Ferdinand Pich, Saviour of Volkswagen and Bringer of High-end Brands, Dies at 82

The patriarch of the Volkswagen Group family, Ferdinand Karl Piëch, died in a Bavarian hospital on Sunday at the age of 82, Bloomberg reports. German newspaper Bild broke the story.

As CEO of Volkswagen Group from 1993 to 2002, Piëch, grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, led the VW brand back from the brink of bankruptcy and added a host of glitzy brands to the corporate fold.

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Adding Audi: German Automakers Update Autonomous Alliance

With BMW and Daimler already getting cosy via their autonomous vehicle partnership, the duo plans on bringing self-driving ( SAE Level 4) tech to the masses by 2024. While other automakers have promised more advanced autonomy on a shorter timeline, the reality of the situation is that true self-driving capabilities are proving difficult and expensive to produce. By partnering up, the Germans believe they can continue their quest while sharing the financial burden of development.

The more the merrier, apparently. According to Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Audi will be the next guest to arrive at the party. Daimler and BMW’s previous release stipulated that the pair would focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking — with the goal of seeing those technologies adapted for passenger vehicles by 2024.

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Audi A3 Cabriolet Reportedly at Death's Door

We’ve got some shocking news for convertible fans. The Audi A3 Cabriolet is still on sale in North America.

Did you forget that it existed? We sure did. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem we’ll have going into 2020, as this is to be the model’s last year. Of course, this changes next to nothing as we haven’t seen one in the wild some time. In fact, it’s difficult to recall the last occasion any automotive outlet even bothered reviewing one.

As the spiritual successor to VW’s now-defunct cabriolets, the open-air A3 occupies an interesting place in the market. It’s a little pricey for most parents looking to treat their college-aged daughters, with a starting MSRP of $39,000, and lacks the oomph and prestige of Audi’s other drop-top offerings.

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Audi Recalls 144,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Airbag Sensors

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that Volkswagen Group of America is issuing a recall on 144,092 Audi vehicles in the United States so their passenger-side airbag sensors can be fixed. Oxidation on the connecting cable of the system is causing software failures, leading to an inability to detect occupants and disabling the airbag from functioning.

Issued on July 24th, the recall covers Audi S5 and A5 vehicles along with some A4s — all manufactured between 2016 and 2018. Automotive News reported there would be an additional 26,040 vehicles recalled in Canada after speaking with an Audi representative.

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Audi Q7 Updated, Infotainment Screen Moves to Dash - Yes, It's a Big Deal [UPDATED]

A large portion of the automotive industry tends to follow Audi’s lead on interior design. That has resulted in the proliferation of the worst phenomenon in modern automotive history — the floating tablet-style infotainment screen.

With the refresh of the Audi Q7, the biggest scourge on automotive design since spinner wheels may finally be coming to an end.

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VW Says Battery Supply Problems Have Been Solved… for a While

Following rumors that Audi’s E-Tron would have to be delayed due to issues with battery supplier LG Chem and some unforeseen “software development” problems, Volkswagen Group’s plan to build 330,000 electric vehicles per year in Zwickau, Germany, by 2021 appeared to possess a plot hole the size of the Grand Canyon.

The EV problem is not unique to Volkswagen. Other manufacturers hoping to build electric cars have also been struggling with factory retooling, high development costs, and in-demand battery suppliers that are more than willing to change their prices. However VW claims to have solved some of these issues, at least for a while, citing new investments in China and multiple partnerships with battery concerns.

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Lasts, and Firsts: Audi TT Quantum Grey Edition Is All About Promoting Online Sales

With Audi’s TT slated to be replaced, eventually, by an all-electric model that doesn’t skimp on the performance thrills, the vehicle needs a send-off special edition. Starting June 5th, such a model will be available. However, the vehicle appears to be more of a way for Audi to test an online-only shopping model than a celebration of the outgoing TT.

Limited to 99 examples, the Audi TT Quantum Gray Edition will be sold exclusively in German using the company’s “initial pilot project for online direct sales.”

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You Can't Blame Volkswagen for Trying

On Tuesday, Volkswagen announced its plan to assemble 600,000 electric vehicles utilizing the brand’s MEB platform at two plants in China. The facilities, said to be located in the cities of Anting and Foshan, will help bolster EV volume after the completion of VW’s Zwickau plant in Germany — which the company previously claimed would manufacture 330,000 cars annually.

While that facility is nearing completion and supposed to be up and running before 2020, there’s no firm timeline in place for China. But that’s the least of the issues Volkswagen must solve in order to make this dream a reality.

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VW Says ID.3 Pre-orders Exceeding Expectations

Volkswagen seems to be feeling pretty good about itself today. After announcing pre-orders for the ID.3 hatchback, the first vehicle from VW’s new electric sub-brand, the company reported it was already having issues coping with demand. Within 24 hours, the automaker said it had received more than 10,000 reservations throughout Europe, creating some extra work for its IT department.

“Sometimes, the IT systems are unable to handle the large number of users accessing the system at the same time,” VW said in a release. “This leads to long waiting times and interruptions in the registration process in some markets. Volkswagen is working hard to eliminate the hitches. Nevertheless, more than 10,000 registrations were received throughout Europe during the first 24 hours.”

While it sounds phenomenal, as the company repeatedly noted ID.3 demand is already exceeding expectations, it’s nowhere near Tesla territory. But the American firm is somewhat of an outlier with an almost miraculous ability to get the public excited about new product and a longer history of EV manufacturing. By comparison, VW is still testing the waters — even though it has already agreed to preform a cannonball by 2025 and sell 1 million connected, zero-emission vehicles every year.

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Truth, or Fake News? VW Claims ID.3 EV Will Be As Historically Important As Beetle, Golf

Months before its planned debut at Germany’s International Motor Show, Volkswagen has announced the first model of its ID electric sub-brand — the ID.3 — and wants the world to know it’s already accepting pre-orders. While the U.S. is unlikely to see the model for some time, if ever, the vehicle provides a glimpse into VW’s much-touted electrification strategy.

Volkswagen’s corporate release claims the ID.3’s MSRP starts below 30,000 euros (about $33,500 USD), with a “1st special edition” beginning at 40,000 euros (roughly $44,750 USD). Pretty steep for a people’s car.

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Audi Relaunches Hydrogen Program; Industry's Battery Woes Intensify

While electric vehicles have improved by every metric, sourcing the raw materials necessary for their production hasn’t gotten any easier. In fact, with more mobile devices and EVs on the market than ever before, automotive batteries are becoming harder to procure with any reliability. Volkswagen Group, which has been on a tear to promote electrification following its diesel emissions crisis, knows this better than anyone.

Audi’s all-electric E-Tron SUV experienced several delays after VW Group encountered trouble in sourcing batteries at a reasonable price. As the company continues endorsing EVs as an important part of its future, its rhetoric is beginning to soften — with the company now taking another look at hydrogen fuel cell technology.

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Audi's New Mobility Egg

Audi’s pitching more than just new models at Auto Shanghai this month; it’s promoting a new way to drive. The AI:ME Concept is a summonable, self-driving urban electric, aimed at reshaping the company’s business model — or at least examining that possibility. While Audi refers to the vehicle as a highly specialized premium automobile that can be ordered as needed and offers “extensive possibilities for individualization as part of an on-demand offer,” the company also noted the AI:ME “need not pass into permanent personal ownership.”

The automaker was careful not to use the phrase, but these vehicles would operate under a loosely defined subscription or rental model where customers book a car via their smartphone or computer, stipulating how they need it to be configured for their journey. From there, the vehicle makes its way to the designated pickup point and applies the final adjustments based on previously established seating, climate, lighting, entertainment, and control preferences.

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VW Group Admits Developing Affordable EVs Will Be Difficult

Even with affordable electric vehicles cropping up on the global market, their budgetary nature is relative. While the industry promises that EVs will offer the world an affordable, mechanically simple and green alternative to traditional internal combustion models, they’ve yet to deliver. That’s not to suggest e-cars are failures, just that the technologies involved are still maturing.

Battery prices will continue to decline and eventually governments won’t always need to incentivize EV purchases through tax credits. But we’ve yet to reach the point where it makes just as much financial sense to buy a small EV as it would a gasoline-powered econobox. That could soon change.

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EU Faults BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen With Emissions Collusion

It might have taken two years of investigative raids and Daimler acting as a whistleblower, but Germany’s Big Three automakers finally stand accused by the European Union of collusion. On Friday, the European Commission claimed that Volkswagen Group, BMW and Daimler broke antitrust rules by acting together to delay the introduction of two emission cleaning systems between 2006 and 2014.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that BMW, Daimler and VW participated in a collusive scheme, breaching the EU’s competition rules by limiting the development and proliferation of new emission cleaning technology for diesel and gasoline-fueled passenger cars sold in the “European Economic Area.” This collusion occurred in the framework of the car manufacturers’ so-called “circle of five” technical meetings — which includes VW Group’s Porsche and Audi.

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Volkswagen Tops Its Name Game With I.D. Roomzz Concept

While Seat works on bringing Volkswagen Group’s most-affordable EVs to market, the company’s namesake has devised a concept vehicle aimed the swelling electrified crossover segment. Adhering to the I.D. sub-brand’s absolutely terrible naming scheme, the “Roomzz” is another semi-autonomous concept aimed at generating excitement at automotive trade shows — specifically, Auto Shanghai.

However, it would be wrong to discount it entirely. While Volkswagen’s I.D. sub-brand hasn’t started selling cars, the scope of its hypothetical lineup rivals some established automotive brands. Now it’s adding a sizable e-crossover to the mix, which is something every automaker seems to want these days.

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  • Jwee You can avoid American cities, and both you and the Americans would be happier.
  • Bryan I used Costco a while back, and didn't care for it - you still wind up going to the dealership.The last time I bought a new car I used an actual car broker and I'll use one again the next time. Whatever they charged me was the best money I spent that year.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Maybe those union dues will help soften the landing. Employment there used to be 4000 people, and the plant has been at risk for 15 years. Stellantis did recently say that it would be trimming dead wood so it could rebuild the company. The Cherokee is finished, but I bet the plant reopens with a smaller workforce once Stellantis figures out what to do with it.