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Ford, VW Announce 1st in Promised Series of Joint Ventures

Carmakers will focus first on midsize pickups, light commercial vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

Confirming months of rumors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced Tuesday that they will launch the first of what they suggested will be a series of joint ventures, focusing initially on midsize pickups and light commercial vehicles.

Moving forward, they anticipate adding projects that will pair their costly efforts on electrified and autonomous vehicles, while Herbert Diess, the CEO of VW, said during a joint teleconference that the new partners could work together on “other” products in the future.

Breaking News!

Alliances are becoming more commonplace in an industry where changing consumer tastes and emerging technologies are stretching thin the budgets of even the most well-funded manufacturers, said Diess, who added that, “In such an environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” (more…)

Volkswagen Building Electric Vehicles in Chattanooga

Automaker plowing $800M into new plant.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.14, 2019

Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess announced today that the company would build electric vehicles at its Chattanooga, Tennessee campus.

Volkswagen AG that it will spend $800 million to build two electric vehicles at its U.S. assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as part of the company’s global effort to broaden the appeal of electric vehicles.

“The U.S. is the world’s second-largest market for electric vehicles after China,” said Hebert Diess, Volkswagen AG CEO, who said the first U.S.-built EV, a crossover style vehicle will be ready by 2022 with the second vehicle to follow shortly afterwards.

Business News!

Diess hopes the company’s commitment building EVs in Chattanooga, and the large investment required to support it, will help keep at bay any threats of tariffs. “We are making a substantial investment in the U.S. with this announcement. We hope that counts for something,” Diess said. (more…)

Exclusive: Ford-VW Deal Kicking Off With Commercial Vehicle JV, VW CEO Diess Reveals

“We are looking at other things,” VW’s Diess tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett, left, and Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess talk on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show today.

Ford and Volkswagen will formally announce on Tuesday the first of what is expected to become a broad range of joint ventures and other partnerships, the head of the German automaker told TheDetroitBureau.com during an impromptu interview at the North American International Auto Show.

The tie-up will begin with a partnership involving commercial vehicles that should help VW expand its marginal presence in the pickup segment, with Ford gaining access to product in other commercial sectors. But there are other projects that have been approved by both companies’ boards that will be revealed on Tuesday, said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Breaking News!

Not everything will be announced this week, Diess said, confirming that the relationship is a work in progress. He noted that beyond what either has already been set in motion, “We are looking at other things.” (more…)

Volkswagen Looks to Generate Buzz with New Passat

The new sedan looks to capture, amplify best of previous model.

by Michael Strong on Jan.14, 2019

Volkswagen's 2020 Passat uses the best of the previous model and amplifies it hoping to lure new buyers.

Volkswagen is looking to build a better mousetrap with the 2020 Passat sedan on display in Detroit today, by taking the tenets of the previous model – introduced eight years ago amazingly – that attracted buyers and improving them.

According to VW, the new Passat offers more of what matters: bolder design, upgraded technology, and enhanced access to convenience and driver-assistance features.

NAIAS News!

“Passat is the only midsize sedan to offer German driving dynamics at an affordable price and has long resonated with buyers for its combination of comfort, reliability and driving dynamics,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen.  (more…)

VW Denies Chairman Poetsch Knew About Scandal Early

VW officials say it wasn't possible for him to know early.

by Michael Strong on Dec.10, 2018

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetisch denies having knowledge of the scope of the diesel cheating scandal

Volkswagen officials are denying reports that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch knew about the diesel emissions cheating allegations before they were revealed by U.S. authorities in September 2015.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Poetsch found out about the carmaker’s violations of the rules in late June 2015. He was Volkswagen’s head of finance at that time. The company was led by Martin Winterkorn, who later resigned due to the scandal.

Global News!

The paper cites a confidential presentation from the VW legal department, which was made available to investigators handling alleged market manipulation. One of the investigations centered on VW is if executives acted quickly enough and if not, was it done to manipulate the company’s value. (more…)

European Auto Execs Meet with Trump, Aim to Head Off Expanded Trade War

VW signals a second U.S. plant is in the works.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.05, 2018

President Donald Trump met with the leaders of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Even as President Donald Trump was backpeddling on earlier comments suggesting the trade dispute with China had been defused, the former New York businessman was meeting with European auto industry executives worried that they could become targeted by yet another front in the trade war.

The president has signaled he may enact duties of 25% or more on vehicles imported from Europe, even though his own Commerce Dept. has backed away from plans to declare imported automobiles a threat to national security.

Global News!

Trump “shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment,” the White House said in a statement that followed the meeting with officials from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. (more…)

Volkswagen May Use Ford Plants for Vehicle Production

VW CEO Diess confirms possibility after Trump meeting.

by Michael Strong on Dec.04, 2018

VW's CEO Herbert Diess said the company may use Ford plants to produce VW vehicles in the U.S.

The news of a second Volkswagen plant in the U.S. just became more interesting in the wake of a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and the heads of several European automakers.

After the meeting Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s CEO, said as part of the growing alliance with Ford Motor Co. the automaker may use Ford plants to build cars. He added later that the company was “considering building a second car plant.”

News Now!

“We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialog with Ford to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry,” he added. (more…)

VW’s Keogh Confirms Plans for New US Plant for Electric Vehicle

New site will build $30K to $40K EV for U.S. market by 2020.

by Michael Strong on Nov.29, 2018

VW of America President Scott Keogh confirmed plans to bring an EV to the U.S. by 2020 and VW is looking for location for an EV plant in the U.S.

Volkswagen’s top U.S. official confirmed the German automaker is searching for a place to build a new plant that will produce a new electric vehicle aimed for the mass market with a price tag of less than $40K.

Scott Keogh, VW of America president, told reporters at the L.A. Auto Show that the company was intent on introducing a new EV in the U.S. by 2020. The vehicle would be priced between $30K and $40K, making it competitive with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the current top sellers.

News Now!

He also noted the company would like to build this vehicle in the U.S. and a search was underway to find a location for the new plant. (more…)

VW Reveals Commercial Version of All-Electric I.D. Buzz Microbus

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo “could” reach production by 2022.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.27, 2018

Volkswagen continues pushing the evolution of its Microbus with the new I.D. Buzz Cargo.

In its push into electrification, Volkswagen plans to bring back a retro-futuristic version of its legendary Microbus, the all-electric I.D. Buzz. And, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, the German automaker will reveal a commercial version of the van it is calling the I.D. Buzz Cargo.

The commercial version will offer as much as 340 miles of battery range — which it says can be extended by the use of a solar roof. The I.D. Buzz Cargo also will feature full autonomous driving capabilities, according to a VW statement released ahead of the commercial van’s formal unveiling in L.A. on Wednesday.

Park Yourself Here!

“The Cargo could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022,” VW said. It did not confirm whether it plans to bring the commercial version of the I.D. Buzz to the U.S. market, as well, however. (more…)

Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by Michael Strong on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

Product News!

Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)