Brazil contemplates safety exemption for VW Kombi as it goes out of production today [w/poll]

Volkswagen Kombi Last Edition

Brazil: the country of carnivals, indescribable beauty adjacent to abject poverty, Ayrton Senna and old Volkswagen models. Only they’re not old – they’re new, they’re just based on old designs. The original Beetle continued production there long after it had been phased out elsewhere, but the original Kombi van has lasted much longer. That ends today, however, with the iconic VW Microbus ambling out of production on the last day of 2013.

VW kept making the van in Brazil with the original air-cooled 1.2-liter boxer four until 2005, after which the original design was updated with a 1.4-liter water-cooled engine. Today, however, it ultimately falls prey to safety regulations that mandate that all vehicles – no matter how old their design – need to have airbags and ABS, forcing Volkswagen do Brasil to cease production of the Microbus after a 56-year production run. But the latest word is that the Kombi (as it’s presently known) could get a stay of execution – or at least a resurrection in short order.

According to reports, the Brazilian government is looking into granting the Type 2 Microbus an exemption from said safety regulations, reasoning that the van was designed long before the advent of airbags and ABS. If the measure goes through, the Kombi Last Edition (pictured above) could prove not to be the last at all. So what do you think, should the Microbus get an exemption from Brazilian safety regulations for nostalgia’s sake? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.

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Audi investing $30.3 billion through 2018 for product expansion

2015 Audi A3 sedan, front view

How does Audi plan to reach two million units in annual sales and pay for the 11 new models it’s adding to its lineup – an expansion that may include models named SQ2, Q9 and F-Tron? By increasing its investment to 22 billion euros ($30.3 billion US) between now and 2018. That figure represents an increase of about 500 million euros over the previously planned outlay, according to a report by Automotive News, and that could be due to Audi wishing to goad the momentum that pushed it to 1.5 million annual sales two years ahead of schedule.

It’s also about staving off the challenges from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Now that BMW has been able to turn some of its attention away from its “i” series of Megacity cars, it will reportedly spend more than planned in 2014 as it continues the rollout of ten all-new vehicles and 15 new-generation vehicles through the end of next year. Mercedes, having been dropped to third in the sales race, is preparing to add 13 new cars over the next six years.

Audi’s money is going into technology, into product like the next-generation TT and the Q1 and production expansions and upgrades all over the world. The expenditure represents just under a fourth of Volkswagen’s 84.2 billion-euro ($115.7 US) outlay devoted to taking the number-one global automaker title away from General Motors and Toyota by 2018.

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Volkswagen could outsell GM in China for the first time in nine years

China Exits Slowdown As Quarterly Growth Tops Forecasts

As of the end of November, Volkswagen had sold 70,000 more cars than General Motors in China in 2013, making it appear inevitable that VW will outsell GM there. The feat would return the German brand to the top of chart in China for the first time in nine years, but even the second-place getter won’t be complaining too loudly: both automakers sold more than three million vehicles in a market pegged to hit 16 million sales this year.

Volkswagen said it could have sold more cars if it had had more production capacity in China. The arrival of a new-to-China Audi A4, a China-built A3 sedan, the VW Bora and Skoda Octavia, as well as an $18.2-billion-euro investment in the country to construct new factories, means VW should see its numbers grow in 2014. GM’s lineup is expanding next year, too, adding four Chevrolet nameplates and two vehicles to its Baojun brand as it tries to get to five million in sales by 2015.

Among other automakers, Ford benefited from good product and woes for Japanese automakers over a territorial dispute with China, outselling Toyota by almost 32,000 units through the end of November. The Ford Focus is China’s best-selling vehicle so far this year.

Analysts predict that the Chinese market will grow in 2014 thanks to untapped demand in smaller cities, and that should make for more record numbers; counting buses and trucks, China should surpass the 20-million sales mark. The biggest headwind foreseen at the moment is pollution. Larger cities are already capping the number of new vehicle sales and how often people are allowed to drive, as the effects of industrialization obscure entire cities and long-term forecasts.

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VW says it has sold over 100,000 TDI diesels in America this year

IT’S OFFICIAL: Volkswagen Group of America has sold more than 100,000 TDI® Clean Diesel vehicles in 2013

Herndon, VA, 12.20.2013 – Volkswagen Group of America reported today that it has sold 100,000 TDI® Clean Diesel vehicles from the Volkswagen and Audi brands this year. This is the first time it has reached this milestone in a calendar year. Volkswagen and Audi currently offer 12 different TDI Clean Diesel powered models in the United States.

Audi and Volkswagen pioneered TDI® Clean Diesel engines and, as a result, the Volkswagen Group of America is the current market leader in Clean Diesel. Today’s Clean Diesel engines deliver more torque, better highway fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions compared with equivalent gasoline engines. As a result, Audi and Volkswagen deliver remarkable performance and impressive fuel economy.

“Selling more than100,000 TDI Clean Diesel vehicles is a significant milestone for Volkswagen Group of America,” said Mark McNabb, chief operating officer, Volkswagen of America. “We’re excited to see the increasing numbers of customers able to enjoy the reliability, durability, fuel-efficiency and power of the clean diesel engine.”

“The past year has shown that American consumers clearly recognize the benefits of clean diesel TDI vehicles,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “They understand now more than ever that this is a technology delivering real answers to society’s concerns about fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions without compromises.”

More than 75 percent of the diesel engines sold in the passenger car and SUV segments in the United States can be found under the hoods of Volkswagen and Audi models. Ever since 1977, when Volkswagen first offered a diesel in the Rabbit, the company has sold more than one million cars and SUVs powered by these engines in this market. High-mileage, TDI® Clean Diesel Volkswagen models accounted for 21 percent of sales in November and 24 percent of sales year-to-date, the best year-to-date results on record.

In 2013, Audi showed it intends to remain at the forefront of clean diesel expansion in the U.S. by dramatically enhancing its lineup with the new Audi Q5 TDI, A6 TDI, A7 TDI and A8 TDI models. Those premium models joined the Audi Q7 SUV in the market, and next summer Audi will introduce its most fuel-efficient model, the all-new A3 TDI sedan.

The TDI models in the Audi and Volkswagen lineup deliver up to 30% better fuel economy and 12%-30% lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines and there is no need for driver behavior change except to move from one pump to the other and no need for big infrastructure changes.

Volkswagen offers Clean Diesel technology in seven different models, six of which get an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 40 mpg or more on the highway. The models include the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat and Touareg.

About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. VWGoA operates a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company’s headquarters are in Herndon, Va. VWGoA brings vehicles to the U.S. that marry the science of engineering and the art of styling, with the goal of offering attractive, safe, and eco-conscious automobiles that are competitive and set world standards in their respective classes. The company has approximately 5,900 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through a 950-strong dealer network.

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Auto Ad of the Year Award finalists announced [w/video]

Automobile Advertising of the Year Finalists Announced
Ron Burgundy, Spock vs. Spock, Parkour Among Shortlisted

New York, NY (December 19, 2013) – The One Club (www.oneclub.org), producers of the prestigious One Show Awards, announced today the finalists for the 2014 One Show Automobile Advertising of the Year Award. In partnership with the North American International Auto Show (www.naias.com) in Detroit, The One Club has created a special award to recognize creative excellence in five categories – Print & Outdoor, Broadcast TV, Online Videos, Interactive and Experiential Advertising – as well as the Public Choice Award.

This year’s winners will be presented on-stage at a special event during the NAIAS Press Preview on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at the Cobo Center in Detroit. The list of finalists, which features creative work from domestic and international agencies and automakers, are as follows:

Broadcast TV

· Dodge “It Comes Standard” – Wieden+Kennedy/Portland

· Honda “Hands” – Wieden+Kennedy/London

· Honda “Illusions” – McGarryBowen/London

· Daimler/Smart “Offroad” – BBDO Germany/Duesseldorf

· Land Rover “Roam Free” – Young & Rubicam/New York

Online Videos

· Audi “The Challenge” – PMK*BNC/New York and Audi of America

· Honda “Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989” – Dentsu/Tokyo

· Honda “Project Drive-in” – RPA/Santa Monica

Interactive

· BMW “Eli’s BMW” – kbs+/New York

· Hyundai “Driveway Decision Maker” – Innocean USA/Huntington Beach

· Fiat “Abarth 500 Zero Followers” – Leo Burnett/Duesseldorf

Experiential Advertising

· Toyota “Tundra Endeavor Campaign” – Saatchi & Saatchi/Los Angeles

· Toyota “Camry Thrill Ride Experience” – Saatchi & Saatchi/Los Angeles

· BMW “Window Into the Near Future” – kbs+/New York

Print/Outdoor

· Kia “Panoramic Sunroof – Cat” – David&Goliath/Los Angeles

· Fiat “Letters” – Leo Burnett Tailor Made/Sao Paulo

· Volkswagen “Child” – Grabarz & Partner/Hamburg

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