Volkswagen Beetle to Live On as RWD Electric Car
There’s been a lot of talk about Volkswagen looking to drop the Beetle nameplate in the future. While rumors from a couple of years ago quoted slow sales and Volkswagen’s plans to reduce manufacturing costs, newer reports claim that the "Dieselgate" scandal will force the company to axe the Beetle alongside the Scirocco. The brand has yet to confirm any of this, but a more recent report says that the Beetle may have a chance to survive as an all-electric car.
That’s the word from Autocar, which claims that Volkswagen is "actively considering plans for an electric, rear-wheel-drive successor to today’s Beetle" as part of its range of zero-emissions models based on its new MEB platform. More specifically, the new Beetle will be a system model to the company’s upcoming small electric van, which was previewed by the ID Buzz concept at the Detroit Motor Show. The electric Beetle will also be rear-wheel-drive, according to Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess.
"If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” he said, adding that the MEB platform provides the perfect basis for emotional cars like the Beetle and Microbus. Volkswagen is reportedly also considering open-top models such as the Kubelwagen and the Buggy, so we may get a full lineup of electric cars that revive the company’s most iconic vehicles. On the flipside, Diess said that a firm decision on the Beetle’s successor has yet to be made.
Introduced in 1938, the original Beetle was produced in Germany until 1978, but assembly continued in other countries, with the Mexican plant rolling out vehicles until as recent as 2003. The New Beetle was launched in 1997 and redesigned in 2011.
Is VW Building an Atlas-based Unibody Pickup?
America will never see the Volkswagen Amarok mid-size pickup skip the Chicken Tax and arrive in stateside showrooms. That leaves VW clearly out of the pickup truck game, while other automakers are raking in profits while VW twiddles its thumbs while bleeding Dieselgate cash to the U.S. Government. But VW might have another Ace up its sleeve. According to reports, VW is currently evaluating the possibility of a unibody mid-size pickup based on its new Atlas crossover. That’s right, the Honda Ridgeline might soon have some company.
The news comes from CarBuzz, which spoke to Dr. Matthias Erb, Volkswagen of North America’s chief engineering officer, at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. According to Erb, the German automaker is currently exploring the possibility of scaling the Atlas’ platform for use as a unibody mid-size pickup aimed directly at the American market.
It’s an interesting idea, to say the least. Basing the pickup off the Atlas platform and using Atlas parts has many positives, including the reduced cost of engineering an entirely new platform and powertrain lineup, the already-established assembly plat in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the outright chaos avoided by trying to revamp the body-on-frame Amarok pickup to meet U.S. Government standards in emissions and crash testing, along with building an assembly plant in North American to avoid the Chicken Tax.
What’s more, the Atlas-based truck would have less competition. The Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody pickup based on a SUV currently sold in the U.S., so VW wouldn’t have to worry about competing with GM, Ford, Ram, and to a lesser extent, Toyota, and Nissan.
In fact, Erb told CarBuzz he knows the full-size truck segment is a tough nut to crack. “Body-on-frame trucks are a protected market, he told the outlet. "More than 80 percent of trucks in the U.S. are full-size. There are three main automakers who greatly protect this segment: Ford, GM, and Ram. They’re not just about to let someone else invade their turf.”
Opting to go unibody avoids this long-standing rivalry, allowing VW to compete on a more manageable level with the Honda Ridgeline. Of course, none of these plans are set in stone at this time – at least as far as we know. However, VW could certainly earn some market share in the niche corner of the unibody mid-size pickup segment. At this point, anything that could bring additional profits to the cash-strapped company would be given deep consideration.
Continue reading for more information.
People that are disgusted with the VW Beetle Cabrio, but still want to enjoy open-top freedom with a VW badge on it, will sadly be stuck with the Bug as the only option. So what in the world is VW doing with its peppy VW Eos, you may ask?
Well, in recent studies held by the VW design team, VW concluded that that the market has lost sight of the retractable hardtop vehicles, and are looking for better and cheaper options. The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class and the BMW Z4 obviously think otherwise.
So, according to Bischoff, there will be no VW Eos in production from next year ownward, bringing misery to the Eos fans-not that we know of.
On the bright side, Klaus Bischoff, VW head of design, said that there will be a larger four-seat, two-door convertible with a soft-top, which is obviously something to compete with the upcoming BMW 4-Series Convertible. However, this will be far less costly than the outgoing EOS, but it will also be more luxury appointed than its predecessor.
Expect to see thislarger drop-top sometime in 2014, as VW unveils its new range of vehicles following its new “top-down” design format.
This is all that we have for you but we’ll keep a close eye once details emerge.
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.
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.
DRB-Hicom and Lotus have officially shut down the five-year plan that Dany Bahar placed the compact sports car company on shortly before he was canned. In fact, DRB-Hicom flat out called the plan unrealistic and we agree. Now with Lotus hanging around with no real future in sight, could DRB-Hicom be ready to offload Proton and Lotus altogether?
If it is ready to cut the money pits named Proton and Lotus loose, there is a suitor ready and waiting, according to a report by Reuters. Volkswagen, the recent PAC-Man of the automotive world, tried once to snatch up Proton, but failed, and now it looks as if it is ready to try again for at least partial control.
Ideally, for VW, DRB would let go of controlling stake in both companies and sell them to VW on the cheap, so that the magical Volkswagen wand can heal Lotus and Proton, much like it has with Audi. The connection is already there, as VW uses a DRB-Hicom facility to manufacture the Passat, so starting up the conversation of a buyout is as easy as pressing a speed-dial button on a cellphone.
Volkswagen, of course, isn’t saying a word about all of this and DRB-Hicom has been insisting that it is not selling Lotus or Proton. As we all know, car manufacturers will deny any type of news about selling companies or merging until they absolutely cannot deny it anymore, so we take all of this denying with a great big grain of Sodium Chloride.
We’ll keep you updated if anything else comes up on this front.
A few days ago, it was rumored that the Volkswagen Bluesport had been dropped because the company couldn’t find enough sales to justify investing in the model. But, according to British magazine Evo, this simply isn’t true because the Bluesport is still on track.
In a recent interview with EVO, Volkswagen’s engineering boss, Uli Hackenberg, stated that the Bluesport project is still very much alive: "dealers are always looking backwards, not forwards… this is particularly the case when a new model is being considered as they don’t have any reference point to guide them, so they look around at the current market and give an estimate based on that."
Uli elaborated by stating that a production version will arrive in the next three years and will carry a price tag of about £30,000 (about $47k at the current exchange rates). Maybe this means we’ll also see the baby Boxster in the near future?
In the world of hot hatches and sedans, the Europeans get to have all the fun. Look at the Volkswagen Golf R and the Audi RS4. These are just two of the vehicles that we would love to have in the United States, but chances are that day will never come. Now, there is a new hot German vehicle and this one might actually come to our shores.
The four-door Jetta sedan might receive a hot R version and while these are just rumors, we wanted to give you a little insight into what it might offer. The Jetta R hasn’t officially been announced, so most of the information we have provided is simply speculation, but hot Volkswagens don’t seem to change much.
There is a chance that the hot Jetta will be shown at the Los Angeles Motor Show, but nothing has been announced as of yet.
Hit the jump to see the R.
Volkswagen isn’t just going to let Ferdinand Porsche’s immortal beetle get washed down the drain. After such a successful sales run, it would be a shame for the beetle to just drift away into nothingness so Volkswagen has decided to rejuvenate the bug by presenting the funky Volkswagen Ragster Concept.
Sources say the Ragster concept will be exhibited during next year’sDetroit International Motor Show where it will either create a big stir amongst the Beetle lovers or be haphazardly glanced at by passers-by. According to recent reports, Volkswagen says the Ragster isn’t just a remodel of the current Beetle, but a completely re-engineered vehicle complete with an all new chassis, body panels, and interior.
The power for the concept comes from a choice of three engine packages, from a range-topping 2.0-liter to a 211hp four-cylinder, and a 1.2-liter that produces a mighty 110hp. There are also plans for a mix of turbo diesel variants.
We must say, the Volkswagen Ragster Concept does show a bit of promise. They have basically taken the Beetle, added a ragtop, and gave it some attitude. The Ragster even looks the part with the front windshield looking as if the Beetle has furrowed its eyebrows. Nicely done, V-Dub. Definitely a much better option than the next generation Beetle rendered by David Cordoso. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if it can take the place of the classic Beetle.
In a smart move by Volkswagen, the company is taking advantage of its partnership with Suzuki. They haven’t been together long, but the German automaker is looking to create a new crossover that will fall below the Tiguan. Late last year, VW purchased a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki.
As we reported a week ago, VW is looking to be the largest automaker in the world by 2018. The company is currently working on a new crossover model that will fill the void below the hard to pronounce Tiguan.
Inside sources in Germany have reported that the company is using its partnership with Suzuki, using the SX4 platform on their new vehicle. Like the current SX4, the VW version should have all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. Power should come from a 1.6-liter diesel with 105 horsepower or a 1.2-liter petrol motor.
We hope that VW ships their new crossover to the United States, but as for now, we are in the dark. If the vehicle does make it to our shores, it could prove to be very beneficial for both parties. The VW connection could help Suzuki sales and for VW, the new crossover would help them compete in the newly created, small crossover segment with Mini and Audi.
The new VW crossover could be here as early as 2013 and if we compare notes for a minute, we could see the similarities between this report and our previous report on the Rocktan SUV. This report spoke of a VW/Suzuki collaboration based on the SX4 and placed under the Tiguan. These similarities lead us to believe that this new CUV is indeed the Rocktan and should cost under 20,000 Euros upon its release.
Only on slow automotive news Mondays would a rumor like this matter. It might also be the fact that it’s summer and the automotive industry has slowed a bit. Either way, Autocar has generated some interesting news. The UK based magazine is reporting that Volkswagen is debating on producing a wagon version of the CC four-door coupe.
According to Autocar, an unnamed source within the German company leaked plans for a CC wagon and the board will vote on it later this month. Why build another wagon? Well, Autocar believes that the Passat is on its way out in the United States and the next generation won’t be available in a wagon trim. So, VW is supposedly looking for something to fill the void.
Of course, we are skeptical, but one never knows. With no real competition in the segment, VW might have a winner.
For those who visited the Chicago show back in 2005, the Ragster Concept would have given you some idea on what was being planned, but then VW remained tight-lipped about the developments. News last month suggested the upcoming bug arriving sometime in 2011 will see a version with its top removed and even a small-sized SUV will feature in the list. VW will get there by using the 6th generation Golf platform to make the hatch and it would not be built stateside.
But now, Motor Trend reports that VW is considering anotherBeetle based on the VW Up!. The Up! debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt show and received a lot of positive response, especially from the American audience. So, VW might have decided to make use of it as a base to serve America exclusively with this iconic and hip car.
If the car is going to be based on the Up!, then it makes it a rear-engined, rear wheel-drive layout bringing it ever so close to the original version. The renderings are neat and the car should in all probability look like them.
What does all this mean. Simple-another sub-brand for VW. With the amount of waves the Beetle has created in America, launching these two vehicles under a brand new banner makes a whole lot of sense.