Volkswagen Cars: November 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pulling A Volkswagen Rabbit Out of the Hat

volkswagen rabbit 2007

Volkswagen Rabbit 2007

Which VW is the best selling model of all time? Well, if you answered the Beetle you can’t be faulted as it was the company’s top selling model for several decades. Recently, however, the Golf supplanted the Beetle as more than 25 million Golf models have been sold since the car was introduced during the mid 1970s. Today, the Golf is still produced but its old name – the Rabbit – is once again in use for the North American market - New 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit. This curious change in strategy has some people scratching their heads, but it may yet prove to be a marketing coup for the German automaker.

Monday, November 20, 2006

VW Touareg: The Second Chance SUV

Volkswagen took a gamble when they introduced a luxury SUV into the North American market back in 2003. In a sea of competitors, the Volkswagen Touareg had enough competition from the likes of BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, and Mercedes to give VW some heartburn. Indeed, at first the Touareg had some trouble gaining a foothold in a crowded market, but thanks to VW tenacity the 2007 Touareg amply reflects Volkswagen’s determination to propel this SUV forward. Let’s take a look at just what the newest version of VW’s SUV has to offer to you.

Not missing a beat, Volkswagen has updated the Touareg for 2007 to include changes that keep this model competitive. Yes, the standard 3.2L V6 gas engine is gone, replaced with a robust 3.6L V6 that produces 276 horses making the 2007 Volkswagen Touareg a formidable competitor with other luxury SUVs without sacrificing fuel economy. Featuring the shield grille that is now found on all other VW models, the new Touareg has received some other significant changes including:

A Potent Diesel Engine Is Back – The Touareg will once again have as an option VW’s famed twin turbocharged V10 TDI engine. Sporting 308 horses, the engine was pulled from the North American market briefly and reworked to keep up with stringent emission control changes in the U.S. market. Although even stricter controls are coming online in January 2007 that will keep the Touareg diesel out of several states, the diesel aspirated SUV will still be available in 45 states.

Better Braking – Brembo brakes are now standard and the ABS system has been refined to improve braking on soft surfaces. An anti rollover system has been improved for 2007 as well.

Fresh Styling – In addition to the now ubiquitous grille shield, the Touareg is receiving new headlights, taillights, bumpers, hood, and side mirrors.

Inside Refreshed – A new navigation system, an improved sound system, and updated seating keeps this SUV current with other luxury SUVs.

Although at first glance the Touareg’s changes seem to be minimal, Volkswagen says that more than 2300 changes have been included with the 2007 model. With a base price of just over $37,000 the Touareg competes successfully with its BMW and Mercedes counter parts price wise. Yes, by offering bi-Xenon headlights, keyless entry, integrated fog lights, active parking assist, and other amenities the Touareg effectively combines luxury with value, something few sport utility vehicles can ever hope of achieving.
Volkswagen Forum

Will Volkswagen Export the Polo?

Volkswagen has successfully marketed small cars in the US for more than 50 years. After the long reign of the Beetle, the Rabbit/Golf has successfully transported budget minded motorists all across our fruited plains. After this summer’s surge in fuel prices, demand for high mileage vehicles has soared. For VW, a great opportunity to market their fuel efficient cars has literally fallen into their laps. Yet, there is one model that is even more fuel efficient than the rest that has yet to make its appearance stateside. If Volkswagen saw fit to import this car, known as the Polo, consumers would have one more choice from Germany’s largest automaker. Read on to find out what the hold up could be.

Several years after BMW sent the MINI Cooper to the American market, VW seems content to hold the Polo back. Indeed, with fuel efficient offerings from Toyota {Yaris}, Honda {Fit}, and Nissan {Versa} now in the mix, the subcompact end of the automotive market is once again growing.

Exactly what is the Volkswagen Polo? Well, a visit to European versions of Volkswagen’s website will quickly reveal that this car is smaller and lighter than the Golf and powered by a 1.2L I4 gas engine. In addition, several diesel aspirated versions of the Polo are also being sold with fuel mileage approaching 60 mpg possible. Even the gas versions of these 3 or 5 hatchback models would likely fetch at least 35 mpg around town and up to 50 mpg on the highway.

Alas, it appears that Volkswagen isn’t going to bring the Polo to the states at least any time soon. Although the company is mum on future product plans there has been talk that the Polo could eventually find its way onto American streets, but not before the following happens:

--A newer version of the Polo is developed that will meet stringent U.S. crashworthiness and emissions requirements. Some believe that VW would only consider bringing a car of this size to the US if the diesel engines were to pass strict U.S. emissions restrictions. The upcoming group of VW engines does appear to meet these new requirements.

--The current body style of the Volkswagen Polo could be a detriment to the car’s success. Hatchbacks have never played well in the U.S. while a notchback version might succeed.

--Labor costs may not keep the Volkswagen Polo competitive. Thus, there has been talk about producing this car in Mexico for the U.S. market.

Whatever Volkswagen’s reasons for not bringing the Polo to the U.S., now would seem to be the best time to bring the car over. High gas prices and pent up demand could make the Polo a raging success, regardless of its present body style. As the saying goes: build it and they will buy it!
Volkswagen Forum