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The Volkswagen Group, which consists of Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche brands in America, are looking to become the number one seller of vehicles in the world by 2018. That’s a bold proclamation as they’re currently sitting in the number three position behind Toyota and General Motors.
As of last year, the VW Group was at 7.14-million vehicles sold while Toyota was at 8.42-million and GM was at 8.39-million. They’re currently aiming to be moving 10-million vehicles a year by 2018 and CEO Martin Winterkorn anticipates it’ll even happen before then.
Their plan will be to target the global market obviously, having already secured the European market. Their new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee currently has the capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles a year, but VW is working on expanding it to 500,000, the majority of which will remain within the US market.
Even though VW has taken over European automotive sales with 2.9 vehicles sold in 2010, they still look to increase their market share with their new Up! model. But key to VW becoming the global leader in sales will be how they perform in other markets including Brazil, Russia, India and most importantly, China.
[Source: Car and Driver]
If you’re in the market for a Bugatti Veyron and cannot decide between the current Grand Sport targa-top or the ultra fast Super Sport version, you would then ideally prefer to have a mixture of the two. However, Bugatti will not sell you such a beast.
In an interview with a Dutch magazine, Wolfgang Dürheimer, the current CEO of Bugatti and Bentley has said that it is not possible to integrate the two. He added that the Super Sport has very fine tuned aerodynamics, which will not be applicable to an open-top car. And while the Grand Sport did receive extra structural rigidity, the all carbon-fiber monocoque of the Super Sport is even stiffer.
There’s also the matter of engine cooling. The Super Sport has unique NACA-style ducts, which cannot be incorporated into the Grand Sport.
However, if you still want more than 1001-hp in your open-top Bugatti, Dürheimer says that while 1200-hp of the Super Sport might not be possible, but something in the middle would be doable.
Bugatti plans on building 150 examples of the Grand Sport, of which only 40 have been sold. So expect to see some special edition versions being announced to fill the remaining order forms.
[Source: GT Spirit]
Turbocharged direct injection, or TDI for short, has become synonymous with Volkswagen and Audi models over the recent decade. So much so that in many countries, TDI is a registered trademark of Volkswagen AG. Unfortunately that won’t be the case in their own home territory, as the European Union courts has denied Audi (and subsequently VW) the rights to claim ownership of the TDI acronym.
The judge in Luxembourg believes that the technology of turbocharged diesels with direct injection is too common among automakers for Audi to claim ownership of TDI. In the grand scheme of things this probably doesn’t affect Volkswagen or Audi, but we’re sure they would have liked to have had the TDI trademark in Europe to ensure its exclusivity to its brand. Regardless, the trademark in individual countries should be more than enough to keep other manufacturers away from trying to use TDI on the trunk lids of their cars.
One of the worst parts of winter has to be waking up early to scrape the ice and snow off of your car (especially on a Monday morning). But Volkswagen is now working on a way to make those frosty mornings brighter – by introducing a first anti-fogging and anti-icing car windscreen.
Working in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Technology (IST) in Braunschweig, VW Group claims to have the solution for this particular winter turn-off. Their invention uses new glass panes that don’t allow an ice layer to form in the first place, even at temperatures as low as -18 C or -0.4 F.
How is that possible, you may ask? Well, VW says the secret lies in a wafer-thin transparent coating of indium tin oxide that is applied to the window. This, in theory, stops heat from moving upwards and prevents or delays cooling of the glass surface to below the dew point.
“We call this a ‘Low-E’ (low thermal emissivity) coating. Applied to the outer glazing, it prevents heat from radiating skyward. We are proud of this innovation and will promote it throughout the Group. That is because an ice-free window is an added convenience to our customers,” explains Thomas Drescher of Volkswagen Development. “The ‘Low-E coating’ cannot prevent ice formation or condensation entirely, but it can significantly reduce the likelihood of it happening.”
There are still some bugs to iron our before Volkswagen can offer the technology on production models. One problem is that new coating interferes with radio transmission that affects radio and mobile phone reception.
We hope they work out the issues soon and get this to market. How did no one think of this before?