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Volkswagen Unveils Golf VII, GTI Concept in Paris

And BlueMotion Concept could be most fuel-efficient Golf ever.

by on Sep.27, 2012

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Concept should soon make the leap into production.

With a dozen different brands now in its fold, Volkswagen will be having a busy time during the upcoming Paris Motor Show – with such high-line products as the Porsche Panamera Shooting Brake and an updated Lamborghini Gallardo getting early previews at the German maker’s Wednesday night party.

But two decidedly more mainstream offerings drew plenty of attention from the assembled media, including the all-new, seventh-generation VW Golf and the Golf GTI Concept that will be seen by the public for the first time during the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

Electrifying News!

The German maker describes the GTI prototype as a “near-production concept,” a practice that it first used to get a final test of consumer sentiment with the previous-generation GTI back in 2008.

While specific details have yet to be released, the maker has hinted the new GTI will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI engine making 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.  Look for 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62.5 mph) time of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph.

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Mexican President Visits VW’s Puebla Plant

The Mexican addition is part of a larger and extremely ambitious $2 billion expansion in North American markets.

by on Jul.23, 2009

Mexican President Felipe Calderón at Puebla

The announcement in Puebla is part of a larger North American strategy confirmed about a year ago when VW revealed an "ambitious" plan of selling 800,000 Volkswagens annually by 2018.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón stopped by the Puebla plant of Volkswagen de México this week as construction proceeded to expand the plant’s capacity by 300 units to 2,100 vehicles a day.

The expansion of the plant will cost $410 million and, along with almost $600 million in supplier tooling, is part of preparations underway for a new model for the Mexican market.

Calderón was met at the Puebla plant by Mario Marin, Governor of Puebla State, and Otto Lindner, CEO of Volkswagen de México.

“Our strategic objectives for Volkswagen de México are clear: we are aiming for further growth in Mexico and to extend our market leadership. Our new models are the basis for this growth. In addition, we will continue to increase our purchasing volumes in North America and especially in Mexico,” said Lindner.

The announcement in Puebla is part of a larger North American strategy confirmed about a year ago when VW revealed an  “ambitious” plan of selling 800,000 Volkswagens annually by 2018 as it abandoned Michigan and moved its North American headquarters to Herndon, Virginia.

It also announced a $1 billion North American factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that will build a mid-size sedan in 2011– the first currency hedging U.S. plant since VW abandoned the Rabbit factory in Pennsylvania in 1988 after a four year run of declining sales. The new car – code named NMS – and the new plant have promise, but these are similar to promises that have been made and failed decades before.

Currently VW Group sales in the U.S. are running at 163,000 vehicles through June of 2009, down 17% for the year before. Volkswagen, its volume brand, sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Eos, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg 2 and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.

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First Look: 2010 Volkswagen Golf

Pulling a non-rabbit out of its Mütze.

by on Apr.11, 2009

Six generations later, Golf remains VW's best seller.

Six generations later, Golf remains VW's best seller.

It takes a certain confidence to use the word “momentum” if you’re an automaker these days. However, that’s precisely what Stefan Jacoby, CEO of VW of America, did as he introduced the Golf, aka Rabbit, aka Golf, aka Rabbit, in New York. In his view, Volkswagen Group’s record sales and $1.8 billion in profits in 2008 makes “momentum” appropriate, even if sales went down in the loss-making U.S. to 223,128 total units, a decrease of 3.2% versus 2007.

The year 2009, when the sixth generation Golf appears, will be an entirely different matter. VW Group is projecting a loss for the first quarter and thinks even with the new compact that debuted at Paris last fall – its most popular selling car globally – production will decline 10%. The U.S. market is running at a 10 million annual rate, reflecting the worst economic collapse in a generation, and where VW has struggled for decades against higher quality Japanese makes. It’s telling about attitudes in the parent company that the new Golf debuts first in Europe,  Africa,  Asia and Australia before finally arriving here this autumn.

The Golf, though, is a bright spot, even though it is again suffering from VW’s latest reinvention of a reinvention of itself in the U.S. While Rabbit is an appropriate marketing moniker for easy going ‘mericans, it won’t do for the rest of the world where an auto purchase is a more serious financial matter. And apparently it won’t do in the U.S. — once again — as VW’s stated goal to “outperform” the industry as a whole and to gain additional share globally is hinged on universal marketing names.

As a relatively fuel efficient two- and four-door hatchback offered with an extremely efficient, if unfashionable, 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that’s capable of 30 mpg in city driving, the Golf is the right car at the right time. The turbocharged, 200 horsepower GTI performance version comes with a six-speed manual transmission or on optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic. It provides some advertising sizzle, if not some high sales numbers. (more…)