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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.

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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…)

Volkswagen CEO Mueller Gets 40% Compensation Hike

Special breaks let him exceed caps on salary and benefits.

by on Mar.13, 2018

VW CEO Matthias Mueller received a 40% raise in 2017.

Volkswagen’s comeback from the diesel scandal is almost complete. Volkswagen Group reported record earnings for 2017 and this resulted in CEO Matthias Mueller seeing his compensation package jump 40%.

The 64-year-old Mueller’s contract expires in 2020.

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The jump in pay and other benefits to nearly $12.5 million, according to the company, may seem somewhat startling since it was only two years ago the German automaker was firing executives, eliminating bonuses and implementing a new, more restrictive set of rules for compensation. (more…)

VW Squashing the Beetle at End of Current Generation

“You can’t have a new, new, new Beetle,” says R&D chief.

by on Mar.07, 2018

The Dune Edition of the latest Beetle is shown with a Baja version of the original Bug.

Get ready to say buh-bye to the Beetle. Oh, you didn’t know they were still building it? Well, that may explain why Volkswagen is getting set to phase out the once-iconic coupe when the current, third-generation model reaches the end of its lifecycle.

Now, Volkswagen wouldn’t be Volkswagen without at least one icon in its line-up, but Frank Welsch, the brand’s R&D chief, told Britain’s Autocar that the focus will shift to the soon-to-be-reborn I.D. Buzz, an all-electric take on the classic Volkswagen Microbus that is due to market early in the coming decade.

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Noting that VW tried to revive the Bug with the “New Beetle,” and then redid it one more time, Welsch said enough is enough. “You can’t do it five times and have a new, new, new Beetle,” ad infinitum. In fact, the VW board did consider a way to keep the Beetle alive, but it turned thumbs down to the idea of an all-electric version during a product meeting last November.

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VW Confirms New I.D. Vizzion Concept Will Reach Showrooms “By 2022 at the Latest”

Electric sedan will eventually add full autonomy.

by on Mar.05, 2018

The Vizzion Concept is set to become the fourth model in the new Volkswagen I.D. sub-brand.

Volkswagen has rolled out the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade and, as with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said, at the big sedan’s official Geneva Motor Show debut.

Something of a battery-electric replacement for the VW brand’s old flagship, the Phaeton, the I.D. Vizzion concept offers a range of cutting-edge technologies, as well as an interior that can be transformed into a mobile living room when operating in fully autonomous mode.

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“The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality,” said VW brand boss Herbert Diess, during a showcase of new products by the various marques operated by the parent Volkswagen Group. “ It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.”

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VW’s I.D. Vizzion Concept Could Change the Way We Travel

Rethinking what an autonomous and electric vehicle could offer.

by on Mar.01, 2018

Volkswagen's fourth I.D. prototype, the I.D. Vizzion, is headed to the Geneva Motor Show.

It’s become something of an industry mantra that the automobile will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50, and you need only walk into your nearest showroom to see that this is more than hype. Manufacturers already are rolling out what will soon become a flood of electrified vehicles and there are now at least a half-dozen models with significant, semi-autonomous capabilities.

What comes next? Volkswagen has been offering up some intriguing hints with a series of concept vehicles previewing the launch of its new, electrified brand-within-a-brand, and it will debut the fourth prototype, the I.D. Vizzion, at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

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The German automaker is already offering a few intriguing teaser images, as well as a short video that puts some perspective on the Vizzion. You can Click Here to check it out on YouTube. But to sum it up, the I.D. Vizzion concept vehicle illustrates what motoring might be like in an age of zero-emission, always-on Level 5 autonomous vehicles. (more…)

Diesel Crisis May Have Been Just What VW Needed, Suggests US CEO

"The race is on," says Woebcken.

by on Feb.09, 2018

VW's U.S. chief Hinrich Woebcken told the Economic Club of Chicago that the company needed to "Americanize" to be successful.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so goes the old saw. And it just might apply to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, suggested the automaker’s North American chief executive, despite costing the automaker about $30 billion in penalties.

During a series of appearances at the Chicago Auto Show, Hinrich Woebcken noted that after taking an initial, sharp hit to its sales after admitting it rigged more than 500,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S., VW’s sales rebounded in 2017, climbing 5% even as the overall American car market fell nearly 2%.

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“Maybe the diesel crisis helped convince (our) company to Americanize,” said Woebcken, during a speech to the Chicago Economic Club. Long known to American car buyers as “a sports car brand … a niche company,” VW recognized that, if it was going to recover, it had to “move into the heart of the American market.” (more…)

VW Arteon Makes American Debut

Return of the coupe-like sedan.

by on Feb.08, 2018

Volkswagen's Arteon sedan makes it North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

With the recent launches of the all-new Atlas and completely redesigned Tiguan, Volkswagen has made it clear it is shifting direction to catch up with the massive explosion of SUV and CUV sales. But it isn’t walking away from its more traditional passenger car segments.

We got a look at the updated Passat at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month and for the Chicago Auto Show VW is pulling the wraps off the Arteon, the replacement for its coupe-like CC sedan. Okay, yes, we’ve already seen the Arteon in Europe, but for the Windy City show we’re getting a first look at the American market model.

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And like the old CC, “The Arteon is Volkswagen’s brand shaper,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “This car is the spiritual successor to the CC, but it is bolder and faster. Arteon has the style and performance of a luxury Gran Turismo for about the price of a fully loaded midsize sedan.” (more…)

VW Fires Exec Who Ok’d Diesel Emission Tests on Monkeys

VW “drawing the consequences” of the disclosure about the tests.

by on Jan.31, 2018

VW fired a top executive for his role in testing the effects of diesel emissions on monkeys.

A new scandal at Volkswagen AG already has claimed one company’s top representatives.

Thomas Steg, head of external relations and sustainability, was relieved of his duties after acknowledging that he knew the company was using live monkeys to test the effects of emissions from diesel vehicles.

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Steg, a former government spokesman, who worked for German chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, is the first person to be relieved of his duties as VW said it was “drawing the consequences” of the disclosure about the tests, which have rocked the German car industry and government.  (more…)

German Automakers Funded Emissions Tests on Monkeys and Humans

“No ethical way justifiable,” said spokesman for German Chancellor Merkel.

by on Jan.29, 2018

VW Chair Hans Dieter Poetsch criticized researchers who exposed humans and monkeys to diesel exhaust for extended periods.

As part of a research program on the impact of exhaust emissions, three German automakers sponsored experiments that exposed humans and monkeys to diesel fumes, a project that the chairman of Volkswagen AG today called “totally incomprehensible.”

The revelation of the program conducted by the University of Aachen further tarnishes the reputation of VW, as well as rivals Daimler and BMW, at a time when they all have been accused of rigging diesel emissions tests. At least one vehicle used in the project was a VW Beetle that had been among those equipped with one of the company’s rigged diesel engines.

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VW’s Hans Dieter Poetsch described the project as “totally incomprehensible” and called for it to be “investigated completely and without reservation.” (more…)

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…)