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Walmart Set to Add Super Fast-Chargers in 34 States

Chargers will deliver up to 200 miles in 10 minutes.

by on Apr.19, 2018

The new Walmart chargers will be capable of boosting range by as much as 20 miles a minute.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer could soon operate one of the nation’s larger vehicle charging networks.

The Arkansas-based company is partnering up with Electrify America to set up 100 fast-charger stations at stores in 34 states by mid-2019. That’s part of 2,000 chargers Electrify America aims to have in place by then at 500 stations across the U.S.

Electrifying!

“Along with providing our customers with an enhanced shopping experience through added convenience, this initiative also allows us to contribute to the expansion of our nation’s EV charging station infrastructure,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy for Walmart, Inc.

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First Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

No, VW hasn't gone all-SUV, at least not yet.

by on Apr.13, 2018

The R-Line version of the 2019 VW Jetta.

Volkswagen officials have been talking a lot about SUVs, such as the new Atlas, these days. And when they change the subject, they’re as likely as not to focus on battery-electric vehicles like the upcoming I.D. Buzz microbus.

That might seem worrisome for fans of traditional VW sedans and hatchbacks. The good news is that the people’s car brand isn’t abandoning its traditional line-up. True, you won’t be able to get a diesel in the U.S. anymore, but there are some solid alternatives under the hood of offerings like the all-new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta that we had a chance to spend some time with in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina earlier this month.

The Last Word!

“It’s one of our most important products in the U.S.,” said Jan Dickmann, head of the compact car line, before we headed off into a Carolina countryside just starting to burst with spring color. Worldwide, VW has sold 17 million Jettas, including 3 million in the U.S. alone. So, while the automaker might be gaining traction with products like the Atlas and smaller Tiguan, it has a lot riding on the success of the seventh-generation Jetta sedan. (more…)

Mueller Out, Diess In at VW – And More Shake-Ups Likely

Automaker restructuring into three groups and may be readying spin-off of truck group.

by on Apr.12, 2018

New VW CEO Herbert Diess unveiled two EVs, including the Buzz microbus, at CEO.

Matthias Mueller, the executive often given credit with steering Volkswagen Group through the worst crisis in its post-War history, has been pushed aside, replaced as CEO by Herbert Diess, the head of the flagship VW brand.

The elevation of Diess comes at a time when Volkswagen is charting a path that calls for greater sales and profits, lower costs, and a decreasing dependence on the diesels that had been a foundation, albeit a troubled one, for the company. Diess will also oversee a restructuring that will reform the parent company into three groups and could lead to the eventually spin-off of its truck and bus division.

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Shaking Things Up!

The 64-year-old Mueller was elevated to CEO in 2015, following revelations that VW had rigged its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. He “has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group,” the automakers said in a statement, work that included dealing with angry regulators, shareholders and owners and negotiating settlements, fines and buybacks that ultimately are expected to cost VW about $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

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Volkswagen CEO Mueller Likely to Be Replaced by VW Brand Boss Diess

Mueller helped company weather diesel scandal, but Diess seen as change agent.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Prior to being tapped to head VW after its diesel scandal broke, Matthias Mueller ran Porsche.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be forced out at a management meeting Friday, with VW brand boss Herbert Diess expected to replace him, according to reports out of Germany.

The shake-up, which has apparently been in the works for months, has the blessing of some of VW’s top shareholders, as well as its chairman and powerful labor chief. It will mark the most extensive management moves since shortly after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

Global Business News!

VW issued a short statement noting it is considering “a further development of the management structure of the group which would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management.” The statement hinted that changes under study “could include” the naming of a new CEO, adding that Mueller himself “showed his willingness to contribute,” suggesting the 64-year-old executive might voluntarily step aside rather than fight to retain his post. He is currently under a contract set to continue through 2020.

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Trump Trade Disputes Put Automakers in Crosshairs

U.S. auto buyers could face substantially higher prices; industry profits could tumble.

by on Apr.04, 2018

President Donald Trump could be hearing rumbles from the auto industry over his trade policies.

Wall Street investors aren’t the only ones growing worried about Pres. Donald Trump’s increasingly aggressive actions on international trade. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of a potential trade war, automakers are also sounding the alarm.

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.,” the president tweeted this week, ahead of announcing $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made goods. The move quickly was mirrored by tariffs announced by China.

News You Can Trust!

The tit-for-tat trade battle could lead to serious problems for a number of industries, including aerospace, agriculture and chip manufacturers – as well as the auto industry. Carmakers are also fretting over the president’s increasingly confrontational tone over NAFTA, trade with Europe and new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

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VW Targets the American Heartland with Atlas Tanoak Pickup Concept

“We want to be a relevant player” in a truck-crazed market, says CEO.

by on Mar.28, 2018

Volkswagen's Hinrich Woebcken unveiled its Tanoak pickup concept at the New York Auto Show.

There are few surprises at auto shows these days, at least from a media perspective, automakers routinely signaling what they’ve got coming, usually offering press kits and pictures well in advance of a product’s official debut.

Volkswagen managed to pull off one of the rare surprises this year, however. While it did give a heads-up on plans to roll out the Atlas Sport Cross Concept it managed to keep pretty much everyone in the dark about a second introduction at the 2018 New York International Auto Show: the Atlas Tanoak Concept.

Truck News!

While that’s just a show car for now, the big question is whether it signals the automaker’s intent on getting back into the truck game for the first time in decades. If so, it would become only the second modern pickup to be based on a crossover, rather than a traditional, truck-based platform. (more…)

Jeep, VW Poised to Launch New Pickups — Maybe in NYC

Could two new concepts debut this week in New York?

by on Mar.26, 2018

The Jeep Sandstorm concept is going to the annual Easter Safari — it's a truck.

Everyone knows pickup trucks are a big deal and a couple of new ones from Jeep and Volkswagen are apparently coming closer to reality.

First off is the Jeep pickup truck built off the new Jeep Wrangler platform. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. officials confirmed that the Jeep pick-up truck was under development a long time ago. In fact, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne predicted Jeep could sell as many as 100,000 annually once production gets rolling.

News Now!

But up until now FCA has been a little vague about when it might actually enter the showrooms. (more…)

VW Charged Up About EV Racer Heading to Pikes Peak

“It’s about time we settled the score.”

by on Mar.19, 2018

VW hopes to leave the competition in the dust when it takes the I.D. R up Pikes Peak.

Volkswagen has put in an order for a whopping $25 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries and related technology, as we reported last week. A small share of that will be going into its new electric motorsports program which is charged up and ready to challenge Pikes Peak a few months from now.

These pics preview the new I.D. R electric race car that VW plans to use as its first entry into the grueling Pikes Peak International Hill Climb since 1987. I.D. is the new sub-brand the German automaker will begin rolling out late in the decade, with a total of 20 full-electric models due out by 2025, so it’s no surprise the hill climb car will share that badge.

Motor Sports News!

“We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family,” said Frank Welsch, the Volkswagen board member overseeing its electrification efforts. “Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars.”

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VW Adding Two-Row Atlas to Line-Up

Five-seat SUV "concept" set to make NYIAS debut.

by on Mar.19, 2018

Bound for the Big Apple - Volkswagen gives us a first look at the 5-seat version of the Atlas.

It may have been late to the SUV party but Volkswagen seems determined to catch up with a rapidly expanding line-up of new models.

The latest offering will make its debut at this month’s New York International Auto Show – albeit in concept form. And with a two-row version of its largest crossover, VW appears to be ready to chase another niche in the booming utility vehicle market.

Auto Show News!

“The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

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VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

News You Can Trust!

Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)