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Ford, Volkswagen Talks Could Wrap Up Soon

Two companies finding plenty of common ground.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.05, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and Chairman Bill Ford both confirmed the talks with Volkswagen are progressing quickly.

Ford Motor Co. top executives said they think they can wrap up discussions on a broad alliance with Germany’s Volkswagen AG fairly soon since both sides have demonstrated a serious interest in the discussions.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told reporters during a gathering at Ford plant outside Detroit that the company’s discussions with Volkswagen were moving forward at a steady clip and could conclude soon.

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“We have nothing to announce yet,” Hackett said. “But I just want to confirm we’re serious. I think the industry feels at the margins are under pressure. So these accommodations are more normal than not. There is real momentum there,” he said of the talks with VW. (more…)

Negotiating Deal VW is a “Delicate Dance,” Says Ford CEO Hackett

First project could be announced before year-end.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett described the talks with Volkswagen as a "delicate dance."

A deal between Ford and Volkswagen focusing on joint efforts in the light commercial vehicle market could come together quickly, but in his first official acknowledgement that the two carmakers are exploring a wide range of additional options, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said those negotiations involve a “delicate dance.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Ford has opened up to the possibility of teaming up with erstwhile rivals on a variety of projects. And, in recent weeks, sources have indicated it is discussing deals that also could see them team up on everything from autonomous and electrified vehicles to joint production and marketing efforts in markets such as Europe and Latin America.

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“(VW CEO) Herbert (Diess) and I had a great discussion” about a possible alliance on commercial trucks, Hackett said in an interview with the Reuters news service, noting that things are “going better than we thought it would.” (more…)

German Automakers Face 50:50 Chance of Collapse, VW CEO Warns

Herbert Diess warns battery-cars could cost jobs – and may not be as clean as promised.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.16, 2018

VW boss Herbert Diess, left,helps unveil the VW BUDD-e and eGolf Touch electric concepts.

When the U.S. economy collapsed a decade ago two of the three Detroit-based automakers plunged into bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout – and that’s the fate that could be facing the German auto industry, as well, the CEO of Volkswagen warned today.

The country’s powerful auto industry faces a 50:50 chance of suffering the same fate that nearly destroyed Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, Herbert Diess said during a supplier conference in Wolkfsburg VW’s home town.

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“From today’s point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years’ time,” said Diess, who was appointed VW’s chief executive earlier this year, following a senior management shake-up.

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US Appeals Court Upholds $10B VW Deal With Diesel Owners

Court dismisses objections by small owners group to settlement.

by Michael Strong on Jul.09, 2018

Former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn was indicted by German authorities in May.

After a nearly two-year delay, a $10 billion settlement between Volkswagen AG and diesel car owners involved in the emissions cheating scandal has been approved by a U.S. appeals court.

The 9thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the deal delivered “tangible, substantial benefits” and the federal judge who approved it did more than enough to ensure it was fair, despite several objections from some owners.

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VW will spend up to $10 billion compensating owners of about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines.VW agreed to offer owners of the 2.0-liter vehicles between $5,100 and $10,000 in compensation, in addition to the estimated value of the vehicle. (more…)

Big Changes Coming at VW, Says New CEO

Diess targeting “slimmed down company” and focus on new technologies.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.13, 2018

VW's new CEO Herbert Diess wants to both cut costs and shift focus to new technologies.

Volkswagen Group is likely to be a very different company in the coming years, at least if new CEO Herbert Diess has his way, the new chief executive outlining some of the key changes he has in mind during a Friday media briefing that followed a management shake-up the day before.

The one-time BMW board member has been viewed as a change agent since joining VW in 2015, just months before a scheme to rig diesel emissions tests was revealed by the U.S. EPA. Diess has already trimmed what is often described as a bloated workforce, in the process slashing almost $5 billion in costs.

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He is expected to further attack costs at the German giant while also putting more emphasis on new technologies and services. And VW officials suggested they could move to trim assets, though they cautioned that a rumored spin off of their truck business isn’t in the cards – yet. (more…)

VW Targets the American Heartland with Atlas Tanoak Pickup Concept

“We want to be a relevant player” in a truck-crazed market, says CEO.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.28, 2018

Volkswagen's Hinrich Woebcken unveiled its Tanoak pickup concept at the New York Auto Show.

There are few surprises at auto shows these days, at least from a media perspective, automakers routinely signaling what they’ve got coming, usually offering press kits and pictures well in advance of a product’s official debut.

Volkswagen managed to pull off one of the rare surprises this year, however. While it did give a heads-up on plans to roll out the Atlas Sport Cross Concept it managed to keep pretty much everyone in the dark about a second introduction at the 2018 New York International Auto Show: the Atlas Tanoak Concept.

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While that’s just a show car for now, the big question is whether it signals the automaker’s intent on getting back into the truck game for the first time in decades. If so, it would become only the second modern pickup to be based on a crossover, rather than a traditional, truck-based platform. (more…)

Smaller is Bigger with 2-Row Volkswagen Atlas Sport Cross Concept

German marque adds another option to growing SUV line-up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.28, 2018

Volkswagen put a new spin on its fast-selling Atlas sport-ute at the NYIAS with the Sport Cross Concept.

According to ancient lore, Atlas carried the world on his shoulders. Not a bad metaphor when you consider the challenge the Volkswagen Atlas was tasked with when it came to market barely a year ago.

The three-row SUV has proven to be one of the most critical offerings the German automaker has brought to the U.S. market in decades and one of the key reasons why VW not only leveled off after years of declining sales but also has actually scored a 5.5% increase during the last 12 months despite the overall American market slowdown.

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Now, VW is set to create a “family” of Atlas offerings, with a new two-row, five-passenger version, dubbed the Atlas Sport Cross making its debut during a media preview ahead of the opening of the New York International Auto Show on Tuesday night. But, if the word, “family” connotes more than just two, well, you just might not be wrong. While Volkswagen officials aren’t ready to discuss what’s coming further down the line, still more variations on the Atlas theme could be in the works. (more…)

VW Squashing the Beetle at End of Current Generation

“You can’t have a new, new, new Beetle,” says R&D chief.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.07, 2018

The Dune Edition of the latest Beetle is shown with a Baja version of the original Bug.

Get ready to say buh-bye to the Beetle. Oh, you didn’t know they were still building it? Well, that may explain why Volkswagen is getting set to phase out the once-iconic coupe when the current, third-generation model reaches the end of its lifecycle.

Now, Volkswagen wouldn’t be Volkswagen without at least one icon in its line-up, but Frank Welsch, the brand’s R&D chief, told Britain’s Autocar that the focus will shift to the soon-to-be-reborn I.D. Buzz, an all-electric take on the classic Volkswagen Microbus that is due to market early in the coming decade.

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Noting that VW tried to revive the Bug with the “New Beetle,” and then redid it one more time, Welsch said enough is enough. “You can’t do it five times and have a new, new, new Beetle,” ad infinitum. In fact, the VW board did consider a way to keep the Beetle alive, but it turned thumbs down to the idea of an all-electric version during a product meeting last November.

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Volkswagen Offering Performance Passat GT

New Red Line-style sedan puts out 280 horsepower.

by Michael Strong on Jan.12, 2018

Volkswagen introduced the Passat GT performance sedan in Detroit.

Volkswagen’s improving results in the U.S. have been bolstered by its expanded sport-utility line-up, but the maker is also providing its loyal Passat owners something new for 2018: the Passat GT.

The new performance model, which was designed at the company’s North American design and engineering center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, bows at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Passat GT illustrates how the North American Region can shape Volkswagen vehicles specifically for the U.S. market,” said Dr. Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer, North American Region, Volkswagen. “Combining a local perspective with our global engineering expertise allows us to create vehicles that meet the needs and desires of customers here.” (more…)

GM, VW Lead Pack in Battle for North American Car, Truck, Utility Vehicle of the Year Honors

But U.S. brands go empty-handed in passenger-car category.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.06, 2017

The Chevrolet Equinox is one of five GM models up for NACTOY awards - but none in the Car category.

General Motors and Volkswagen dominate this year’s first cut as members of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year jury get down to comparing the dozens of new models coming to market through the end of 2017.

But while Detroit’s Big Three have a strong representation, overall, in the three categories jurors will consider, the big surprise is that there’s not a single piece of Motown sheet metal in the passenger car category. Asian and European manufacturers will have to shoot things out there. All told, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will have nine entries in the truck and utility categories.

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That’s no surprise, perhaps, considering current market trends, light trucks – including pickups, vans and utility vehicles – accounting for nearly two-thirds of U.S. new vehicle sales. FCA going so far as to halt production of all passenger car models in the United States.

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