Volkswagen

Volkswagen cars

Could Volkswagen AG's Next Victim be Lotus?

There have been rumors circulating that Volkswagen AG is interested in Proton, which includes the Lotus debacle, as either minority owners or a controlling stake. But if VW’s labor union officials have any say, this will not take place. Bend Osterloh let the Handelsblatt know that the labor union will not support VW acquiring Proton, Lotus, or any other brand.

Osterloh was quoted saying “We already have 12 brands and we first have to stabilize the group.” Osterloh also agrees that VW needs to increase its presence in Southwest Asia, but the labor union still won’t support VW in this potential purchase.

Osterloh holds a seat on the supervisory board, so he has a little pull in the company, but not that much pull. VW is looking to overtake GM as the world’s largest auto manufacturer by 2018 and we doubt a puny labor union will stop VW. Even the taxman couldn’t put the brakes on VW’s expansion when it purchased, err, restructured Porsche.

We are pretty sure that VW will own at least a portion of Proton before the end of 2013, it just has to figure out how to let its labor union know that it can either come along for the ride or step aside. This should be a pretty interesting one, as we all know exactly how well auto unions and automakers play together, so we may be in for a pretty big power struggle.

Grab the popcorn... We’ll keep you updated.

Posted on by Alexander + 5

World speed records are usually associated with vehicles like the Bugatti Veyron , which can hit a high mark of 267 mph and look great while doing it. Advances in hybrid technology, however, have now made it essential to include vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid on the list of top speed records. No, the Jetta was not able to dominate the Veyron’s top speed, or even come close to it, but it has achieved a land speed record of its own at the Bonneville Salt Flats. During the Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week at Bonneville, the Jetta Hybrid was able to record a 185.394 mph top speed, marking the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

"Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America . “As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles.”

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline powerplant generating 150 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. The gasoline engine is then combined with a 20kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery that’s produces an additional 27 HP and weighs less than 80 lbs. The Jetta’s top speed record was achieved by implementing a few changes to the setup. Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany modified the engine to provide a few more ponies, while A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California, provided project integration and other modifications. Everything was finalized with an engine calibration and a once-over by the folks at the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA

We’ve been patiently awaiting details on the new 2014 VW Golf R and in the process, we’ve caught it testing many times. While the looks of the new Golf R were really no mystery, what it would carry under its hood was still up for a little speculation, though most of us had it pegged as a 300-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-pot.

The mystery is now over, as Volkswagen has chosen to reveal a large amount of the details on the 2014 Golf R just before its world debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Surprisingly, we are even more impressed than we thought we would be, as the new Golf R is not only more powerful and much faster, but it is also 18 percent more effective than last year’s model.

This all-new Golf R is definitely well set to do battle with other hot hatches, like the 2014 Focus ST and the 2014 Mazdaspeed3.

Updated 8/20/2013: This article has been updated to include all of the recently released details on the 2014 Golf R.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Golf R

Almost all of the major car manufacturers are figuring out ways to go to smaller displacement engines with fewer cylinder, yet the same horsepower. This is leading to turbocharged V-6 engines replacing V-8 engines and turbo V-8s replacing V-10s and V-12s. From the looks of things, Bentley is taking a different approach.

According to reports, Bentley is moving toward larger 12-cylinder engines and away from their turbocharged V-8 engines. We’re not sure exactly why Bentley is going this route, as it is opposite of the trend, but that very well may be the only reason. This would give Bentley the exclusivity that it needs to get a leg up on its rival, Rolls Royce.

Then again, maybe Volkswagen has a slew of 6.0-liter W-12 engines left over from its W-12-powered Phaeton , which was cut from the lineup in 2012, and is deciding to fit V-8 Bentleys with this massive hunk of 444-horsepower-producing metal.

Then again, with the Azure T’s 6.8, err, we mean six-and-three-quarter-liter engine pumping out just 450 horsepower and getting 9 mpg, the 12 mpg and 444 ponies that the W-12 pumps out looks tempting. Add a little boost to it to increase the torque from its 406 pound-feet mark and you have an engine that is not only more powerful, but gets better fuel economy than the turbocharged Bentley V-8 engine.

We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know what Bentley’s plans are just as soon as we know what exactly is going on.

Volkswagen is making it their personal goal to compete with just about every single auto manufacturer in the world, be it from acquiring the Porsche brand or making their own car to compete with someone. The latest rumor afloat in the automotive realm is the BMW X6 Competitor, the Volkswagen Touareg CC.

The information on this new crossover SUV is very scarce, but based on our knowledge, we were able to come up with a rendering of what we think the Touareg CC will look like. One thing that we are fairly certain of is that the Touareg CC will be modeled after the Cross Coupe Concept we saw in Geneva, boasting an aggressive-looking front end with an array of sharp body lines and a stylish chrome grille up front. On the rear, you’ll get exaggerated rear fender wells and arches, semi-oval taillights, and a raked rear hatch. You also get a pair of oval exhaust exits directly under the rear bumper.

Down the side of the Touareg CC, you have a profile that looks more like a coupe, almost like the profile that Nissan gave to the Juke. Unlike the Juke , however, you will have an exposed rear door handle, giving away its status as a 4-door model.

Click past the jump to read more.

BBM is a well-known tuner of various Volkswagens and the GTI has once again become a favorite of import car tuners everywhere. This latest GTI mod offered by BBM serves up both styling and performance modifications that are sufficient enough to make any Vee-Dub owner smile.

The first thing you get is a carbon-fiber hood that saves a little weight and adds to the look of the GTI. The carbon-fiber treatment continues on the door step plates, rear diffuser, and mirror housings, completing the look. CFC Styling Station wrapped the rest of the body in a blue metallic foil and added a load of stickers to the front, left fender.

Looks aren’t all you get with this package. You also get a set of orange and aluminum 8 x 20-inch Corniche Challenge rims with sticky 235/30R20 tires mounted to them for a little extra grip. Also helping you keep it on the road is a complete suspension setup from KW Clubsport. Bringing this GTI to a stop is a set of Stopteck front brakes that feature 355 x 32 mm (23.97 x 1.26-inch) rotors and 4-piston monobloc calipers.

The twisties aren’t the only place you can have fun with this BBM-tuned GTI. It also boasts am ECU flash and a full-stainless-steel exhaust system with a racing catalytic converter. This pumps the GTIs turbocharged 4-banger from 210 horsepower to a whopping 275 horsepower and its torque from 206 pound-feet to a more respectable 280 pound-feet.

There is no build price listed for this kit, but we would anticipate it to run in the $5,000 range with all of that carbon fiber. It may even sneak into the $8,000 range, if the ECU modification is more than a simple flash.

Audi officially buys Ducati

Okay, for ease of understanding we always just place Lamborghini under Volkswagen AG’s umbrella, but in reality, VW owns 99 percent of Audi AG who in turn owns Lamborghini ... got it? In a third party, back-door kinda way, yes, VW does own Lamborghini... sort of. So earlier in the year, we mentioned that Audi had secured the Italian motorcycle builder, Ducati, for about $1 billion.

According to Audi’s financial report, it is not the owner of Ducati . How in the world does that kind of error slip through the cracks, right? Well, apparently, Audi follows the same school of thought as its parent company, Volkswagen AG, and tries to push the bounds of legality to get things done, a la Porsche getting a share of VW to exempt VW from paying taxes on the buyout .

Instead of Audi buying Ducati, Lamborghini actually bought it. This does two things for VW, Audi, and Lamborghini. First, it allows it to retain its Italian roots and secondly, it helps push Lamborghini’s overall fuel economy and emissions closer to the European standards that have plagued it in recent years.

So VW has found a way to slither its way through the EU rulebook and find a way around a very important law. Touché, VW, we bow to your supreme rule-bending abilities and the way you do it without us even noticing sometimes.

By almost all accounts, the Volkswagen Passat CC is a pretty sweet car despite the fact that there’s not a lot about it that actually stands out. So how can a Passat CC gain an extra edge in the eyes of the people?

You dress it up like this.

This is the Volkswagen Passat CC "S.W.A.T.," an aftermarket creation from KBR Motorsport, Cover EFX, SH CarCare, and CFX. The program has been christened as "S.W.A.T." not because it’s dressed like a ’Special Weapons And Tactics’ vehicle, because it’s actually an acronym from ’Special Wagons And Tuning,’ a joined tuning company comprised of the companies that were mentioned above.

Nevertheless, the special camouflage-themed matte foil wrap does add a bad-ass look to the Passat, even if it goes against the actual purpose of camouflaging since there’s no way this car can blend in on the streets. Apart from the ironic camouflage wrap, the program also comes with a lowered sport suspension with shortened coilovers, a new set of 21" alloy wheels, and an engine and exhaust system upgrade that improves the car’s output to 280 horsepower. That is a 72 HP jump from the standard 2.0L inline four engine.

All of that is pretty cool...but that camouflage wrap is just a little too tacky for our taste.

Volkswagen's Takeover of Porsche is Complete

Finally! After a long and drawn out process, the corporate restructuring that brings full control of Porsche’s automotive side under Volkswagen Volkswagen ’s control is approved and official. The deal sent 4.49 billion Euros and one voting share of VW stock from VW and Porsche SE to Porsche AG, the latter item being simply a concession to avoid paying a load of taxes and was left out of VW’s press release.

This officially gives Volkswagen AG 100 percent holdings in Porsche and effectively gives VW the ability to do whatever it wants with the famed sports car builder. We have already alluded to the possibility of VW overriding Porsche’s CEO and continuing on with the “Baby Boxster” project that gained notoriety lately. That possibility was given more solid ground with a statement released by VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn.

Winterkorn was quoted saying “The path is now finally clear for a bright future together. Even closer cooperation will enable us to significantly strengthen Volkswagen and Porsche, and further expand the group‘s product portfolio with fascinating new vehicles.”

You see, it is that last section about bringing new models that really drives home the possibility that VW may be about to force Porsche to build a lesser-priced version of the Boxster . We see that as making perfect business sense because if Porsche buyers can accept a sedan and a pair of SUVs, why can’t they accept a lower-priced Boxster?

Either way, congrats to both sides and we are glad to finally see this issue laid to rest.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

Porsche "Baby" Boxster

Last week, we gave you a nice little rundown on what Porsche has in store for us in the coming years . One of those cars included Project 551, which we have all nicknamed the “Baby Boxster .” This compact, entry-level roadster looked to be a certainty in Porsche’s lineup, when suddenly the plan was axed, as Porsche’s CEO basically said it doesn’t fit the Porsche mold and they want to retain their customer exclusivity.

Well, now that the recent automotive giant, Volkswagen AG, has bought out the remaining shares of Porsche , err, “restructured” their corporate design, we may see this all change. You see, VW could give two cents about customer exclusivity. It wants to sell units and that’s that. VW will likely keep the 200,000-unit goal that Porsche had set before the “restructuring” and the way that VW may do this is to release a lower-priced roadster.

Think about it, fresh college graduates can’t typically afford a $50,000 base-level Boxster , but a $23,000 Miata is not an issue. Well, if Porsche slides a smaller, less feature-packed version of the Boxster right between the two, say at about $32,000, it could suck these young professionals into the Porsche brand early. With these premium brands, once they get in, they are typically customers for life.

In addition, the excuse that Porsche CEO, Matthias Mueller, made regarding a Baby Boxster not fitting the Porsche mold is complete hogwash. Porsche released an SUV and a sedan in the last decade, plus it is about to release a smaller version of its SUV, so how in the world could a smaller, more wallet-friendly roadster not fit in with a sports car company? Yeah, we don’t get it either.

Keep an eye out for some changes in the Porsche lineup over the next few months, there’s bound to be some and we bet one will be the announcement of an upcoming production model of the Project 551.


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