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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Volkswagen Jetta will see a new top-of-the-line trim level called the SEL Plus later this year, though the more exciting news is that Volkswagen plans to replace its 2.5-liter inline-four with a 1.8-liter turbo-four next year.
The new high-end SEL Plus trim will see softer-touch materials in the interior, and like the GLI model, the American counterpart will more closely resemble all the upgrades and refinements seen in the European version, including electric power steering.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it closed the investigations surrounding possible fires on the Volkswagen Passat and cracked cooling fans on various GM trucks without issuing a recall or fines to either automaker.
Originally the 2002-03 model year Passats were under investigation for possible ignition coil fires in July 2010 but things didn’t stop there. In January 2011, the investigation was upgraded to include 2001-07 VW Passat models with the four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. There were 135 unique fire engine reports attributed to the coil-on plugs, but after a thorough investigation there was no safety-related defect identified, so the investigation closed.
Unfortunately the investigation closure alone doesn’t ensure the absence of a defect. NHTSA will continue to monitor the issue to see if further action needs to be taken. None of the fires reached beyond the engine bay and no reports of crashes or injury were related to the 135 incidents.
GM on the other hand, got a thumbs-up after NHTSA looked into the cracked cooling fans on GMT-560 series of trucks. Those trucks span models from Chevrolet, GMC and Isuzu including the 4500 and 5000 medium-duty trucks. Even though NHTSA said that it “remains concerned about the potential for injury,” at the current time it can’t find the cause for the issue and that the complaints are “small and diminishing.”
Not exactly comforting, but we also know NHTSA would issue a recall if the organization saw fit to do so.
10. Chevy Impala: 14M units sold
There are some surprises on the list, but for the most part it all makes sense. Whether they’ve been in production for a long time or they’re reasonably priced worldwide, the top 10 best-selling cars of all time might not be the most exciting, but are clearly the most popular throughout history.
The Chevrolet Impala is the only GM vehicle on the list and has quite the history since hitting the market 54 years ago. Starting its life as a large two-door performance coupe, the Impala evolved into a versatile sedan. Or as we like to call it, a rental car. Ironically, it isn’t actually offered as a coupe anymore, which seems like a distant memory after 10 generations of upgrades.
Volkswagen‘s popular Passat out in Europe is overdue for a refresh and it appears that one will be coming in 2014. Rumor has it that the 2014 Passat model will be built on the new MQB platform which can also be seen on Audi‘s A3 and Volkswagen’s Golf.
The change to the MQB platform will also lighten up the new Passat model, saving at least 110-lbs compared to the current generation Passat. Speculation on the new model also includes the possibility of a plug-in hybrid with around 168-hp and an electric-only range of around 31-miles. The standard gas engines will probably feature start/stop technology while the diesels out in Europe will have the option to be outfitted with NOx catalytic converters in order to meet Euro6 emission standards.
Volkswagen‘s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has become the first and only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive a Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). From the onset, Volkswagen had designed their Chattanooga plant, where their popular Passat is produced, to be as green as possible and now they have something to show for it.
From the ground up, VW integrated various energy-saving technology into the plant, with its ultra-clean paint shop saving 50-million gallons of water in ten years. Other features of the plant include superior insulation provided by six-inches of mineral rock wool that results in saving 720,000-kilowatts per year; green power from the local hydroelectric dam; LED lighting on the exterior results in 68-percent less energy used; rainwater is collected and reused to flush toilets and cool welding machines; the plant’s white roof membrane is highly reflective and helps minimize heat island effect by up to 50-degrees Fahrenheit; natural flowing creeks capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat; low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30-percent; and lastly, the plant was built on brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature.
Volkswagen has its redesigned Passat to thank as the brand as a whole posted a 41-percent increase in November sales compared to last year’s November. But it’s not all just Passat sales, as other popular VW models enjoyed success compared to last year.
Volkswagen’s Jetta sales rose 16-percent from November 2010 to the tune of 12,891 vehicles while Beetle sales were at 1,656 units compared to 487 last year. The biggest and most impressive increase is in the Passat’s sales however, having sold just 313 last November and an astonishing 6,018 this year. The US-built Passat went on sale in mid-September of this year.
VW sales as a year are on the rise compared to last year, having hit 291,899 year-to-date sales, a 25-percent increase from last year’s figure.
[Source: Automotive News]
As expected, Volkswagen debuted the Passat Alltrack at the Tokyo Motor Show and it was pretty much everything we expected it to be – a high-riding variant of the Passat wagon that’s offered in Europe. We have to admit we found it a little peculiar that VW would debut the Passat Alltrack in Japan but nonetheless, it got some attention on the show floor.
Featuring Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, the Passat Alltrack will be introduced to the European market with two choices of 2.0L TDI powerplants. The exterior features flared fenders with a stainless-steel looking front bumper garnish and some matte-chrome accents. And for those wondering just how high-riding this Passat Alltrack is, its ground clearance has increase from 5.3-inches to 6.5-inches from the standard Passat wagon.
Take it as Volkswagen trying to mix a little of station wagon with SUV versatility, or something like that. It’s also worth mentioning that the Alltrack has the same off-road driving program seen on VW’s Touareg and Tiguan, which revises the vehicle’s ABS, electronic differential lock, throttle control and shift points to maximize traction. Hill descent is automatically turned on when grades are steeper than 10-percent.
Americans will probably never see the Alltrack stateside since VW wholeheartedly believes we’d choose an SUV over a wagon any day of the week. Guess they’re pretty spot on there.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
While Volkswagen was displaying their “new” Beetle R “concept” and freshened 2012 VW CC at the Los Angeles Auto Show, there was also a new Passat sitting there which we have seen even more than the other two cars. Old news we were thinking… until Angus MacKenzie from Motor Trend stepped on stage.
Taking most of the assembled media members aback, Angus announced that the 2012 Passat had been chosen as this year’s Car Of The Year. From the largest field ever in the award’s 60-odd years of existence, the guys at MT picked the Passat. If we challenged you to name the 35 or so cars that were in the running this year, chances are you might have forgotten the Passat. But as Mr. MacKenzie pointed out, the new Passat was the best at meeting the magazine’s six judging criteria. We don’t have anything against the Passat, mind you, but we have to say that this selection was a big surprise.
Last year, Volkswagen stirred up some excitement by introducing the 2010 Polo GTI at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, and this year they’re following it up with an announcement of two R-Line packages for the Polo in addition to an Exclusive Edition for the Passat.
The pair of R-Line packages will be available as an option for the Polo Comfortline and the Polo Highline model, with one of the packages concentrating on the exterior while the other outfits the interior with upgrades.
The exterior R-Line package comes with 16- or 17-inch wheels with wider 215-tires, black gloss finish for the front grille, model-specific front and rear bumpers (based on Comfortline or Highline), a rear diffuser, chrome exhaust tips, a roof spoiler, pair of side skirts, fog lamps and LED license plate illumination. For the Comfortline the exterior R-Line package runs around $2,000 based on today’s conversion rates while the Highline will cost a little less than $1,400.
The interior R-Line package costs a tad over $1,175 for the Polo Comfortline and $620 for the Highline and with it comes a pair of sport seats up front – with Alcantara or leather option – black roof lining, sport leather steering wheel, glossy black dashboard trim and aluminum pedals and door sills.
For the Passat, Volkswagen will be offering an Exclusive Edition based on the Highline trim for the sedan at $44,700 and as a station wagon Variant for $46,300. The Exclusive Edition will outfit the Passat with a set of 18-inch wheels while it sits 0.6-inch lower thanks to sportier suspension. On the inside, where most of the changes are, VW accents the Passat with Nappa leather seats in a chocolate brown shade with contrast-colored stitching in Pepper White. The door panels and steering wheel also benefits from leather while special floor mats and a combination of wood and aluminum trim round off the accents.
At any rate, hopefully the R-Line package is just a teaser for the upcoming Polo R model that VW should be adding to its lineup next year.
GALLERY: Polo R-Line and Passat Exclusive Edition
The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is powered by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine producing 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a standard transmission 5-speed manual while an optional 6-speed automatic is available. There is also a pricier 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel 4-cylinder powerplant producing 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. If mated to a 6-sped DSG transmission, the 2012 Passat TDI can achieve 43 mpg on the highway and have a fuel range of 800 miles. Buyers also have the choice of the powerful 3.6-liter VR6 engine that produces 280-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 28 mpg. 2012 Passat pricing will start around $20,000.
[Source: EGM Car Tech]
When Volkswagen announced a few years ago, that they would give Chrysler the contract to build a minivan based on the Town and Country,it took auto fans by surprise. Afterall, in Europe, VW has its own minivan, a vehicle that was previously sold here in one form or another as the Eurovan.
The Routan was not much different from the Town and Country, even sharing the same mechanicals. It was also more expensive and lacked the ‘Stow and Go’ seating that made the Chrysler vans such a hit.
Last year, VW sold just 15,961 Routan’s and it seems its days are now numbered. Jonathan Browning, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America has recently said “Volkswagen has not decided on whether to offer a minivan after its contract with the Chrysler Group expires in about two years.”
Browning has also thwarted the idea of entering the U.S.-made 2012 Passat in NASCAR, saying “it’s not something we are looking at.” They do however plan on building 150,000 Passat sedans per year out of the Chattanooga, TN. plant. These American-made Passats will be on sale in Canada, Mexico, Korea and possibly even the Middle East once production starts in August.
Volkswagen revealed the new 2012 Passat the night before the 2011 Detroit Auto Show but we’ve now got the first live photos of the Tennessee-produced mid-sized sedan.
As reported yesterday, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat will be available with three drivetrains, a 170 hp 2.5l five-cylinder engine (with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, a 140 hp 2.0l TDI Clean Diesel engine (with an estimated fuel economy of 43 mpg) and a 3.6l VR6 featuring 280 hp and an estimated 28 mpg. The Passat VR6 will also come standard with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.
The Passat will be available in three trims, S, SE and SEL, all with safety features such as Intelligent Crash Response Systems, a tire pressure monitoring system, ABS with braking assistant, and six airbags. Manual transmission models will also get hill climb assist.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Passat
Please visit our Passat Forum for more news on the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, at http://www.passatworld.com.
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The long awaited 2012 Volkswagen Passat has finally been revealed a day ahead of its world premiere at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, looking very much like the recently released 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, sporting the same corporate face and profile in a larger package.
Built at VW’s new Tennesse facility, the Passat’s 191 inche length makes the car larger than a Toyota Camry by 2 inches, a radical departure from the more compact Passats of yesteryear.
Trim levels S, SE and SEL will be offered, with power coming from the corporate 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower, the 2.0L TDI diesel making 140 horsepower and Volkswagen’s beloved VR6 engine, producing 280 horsepower. The VR6 (and, we presume, the TDI) will come with a DSG dual clutch gearbox, allowing it to run to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds while returning 28 mpg on the highway.
Starting at under $20,000, the Passat is aiming to break out of its niche as a quirky European alternative and finally be taken seriously as a Tier 1 mid-size sedan. The car may have never sold in big numbers, but its superlative interior, interesting powertrains and European street cred were always respected. Hopefully VWs attempt to bring the car hasn’t come at the expense of character.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Passat
See video of the all new 2012 Passat after the jump:
Volkswagen has just released three new sketches of its next midsize sedan, giving us a solid look at the styling of what might just be the most important vehicle the brand has ever launched.
At last week’s Paris Auto Show, VW unveiled the next generation Passat, but that’s not the car we will get in North America. Instead we’re getting a new model that the German automaker will only refer to as the New Midsize Sedan. It’s expected to be larger, with lower-grade content and a softer ride. It will also be built in North America and will, therefore, be much cheaper to produce and allow VW to sell the car at a significantly lower pricepoint. It’s also expected to keep the Passat name.
Volkswagen won’t confirm any of that, but we’ll find out a whole lot more at the cars official debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
GALLERY: Volkswagen New Midsize Sedan Sketches
[Source: VW's Facebook Page]
Porsche tops list while U.S. automakers show most improvement
Each year J.D. Power & Associates does a study that examines the most appealing cars to consumers and this year there is one big surprise. The Hyundai Genesis sedan topped the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF in the mid-sized luxury segment for the 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
The APEAL Study is based off of owner evaluations of over 80,900 new car consumers from February to May 2009 and takes into account over 90 factors and generally evaluates how those buyers or leasers feel about their car new car.
Other winners include the VW Passat in the Mid-sized car segment, the Nissan Maxima in the Large Car segment, the Honda Odyssey in the Minivan Segment, a tie between the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Avalanche in the Pickup Truck segment and the Smart fortwo in the Sub-compact Car segment. And on that note, we urge you to take the list with a grain of salt, as the Smart beat out cars like the Honda Fit.
In terms of manufacturers, Porsche topped the list for the fifth consecutive year, while domestic brands like Dodge, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac showed the most improvement. As a manufacturer Cadillac placed third overall.
Overall, scores for 2009 improved over 2008, due mostly to improvements in the fuel-economy segment. J.D. Power lists three contributing factors to this increase: improved fuel-economy of the vehicles; an increase in ownership of fuel-efficient cars, with over 50 percent (as compared to 39 percent in 2008) of the surveyed vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines; and a drop in fuel prices that has also meant consumers are less interested in fuel economy.
One other trend that has emerged is the increasing appeal of domestic brands, as they ranked, on average, just five points below import brands. This compares to a difference of 15 points last year and 27 points in 2007.
GALLERY: J.D. Power 2009 APEAL Study