By on October 13, 2021

Like the rest of the world, the automotive industry is currently living in two distinct realities. Labor unions and part suppliers have been sounding the alarm that electric vehicles will require far fewer hands to manufacture and will ultimately lead to their demise. But battery firms, establishment politicians, and most automakers have claimed that transitioning to EVs is entirely necessary and will result in there being a surge of high-paying jobs to replace those lost.

Then there are claims you can’t quite wrap your head around, like the one Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess reportedly made to the supervisory board in September. The Diess Man asserted that VW would lose 30,000 jobs if it transitioned too slowly to electrics, framing the situation around Tesla arriving in Germany and fresh competition from Chinese manufacturers. While it’s certainly possible that VW could take a hit as its rivals move on Europe, the premise that it’s going to cost the business jobs is sort of bewildering when just about every analyst agrees that electrification will result in a leaner workforce across the board.  (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2021

It often feels like the automotive industry has hit a creative wall where every concept vehicle has to be another electric vehicle offering next-generation connectivity and some self-driving claims that will later be tamped down. We’ve gotten used to being disappointed but there has been one brand that’s been furnishing concept vehicles that are at least interesting.

In 2018, Audi debuted the PB18 E-Tron Concept (AI:RACE) in an attempt to highlight what’s possible with a pure EV using the skateboard platform. Without a driveshaft hogging interior space, the automaker felt it could build a supercar with an interchangeable driving position that allowed the pilot to transition from a central F1-style cockpit to something that’s more suited to the daily commute. The company has since decided to build on that idea with the Skysphere Concept, which alters the roadster’s exterior based on whether it’s you or the car that’s doing the driving.  (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2021

Audi is discontinuing the A1, citing Europe’s regulatory landscape as the main cause. Eager to limit the amount of CO2 coming out of tailpipes, the European Union has placed strict limits on petroleum-powered passenger vehicles. For Audi, the price of manufacturing a subcompact automobile-dependent upon internal combustion is getting too high. Installing a smaller motor would negatively impact drivability while slotting in a hybrid powertrain means more R&D costs and jacking up the MSRP to a point where consumers might lose interest.

There’s just not much incentive to build small, efficient vehicles when the profit margins have been made razor thin and people aren’t buying them in great numbers. And this is a lesson that’s being learned by all automakers, not just those associated to Volkswagen Group.  (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2021

Volkswagen Group has been prattling on about electrification for years and ultimately decided that Audi would be the tip of its progressive spear. The brand has cachet as both a luxury and performance division, while simultaneously possessing VW’s magical ability to produce vehicles that don’t become an eyesore after you’ve had them in the garage for a decade.

While transitioning toward EVs runs the risk of spoiling that, Audi is clearly the VW property best positioned to come after would-be Tesla customers and is not hesitant to issue reminders that it’s serious about being a global leader when it comes to battery-driven vehicles. On Tuesday, the Ingolstadt-based company announced plans to exclusively launch electrically driven automobiles from 2026 onward — adding that it doesn’t even plan on selling internal-combustion vehicles by 2033.

But these rules won’t apply to the Chinese market, which will be flush with internal-combustion vehicles produced within its borders years after the rest of the world has apparently lost the option to purchase them.  (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2021

Lamborghini has changed hands more than a few times since it was founded as a way to show up Ferrari in 1963. It’s currently owned by Volkswagen Group, which recently made it clear that it has no intention of selling the brand.

The Anglo-Swiss Quantum Group reportedly made an offer to buy the raging bull from VW for an appetizing €7.5 billion ($9.16 billion USD), including a five-year deal where it would continue sourcing parts from Audi — as there’s basically no way around it without nuking the present lineup. The proposal was made earlier in the month with Volkswagen Group giving the newly established holding company a prompt no.  (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2021

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess was bashing hydrogen-powered vehicles on Twitter this week in an attempt to convince those vying for Germany’s chancellorship not to embrace the technology. With Angela Merkel stating that she’ll not seek a fifth term, the country is open for new leadership and VW wouldn’t want them to take a liking to hydrogen power when it has placed all of its eggs into the electric vehicle basket.

“The hydrogen car has been proven NOT to be the climate solution,” Diess wrote on Twitter in German. “In transportation, electrification has prevailed. Sham debates are a waste of time. Please listen to the science!” (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2021

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann announced on Tuesday that the Italo-German supercar brand will officially be transitioning to electric vehicles, with the last traditional internal combustion model coming before 2024.

But these kinds of proclamations rarely adhere to observable reality, otherwise, we’d all be riding around in flying cars that can navigate autonomously. What Lamborghini is really promising is an intent to abandon models that rely exclusively on combustible fuels while it builds a bunch of them in the interim. It’s kind of like saying you’re going on a diet next month and gorging yourself on chocolate cake as you brag to your friends about how healthy you’re about to become.  (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2021

Volkswagen has announced pricing for the 2022 Taos subcompact crossover, dialing things in at $24,190 for the base, front-wheel-drive version. The sum syncs up perfectly with the Golf hatchback the vehicle will effectively be replacing on the North American market (GTI excluded) and leaves us with some nagging questions about VW’s overall plan. Volkswagen is effectively killing off the Golf so Taos can have an uninterrupted moment under the spotlight, but it’s making the brand lineup look conspicuously redundant.

With Taos models priced so close to the Tiguan, there’s going to be loads of overlap on everything that isn’t the base model S trim. The larger crossover starts at $26,440 (including destination) and automatically comes with more interior volume and a beefier powertrain, though neither vehicle could be considered quick.
(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2021

Unveiled at the Shanghai auto show, Volkswagen’s ID.6 is reportedly ready for the Chinese market as the manufacture strives to present itself as an EV firm. Originally known as the spacious ID Roomzz concept, the three-row crossover will be the VW’s largest product on the Asian market and come in two distinct flavors — each the offspring of separate joint ventures required by the Chinese government.

The ID.6 Crozz (shown in orange) will be produced at the FAW-Volkswagen facility in Foshan while SAIC Volkswagen will be responsible for manufacturing the ID.6 X (purple) at its plant in Anting, near Shanghai. Regardless of which model customers go with Volkswagen is promising a vehicle “tailored specifically to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers in terms of space, functionality, design and, in particular, user experience.” While we may eventually see a version of the ID.6 coming to North America, China is Volkswagen’s largest individual market and ranks higher in the manufacturer’s list of priorities.  (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2021

One of Volkswagen’s joint ventures in China has reportedly offered to purchase regulatory credits from Tesla in order to adhere to the regional environmental ascendancy. While VW may be doing everything in its power to swap over to an electric-vehicle manufacturer, it’s apparently falling short of government dictums.

FAW-Volkswagen — which shipped a little over 2 million automobiles in Asia last year — happened to be one of the biggest polluters of 2020 according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. As it turns out, selling internal combustion vehicles consumers actually want to purchase in large quantities has some kind of environmental cost. Fortunately, it’s one regulators think can be solved by buying green credits from rivals who do all of their polluting during the initial assembly process and launder any future emissions through the national energy grid.  (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2021

VW Microbus I.D. Buzz Concept

Remember the all-electric Microbus successor Volkswagen was chirping about a few years ago? If you don’t, you can be forgiven. Despite the model receiving loads of press after the automaker acknowledged it would indeed be coming to North America, reports on its progress started becoming incredibly rare by 2019. With #VanLife trending inside the United States, VW would be an absolute fool not to start offering something trendy to fit the bill and the horribly named I.D. Buzz seems an ideal candidate. However, it feels as though the company has forgotten our market while it preps the model for Europe.

There’s reportedly no reason to worry. Volkswagen has confirmed that the model will be showing up on our shores in 2023 after it’s made a splash across the pond. But there will be a few stipulations.  (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2021

While Europe often appears as a safe haven for punchy subcompacts, the reality is that the continent’s biggest sellers happen to be reasonably sized automobiles equipped with a tepid engine option. The Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla, and Škoda Octavia (especially if you happen to travel through any former satellite states of the Soviet Union) are absolutely everywhere. Europe also has a strong taste for many of the compact crossovers that are popular here in North America, giving subcompacts an increasingly small share of the overall market. And it’s projected to get smaller (globally) under the existing European regulations.

Pint-sized economy vehicles aren’t exactly profit leaders for automakers and their margins are only going to become slimmer. The EU is now reaching a point where building them won’t make sense, as tailpipe regulations will eventually force some amount of electrification. This will jack up their price to a point where the kind of people that might have been considering them will probably shop used. But don’t take our word for it; Audi CEO Markus Duesmann recently said this is probably what will kill the A1.  (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2020

Do you ever get the feeling that everything even remotely fun and interesting is being thrown on the pyre of progress so we can collectively live safer, duller lives? Case in point, Volkswagen is dismantling its racing operations so the 169 people it employed can be reincorporated. Responsible for the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R racer that showcased some of the performance advantages of EVs to attentive audiences around the globe, the team will now be responsible for building ID models intended for mass consumption.

While we’re sure spreading their engineering prowess around will benefit VW’s core brand, it’s unfortunate that it came at the expense of the brand’s motorsport activities — modest as they might have been in 2020.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2020

As the U.S. election devolves into deciding which political party committed the most fraud, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said a victory by Democrat Joe Biden would be the ideal outcome for any German automakers seeking to mass-produce electric cars. Hardly surprising, considering the Biden-Harris campaign website says it would regulate the dickens out of fossil fuels, moving aggressively toward alternative energy sources and electrification while pressing other nations to do the same.

“A Democratic program probably would be more aligned with our worldwide strategy, which is really to fight climate change, to become electric,” the CEO told Bloomberg on Thursday.

(Read More…)

By on October 30, 2020

With so many automotive issues being “solved” with a software update and a wink of late, its nice to see a recall that harks back to the days where someone forgot to tighten a few bolts or had a delivery truck pull up to the factory with sub-optimal fasteners. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Volkswagen has found itself in just such a pickle and will need to recall 218,192 Jetta sedans from the 2016-2018 model years.

The problem? Improperly torqued fuel rail bolts. The solution? Obvious.

(Read More…)

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