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Archive for the ‘Volkswagen’ Category

Debugging Volkswagen: SUVs Supplant Sedans, Hatches

But no more tongue-twisting model names.

by on Jan.17, 2018

One of the first jobs for VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken was revealing the new Atlas.

Things didn’t look very good when Hinrich Woebcken landed in the U.S. two years ago as the new CEO and President of the Volkswagen Group of America. The automaker had just acknowledged cheating on diesel emissions tests and was not only facing the prospect of paying billions of dollars in fines and settlements but a collapse in its U.S. sales as it was forced to pull off the market all of its popular diesel models.

“The only reason dealers didn’t kill me was that I was the new guy,” the German-born executive said, only half joking, during a presentation at the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday afternoon.

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These days, dealers are a lot more sanguine about Woebcken, and VW in general, though the VWoA chief cautioned that the automaker has a long way to go before he can claim success rebuilding its U.S. operations. (more…)

China Posts Meager Auto Sales Gain in 2017

Sport-ute led the way to small 1.4% increase last year.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Auto sales in China increased marginally for 2017, but they were led by sport-utilites.

China’s auto sales stalled in December and ended 2017 up a meager 1.4% compared with a year ago results as the popularity of SUVs helped to offset falling demand for sedans, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

With global car makers such as General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Nissan all reporting solid, but not spectacular, gains during 2017, smaller local brands common to almost every province and international brands such Ford and Hyundai, appeared to suffer the most for the slowdown, which was due in part to the end of special tax credits.

Global Auto News!

The growth rate was barely one-tenth the previous year’s 15% rate, which was boosted by a temporary tax cut. (more…)

Volkswagen Offering Performance Passat GT

New Red Line-style sedan puts out 280 horsepower.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Volkswagen introduced the Passat GT performance sedan in Detroit.

Volkswagen’s improving results in the U.S. have been bolstered by its expanded sport-utility line-up, but the maker is also providing its loyal Passat owners something new for 2018: the Passat GT.

The new performance model, which was designed at the company’s North American design and engineering center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, bows at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Passat GT illustrates how the North American Region can shape Volkswagen vehicles specifically for the U.S. market,” said Dr. Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer, North American Region, Volkswagen. “Combining a local perspective with our global engineering expertise allows us to create vehicles that meet the needs and desires of customers here.” (more…)

VW Topples Toyota, Likely Led Global Sales Chart for 2017

But Volkswagen’s top U.S. sales exec resigns over weak N.A. performance.

by on Jan.08, 2018

Volkswagen captured the top global sales slot by replacing its lost diesel sales with new SUVs.

Volkswagen appears to have narrowly retained its sales crown for 2017, fending off assaults by both Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, based on preliminary sales numbers.

The German automaker sold 10.7 million vehicles worldwide, according to in-house estimates, ahead of Toyota’s 10.35 million. If the VW numbers hold up when a final tally is reported it would mark the second year in a row that it nudged past its Japanese rival. But the Renault-Nissan Alliance also closed the gap last year and could be poised to challenge both VW and Toyota in 2018.

Global Auto News!

Despite VW’s strong global performance, a senior U.S. sales executive has tendered his resignation due to weak demand in that critical market last month. (more…)

Buh-Bye Camry; Pickups, SUVs Now Own Top Sales Spots

Toyota's mainstay sedan didn't even crack the Top 5.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Despite giving the Camry a stylish makeover the sedan continued to lose momentum last year.

If anyone still questions the way light trucks have come to dominate the U.S. automotive market you only need look at the 2017 sales charts to see how passenger cars are on virtual life support these days.

Perhaps the most significant development finds that the Toyota RAV4 last year outsold the Camry for the first time ever. And so did the Nissan Rogue.

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The overall numbers for 2017 weren’t good, the U.S. market posting its first decline since the end of the Great Recession. And demand likely would have dipped more than the modest 5% if it weren’t for the strong, late-year surge as motorists in Florida and Texas raced to replace vehicles destroyed during the summer’s devastating hurricanes.

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VW, Hyundai Team Up With Former Google Autonomous Chief

Aurora and partners aim to bring self-driving tech to market “quickly, safely and broadly.”

by on Jan.04, 2018

W and Hyundai are teaming with former Google autonomous vehicle guru Chris Urmson to develop self-driving technologies.

Volkswagen and Hyundai have formed a new partnership with Aurora, an autonomous vehicle start-up founded by former Google self-driving vehicle chief Chris Urmson, with a goal of getting the technology to market “quickly, safely and broadly.”

The announcement serves as something of a redemption for Urmson who left Google in 2016 without a formal plan. Ultimately, he decided he wanted to run his own show and formed Aurora Innovation in Pittsburgh, also home to Carnegie Mellon University, where Urmson was before joining Google, now Waymo.

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“Our priority at Aurora is to make self-driving cars a reality quickly, broadly and safely, and we know we will get there faster by partnering with innovative automakers like the Volkswagen Group,” said Urmson, a pioneer in self-driving technology who co-founded Aurora. “This partnership establishes a deep collaboration using Aurora’s self-driving technology, and together we will bring self-driving vehicles to market at scale.” (more…)

Toyota Poised to Slip to Third in Global Sales for 2017

Volkswagen and Nissan Renault Alliance expected to be first and second.

by on Jan.02, 2018

Toyota is expected to fall to third place in global sales for 2017 behind Volkswagen and Nissan-Renault.

Toyota Motor Corp is headed for a fall of sorts.

The Japanese auto giant is expected to slip to third in worldwide sales of new vehicles, according to an analysis by Japan Times. General Motors, long the world’s largest automaker, is expected to slip into fourth place when all the sales numbers are available later this month.

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Toyota surrendered its position as the as the world’s largest automaker in 2016 as Volkswagen AG, thanks to the German automaker’s strong sales in China and economic recovery in Europe, moved into first place. (more…)

Alcantara Gaining Ground on Inside of Autos

Luxury material making gains on leather in vehicle interiors.

by on Dec.19, 2017

Inside the new Panamera is covered in Alcantara, one of many high-end vehicle's using the material.

Alcantara, the Italian maker of material finding its way into more and more luxury vehicles, has tripled its sales since the recession and is adding more capacity at its home base in Italy, according to the company’s chairman and chief executive Andrea Boragno.

Boragno said Alcantara’s Italian manufacturing base is a vital part of its character and its broad appeal to a growing list of carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan and Volkswagen.

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“The growing appeal of Alcantara is one of the reasons why we have announced a five-year investment program totaling 300 Euros million in order to double the company’s overall production capacity,” Boragno said. (more…)

The 15 Hottest New Cars, Trucks and Crossovers for 2018

Great designs, hot performers, breakthrough safety, unexpected features define the best of the 2018 class.

by on Dec.13, 2017

The Stelvio is the first SUV ever from Alfa Romeo - though more are in the works.

The 2018 model-year is bringing with it an array of new cars, trucks and crossover — with an emphasis on SUVs that matches up with the broad shift in the U.S. market away from traditional sedans and coupes.

All told, buyers can choose from close to 100 different completely new and updated 2018 models, a daunting challenge to those who might not know where to start. So, TheDetroitBureau.com is weighing in with 15 of our favorite picks for the new model-year. These are vehicles that offer stand-out styling, impressive performance, unexpected levels of standard features and the latest in high-tech infotainment and safety gear.

The Best of the Best!

The list includes an assortment of domestic, European and Asian models. And after you read through you’ll understand why we think these 15 are the hottest new cars, trucks and crossovers for 2018.

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Toyota Expects Electrified Vehicles Will Make Up Half of Its Global Sales

Automaker planning partnership with Panasonic.

by on Dec.13, 2017

Toyota Pres. Akio Toyoda at the launch of the Lexus LC coupe - which is offered with a hybrid option.

Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda said Wednesday that he expects half of the company’s sales to come from electrified vehicles – including hybrids and plug-based models – by 2030.

Toyoda spoke during a news conference called to announce a partnership with Panasonic to develop new battery technology that would be used for future Toyota products. The emphasis on electrified vehicles underscores a major shift in strategy by Japan’s largest automaker which, until recently, focused on hybrids but steered clear of more advanced plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

Global Auto News!

“The auto industry is now facing a major change of the kind that comes once in a hundred years,” said the 61-year-old grandson of Toyota’s founder.

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