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Heavy Lifter: Much Riding on New Volkswagen Atlas

New ute will be the largest VW model sold in the U.S.

by on Oct.28, 2016

The VW Atlas makes its debut.

In Greek mythology, Atlas carried the world on his back. The new Volkswagen Atlas won’t have quite as big a load to shoulder, but it will still be the troubled brand’s heavy lifter.

The long-awaited sport-utility vehicle made its debut during a preview on the Santa Monica Pier Thursday night, and it will soon start rolling out of the expanded Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Atlas will join VW’s two other SUVs and, if all goes according to plan, help the automaker gain some much-needed momentum in a fast-growing market that has largely passed it by.

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“This is the beginning of a new future for Volkswagen in America,” declared Hinrich Woebcken, the long-time BMW executive who was named CEO of Volkswagen Group of America early this year. The launch of the Atlas, he continued, means that “We are here to stay in North America.”

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Volkswagen Delivers Solid Profit Despite Diesel Scandal

U.S. buyback program set to get underway.

by on Oct.27, 2016

The Porsche Macan helped drive big profits for the brand - and for parent Volkswagen AG.

As it begins to see its massive diesel scandal fade into the rearview mirror, Volkswagen AG reported Thursday a big jump in third-quarter earnings.

The German maker had a net, after-tax profit of 2.34 billion euros, or $2.55 billion. By comparison, VW went 6.7 billion euros into the red a year ago as it set aside funds to cover fines and legal costs triggered by the revelation it had rigged emissions tests on its 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines.

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On Tuesday, a judge in San Francisco gave final approval to a nearly $15 settlement with U.S. and California regulators covering the smaller of the two powertrains. That includes up to $10 billion to buy back the 475,000 Audi and Volkswagen brand vehicles sold in the U.S. using that engine. VW says buybacks are likely to begin by mid-November, though the maker still hopes to come up with a technical fix for at least some of those vehicles.

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Life’s a Breeze with VW T-Cross Cabrio Concept

VW surprises with Polo-sized SUV convertible.

by on Mar.01, 2016

VW was expected to show a small SUV at the Geneva Motor Show -- but not one with a ragtop.

Volkswagen got a jump on the Geneva Motor Show Monday night, giving a standing-room crowd of automotive journalists a special preview of a quirky little SUV/convertible concept it has dubbed the T-Cross Breeze.

It’s hard to tell just how serious the maker is about putting a ragtop ute on the road. But it’s all but certain to come up with a production model in more traditional form. The German automaker has made it very clear it intends to fill the gaps in its line-up at a time when buyers around the world are trading in their conventional sedans, coupes and hatchbacks for sport and crossover-utility vehicles.

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“The T-Cross Breeze reflects the new start for our brand,” suggested VW brand design chief Klaus Bischoff. The concept, he added, “is a teaser for the most compact sport utility vehicle that Volkswagen plans to make – and the nucleus of a new SUV and convertible design in the compact sector.”

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VW Teases New “Trendy, Affordable” New SUV Concept

“Hardly any switches,” in high-tech interior.

by on Feb.22, 2016

VW teases its new compact SUV

Volkswagen’s product line-up has a big hole in it, though nothing too big a couple of new SUVs couldn’t fill.

The German maker has already laid out plans to launch a production version of its popular CrossBlue Concept SUV. Now, it’s offering a hint of what else it has in mind for a more “trendy, affordable” SUV for its line-up.

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The so-far unnamed SUV Concept will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, alongside a new version of VW’s little “Up!” city car. That includes gas and diesel-powered versions of the little hatchback, as well as alternatives using natural gas and battery power, VW hints.

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VW Steps Up Operations in Tennessee

New stamping plant partnership will add 500 jobs, simplify supply chain.

by on Jun.23, 2015

VW will build a version of its CrossBlue Concept when it completes the Chattanooga plant expansion.

Volkswagen continues to expand its operations in Tennessee, and with the German maker already set to double the size of its Chattanooga assembly plant it will also partner with supplier Gestamp to set up a new stamping plant near the assembly line.

The $180 million project will create another 500 jobs, improve basic logistics and allow the use of an advanced hot stamping process yielding ultra-high-strength steel panels that are lighter, more fuel-efficient and safer, according to Volkswagen.

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“The importance of this expanded partnership for Volkswagen and Chattanooga cannot be overstated,” said Christian Koch, President and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We have put another crucial pillar into place for our future success and the benefits of this expansion will impact the community for years to come,” Koch added during a news conference in Chattanooga.

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VW Launching New 3-Row Tiguan at Puebla Plant

$1 bil project aimed at filling gap in maker’s SUV line-up.

by on Mar.09, 2015

VW will add about 1 million square feet to its already huge Puebla, Mexico plant for the new Tiguan.

Volkswagen will drop $1 billion into its assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico to produce a new three-row version of the Tiguan sport-utility vehicle.

It’s the latest step in a costly program meant to expand VW’s utility vehicle line-up and increase its competitive position in the U.S. market. The German maker has struggled to rebuild sales even as the overall American market continues to boom, and a lack of utes has been one of its biggest problems, senior officials believe.

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The Puebla plant is already one of Volkswagen’s larger global facilities, handling a range of products including the latest-generation Golf hatchback. And it will now take on the Tiguan when the $1 billion expansion is completed late next year, in time for the start of the 2017 models.

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VW’s Cross Coupe GTE Concept Sets Stage for Cross Blue

Five-seat SUV sets the design pattern for larger ute.

by on Jan.11, 2015

The 2015 Cross Coupe GTE concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show is a precursor to the Cross Blue.

Volkswagen is looking to whet the appetites of those looking forward to its U.S.-built seven-passenger SUV with the 2015 Cross Coupe GTE concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show.

The upscale, five-passenger concept is a “preview” of the long-awaited Cross Blue, which will be built in Tennessee beginning late next year. The Cross Coupe uses a plug-in hybrid system developing 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft.”  VW estimated the mileage on the SUV at 70 MPGe.

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“The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S.,” said Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen. “The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive.” (more…)

VW’s New Touareg Outfitted to Fit in with High-End SUVs

Maker’s sport-ute gets facelift, new technology.

by on Dec.08, 2014

Volkswagen is looking to compete in the high-end SUV market with a freshened Touareg that includes a boatload of safety and convenience technologies.

Volkswagen of America had been rolling along toward some ambitious sales targets when a decided shift away from cars to crossovers and sport utility vehicles robbed it of its forward momentum and put more pressure on its own SUVs, such as the Touareg.

While facing competition from SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz ML and Acura MDX, which have been overhauled in the last couple of years, VW still believes the Touareg can still hold its own.

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For 2015, the Touareg gets facelift, an optional driver assistance package and a refreshed interior with new convenience features. The Touareg also retains its sturdy vehicle dynamics, which deliver solid ride and handling under a variety of driving conditions thanks to well-tuned suspension, brakes and steering. (more…)

Facelifted VW Touareg Set for Beijing Debut

German maker increasing its focus on SUVs and CUVs.

by on Apr.17, 2014

The facelifted 2014 Volkswagen Touareg.

We’ve not yet seen all the new products set to debut at this year’s New York Auto Show, but several makers have already begun rolling out offerings set to debut next week as the Beijing Motor Show gets underway. Among those is Volkswagen AG, preparing to show off a facelifted version of its big Touareg sport-utility vehicle.

One might understand why VW is so anxious to get a jump on things considering it’s the Chinese market leader – but facing a tough battle with second-place rival General Motors.  The updated SUV is just one of several previews it has scheduled for China’s capital.

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The 2015 VW Touareg – which will later be rolled out in the U.S. and Europe, as well – undergoes some relatively modest updating to its interior and exterior, and gains some important new technology, as well.

Visually, the most obvious body changes are the new front and rear bumpers, new bi-xenon headlamps, and integrated rear fog lamps. The Touareg also gets new color and wheel options.

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VW Rocks Out with T-Roc Concept

From Back to Rock…as well as rocky trails.

by on Feb.28, 2014

VW claims the T-Roc concept is more than just another car-based soft-roader,

Using a motorist’s own tablet computer, the Volkswagen T-Roc Concept lets you personalize your infotainment choices, whether they run to Bach or Rock. But the name of this new SUV is equally symbolic of its capabilities, with a diesel-powered all-wheel-drive system that’s tough enough to handle rocky trails as well as urban potholes.

Making its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen T-Roc concept appears to be more than just another pie-in-the-sky prototype, the German maker suggesting it offers a broad hint of what’s to come as it moves to “significantly extend (its SUV) range with new models in a wide variety of classes.”

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VW has rapidly expanded its line-up in recent years, with a broad range of sedans, coupes, cabriolets and sports cars. What it’s been missing out on, however, has been the boom in demand for crossovers.  There’s a big gap between its current Tiguan and Touareg models – something it seems determined to correct. A new model, based on the CrossBlue concept, is expected to be produced in North America. But still other additions are in the works, and T-Roc offers some guidance as to what we can expect.

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