punishment is the maximum allowed under the plea deal he reached in August. The executive pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the conspiracy to violate the country’s Clean Air Act with a fleet of pollution-spewing diesel cars.

“It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States,” U.S. District Judge Sean Cox of Detroit told Schmidt. “You saw this as your opportunity to shine … and climb the corporate ladder at VW.”

The sentencing wraps up a legal saga that began, unpleasantly, as Schmidt sat on a Miami toilet during a vacation stopover.

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Oil Crash: Audi, Volkswagen Discounting Old 3.0-liter TDI Models

Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter diesel V6 isn’t returning to the U.S. anytime soon. After forking over roughly $25 billion in the wake of its diesel deception, the company’s not exactly enthused about getting back into the compression ignition game. But that doesn’t mean buyers aren’t.

Europhiles with a penchant for low-end torque can still get their hands on a diesel Volkswagen or Audi SUV that meets federal emissions standards. And, thanks to new discounts, they’ll stand to save some money.

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Volkswagen Confirms an I.D. Crozz-based Crossover, a Future Chattanooga Resident

It’s hard picturing the world automakers have painted for us. You know the one — it’s the exciting, progressive near-future vision in which electric crossovers sprout from everywhere all at once, instantly winning the approval of a populace hooked on the convenience of gasoline.

With the all-electric vehicle’s market share hovering at just over half of one percent in the United States, it’s difficult to imagine the needle budging significantly by 2020. Or even 2025. Still, an ever-increasing number of automakers are promising exactly this. Volkswagen’s among them, announcing at this week’s L.A. Auto Show that its horribly named I.D. Crozz concept will form the basis of a new crossover that arrives stateside in 2020, followed two years later by a reborn electric Microbus (or I.D. Buzz, in VW parlance).

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Volkswagen Tosses Out an R-Line Tiguan as It Waits for More Crossovers

Volkswagen’s American fortune will not come by way of an electric, next-generation Beetle. No, the automaker’s U.S. game plan rests firmly on the success of existing and future utility vehicles. With no new models kicking around to bring to L.A., the automaker decked out its recently introduced second-generation Tiguan in ever-so-edgy R-Line trim and headed to the show.

Featuring an added (but not heaping) dose of visual aggression, the Tiguan R-Line, available in the first quarter of 2018, should give crossover buyers something new to look at while the company fleshes out its lineup with new tenants. It’s early days yet, but it seems the company’s crossover push is already working.

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2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI First Drive - Nothing to Anger the Faithful

The formula for the Volkswagen Golf GTI is simple; take a good car, add horsepower, add styling flourishes, and make something special. For the past 35 years in the United States, the GTI has done this more often than not.

Sure, there may have been some misses in there, but for over a decade now, it has been all hits. The 2018 GTI continues this trend. Even though it’s just a refresh of the seventh-generation GTI we first saw in 2015, the coming model year’s changes make the vehicle better in almost every way. The GTI is currently the best new car available in these United States of America that can be purchased for an MSRP of under $30,000.

That may be a bold statement, but it isn’t without merit.

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2018 Volkswagen Golf Family First Drive - Stick With What VW Does Best

The Volkswagen Golf is one of the best-selling vehicles of all time, in the top three in many global markets, but is somehow a niche vehicle in the United States. With consumer tastes shifting to crossovers and SUVs, Volkswagen has continued to differentiate the Golf from its peers by offering six unique versions. The most notable addition to the seventh-generation Golf is the off-road focused Golf Alltrack. Volkswagen accomplished this by lifting the Golf Sportwagen, adding standard all-wheel drive, and slapping on some body cladding.

The result is an attractive and viable crossover alternative. However, it may give up something car buyers love about the Golf: how it drives. After driving the Golf, Golf Sportwagen, and Golf Alltrack, it was obvious that significant driving fun is lost in making the Alltrack a crossover competitor. In its basic hatchback form, the Golf is an excellent driving vehicle. The Sportwagen retains most of that fun-to-drive character. The Alltrack however, doesn’t feel nimble or precise.

Volkswagen used the slogan “Drivers Wanted” for a number of years, but the Alltrack isn’t what someone who prioritizes driving actually wants.

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Family Affair: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Clan Undergoes a Refresh

It has been 41 years since Volkswagen’s iconic hatchback debuted in the United States. The Giugiaro-designed replacement for the ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle would go on to become one of the world’s most successful cars during that time. Now, the Golf finds itself in the middle of its seventh generation, and it’s time for a refresh.

During its lengthy existence, the Golf settled down and started a family. The Golf clan now contains six members — the standard Golf hatchback, GTI, Golf R, Golf Sportwagen, Golf Alltrack, and eGolf. While each model shares the same architecture, they all boast a unique identity. For the 2018 model year, the whole family is getting a new look.

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Any New Beetle Will Be Rear-wheel-drive, Says Volkswagen Chairman

We’ve been talking about the next Volkswagen Beetle — well, a few of us have — ever since the restyled two-door dropped the “New” moniker and flatted out its roofline a tad.

While the 2012 reshaping gave the model a new lease on life, it also seemed to be the plucky coupe’s end point, stylistically speaking. Where do you take a model from there, without erasing the retro charm that wooed buyers in the late 1990s? Maybe it was time for the model to die. Not surprisingly, reports arose last year claiming the Beetle had a date with the chopping block.

And yet, that rumor never really went anywhere. The model remains, its official future still in limbo. However, it seems Volkswagen brass is coming around to the idea that the Beetle deserves a permanent place in the company’s lineup, though not in the layout we’ve grown accustomed to.

Any new New Beetle will be rear-wheel drive, says VW chairman Herbert Diess.

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Ferdinand Pich Peels Away From the Family Business

After an extended battle with his family, Ferdinand Piëch has finally acquiesced to resign from the board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and sell off his remaining shares. At 80 years of age, leaving VW Group’s parent company was probably long overdue for Piëch, but you can’t help but wonder if the manner in which his retirement unfolded hasn’t left him bitter.

Still, with his 14.7 percent stake rumored to be worth over a billion euros, he’ll have the means to stage the most elaborate revenge any of us could possibly imagine — assuming that’s what he intends. One certainly could make the case that he’d have valid reasons for doing it.

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Rare Rides: A 1987 Volkswagen Doka, Hailing From Forbidden Manual Diesel Land

A familiar German visage greets the casual onlooker. “Ah yes, this is a Vanagon,” the American viewer thinks to himself. But once the eyes have scanned beyond the upright frontage and to the side of this white rectangle, a problem comes to light. Those eyes dart to and fro in disbelief. What should be there — the rest of the Vanagon — isn’t.

That’s because this is a Doka, and it’s the verboten manual diesel van-truck of your dreams.

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United States Approves Fix for 38,000 Volkswagen Group 3.0-liter Diesel SUVs

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had approved a fix for the remaining 38,000 Volkswagen Group vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating 3.0-liter diesel engines. That’s potentially very good news for Volkswagen, as it’s a decision that could save the company a truckload of cash.

In May, VW agreed to spend over $1.22 billion to repair or buy back nearly 80,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter engines as part of its “dieselgate” settlement. The manufacturer was also obliged to pay owners of fixed units between $8,500 and $17,000. However, there was an additional fine of $4.04 billion if the EPA and California Air Resources Board were unwilling to approve repairs on all 3.0-liter vehicles.

With a fix now in place for 38,000 Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, and Audi Q7 SUVs, the company may have just saved itself a over a billion dollars.

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2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune Review - A Bug, Not a Buggy

It’s clear what Volkswagen is trying to do with the Dune trim level of its Beetle two-door.

The company claims the Dune is inspired by classic Beetles that were modified into “dune buggies.” Which is fine, but all it really is is a current Beetle with a raised suspension, black exterior cladding, rear spoiler, bumpers unique to its trim, unique air intakes, 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, special interior stitching, and cloth/leatherette seats.

Other than that, little sets it apart from its Beetle brethren. It’s powered by the same 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in most Beetles (the R-Line has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder) and mates to a six-speed automatic transmission.

A small, relatively lightweight (it’s still a tick over 3,000 pounds) compact coupe like the Beetle should be fun to drive, even if it’s raised, like the Dune is. But “should be” and “is” are two different things.

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BMW Raided in German Cartel Investigation, Daimler Seeks Immunity

Back in July, German authorities became concerned that the country’s manufacturers had been operating one of the largest automotive cartels in history. With many auto executives still under the microscope for diesel emission manipulation, combined with inter-familial strife between the Piech and Porsche clans, Germany’s auto industry was starting to resemble a PG version of the film Goodfellas — with a dash of Dallas, for flavor.

Despite some rather serious accusations, nothing really came of the cartel investigation. We were beginning to wonder if it was much ado about nothing. But Germany’s antitrust officials hadn’t forgotten — they were simply biding their time during preliminary investigations into corporate collusion and price-fixing. Earlier this week, they made their big move and raided BMW’s headquarters.

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Volkswagen of America Product Plans for Jetta, Passat, SUVs Are Becoming Increasingly Transparent

Volkswagen’s 2019 Jetta will be revealed this winter at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. From the get-go, the Jetta will be available with a manual transmission, reports VWVortex. The Jetta GLI that follows one year later will almost certainly be marketed with the manual transmission Volkswagen killed off with the 2018 model year, Motor Authority says.

These and other details are becoming increasingly clear as Volkswagen’s North American CEO Hinrich Woebcken begins to release a great many details about Volkswagen’s next few years of product launches.

This is what we know so far.

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  • Terelaad The entire plant is just a toy for the rich.
  • Seanx37 If it made economic sense, it would have happened decades ago. No one would insure such places. And few are going to take $60-150k electric cars off road unless they are very wealthy
  • MaintenanceCosts Seems pretty obvious that they're leaving room for a SRT with the 2.0T and the electric motor. The R/T will probably be slower than the GT given the extra weight, but without the 9-speed it will be a much nicer drive.
  • Art Vandelay Lawyers would Eff it up. That and the NIMBYS. I agree with you, but it ain't gonna happen
  • EBFlex They are getting rid of the Charger and Challenger for a modern day Neon?just end it Dodge, you had a great run