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VW Revealing Updated 2015 Jetta in NY

Subtle visual revisions conceal other updates.

by on Apr.14, 2014

The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is set to make its debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Volkswagen must have a thing for the Big Apple as the maker plans an assortment of product announcements during this week’s New York Auto Show. That includes an updated version of the Jetta.

The 2015 VW Jetta won’t deliver any major visual surprises, though, with most of the key changes coming under the skin in the form new technologies, such as blind spot detection, and a new Clean Diesel expected to deliver up to 45 mpg on the highway.

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VW can use a little boost. The maker took a tumble last year and has been struggling to regain momentum so far this year, and it’s betting on the tweaks to Jetta – its best-selling U.S. model – and the newly renamed Golf SportWagen that New York showgoers will get a first look at this coming week. (more…)

VW Hopes All-New Golf Will Reignite Sputtering U.S. Sales

Compact models set to debut this spring.

by on Feb.07, 2014

The sporty Golf R model.

Volkswagen of America is hoping the introduction of the all-new GTI and Golf models — as well as revisions to the Jetta — slated to reach in showrooms this spring will help reignite the brand’s sputtering sales in the U.S. market.

The seventh-generation Golf is already a hit in Europe but VW decided to delay its North American launch a year, a move many analysts believe contributed to a sharp decline in its U.S. sales last year after several years of rapid growth.

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The surge began in 2010 and saw VW sell more than 400,000 units in the American market for the first time in 40 years. But progress stalled last year as sales plunged 7% despite the overall U.S. market reaching its highest point since before the recession began.  The downturn was considered a major factor behind the ouster of Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning, even though the maker’s smaller Audi brand achieved a Cinderella-like comeback that saw it set all-time U.S. sales records.

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First Look: Volkswagen Jetta Wagon

Three images leak out before Geneva unveiling.

by on Mar.02, 2013

What VW has dubbed the GolfVariant may land in the U.S. as the next Jetta SportWagen.

Preparing for an auto show involves a bit of cat-and-mouse interaction between automakers and automotive journalists. The industry “flacks” often give trusted reporters an advance look at the products they’re planning to introduce but occasionally, someone jumps the embargo and it becomes fair game for all.

As has happened with the three images you see here of what Volkswagen has been calling its “Golf Variant.” A better way to think of it is as the next-generation Jetta SportWagen.  The original plans called for the new 2-box design to make its formal debut at a splashy debut staged prior to the formal opening of the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

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Unfortunately, we’ll still have to wait for that event to get VW officials to spill the complete story but here’s what we’ve learned so far: The GolfVariant, as its name suggests, is based on the all-new MQB small car platform Volkswagen has adopted – one that will be used for a wide range of products sold not just under the VW brand but also for marques as diverse as Skoda and Audi.

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VW Moving Golf Production to Mexico

But gen-7 model still won’t reach U.S. shores til 2014.

by on Jan.25, 2013

The seventh-generation, or G7, Volkswagen Golf.

Volkswagen has scored quite a hit with new products like the Passat that have been retuned for the American market. But the maker still retains one frustrating German habit – delaying key product launches in the U.S. until long after they’re already on the road back in the European home market.

So, it seemed like we might be in for some good news when we heard that production of the seventh-generation VW Golf would be shifted from Germany to Mexico.  Unfortunately, we still won’t get the G7 model until sometime during the first half of 2014, still a year late.

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But VW is promising that the shift to the Puebla plant will help it better sync the launch of future generations, as the maker has come closer to doing with the bigger Passat line which is now being produced at the Volkswagen plant that opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2011.

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VW Adding Another 800 Jobs in Chattanooga

Maker struggling to meet booming demand.

by on Mar.22, 2012

Workers assemble a 2012 VW Passat at the maker's assembly plant in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen will create another 800 jobs at its new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee as it pushes to meet soaring demand. That comes on top of previous plans that will now bring a total of 1,000 new workers to the factory that opened only last year.

The Chattanooga plant is the first the German maker has operated in the U.S. in a quarter century and is a critical part of the maker’s commitment to boost sales to record levels by 2018.  But equally significant has been VW’s decision to develop cars specifically for the U.S. market for the first time, including the new Passat sedan being produced in Tennessee.

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Sales of the new Passat got off to a fast start for the 2012 model-year, helping Volkswagen score its best monthly volumes in four decades in February.

“This is a clear sign that the plant ramp-up has been successful and is a validation that the Passat is of the highest quality,” said Frank Fischer, CEO of the Chattanooga operation.

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First Look: 2013 Volkswagen CC

Coupe-like sedan to pick up some styling cues from new Passat.

by on Nov.04, 2011

The 2013 Volkswagen CC will borrow some familial cues from the hot new VW Passat.

While the new Passat and Beetle models may be getting most of the headlines, few cars have done more to shift Volksawagen’s visual image than the strikingly curvaceous CC.

Three years into the model-run, Volkswagen will be making some modest to significant changes to  thecoupe-like sedan, the 2013 CC getting  freshened front and rear fascia that will adopt the styling theme of the new Passat.

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The maker is hoping to ramp up demand for what is unarguably the most aggressively styled vehicle in its line-up at a time when it is pushing to achieve global dominance – and regain its once tight grip on the import market in the U.S.

The 2013 Volkswagen CC will make its formal bow at this month’s L.A. Auto Show, though the maker is offering a sneak peek at what it has in store.

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VW Inching Towards Profitability in the States

2011 sales should hit 300,000 despite slow U.S. recovery.

by on Sep.29, 2011

The new U.S. version of the Jetta has been instrumental in VW's American revival.

Long operating deep in the red, Volkswagen’s U.S. sale unit is on track to turn a profit for the first time since 2003, according to the German maker’s top American executive.

“This is our expectation,” Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America’s president and chief executive officer told reporters after an appearance at the Society of Automotive Analysts’ annual strategic planning summit.

VW’s luxury arm, Audi saw its North American sales operations become profitable last year, Browning added, in the face of steady growth in demand.

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“This is a very narrow definition of profitability,” Browning cautioned, noting that it doesn’t include financial statements from the company’s parts distribution network, nor does it include the share of corporate overhead allocated to North America by VWGoA’s parent company in Wolfsburg, Germany.

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First Drive: 2012 VW Passat

Striking a balance between German engineering and American tastes.

by on Jun.14, 2011

The new, 2012 U.S. version of the Volkswagen Passat shown at the maker's new plant in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen is betting big on the United States, as evidenced by the construction of a brand-new plant just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

That plant, which will build the North American version of the new 2012 Passat (Europeans will get a slightly different version), is set up to produce up to 150,000 units annually on two shifts.

That would mark a significant expansion for the German maker, which has long struggled to regain the foothold it had in the U.S. market in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  It would also help move VW ahead as it takes aim at rivals Toyota and General Motors in a big to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018.

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The redesigned Passat, following close upon last year’s updates of the Jetta and Touareg, is the next step in that plan. So is the production shift to the States.

The company is hoping to keep production and distribution costs low, so that the sticker price of the Passat can be brought down to a level that won’t send price-sensitive American motorists screaming in horror and heading to the nearest Hyundai showroom.

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Volkswagen Confirms Plans For Golf R

Compact performance model slated for early 2012 launch.

by on Dec.10, 2010

Volkswagen launches its new compact hot hatch, the Golf R32 in early 2012.

Volkswagen is adding a much-anticipated new performance car to its line-up, a version of its new compact model to be known as the Golf R.

The addition is designed to underscore VW’s traditional appeal to those who want affordable, sporty European alternatives to popular Japanese “rice burners,” such as the Subaru WRX STi.  The Golf R will be significantly more powerful than the German maker’s current performance model, the GTI, Volkswagen revealed.

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“The European Golf R is simply the most powerful Volkswagen sports performance vehicle ever built,” the maker said in confirming the plans, which call for a launch in the U.S. market early in 2012.

The Volkswagen Golf R will turn out 256 horsepower in U.S. trim, down from 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque with the European model.  That’s still a significant upgrade from the last compact performance model the maker offered, the R32.  The new R32, meanwhile, will be powered by a version of the current turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, rather than the older compact hatch’s V32 powertrain.

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Volkswagen Aiming To Topple Toyota

“Sights firmly set,” says CEO, as profits quintuple.

by on Nov.02, 2010

The success of the new Jetta could determine whether VW ousts Toyota as global sales chief.

Already having passed its Japanese rival on the bottom line, Volkswagen is taking aim at Toyota’s other crown, hoping to soon surpass it as the world’s best-selling automaker.

The German maker is rapidly moving to shore up global weak spots – like the United States – while pushing for fast growth in key emerging markets, such as China, where it maintains a modest lead over the former king-of-the-global-hill General Motors.

For many industry leaders, it’s more a question of when, rather than whether, VW will firmly land as global sales leader.

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The maker’s CEO Martin Winterkorn is certainly among those who believe it will happen, telling Bloomberg News, “The Volkswagen Group continues to have its sights firmly set on capturing pole position in the automotive industry.”

The maker is moving ahead with a 10-year plan, which began in 2008, calling for global domination.  But it has already achieved some of its goal for leadership, notably on the bottom line.  For the first nine months of 2010, VW profits quintupled, to $5.23 billion.

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