Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Volkswagen MQB Platform

Car enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the New Volkswagen Range, based on the MQB platform. In development for some time now, the MQB platform is ready for production, at least on certain models, according to Volkswagen’s director of research Ulrich Hackenberg. This new chassis will be used on all transverse-engined models offered by this group. The reason this chassis took so long to be produced is it didn’t meet the efficiencies and savings VW wanted to achieve and they refused to release it until this was the case. Manufacturing costs have decreased, individual model tool costs have gone down by as much as 30 percent and parts cost reductions by up to 20 percent. Thanks to this, drivers will soon be able to test this platform for themselves.

The MQB platform revolves around a relationship between the firewall, engine and pedal box which means engines, transmissions, certain pressings and suspension parts can be used across the group with ease. In addition to simplifying the manufacturing process, the platform will also save time, weight and money, all of which drivers are sure to appreciate.

To debut this new platform, Volkswagen chose to have Hackenberg show it off at the award presentation ceremony for the VW Golf which won 2013 Car of the Year. The Golf has been around for many years now with 30 million of these cars sold and, at this celebration, 200,000 staff members and their families were present. Hackenberg showed the sport utility vehicles which will make use of the new platform.

Many expect the new range to include a small SUV, similar to that of the Up-based Tiguan, which was introduced as a concept car in Brazil in 2012. If the car does make it to the production line, it will be manufactured using a derivative of the MQB platform and won’t come equipped with the 4X4 drive line. Most expect it to come with an electronic traction enhancement system like those seen on the Peugeot’s 2008 and the Fiat’s Trekking models.

Volkswagen MQB

Volkswagen MQB

Volkswagen states there will be an SUV that is based on the Polo available in 2014 which will be followed by a Tiguan SUV based on the Golf in 2015. It is expected that VW will debut a coupe spin off and seven seat SUV for both the Chinese and American markets and this vehicle will be produced in the Chattanooga plant in the United States. In addition, it has been hinted that the Touareg, the popular European off road vehicle, will be a thing of the past in the near future with another model taking its place.

The one vehicle most experts don’t expect to see any time soon is the Blue Sport Concept. This sports car debuted with two seats and a mid-engine, yet VW has yet to find a way to mass produce this car at a price they are comfortable with. Some say this car first debuted in 2003 at Frankfurt as the concept R while others believe it wasn’t introduced until 2009 at Detroit using the name it goes by now.

The problem, according to Mr. Hackenberg, is that the two growing markets, America and China, just aren’t in the market for a small convertible such as this one. He states that, although MG and the Mazda MX-5 have both been very successful, the market just isn’t there for VW to justify the costs.

The one car that is expected to be a huge hit is the diesel Up. VW has successfully taken the 282mpg diesel hybrid drive line used in the XL1 supercar and putting it in the Up. Although consumers don’t know yet whether it will be a two or three cylinder model, rumors abound that this vehicle will get around 140 miles to each gallon and it is expected to debut this year, leaving drivers eagerly awaiting the Tokyo Show scheduled for later this year.

In addition to the diesel Up being introduced this year, the XL1 models are already in production. These vehicles are being made in Germany at the Karmann plant and, although no price has been offered for this vehicle yet, VW plans to produce a minimum of 250 cars as they expect people will be clamoring to buy one.

What drivers need to understand is this isn’t actually a platform. Rather, MQB refers to a system which allows different platforms to make use of engine orientation, no matter what size, brand or model they are. Certain components are standard across the range which allows the production of many different models in the same plant, which reduces overall costs. The major difference with this platform is the uniform placement of all transmissions and engines as this allows for cost savings as well as weight and complexity.

Many expect the MQB platform to vault VW to the top spot in terms of global vehicle manufacturers by the year 2018, if not sooner, knocking Toyota out of this position. Although many manufacturers have discussed this concept, VW is the first to actually achieve it, doing so by creating a flexible architecture which can accommodate a wide range of cars, from superminis to seven-seat SUVs.

Some consider this to be the most important innovation in automotive technology in 25 years and that VW will see a major increase in sales as a result. It is believed that VW will make use of this platform on 30 models with this number expected to increase. Hybrids, battery electrics, fuel cell powered cars and more, none will be excluded when this technology is used which is good as this will help to keep prices reasonable as new technology is introduced. When this is the case, everyone wins.

The Volkswagen Sharan – Sleek Styling in a Comfortable Ride

The new Volkswagen Sharan is the German company’s latest venture into the multiple passenger vehicle market, an area that is rapidly growing as consumers seek out auto-mobiles that feature roomy and spacious interiors while still delivering on the performance front. While the Sharan won’t satisfy your inner Formula One enthusiast, it offers a solid option for drivers who need to be able to accommodate multiple passengers with ease while still meeting the demand for reliable performance in a single and affordable package. As the long line of Volkswagen models indicates, the company focuses on building cars that meet the needs of the masses, both in terms of size and efficiency as well as performance, and the Sharan is no different, entering the market at a base model price of a modest twenty-five thousand pounds. For families who constantly stay on the go and need adequate space for kids, pets, groceries and all the accoutrements of family life, the Sharan represents an affordable and attractive option.

Volkswagen offers the Sharan with four different engine options, two diesel based and two petrol based, to cater to the preferences of just about any driver. Most experts anticipate the diesel models to be the bigger sellers because of the increased fuel economy at 2.0 litre engines with the options of 138bhp or 168bhp. In surface road tests, the 168bhp model was impressively faster in terms of speed but demonstrated significantly increased noice and vibration in contrast to the 138bhp model, which was quieter and more restrained. Both diesel models demonstrated impressive performance on motorways, however, delivering outstanding efficiency and speed with no more than the expected noise of travelling at high speed over long distances.

The two petrol based engine models, a 148bhp 1.4 TSI option and a 197bhp 2.0 TSI option, deliver smooth performance without as much of the noise of the diesel models, but it should be noted that the 1.4 TSI engine may feel somewhat lacking in terms of power when transporting a car full of passengers. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to accelerate quickly, it may require an excessive amount of shifting gears in order to achieve your objective. The company statistics demonstrate impressive fuel economy as well as low emissions, but in a real world setting it can be difficult, if not completely impossible, to achieve these numbers with the more petite engine model, counteracting any economies that would have otherwise been possible.

Volkswagen Sharan

Volkswagen Sharan

The interior of the Volkswagen Sharan is where the company excels, providing spacious accommodation for up to seven average size adults in a comfortable and plush environment. An option for a six-seat configuration is also available for consumers who may be interested in this choice. Headroom is generous throughout the entire auto-mobile, though taller individuals may be somewhat cramped in the very back row. The Sharan also offers the sleek styling of sliding side doors, which enable easy accessibility to rear seating and can be customized with electronic sliding options for increased ease of use, an option that many consumers will find attractive, especially when juggling a heavy load of shopping bags.

The rear storage space is where some may find the Sharan lacking at only 300 litres of available storage, but the rear seat can be folded flat to increase space up to 711 litres. In a market where spacious seating is the prime requirement, the Sharan does an adequate job of meeting the demand for comfortable accommodations as well as cargo space, and odds are that consumers who purchase the Sharan are more interested in hauling people, not necessarily stuff. Volkswagen’s designers work around the issue of boot space by utilizing folding technologies for both rear seats, which increase available cargo area to almost three thousand litres. Going even further, the passenger seat can also be folded flat for additional storage length, providing one of the most impressive hauling capacities for the Sharan’s automotive class.

Seating design and overall interior materials measure up to Volkswagen’s standards for high quality and deliver a plush feel in a comfortable environment. There’s no question that the riding experience in the Sharan is one of comfort, delivering an easy and relaxing feel for even third seat occupants. While many other entrants to the multiple passenger vehicle market skimp on materials and styling, the Sharan fulfils its goals of comfort, style and affordability in one attractive and nicely priced package. While other makes and models on the market may offer increased engine performance or quicker and more sensitive handling, the Volkswagen Sharan demonstrates a unique combination of design and engineering that has long been the hallmark of the Volkswagen brand.

Without question, there are few other models available for purchase today that can offer the same kind of comfortable driving and riding experience along with fuel economy and engine performance. For the busy families of today who face multiple commutes to and from work as well as the need to run errands and ferry children from school to activities to home, the Sharan has proven itself to be a contender for the title of efficient, comfortable and affordable transportation. With multiple options for customizing the Sharan to precise specifications, this is one model that is sure to quickly claim its share of the multiple passenger vehicle market with ease and grace. Volkswagen continues its tradition of affordable style and outstanding performance with another attractive entrant to the market.

Take A Closer Look At Volkswagen’s Highly Anticipated XL1

The world of Volkswagen is preparing to shake up the rest of us with one of its most advanced and innovative vehicles to date. The new Volkswagen XL1 is being heavily anticipated by many anxious and impatient car enthusiasts. Fans of the up-and-coming XL1 seem to be in awe by it’s futuristic and aerodynamic designs. If there’s anything fans should find endearing about this vehicle, it should be its ground-breaking fuel efficiency, eco-friendly emissions, and overall out-of-the-box architecture. Lets take a closer look at the details that make the VW XL1 the car to beat.

Aerodynamic Design

The Volkswagen XL1 is one of Volkswagen’s shortest cars. The standard compact Volkswagen stands at about 57 inches. Volkswagen decided to take it a step further with the XL1 by shortening it down to a whopping 45 inches. The height of the vehicle definitely contributes to it’s speed and lack of drag. Volkswagen decided to go for the ‘tear drop’ look for the overall shape of the car.

Starting towards the front, the car’s width is able to be reduced due to the settings of the interior seats. This continues towards the rear of the car, where the XL1 begins to become slightly slim down. Taking a closer look at the rear of the vehicle, drivers will note the rear wheels have been covered completely. This not only adds uniqueness to the XL1, but is a detail that again contributes to the lowered drag rate of the vehicle. In fact, the XL1 has a drag co-efficiency of 0.189. This low level of drag provides a driving experience that’s smoother and less turbulent.

Volkswagen XL1

Volkswagen XL1

Lightweight Superiority

If there’s one thing that stands out about the Volkswagen XL1 it’s how much it weighs. A standard compact vehicle weighs about 1700 kg. This isn’t bad considering the way many quality compact vehicles handle on the road. However, Volkswagen isn’t aiming for mediocrity with the XL1. The carmakers pushed the envelope by making the amazing XL1 weigh only 795 kg. This was done with a combination of carbon fiber and picking the right lightweight materials.

The VW XL1 utilizes “carbon fiber reinforced polymer”, or CFRP. The choice to go with CFRP was a smart one. Carbon fiber is well known for being one of the most durable and high strength materials around. On top of being strong, carbon fiber is extremely lightweight, and has a high corrosion and impact resistance. Standing at 45 percent, nearly half of the vehicle has been made with strategically picked materials that add minimal burden to XL1’s 795 kg weight.

Safety First

Drivers looking for a fast, safe, and lightweight vehicle will need to look no further than the XL1. Volkswagen made safety a top priority when designing this car. For starters, the CFRP is extremely strong, and will aid in protecting passengers from injuries during a collision. In addition to the exterior protection, the vehicle has crash tubes for both rear and frontal crash protection. The two-seater has both driver and passenger airbag deployment for collisions, and cant rails along the rear and sides for added support. To top it all off, the XL1 is equipped with anti-roll support to prevent the vehicle from tipping over during sharp turns or collisions. As you can see, the VW XL1 provides top notch support all around for both drivers and passengers.

Efficiency

When we talk about the Volkswagen XL1, it’s practically impossible to avoid its state of efficiency. In fact, the efficiency of the XL1 is arguably why car enthusiasts are so enamored by its design. It’s no secret that there is heavy competition in the car world right now for fuel efficiency. Over the past several years, carmakers have been working hard in an attempt to create a car that goes farther on a single tank of gas. Well I think it’s safe to say that the XL1 has the lead in this race.

The best fuel efficient two-seater vehicle, which is similar to the XL1, averages 34 mpg in the city and about 38 mpg on the highway. That’s an average of 36 mpg. However, the VW XL1 is far more advanced, and is able to achieve a mileage rate of a staggering 313 mpg. This is remarkable to say the least! The XL1 is able to achieve this with a smart union of an internal combustible diesel engine and an electric motor. It’s the hybrid of all hybrids to beat.

The VW XL1 doesn’t simply surpass average fuel efficiency efforts, but does so while causing less harm on the environment. The 313 mpg is achieved while maintaining only 21 g/km of emitted CO2. In fact, this vehicle is able to travel over 50 km without emitting a single drop of carbon dioxide. The combination of minimizing fuel consumption, coupled with minimizing carbon dioxide emissions, is what makes the XL1 stand out from the rest of the up-and-coming vehicles. In fact, when taking a look at the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data for electric cars manufactured from 2010 to 2013, the VW XL1 has the lowest of all of them.

The Future Is Now

With so many amazing features offered by the XL1, you probably can’t wait for the day Volkswagen to begin putting this car on the road, right? Well the wait is over. In fact, the hand-crafted VW XL1 is currently available with limited distribution. Volkswagen is producing 250 of these vehicles as a starting point. However, pricing for the XL1 has currently not been announced. In any case, drivers can expect to be able to get into the driver seat of this amazing vehicle very soon.

Volkswagen – Engineering a Better Automobile

Volkswagen is perhaps one of the most impressive success stories in the history of automotive manufacturing, a company that rose literally from the ashes of the destruction of World War II and became an unstoppable force of engineering that currently boasts three models on the list of the top ten best selling cars of all time. This is a feat that sets a high standard for the rest of the pack of car manufacturers, and part of the reason that the company has become and remains so successful is due to the single overriding goal of building better cars that are affordable for everyone. The German word Volkswagen translates literally to ‘the people wagon’ but its original name, Volksauto, means ‘the people’s car’, indicating that it is an automobile that meets the needs of the average person without being priced out of a typical budget. The commitment to affordable quality and design for all buyers is what has set Volkswagen apart from the crowd and earns the company the loyalty of millions of buyers all around the world.

Founded in 1937 by a Nazi trade union and known as Volksauto, the original purpose of Volkswagen was to make it possible for citizens from all strata of society to own an automobile. Until this time, German automotive manufacturing was largely built on the back of luxury cars that were designed to cater to the preferences of upper class, well-to-do individuals with the disposable income available to purchase and maintain a car that was created primarily for comfort and style. Several independent designers had already experimented with smaller designs and engineering changes in an effort to create a more affordable automobile for the masses as early as 1931, but it wasn’t until the founding of Volkswagen that the effort began to take on significant momentum. A factory that was intended specifically for building these smaller, more efficient automobiles was completed in 1938 but only managed to manufacture a relatively small number of cars before the outbreak of war in September 1939.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen

During World War II, production was largely limited to automobiles intended for use in the war effort, and according to data released in 1998, Volkswagen used a slave labor force of approximately 15,000 individuals in order to meet the military’s demand for transportation. Following the defeat of Germany and its allies, Italy and Japan, manufacturing was at a standstill and Volkswagen might have disappeared forever if not for the efforts of a single British officer, Major Ivan Hirst. The brand name was altered to Volkswagen instead of Volksauto in an effort to disassociate from the negative connotations of pre-World War II German society and multiple automobile manufacturers from around the world were offered the use of the factory as part of the plan for German war reparations. All of these companies declined and the future of Volkswagen was murky until Hirst demonstrated its automobiles’ usability and potential for efficient transportation to the British government, who agreed to order 20,000 of the company’s lightweight models for military use.

The British government’s use of Volkswagen automobiles in the military soon piqued interest from other quarters. American and Canadian sales began as early as 1949, though neither began to show significant profit until the mid-1950s. By the early sixties, company designers began creating new models to appeal to younger and more sophisticated purchasers who considered the post-war models to be outdated. Soon the company had added several new models, like the Karmann Ghia and Notchback, in addition to the original Beetle, and in the mid-1970s began to shift manufacturing focus to the Volkswagen Golf. The purchase in 1969 of NSU Motorenwerk AG, which owned the Audi brand, meant that Volkswagen could utilize the advanced engineering techniques and designs made famous by Audi in their own automobiles, providing the Golf with increased engine performance in addition to traditional Volkswagen styling.

Volkswagen went through a difficult period in the eighties as American and Japanese car manufacturers began presenting serious competition to the affordable and efficient Golf model, but the company recovered in the mid-nineties with a fresh take on the classic Beetle that quickly became the must-have automobile for a new generation of drivers. Still harkening back to the traditional shape and styling of the original Beetle, the newest model added increased efficiency and engine performance along with updated style for the new millennium, creating an attractive and appealing option for new car purchasers. Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the new Beetle’s success is the fact that, true to Volkswagen tradition, it stood apart from the crowd with its unique look and design, creating a car that was truly singular.

As oil prices began to increase in the early 2000s and the cost of gasoline steadily rose, more consumers began looking for solutions to the expensive dilemma of every day transportation. Most drivers faced daily commutes to work as well as the drudge of running errands and chauffeuring their kids, so efficiency was a prime concern. The Volkswagen Beetle again established itself as one of the top selections for providing spacious and comfortable transportation with increased gasoline efficiency for busy families on the go and with a tight budget. It continues to remain a popular option for numerous consumers who want performance and style without sacrificing efficiency or affordability. There is no question that Volkswagen has been and continues to be the top choice for automotive enthusiasts who value a chic style as much as efficient performance.