Nobody Panic: Porsche Taycan Fire Confirmed by Automaker, Cause Unknown

While car fires may not be commonplace, they still happen. Your author saw a Buick Century burning itself into nothing along the West Side Highway not more than three months ago. Local media referenced it as the probable cause for midday delays, but it would have earned its own story had it been a rarer model.

Exotics and electrics garner headlines when they do their best impression of kindling; regular cars only get attention when they’re catching fire en masse. In addition to the warm feeling one gets when learning a car they can’t afford has destroyed itself, there are loads of people who are curious about the dependability of burgeoning technologies. Hypercars are often on the bleeding edge of available tech and are assembled in low volumes. As a result, eyebrows are raised anytime one goes up in smoke for no apparent reason.

Electrics vehicles are in a similar situation. Reportedly poised to take over the world someday, they’ve yet to saturate the market and still stand out wherever they’re parked. Battery fires, which offer the departments tasked with fighting them new challenges, have also become a point of interest after a batch of EVs in Asia turned up the heat.

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Volkswagen Offers $900 Million to German Diesel Owners, Says Lawyers Are Greedy

Volkswagen has had to spend mountains of money since being caught using illegal software to hide excessive diesel pollution during regulatory testing five years ago. As if millions of vehicle buybacks and repairs weren’t costly enough, VW also had to contend with billions of dollars in regulatory fines and countless consumer lawsuits — and the hits keep on coming.

While the United States enacted swift justice upon VW, Europe has been slower to take action. That, in addition to EU laws making it much more difficult for class-action suits to get off the ground, meant Europeans received nothing as VW’s American customers saw checks cut to the tune of $20,000 apiece. Germany has only allowed class-action lawsuits since 2018, providing an opportunity for Volkswagen to continue playing legal hardball. But it’s been backpedaling all across Europe.

Citing a breakdown in negotiations with German consumer association VZBV, which was attempting to reach a settlement deal for German customers attached to its class-action suit, the automaker said Friday it is willing to offer €830 million (about $899 million).

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German Automakers Look to South America for Keystone Lithium Supply

With Europe increasingly fixated on regulating vehicular emissions, German automakers are throwing themselves into electrification like ’90s moms did with Beanie Babies. As with those moms, the investment has yet to pay off. Still, that hasn’t encouraged anyone to change course. Every player understood from the outset that transitioning to EVs was bound to be costly and, with increasingly stringent regulations proposed every month, there aren’t many alternatives.

Volkswagen placed its very existence on electrification after Dieselgate, quickly running into problems with battery suppliers. And while VW claims it’s solved the issue for the next few years, it isn’t out of the woods yet. VW and Daimler have reportedly commissioned a study into sustainable lithium mining in Chile, but it’s already receiving pushback from environmental groups concerned about the delicate nature of the region’s Atacama salt flat — where the metal is found in abundance.

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Report: Audi Wants to Ditch Interior Buttons, Free up More Screen Space

With Cadillac torpedoing any hope we had that the touchscreen trend might come to swift end, we started digging around to see the latest and greatest interior screen experiences automakers are hoping to push onto the market. The worst offenders cropped up in concept vehicles, though most automakers aspire to equip future models with more screen space than you’ll know what do with — see China’s Byton for an example.

As for less speculative specimens, Audi had us covered. The brand’s MMI Touch Response infotainment system sacrifices physical controls for three rather large interactive displays. Limited to higher-end models (A6, A7, A8, and Q8), MMI groups a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 10.3-inch central console, and a smaller 8.6-inch display for controlling the HVAC system. Apparently, that’s the interior Audi wants to run with for all future vehicles while it works up something new.

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Good Omen: Porsche Is Plenty Pleased With Taycan Reservations

Porsche has taken payments from 30,000 European customers eager to be among the first to drive the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sedan. The number of reservations exceeded the automaker’s expectations, according to CEO Oliver Blume.

It also gives some amount of hope that electric vehicles still have a place in the premium market space. EV sales remain weak and high-end models like Jaguar’s E-Pace and Audi’s e-tron have struggled, though both have suffered supply-related struggles since entering production.

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Volkswagen Charged With Violating Vehicle Emission Rules in Canada

Volkswagen Group can’t seem to escape the rippling effects of its 2015 emissions cheating scandal. It wasn’t long ago that the automaker was subjected to surprise raids from German prosecutors, still investigating its regulatory malfeasance. On Monday, Canada threw its hat into the ring — charging the company with importing roughly 128,000 vehicles into the country in direct violation of its environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced VW is facing 60 counts of breaching the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by selling automobiles that fell outside the prescribed emission standards. Broken down, that includes 58 counts of contravening the law between 2008 and 2015 with two counts of providing misleading information.

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Volkswagen Boosts Tech Spending to $66 Billion Over Five Years

Volkswagen Group has decided to increase spending on the development of electric and digital technologies over the next five years to 60 billion euros ($66 billion USD). The automaker estimated the revised strategy amounts to slightly more than 40 percent of its investments in property, plant and equipment, and all research and development costs during the planning period.

Of that sum, 33 billion euros are expected to go directly toward the development of new electric vehicles. The increase allocates roughly €12 billion annually for hybridization, electric mobility and digitalization. The old plan set aside 8.8 billion euros per year.

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Debatably Affordable Porsche Taycan 4S Launches Next Spring

While Porsche’s Taycan has been praised as unquestionably worthy of the Porsche name, it’s also subject to the brand’s (ahem) aggressive pricing structure. Gone are the days when you can purchase a basement-level Porsche 944 for the modern equivalent of $20,000. The cheapest model currently occupying the automaker’s portfolio is the 718, which sets you back 57 grand before you’ve added a single option.

When the Taycan debuted as Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle a number of weeks back, the model’s $150,900 (before destination) MSRP was expected. Porsche rolled out the higher-end “Turbo” trims first, with promises of more budget-minded models to follow. That car arrived today, and it costs $105,150.

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Volkswagen Unveils Updated R Logo

Volkswagen has revealed an updated R logo that it says will still symbolize performance while also representing the brand’s “fresh start” — its refocus on electric vehicles, rather than the diesel ones that got it into trouble back in 2015.

VW similarly rejiggered is brand’s main logo, eliminating its three-dimensional aspects for a streamlined version highly reminiscent of the symbol used through the 1970s, debuting the new (old?) design at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. But the R’s transformation has resulted in something entirely novel, abandoning the leftmost vertical line in favor of an abstracted representation of the letter.

However, tweaking the visuals of a single character doesn’t have much meaning in itself. All we really care about is whether or not the R badge will still denote the maximum performance available from various VW models.

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Wagon Wonderland: Audi A6 Allroad Practically Confirmed for America

With the Audi RS 6 Avant confirmed for America and the manufacturer teasing wagons via social media throughout the summer, we figured Germany would soon send another wagen our way. And while nothing has been confirmed through official channels, Audi executives are already saying it’s to be the A6 Allroad.

Rumors stated that the model would make its way to the United States ever since the updated A6 premiered at the New York Auto Show in the spring. Audi managed to encourage these rumors without issuing any confirmation — at least until Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport, chimed in earlier this week.

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Audi Still Under Threat of New Dieselgate Fines

Dieselgate never dies. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) has informed Audi that it will be subjected to additional fines if it fails to meet upcoming deadlines for retrofitting manipulated diesel models with updated software.

Reports from Bild am Sonntag, later confirmed by Reuters, claim the regulatory authority issued three letters to the automaker stipulating that it had until September 26th to replace the software in emissions-cheating V6 and V8 TDI engines (originally certified as EU6 compliant) lest it be fined 25,000 euros (about $27,500) per vehicle. While fines are only applicable to cars still carrying illicit software, the transport ministry estimated some 127,000 Audi vehicles qualified in Europe last year. There were originally around 850,000.

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Audi Will Continue Pruning Its Product Portfolio

You might not have noticed but Audi has been quietly reducing the complexity of its lineup by eliminating certain content combinations, often in select markets. Here, the biggest change was the elimination of the manual gearbox for 2019. But Audi said it needed to be done due to there being an abysmally low take rate for besticked vehicles in North America.

Apparently, the automaker is just getting warmed up on tamping down the configurations. In an recent chat with Autocar, Audi CEO Bram Schot said there was plenty more work to be done. Having already reduced the number of model variants in certain regions by 27 percent, compared to last year’s options, the CEO said the manufacturer still wasn’t where it wanted to be.

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Volkswagen Crozz Crossover Now Named ID.4, Prototype Teased in Frankfurt

Naming a car is difficult. All the best predatory animals have been taken and getting creative often results in the certain parts of the world thinking you’ve intentionally named your car something hilarious. Chevrolet’s Nova is the classic example, but modern automobiles still run into trouble. Hyundai’s Kona falls on Portuguese ears as the most vulgar synonym for vagina (an oddly common theme among car monikers) and Audi’s e-Tron translates roughly into French as “turd.” It’s no wonder so many automakers simply forgo issuing real names, opting instead for an alphanumeric jumble.

When Volkswagen began previewing concept versions of its electrified ID lineup, models used a bizarre naming strategy. Maybe titles like Roomzz, Buzz, Crozz, and Vizzion sound better in German, but they didn’t play well here. VW’s solution to the problem has been to simply assign their production counterparts with a number — and it’s looking like that will be continue to be the case.

While the brand was showcasing the new ID.3 hatchback at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, it also teased a follow-up model that will actually make its way stateside. Originally dubbed the Crozz, the car is now named simply “ID.4.”

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Porsche Expands Subscription Service In North America

Porsche’s app-based subscription service is creeping into to four new cities in the United States and Canada. While technically still a pilot program designed to probe the market’s willingness, the expansion would indicate it’s one the automaker has some level of faith in.

We, however, are not among the true believers. Despite the added convenience of incorporating maintenance and insurance into one’s regular car payment, subscription services have not proven themselves to be an affordable way to own a car. In fact, they’re typically the most expensive way to procure a ride. But that doesn’t guarantee they won’t eventually catch on or make nameplates like Porsche oodles of cash, especially as the brand intends on making the service more costly.

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Audi Teases AI:Trail Quattro Concept Before Frankfurt Motor Show

Audi is teasing a new model slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show — an off-road specialist called the AI:TRAIL Quattro. With massive wheels and a nonexistent approach/departure angle, the conceptual crossover certainly seems ready to scurry up a mountain. But the overall design is more hyper-modern RC car than traditional baja beast.

It’s not coming entirely out of left field. Audi has shown several electrified concepts using a similarly futuristic design language, among them the AICON luxury sedan, PB18 supercar, and AI:ME city vehicle. Like the AI:TRAIL, each is designed to tackle a very specific portion of the market. All will be on hand in Frankfurt to showcase Audi’s vision of what a car could be.

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  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
  • ToolGuy "The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon, and Harrow have likewise announced plans to take legal action to force a possible judicial review..."But: "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire... Hurricanes hardly happen."