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Believe it or not, the unassuming Volkswagen Beetle convertible pictured above runs on pure electricity courtesy of an 80 kg battery, not the petrol-powered engines found on the road today. It’s called the E-Bugster, and it looks like much more than a moonshot concept car.

Without a doubt, the E-Bugster looks fantastic, being based off the production VW Beetle. It has a height of less than 1,400 mm, which is about 90 mm less than that of the sculpted, shapely hard-top Beetle. The E-Bugster’s width (1,838 mm) grew by 30 mm, while its length (4,278 mm) remained the same as that of the production car. The results are a dynamic presence from every angle.

The energy for powering the electric motor itself is stored in a lithium-ion battery whose modules are housed in a space-saving location behind the front seats. The battery’s energy capacity of 28.3 kWh enables a range of at least  in the urban world before needing to charge. But since the E-Bugster concept has a quick charging function, the battery can recharge within 35 minutes at fast charging stations. At home, the battery of the E-Bugster can also be charged from a conventional electric outlet — the kinds that perhaps power your television, or computer. The interface for the charge cable is located behind the C-pillar, just like a conventional gasoline Beetle. The battery also recharges via a process called “regenerative braking”, where kinetic energy lost in applying the brakes is transferred back into the battery, where it prolongs the electric range. Volkswagen calls the electrical system Blue-e-Motion.

The E-Bugster’s charging system utilizes a uniform industry standard for the connectors of future electric vehicles that will be available to all manufacturers. And this standardisation goes beyond the plug itself: in the Combined Charging System, the charge controller and the electrical architecture must be able to handle all charging types. This will reduce costs and simplify widespread global implementation of electric mobility.

Sport seats and a continuous centre tunnel in body colour underscore the sportiness of the E-Bugster. The use of aluminium as the material for the door handles and belt guides, and the lightweight construction styling of the steering wheel also produce a direct connection between the exterior and interior. Starting the E-Bugster is a unique experience: the Start button not only activates the drive system; it also puts a light show into motion: first, the interior is immersed in a white light, then a blue light. It begins as a light pulse in the instrument cluster; from there the light emanates as a thin line of light, just one millimetre wide, coursing into the door window sills and around the air nozzles – a kind of visual awakening of the E-Bugster.

Will we ever see the E-Bugster in the Pfaff Volkswagen lot next to the new Beetle? It doesn’t seem to be a moonshot. Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below or share them on our Facebook page.

As fuel prices continue to trend upward, consumers have increased their demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. And while plenty have turned their eyes on hybrid vehicle technology, many are also favoring vehicles with a more mature powertrain in diesel engine technology. And leading the charge is Volkswagen, according to a recent study done by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).

In the United States, for the first quarter of 2012, clean diesel sales ascended 35 percent over Q1 2011, a trend – and it is a trend, since diesel sales were up 27 percent in 2011 – that the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) says is due to higher fuel prices pushing people into the efficient oil-burners. Of all diesels sold in the U.S. for 2011, 58 percent of all diesel sales were Volkswagen TDI vehicles. More significantly, diesel Jettas made up 44 percent of all diesels sold in the U.S. last year. Considering the similarities between the United States and Canadian markets, this data is most likely relative to what is happening in Canada as well.

“I expect clean diesel auto sales to increase further as several new diesel cars are introduced in the U.S. market in the next year,” said DTF’s executive director Allen Schaeffer in a statement.

It’s easy to see why the Volkswagen Jetta TDI is so popular. For instance, the diesel variant of compact sedan affordably carries a starting MSRP of $15,875 in Canada, and consumes minimal fuel. Official numbers put the Jetta TDI with a six-speed manual transmission at 6.7l/100 km in urban and 4.6l/100 km in extra urban environments. Impressively, the engine is no slouch with 320 Nm of torque @ 1,750–2,500 RPM. Who needs to worry about expensive hybrid technology when a diesel engine can be both super efficient and fun to drive?

Thanks to growing demand of the North American-built Passat, Volkswagen has announced that it will be expanding its operations in Chattanooga, Tennessee to the tune of 800 new jobs. This comes after the earlier announcement of the plant taking on another 200 workers, bringing the grand hiring total for 2012 up to 1,000 at this point in time.

The Volkswagen Passat holds acclaim as Motor Trend Magazine’s 2012 Car of the Year, and the number-one pick for its 10 Best Family Cars of 2012 on kbb.com.

“This is a clear sign that the plant ramp-up has been successful and is a validation that the Passat is of the highest quality,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Our plant was designed to be flexible in order to respond to market demand and I’m proud that we’ve achieved this so quickly. This is a good day for Volkswagen and for the people of Chattanooga,” Fischer said.

The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga currently employs more than 2,700 people, about 2,200 by Volkswagen and an additional 500 by Aerotek, the company’s staffing partner.

“We have made a commitment to this market, both in terms of products and investment. Our original commitment to invest $4 billion into the U.S. market continues to grow, with a parts depot announced last week and now another further commitment to employment here in Chattanooga,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Quite plainly, we need more Passats to meet the market demand and I’m glad that we can respond so quickly by adding staff in Chattanooga,” Browning said.

The plant has been working daily overtime to meet the market demand. The additions to the workforce will allow the plant to extend its weekly production capacity while, at the same time, reducing the amount of overtime work for the existing team members.

“We promised a world-class work environment when we came to Chattanooga,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, Executive Vice President of Human Resources. “That commitment, along with our confidence in the market strength of the Passat, allowed us to accelerate the implementation of our third team. We came to Tennessee with a commitment to hire 2,000 people and we are proud that we are now growing our team to over 3,000.”

The plant, the world’s only LEED certified Platinum factory, opened in May of 2011 and builds the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, which was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year and has earned several other distinctions, including being ranked as the “Best Family Car of 2012,” by kbb.com, the online version of Kelley Blue Book.

“Congratulations to Volkswagen and Chattanooga,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “The partnership between Tennessee and Volkswagen has been beneficial to both and serves as the perfect example of the private sector and the public sector working together,” Haslam said.

“These 800 new positions are a combination of production and support functions,” said Jagla. “We will use this opportunity to hire many of our current Aerotek contract employees. So, Aerotek will be recruiting to fill full-time contract production positions that will open up as a result. We will also be hiring additional supervisors, quality engineers, and professionals in a number of areas,” Jagla said.

Volkswagen has recognized the need for a desired by those who require versatility and offroad capability without the footprint or cumbersome size of an SUV in North America. Frankly, there’s next to nothing to choose from at the moment. That’s why Volkswagen showed off its Passat Alltrack Concept at the 2012 New York International Auto Show to gauge consumer reaction if such a car were to launch in the western hemisphere. This unique car, with its flared side skirts and lifted ride height, closes the gap between passenger car and SUV. And because of its all-wheel-drive configuration, the Alltrack is just as much at home on the trails as it is in the city.

To aid the Alltrack in off-road performance, the engine is protected by a solid underbody guard made of steel plate. This armor helps protect the engine, gearbox, oil pan, exhaust system (front section) and various hoses from damage, and there’s another underbody shield at the rear of the car. Other exterior changes include matte chrome window surrounds, door mirror housings and radiator grille trim strips. Anodized silver roof rails are standard, along with front foglights and dual chrome tailpipes.

Adding to its offroading credentials, the Alltrack’s ground clearance is raised by1.2 inches compared with a non-Alltrack model. This ride height and the more aggressive bodywork improve the approach and departure angles: these are pitched between a conventional wagon’s and many a crossover at 16 degrees and 13.6 degrees respectively. The ramp breakover angle is approximately 12.8 degrees.

The Alltrack is powered by Volkswagen’s stout 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine that makes 140 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also features the excellent 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, with an offroad driving setting. Essentially, this program tunes key vehicle dynamic and assistance systems for offroad driving at speeds of up to 29 kph by simply pushing a button.

The offroad program modifies the settings for the safety and driver assistance systems. For instance, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) now has higher control interval thresholds; on loose surfaces, such as gravel, a wedge of material is formed in front of the tires to decelerate the vehicle more effectively. At the same time, the electronic differential locks react more quickly to help prevent wheelspin at individual wheels. The engine’s torque control is modified in parallel.

A Hill Descent Assist program is automatically activated when the gradient exceeds 10 percent; the system applies the Alltrack’s brakes. Meanwhile, features such as the optional adaptive cruise control are deactivated.

In offroad mode, the throttle map is altered to give a “longer” pedal to more accurately meter engine power. At the same time, gearshift points are raised, automatically giving the driver higher engine revs and therefore more power to work with. If the DSG lever is switched to the manual shift gate, the transmission no longer upshifts automatically.

Strategic Vision is a research-based consulting firm with over thirty-five years of experience in understanding the consumers’ and constituents’ decision-making systems for a variety of Fortune 100 clients, including most automotive manufacturers. Its unique expertise is in identifying consumers’ comprehensive motivational hierarchies, including the product attributes, personal benefits, value/emotions and images that drive perceptions and behaviors. And recently, SV released the results of their Total Value Index (TVI) study, recognizing the Volkswagen brand as the best in Total Value, while two of its vehicles received top ratings from buyers.

Volkswagen’s Jetta SportWagen received top honors in the medium multi-function category with the Volkswagen CC named as the number one larger car.

“The way you become a Value leader in this economy is to create an exceptional product that is also affordable. Volkswagen has done just that by delivering vehicles like the Jetta SportWagen and the Volkswagen CC that fit into our economic structure with the engineering and performance that make the purchase so very desirable,” says Dr. Darrel Edwards, Founder and Executive Director of Strategic Vision.

This latest Strategic Vision Total Value Index was calculated from 68,088 buyers who purchased models during September 2010 to June 2011. The formula for Strategic Vision’s TVI evaluates a number of important vehicle attributes including fuel economy, price, reliability, and resale value along with innovation that is impactful and intuitive to owners’ expressed vehicle needs.

“Volkswagen is proud to be named the number one brand by Strategic Vision’s Total Value Index, and to have two of our top vehicles honored with best-in-class ratings by the buyers themselves,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This honor represents the core values and abilities that set the Volkswagen brand apart, with our technological and design innovation, safety, reliability, and the overall power of our German engineering.”

This distinction marks the latest in a series of honors for Volkswagen from Strategic Vision. The brand has been named the best full-line corporation in Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Index four times in the past five years, with several Volkswagen vehicles winning top honors in both the Total Quality and Total Value Indices.

 

The handsome compact crossover photographed above is known as the Volkswagen Cross Coupé Concept — and it should lead to the future design language of Volkswagen crossovers and SUVs. Just as important, the concept is utilizing what VW is calling a “new modular transverse matrix architecture,” or MQB.

Smaller than the Tiguan, the Cross Coupé Concept comes with a 302 horsepower drivetrain composed of both a TDI diesel engine, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain system. Working together, Volkswagen says that the 1,858 kg concept can scoot from 0-100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds while possessing the efficiency of a sensationally low 1.8 l/100 km on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). And the advancements don’t stop there.

Within the MQB of the  Cross Coupé are elements for a future generation of SUVs – in this case, the MQB front and rear suspensions, the aforementioned TDI with 400 Nm of torque channeled through a a 6-speed double-clutch transmission, or DSG. The lithium-ion battery is located in the centre tunnel of the vehicle, with the front electric motor producing 40 kW and rear electic motor conjuring 85 kW.

If this technology is indeed to make it beyond the auto showroom floor and into vehicles such as the next generation Tiguan, than Volkswagen will truly have a revolutionary SUV on its hands. But that’s not to take away from the sheen of today’s model. The Tiguan, which starts at $27,875, is already full of technology. Elements such as the utilizing LED daytime running lights, which not only look amazing but also won’t burn out as fast as traditional headlights, are displays of class-leading progress. And when night falls, Bi-Xenon lights shine brighter than halogen or regular filament bulbs, and, with AFS, can turn up to 13 degrees around corners.

The cabin of the Tiguan features a  touch screen stereo incorperating AM/FM radio, an SD card reader, eight speakers, and a three-month trial to SIRIUS Satellite Radio right from the get-go. Plus, all of that music, entertainment, and more can be easily navigated using the intuitive touch screen interface sitting right in your dash. Powering the Tiguan is an award-winning 2.0 TSI engine which was designed to have the highest torque-per-cylinder in its class. This simply means that the engine tuned to have a broad, flat torque curve, making the power really noticeable, as well as available. To know how it truly feels is to drive a Tiguan.

The hotly anticipated 2012 Volkswagen Golf R has made its way into showrooms, raising the bar and changing the way people feel about compact hatchbacks. With it comes a 2.0L turbocharged engine capable of producing a stout 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque transferred to the road via six-speed manual transmission and 4Motion all-wheel-drive. And utilizing today’s app scene, Volkswagen developed a free iPad app titled “Golf R Drivers Forever

Downloading the app gets you exclusive videos and photos, including a brief documentary on the “world of Volkswagen,” produced by AWOL Films. Included is an interview with Chip Foose, who openly professes his love for both the Golf and the VW brand, along with plenty of stories from Volkswagen fans everywhere.

There’s even an interactive timeline covering the history of the Golf marquee, expanding beyond that of the range-topping Golf R If you’re in the market to buy a Golf R, however, the app also includes a digital copy of the brochure and gives a 360-degree view of the car.

If the Golf R is seems just a bit out of reach, the standard Golf, which carries an MSRP of $19,975, has still been found to be a favorite among hatchback enthusiasts year in and year out. With its 2.5L engine producing 170 horsepower, and 200 horsepower from the turbocharged 2.0L engine in the athletic GTI model, the Golf has something for many tastes in power, while returning up to 7.12L/100 km on the highway in fuel efficiency. Occupant safety is also a top priority in the VW Golf, with 6 standard airbags placed within the cabin.

Volkswagen recently announced that the second generation CC will debut at the 2011 LA Auto Show in two weeks. Most of the curvaceous four-door’s exterior remains unchanged but both front and rear fascias have been updated. The refreshed 2013 VW CC bears a striking resemblance to its siblings, bearing the unmistakable grille that has now become synonymous with Volkswagen’s design language. Designers ditched the previous scalloped headlamps for new standard Bi-Xenon units with straightened edges. Also new are the trapezoidal grille, a new hood, and a revised lower air dam.

Other cosmetic changes are much more conservative. The 2013 CC gains new LED tail lights with L-shaped lens patterns resembling those used on the Passat, Jetta, Golf, and Eos. The bumper receives an ever so slight revision that highlights the chrome band running across it.

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Further details have yet to be released but officials say that the new car will not change much mechanically from its current iteration. We expect that most trims will utilize a 200-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, mated either to a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It is most likely that the 280-hp, 3.6-liter VR6 will be relegated to the top-trim models, and paired only with a six-speed automatic and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

We will bring your more information closer to the Los Angeles auto show press days, which officially kick off on November 16th, 2011. Continue to follow us on Twitter and check in on our Facebook community to stay in the loop.

On July 13, after 11 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes of non-stop driving, renowned adventurer and off-road driver Rainer Zietlow and his team set a new world record certified by Tuv Nord Mobility for driving the length of the Pan-American Highway as they cross the road’s end in Deadhorse, Alaska. The TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge team covered 14 countries and nearly 16,000 miles in a 2011 Volksagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV. Their journey to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Pan-American Highway’s establishment breaks the previous record by more than three days!

“Our adrenaline is still pumping after setting the new world record on the Pan-American Highway,” said Rainer Zietlow, manager of the German car event agency, Challenge4 GmbH, after finishing the Challenge. “We were able to overcome every weather challenge along the way, and our fueling and transportation stops ran like clockwork. Thanks to our sponsors, we were outfitted with a vehicle that could handle the demanding driving schedule and challenging conditions, and had amazing technical and driver support along the way.”

The journey began on July 2nd for Zietlow and his fellow German teammates, starting at the southern-most tip of Argentina where the Pan-American Highway begins. They travelled through 14 countries – Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada – and through challenging conditions ranging from a blinding sandstorm in Chile to muddy roads in northern Alaska. The team drove day and night, taking five-hour driving shifts throughout the trip. The TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge website, www.tdi-panamericana.com shared the team’s experiences through blog posts and videos, and tracked their progress using live cams.

As we previously posted, this journey is also one of goodwill as Zietlow will donate 10 Euro cents for every kilometer that was driven this trip to two villages in Latin America managed by Plan International.

Volkswagen congratulates the Challenge4 Team on their success,” said Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing, Volkswagen of America. “We knew that the Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV could be pushed to unimaginable limits. The completion of the TCI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge in record-setting time demonstrates the vehicle’s durability, reliability, comfort and fuel-efficiency. This is a great vehicle for adventurers, driving enthusiasts, and families alike.”

From August 1 through August 20, Zietlow will drive the record-setting Touareg to Volkswagen dealerships across the nation where those interested can watch a movie about his journey and look inside the vehicle. To see the tour schedule, please visit www.tdi-panamericana.com.

The inauguration of Volkswagen’s new plant in Tennessee saw a number of prominent representatives from politics, business, and the media. Among them was Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkom, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengeselischaft, and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Other notables included Dr. Klaus Scharioth, German Ambassador to the United States, Bill Haslam, Governor of the U.S. State of Tennessee, Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, as well as U.S. senators Robert Corker and Lamar Alexander. Prof. Winterkorn stated: “The Volkswagen Group has finally arrived as a local manufacturer in the United States. We are proud to be part of this great automobile nation as a producer, an employer, and as a friend and good neighbor to people in the region.”

Construction began in 2009. Today, built on a 1,400 acre site in Chattanooga stands an automobile plant that includes body shop, paint shop, assembly facility, technical testing center, academy for the initial and advanced training of employees, and a supplier park with eight companies. The design production capacity of he plant is 150,000 vehicles a year and the manufacturing depth for the Passat produced here will be of the order of 85 percent. Currently, the plant directly employs 1,700 people while an estimated 10,000 additional jobs will be created in the U.S. component supply industry.

Altogether, Volkswagen is investing about one billion US dollars in the development of the facility which boasts to be among the world’s most advanced and environmentally compatible automobile plants. The new plant is in line with the highest requirements of the U.S. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard, which lays down stringent provisions for the sustainable, environmentally compatible construction of buildings.

A number of key environmental measures were taken at the plant including the use of a painting process without any filler, which reduces CO2 emissions by about 20 percent. Water efficiency at the plant also meets the most stringent requirements. VW has built the world’s first automobile paint shop that uses a waterless separation process for topcoat application. Thanks to the use of collected rainwater, water consumption at the Chattanooga plant is also considerably lower than at other facilities of comparable size. In addition, the U.S. plant is the first Volkswagen facility to rely entirely on energy-saving LED systems for outdoor lighting. The production buildings and offices are also equipped with energy-saving lamps controlled by motion sensors. The entire lighting system of the plant uses about 20 percent less energy that a comparable facility.

With the North America being one of the world’s largest and most important automobile markets, the plant lays the important foundation that will enable VW to meet its target of boosting Group sales in the market to more than a million vehicles per year by 2018 while at the same time winning a market share of about six percent.

As we previously posted, having the plant in the U.S. makes the Passat, which has been specially tailored to meet the needs of the U.S. and Canada, much more affordable. Book a test drive today and be one of the first customers to own a U.S. made Passat. Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook page to find out when the first vehicles will hit our showroom.

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