Trio of cheesy classic VW buses stolen, recovered

 Trio of cheesy classic VW buses stolen, recovered

Three customized Volkswagen Buses (pictured above) made to look like blocks of Tillamook cheddar cheese are safe again after being stolen on July 12, and two men are in police custody for the alleged theft.

The cheesy cadre of VWs, their custom trailer and a Ford F-350 to haul them were on a promotional tour when they were stolen from a hotel parking lot in Manteca, California. Police began searching for them, and the group of bright orange Volkswagens wasn’t too hard to sniff out. The three vans with an estimated value of $100,000 each were recovered undamaged on July 14 from a storage center in California about 50 miles away from where they were taken, according to Oregon Live. It reports that one of the men arrested rented a space there.

Unfortunately, the trailer and pickup used to haul the classic VWs weren’t so lucky. Prior to finding the vans, police discovered the other vehicles burned out. It appears the alleged thieves tried to turn them into grilled cheese…

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VW confirms SUV for Chattanooga; will add 2,000 jobs including new R&D center

NEW MIDSIZE SUV FROM VOLKSWAGEN TO BE PRODUCED IN CHATTANOOGA
Jul 14, 2014

Winterkorn: “This model will play a key role for Volkswagen’s presence in North America”
Volkswagen Group of America to invest approximately $900 million in the project
Second model to be produced in Chattanooga, in addition to the US-built Passat, starting from the end of 2016
Approximately 2,000 additional jobs to be created
Establishment of a National Research & Development and Planning Center in Chattanooga
Group Works Council Chairman Osterloh to be named a member of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen Group of America
Wolfsburg, July 14, 2014 – Within the framework of its Strategy 2018 plan, the Volkswagen Group is expanding its industrial footprint in the US. The Board of Directors of Volkswagen Group of America has decided to award the production of the new midsize SUV to the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The Group will be investing a total of approximately US$900 million (€643 million) in the production of a newly developed, seven-passenger SUV, and creating 2,000 additional jobs in the US. About US$600 million (€432 million) will be invested in Tennessee.

“The United States of America is and will remain one of the most important markets for Volkswagen. Over the past few years, we have achieved a lot there. We are now launching the second phase of the Volkswagen campaign in the US. With the midsize SUV, the expansion of the Chattanooga plant and the new development center, the focus is on the wishes of the US customer. This is also a strong signal for the US as an industrial and automobile production location. The Volkswagen brand is going on the attack again in America,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, in Wolfsburg.

“The Chattanooga-built midsize SUV will allow us to fulfill the wishes of our dealer network, bringing new customers to our showrooms and additional growth for the brand,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO Volkswagen Group of America. “We are eager to be entering this growing vehicle segment with a world-class, seven-passenger SUV from Volkswagen.”

Apart from investing in the production of a new vehicle, the Chattanooga location is to receive a new, independent National Research & Development and Planning Center of the Volkswagen Group of America for project coordination in the North American market. The objective is to identify customers’ feedback in the market and to integrate them more expeditiously into existing and planned vehicle models. This will lead to the creation of approximately 200 qualified engineers working in Chattanooga. This decision is another element in the investment program that the Volkswagen Group has launched in the region. From 2014 to 2018, the Volkswagen Group will be investing more than US$7 billion in the US and Mexico. It is Volkswagen’s goal to deliver 800,000 vehicles in the US by 2018.

“Today is an exciting day not just for Chattanooga and Hamilton County but for all of Tennessee, and I want to thank Volkswagen for its significant long-term investment in our state,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “The impact of this announcement goes far beyond the 2,000 new jobs because of the large multiplier effect of the automotive industry, and adding an additional manufacturing line and the National Research & Development and Planning Center sends a clear signal that Tennessee can compete with anyone in the global marketplace.”

Christian Koch, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, said: “We are proud to be making the new midsize SUV here. This is fantastic news for the plant and proof of the confidence placed in the workforce that does a great job here making high-quality cars every day.”

At Chattanooga, the new SUV will be integrated into existing plant structures. Existing areas in production will be used for the assembly of the midsize SUV. A total floor space of 50,000 m² (approx. 538,000 sq ft) will be added to the existing production facility. The midsize SUV, which is based on the CrossBlue concept vehicle, was developed especially for the North American market. The CrossBlue made its global debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Today, Volkswagen also announced that the Chairman of the Group Works Council of Volkswagen, Bernd Osterloh, will join the Board of Directors of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We are pleased that Mr. Osterloh has declared his willingness to play a concentrated role in shaping our US strategy in the future. He will represent the views of the workforce. This is in line with the codetermination culture of Volkswagen, which is one of our key success factors,” Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said.

Osterloh stated: “It is important for us that our colleagues in the U.S. know that we also care about the production site and the employment in Chattanooga. I am looking forward to my work on the Board. I am determined to uphold the interests of Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga. The North American market offers considerable opportunities; in my opinion, these have not been pursued with sufficient consistency in the past. With today’s decision to produce the midsize SUV in the USA, we are taking a key step.”

“Hamilton County is pleased to partner with Volkswagen as they create 2,000 new family-wage jobs which will also generate very positive economic ripple effects for residents throughout our community,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “By working with Volkswagen to build on the tremendous success of their initial job creation project, we are establishing a foundation for continuing economic growth for years to come.”

“Volkswagen is one of Chattanooga’s largest and most valued employers. They have brought 12,400 living-wage jobs to our region, employed Chattanoogans and helped build our middle class. This expansion will result in a huge capital investment and thousands of new jobs,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “From day one, the City and County have worked hard to see today become a reality, when we can announce that Volkswagen will be adding more jobs, more investment and expanding their presence in Chattanooga.”

“This announcement is great for Chattanooga and great for Volkswagen,” said Ron Harr, president & CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber. “Thanks to Volkswagen’s expansion, we will have a much easier time recruiting additional automotive suppliers to help them build out their supply chain while also cementing Chattanooga as ‘The Center of the Automotive South.’”

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UAW forming local union for VW Chattanooga workers

Volkswagen Chattanooga UAW forming local union for VW Chattanooga workers

While the UAW was defeated in a February election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga factory, it wasn’t enough to deter the union from future attempts at organizing the factory’s labor force.

According to The Tennessean, the UAW is set to announce the formation of a union local for the plant’s employees. Membership will be voluntary, and the union reports that VW won’t formally recognize the local until a majority of the plant’s workers join up.

“We will be announcing a local, and we would fully expect that Volkswagen would deal with this local union if it represents a substantial portion of its employees,” the UAW’s Region 8 director, Gary Casteel, told The Tennessean.

Apparently, the union has been considering this move since its 712-626 defeat in February, although the final decision was only made this week.

“The election was so close, we don’t feel it’s right to turn our backs on these workers,” Casteel said.

The official announcement will be made at 4:00 PM today.

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VW Beetle Dune production confirmed [w/video]

01 vw beetle dune concept detroit 1 VW Beetle Dune production confirmed [w/video]

Volkswagen has sneakily announced plans to put the Beetle Dune Concept from the 2014 Detroit Motor Show into production in 2016. The confirmation didn’t come in a press release as long as your arm (as is the norm among German automakers). Instead, it came as almost an aside during a promotional video for the high-riding Bug. And it isn’t only going to be limited to the coupe like the concept either; a convertible version is also on the way.

The video doesn’t go into any further details about the pumped-up Beetle. However, according to Car in the UK, its European launch is scheduled for early 2016, and the production version is getting the extra 2 inches of ground clearance and 1.1-inch wider track from the concept. That suggests the wider fenders and different front and rear fascia will make it to the road, too. Pricing is rumored to be about 2,800 euros on top of a standard Bug. That’s roughly a $3,800 US premium over its more ground-bound cousins, but we suspect if it came Stateside, the premium would almost certainly be smaller.

The Beetle Dune’s powertrain range is still a mystery, though. The show car had a 210-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox routing power to the front wheels. We would expect a fuller range of powerplants, and it’d be nice if all-wheel drive were offered to cash in on that extra ground clearance.

Of course, just because VW launches a new product for Europe, doesn’t guarantee it for North America. Autoblog asked VW of America spokesperson Mark Gillies about the model’s chances, and he toed the company line, saying: “We haven’t announced any official plans for this vehicle.”

Let’s not rule getting the Beetle Dune out, though. After all, VW debuted the concept in Detroit, and there’s a still-robust romance associated with all things dune buggy in our corner of the world. It would quite a tease to reveal it here and not sell it, no? Scroll down to watch the video – the announcement comes at about the 50-second mark.

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Volkswagen Beetle gets new premium pack

beetle premium Volkswagen Beetle gets new premium pack

Volkswagen Beetle customers will have a new option package to select when they’re not building their cars online. A new Premium Package is being made available for the 2014 Beetle hardtop and Convertible, provided they’ve been optioned with either the 1.8-liter turbo or the 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder, that adds a wealth of new goodies to VW’s iconic entry.

The Premium Package cars sit at the top of the hierarchy for their respective engines, and add bi-xenon headlights, gray mirror caps, an R-line front bumper, automatic climate control, navigation, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the must-have Fender stereo, and a choice of three exterior hues with a new interior treatment. 1.8T customers will also get a sport suspension with 19-inch wheels, while TDI models will roll on 18-inch hoops.

Prices start at $27,355 for the hardtop Beetle Premium with the 1.8T, while losing the roof adds $3,400. The TDI Premium Coupe rings up at $29,355 while the cabriolet is $32,755.

Scroll down for the official press release from Volkswagen.

NEW PREMIUM PACKAGE OFFERED ON 2014 BEETLE COUPE AND CONVERTIBLE

Starting in July, consumers looking to get into a 2014 Beetle will have a new option to consider: the Premium Package. This range-topping package-exclusively offered on Coupe and Convertible trims equipped with a 1.8T or TDI® Clean Diesel engine-offers features new to the Beetle, as well as equipment previously only available on the Beetle R-Line trim. Specifically:

Bi-Xenon automatic headlights (auto feature is new to Beetle)
Sport suspension (1.8T)
Grey door sills and mirror caps
R-Line bumpers with foglights
18″ Disc wheels in Galvano Grey (TDI)
19″ Torando wheels in White (1.8T)
Climatronic Automatic Climate Control (new to Beetle)
RNS 510 with navigation and satellite radio (new to Beetle)
Rain-sensing windshield wipers (new to Beetle)
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Unique seating surfaces with leather inserts
Fender® Sound System
iPhone® 5 cradle (new to Beetle)
Contrast stitching
Three exterior color options: Oryx White, Platinum Gray, Deep Black

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Beetle Coupe with Premium Package comes in at $27,355 with the 1.8T engine, and $29,355 with the TDI. For those who want to feel the wind in their hair, a 2014 Beetle Coupe Convertible with Premium Package is $30,755 (1.8T) and $32,755 (TDI). All prices exclude destination and handling ($820).

*Note: Photo of Beetle Convertible with Premium Package associated with this post is a Euro-spec model

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Google’s new Android Autos OS unveiled, will be in cars this year [w/video]

 Googles new Android Autos OS unveiled, will be in cars this year [w/video]

Connected cars are coming en-masse. We know this much. How, though, remains something of an open question, especially as two of the world’s largest tech companies are preparing to battle for control of your car’s dashboard. On the one hand, we have Apple and its CarPlay system. And now, we know what Google has been working on with Auto Link.

Its new name is Android Auto, and yes, it’s based off the Android architecture that is the primary challenger to Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Announced at Google’s I/O conference today, Android Auto functions similarly to CarPlay – owners will need to plug their smartphones into their cars to access the full breadth of capability.

In Android Auto’s case, that means a wealth of voice controls to limit distracted driving. Google’s marquee apps will be available when the interface arrives in production models later this year, including Google Play Music, Google Maps and voice-activated texting and text playback. Meanwhile, developers will be able to begin designing custom apps for the new system via an upcoming software development kit.

The technology is nearly as impressive as the roster of manufacturers Google has already enlisted to offer the system. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are on board, as are Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen.

It’s not entirely clear which manufacturer will be the first to offer Android Auto in a production model, although Google says it expects the tech to hit the roads before the end of the year. Considering that, you should expect to hear a lot more about this new technology in the coming months.

Take a look below to see Android Auto in action in a brief video.

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Volkswagen Beetle GRC is lean and mean

DEFINITIVE BEETLE GRC RACECAR TO DEBUT AT VOLKSWAGEN RALLYCROSS D.C. EVENT

With 544 horsepower, the Beetle GRC promises to be an even more competitive proposition than the Polos driven by Scott Speed and Tanner Foust

Herndon, VA – The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team today unveiled the definitive Beetle GRC rallycross car. The Beetle will run later this season in the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed.

The team enters the third round of the season, Volkswagen Rallycross D.C., with two victories for Scott Speed driving the No. 7 7UP Volkswagen Polo. Both he and Foust are stoked by the prospect of the Beetle, which features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder TSI® turbocharged and intercooled engine making 544 horsepower. “The Polo has already proved super-competitive,” said Speed, “and we are really looking forward to racing a car that has been engineered specifically by Volkswagen Motorsport for GRC competition.” Foust added: “I know I can’t wait to race the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle. There’s no cooler looking car in the series.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport director, said: “After Volkswagen of America’s impressive start on the rallycross scene with the Polo, the launch of the new Beetle GRC rallycross car represents the next major milestone. The Beetle boasts a unique appearance and state-of-the-art technology. It will sweep fans off their feet.”

This rallycross car is the ultimate expression of the third-generation Beetle. Designed and engineered from the outset as a GRC car, it features a sequential six-speed transmission, with a fixed-ratio all-wheel-drive system that features multiplate limited-slip differentials at the front and rear.

The car uses an all-around strut-type suspension, with ZF dampers and about 9.1 inches of travel to cope with the rigors of the off-road portion of a rallycross course. The car has 14.0-inch diameter front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, with four-piston aluminum calipers. The 17-inch wheels are shod with 240/640-R17 Yokohama competition tires.

The Beetle cuts quite a dash with its outsize rear wing, widebody fenders, and aggressive front fascia. Overall, the car is 168.8 inches long and 71.7 inches wide, and has to weigh in at a minimum of 2668 pounds, per series regulations. With this combination of low weight, high horsepower, and all-wheel-drive traction, the Beetle GRC is predicted to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in an incredibly quick 2.1 seconds.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers.

About Andretti Autosport

Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda championships. In 2013 the team announced intent to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross starting in 2014. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit AndrettiAutosport.com.

Notes:

This press release and images of the GRC Beetle are available at media.vw.com. Follow us @VWNews

“TSI”, “VW”, “Volkswagen”, all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG.

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Rubber woman enlisted to help sell VW Golf in UK

ebay uk doll golf Rubber woman enlisted to help sell VW Golf in UK

We’re tempted to just let you gaze at the picture above, and the gallery, then point you to the relevant auction on eBay UK and let you figure out the rest… but we’ll at least say a few words. Auction site user Gawjusberni of East Grinstead, West Sussex, United Kingdom wants to move his Volkswagen Golf 1.8 MkII. However, Mr. – we’ll assume we’re dealing with a mister – Gawjusberni didn’t see fit to list the model year, the mileage, the features or any of the usual minutiae found in such listings. But he did see fit to have a model, “Sandy,” swing by.

She’s the delightful doll in the teacher’s outfit, probably just come from explaining the commutative property to a bunch of similarly rubberized elementary school dolls. In the short and only partially legible description, Mr. Gawjusberni says that Sandy “reports as follows” that the Golf has a “good engine, gearbox, clutch and drives well.” She also knows how to point out rust, tender-like, on her knees. So there.

But it appears Sandy isn’t a DIY’er and doesn’t want to do the fixing up the Golf requires, so she passed on the purchase. Her loss, your gain, with bidding up to just 205 pounds ($344 US) at the time of writing.

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