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VW, Audi Officials Apologize, Try to Look Beyond Diesel Scandal at LA Show

VW meeting with EPA; gift cards going out to 120,000 TDI owners.

by on Nov.19, 2015

VW CEO Michael Horn was surrounded by reporters after the maker's LA news conference. Photo courtesy Michael Rose.

Volkswagen will have a solution “soon” for owners of diesel models tainted by an emissions rigging scandal, the company’s U.S. chief executive said during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In the meantime, noted Michael Horn, a “goodwill package” including $1,000 in gift cards and dealership credits are about to head out to 120,000 of those consumers.

The ongoing scandal dominated the events scheduled for both Volkswagen and its upscale sibling, the Audi brand, during the L.A. show, and officials from both marques again apologized before trying to turn back to their plans for the future.

Breaking News!

Industry analysts have suggested that Volkswagen is already feeling the impact of the diesel rigging crisis which impacts 482,000 vehicles sold in the U.S., but the Audi brand, which only has one model impacted, has largely been unscathed, Audi of America President Scott Keogh telling reporters, “We’ll have a record November and a record December.”


VW Intros Two Special-Edition Beetles

Modern takes on classic Bugs.

by on Nov.17, 2015

The new Volkswagen Beetle Dune shown with a classic VW Baja Bug of the 1960s.

Volkswagen is drawing inspiration from its past for two special-edition models debuting at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Beetle Dune, says VW, “draws inspiration” from the classic Baja Bugs of the 1960s. The Beetle Denim, meanwhile, is a “contemporary tribute to the 1970s Beetle Jeans model.”

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Of course, the latest version of the VW Beetle is itself more than a bit retro, picking up on the original Bug’s design, or at least as much as possible while still meeting emissions, crash and fuel economy standards.


VW Offering Two Extreme Golf Concepts at LA Auto Show

Golf R 400 and GTI Roadster to make North American Debuts.

by on Nov.14, 2014

The Volkswagen GTI Roadster first debuted in digital form for the popular Gran Turismo racing game.

It’s already won strong kudos, most recently landing honors as Motor Trend Car of the Year. But Volkswagen plans to show that it can keep the excitement building for its new Golf “family” with the North American debut of two extreme concept versions at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Designed to “erase the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds,” the GTI Roadster was originally designed as a CGI competitor for the classic PlayStation game GranTurismo 6. A sheet metal version was revealed at the annual Worthersee enthusiast gathering in Austria last May.

What a Concept!

The Golf R 400 concept, meanwhile, “shows just how far the Golf R can be taken using the experience gained from VW’s involvement in World Rallycross,” the maker explains. The “400” in its name refers to the 400 PS – 394-horsepower – 2.0-liter TSI engine under the hood. It’s enough to propel the rally car concept from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62 mph) in just 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 173 mph.


VW to Unveil e-Golf at LA Auto Show

Maker will offer Roadside Assistance Plan to counter “range anxiety.”.

by on Nov.13, 2013

The VW e-Golf will go on sale in "selected" U.S. market in late 2014. No pricing has been announced.

Volkswagen’s first battery-electric vehicle to enter the U.S. market will make its debut at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show, an event expected to showcase a wide range of zero-emissions vehicles.

After a slow start, the German maker has been making an aggressive push into battery technology with hybrids, plug-ins and full battery-electric vehicles. VW promises that the e-Golf will boast one of the fastest recharge times in the industry.

Stay Plugged In!

The Volkswagen e-Golf is set to go on sale during the fourth quarter of 2014 in “select states” – which will likely mean California and other states with similar zero-emissions mandates.  The new model will be powered by a 24.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack paired with a 115-horsepower motor capable of launching the car from 0 to 60 in 10.4 seconds, with a top speed rated at 87 mph.


First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Convertible

The new “people’s car” goes topless.

by on Nov.28, 2012

VW engineers worked hard to maintain the Beetle coupe's shape - while also enhancing the top-down fun of the Beetle Convertible.

VW is ready to blow its top – and, in the process, reinforce its reputation for engineering, innovation and sportiness with the introduction of the new 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, which is debuting this week at the 2012 LA Auto Show.

The new model, which follows into showrooms a year after the debut of the third-generation Volkswagen Beetle Coupe, shares the same basic dimensions – in fact, one of the more notable accomplishments for VW engineers was the way they were able to maintain the distinctive shape of the new Beetle with the ragtop version.

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Another accomplishment was maintaining the fun-to-drive character of the classic “people’s car,” with the top up, but especially down – as TheDetroitBureau.com learned during a drive of the new VW Beetle Convertible in the days before its official LA Auto Show reveal.

It’s one of those situations where VW engineers had to make some significant tweaks to keep everything pretty much the same.  That meant subtle modifications to the chassis to maintain stiffness and drivability of the new Beetle Convertible. Even though it carries some additional weight, even the base version of the new ragtop delivers a firm ride, responsive steering, and reliable and predictable cornering. Oh, and toss in a good set of brakes.

Even with the base 2.5-liter engine, the new Beetle Convertible delivers 170 horsepower, which is plenty of power for enjoying open air motoring. The two more expensive versions, with VW’s TDI diesel, and the maker’s 2-liter gasoline turbo with its 200 horsepower, offer more punch and have an edge in traffic by providing the extra boost needed for passing and other maneuvers.

The Beetle Convertible also is surprisingly quiet.  The ragtop’s fold-back roof contains three separate layers which helps minimize the road noise when the roof is up.

In addition, the top is powered by two electric motors and latches and unlatches automatically at the touch of a button, which is located on the upper rail of the windshield surround. The top takes just 9.5 seconds to stow and 11.0 seconds to be raised, the extra time needed to latch the roof’s header to the windshield.

Incidentally, the top can be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 31 mph. An integrated wind blocking system is available on the Beetle Convertible as a Volkswagen Genuine Accessory.

Klaus Bischoff, Head Designer, Volkswagen Brand, noted the Beetle Convertible was not just a copy of the original, insisting the design of the third-generation Beetle Convertible can stand on its own.

However, the Beetle Convertible retains the bold, purposeful stance of the Coupe, thanks to a wider tracks and a longer wheelbase than the previous New Beetle Convertible. Compared with the 2006 version of the “New” Beetle, the latest Convertible is 3.3 inches wider at 71.2 inches; 1.1 inches lower at 58.0 inches tall; and 6.0 inches longer at 168.4 inches overall.

“Retro is not our thing: we are always looking forward. Volkswagen has reinterpreted the Beetle Convertible’s timeless design with a sportier and more dynamic silhouette, just as it did with the Beetle Coupe. The car is substantially wider, has a longer hood, and has a more upright windshield that sits further back than before. The standard rear spoiler reinforces the car’s sporty look,” he said.

Nonetheless, at launch, there will be three special editions of the Beetle Convertible with design themes echoing the 1950,’60s and 70s when the Bug was in its heyday.

The extra attention from Volkswagen engineers and designers comes at a price. The base model for the new convertible starts at $24,995, the TDI version jumping to $30,295. And the 2-liter turbo package carries a stiff price tag of $33,000 – all these figures adding the $795 destination charge to the sticker.

VW has been building convertibles since 1949 and the Beetle has been one of the most popular open-top cars ever built. More than 330,000 examples of the first Beetle Convertible were manufactured over a 32-year span, while another 234,619 New Beetle Convertibles were produced in an eight-year period.

The new Beetle Convertible is definitely a worthy successor to the earlier versions and a whole lot of fun to drive.  For Volkswagen, it could be one more motivator to get more Americans back into what was once the most popular ragtop in America.


Volkswagen Hints at Production Plans for Beetle R

Updated CC also debuts in LA.

by on Nov.17, 2011

VW is hinting at production plans for the Beetle R concept -- if it gets a good response at the LA show.

You think only the Chinese are good at copying?  Well, take a closer look at what the Germans have in store, notably the folks up at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, where they appear to be readying their own version of the vaunted BMW M series, shifting down the alphabet and coming up with the new VW R line.

The new Volkswagen R GmbH subsidiary has already tipped its hands with the Golf R and Scirocco models, the potential next-in-line offering making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past September.


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With the Volkswagen Beetle R Concept now crossing the Atlantic for a North American debut at the L.A. Auto Show it appears the prototype is going to make the jump to production, as well.

The concept offers a glimpse of how the Beetle will look when equipped with different bumpers with three contrasting air intakes and a front spoiler/air splitter, 20-inch wheels with five triple spokes and blue R brake calipers.


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.