• Shanghai preview: 2015 Volkswagen Scirocco GTS

    April 17, 2015
    Volkswagen will travel to next week’s Shanghai Motor Show to introduce the 2015 Scirocco GTS.
    Power for the Scirocco GTS comes from a GTI-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 220 horsepower. The turbo four is bolted to a six-speed manual transmission, but buyers can order a six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox at an extra cost. With two pedals, the GTS reaches 62 mph from a stop in 6.4 seconds and goes on to a top speed of roughly 150 mph.

    Visually, the GTS stands out from the stock Scirocco thanks to 18-inch Norwich alloy wheels, model-specific emblems, red brake calipers, more aggressive R-style bumpers on both ends, a gloss black radiator grille, side skirts and a roof-mounted spoiler. The coupe can be spruced up with 19-inch alloys and a GTS decal package that adds racing stripes on the hood, the roof and the hatch.

    The cabin gains gloss black trim on the dashboard and the center console, a sport steering wheel with red seams and stainless steel pedals. The GTS comes standard with a golf ball-shaped shift knob, a homage to the original Scirocco GTS that was introduced in 1982 and the first Golf GTI.

    The 2015 Volkswagen Scirocco GTS will go on sale in China and across Europe shortly after its introduction in Shanghai. It goes without saying that the coupe will not be sold in the United States, but we hear that the next-gen Scirocco that will debut before the end of the decade is being developed with the North American market in mind.

  • Volkswagen introduces 2015 Transporter van

    April 17, 2015
    Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles division has introduced the sixth-gen Transporter.
    Called T6 internally, the next Transporter borrows styling cues from the retro-inspired Tristar concept that was presented last fall at the annual Commercial Vehicles Show that was held in Frankfurt, Germany. Unquestionably more of an evolution than a revolution, the T6 gets a sharper look all around but its overall dimensions stay roughly the same.

    The Transporter follows the van industry’s shift towards more car-like interiors and adopts a touch-screen based infotainment system similar to the unit found in the Golf and the Passat. Called Caravelle in a number of European countries, the Transporter’s passenger-carrying sibling can be ordered with premium features like real wood trim on the dashboard and wall-to-wall leather upholstery.

    The EuroNCAP, Europe’s rough equivalent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recently urged auto manufacturers to build safer commercial vans. Accordingly, the Transporter packs numerous airbags and a wide array of standard and optional electronic driving aids – including Front Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and a City Emergency Braking Function – designed to keep the van on four wheels and pointed in the right direction.

    Volkswagen’s mid-size van can be ordered with a 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder turbodiesel engine available with 83, 100, 147 or 201 horsepower, or with a 2.0-liter gasoline-burning four that makes either 147 or 201 ponies. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on most engines, and a six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox is offered at an extra cost. Both front- and all-wheel drive models are available.

    The Volkswagen T6 Transporter will go on sale across Europe in a couple of days. Volkswagen has not indicated if it will take on rival Mercedes-Benz on North America’s burgeoning midsize van market, though rumors indicate that the company will launch a commercial vehicle on these shores before the end of the decade.

  • VW revises Routan ignition-switch recall

    April 17, 2015
    Volkswagen has issued a revised recall for its Chrysler-built Routan minivan, after the Detroit automaker’s initial repair failed to effectively remedy an ignition-switch defect.
    Chrysler made an equivalent revision last month, promising to replace the entire ignition-switch module rather than just an elastomer detent ring. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened an investigation into the first fix after owners of repaired vehicles continued to report inadvertent key movement from ‘run’ to the ‘accessory’ position.

    “Volkswagen makes numerous requests [between August 2014 and March 2015] to Chrysler regarding recall repair remedy and parts supply plan for recall implementation,” VW wrote in its recall timeline. “Volkswagen was made aware of amended information regarding this recall via a [March 7, 2015] news report and through various media outlets & contacted Chrysler for additional information.”

    Chrysler is said to have responded with a parts-supply plan on March 16. The company will have the replacement modules ready this month for the 2009 Routan and in August for the 2010 model year.

  • Shanghai preview: Audi A6 L e-tron

    April 17, 2015
    Audi has launched a hybrid offensive in China, epitomized by the A6 L e-tron that will make its debut next week in Shanghai.
    Designed specifically for Chinese buyers, the new sedan represents Audi’s first plug-in hybrid model to be built locally in the world’s largest automotive market. The launch follows the imported A3 Sportback e-tron an the standard long-wheelbase A6, which is already built in China.

    Like the new Q7 e-tron, the hybrid A6 L pairs Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI engine with a single electric motor connected in parallel and mounted to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is less powerful than the Q7, however, with a combined system output of 245 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque — good for a zero-to-62 mph sprint in 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 131 mph.

    The German automaker claims the hybrid sedan can achieve nearly 107 mpg, according to China’s measurement methods, while the 14.1-kWh battery is said to be capable of reaching 31 miles without firing up the gasoline engine. Buyers can expect to fill the battery in approximately two hours at a high-power station, or in around eight hours at home.

    The hybrid management system provides four basic driving modes, starting with pure-electric operation at speeds of up to 84 mph. In the standard hybrid mode, the car automatically chooses the drive type to maximize efficiency. Drivers can also enable a “battery hold” mode that maintains the current charge status, or a charge mode that continues to fill the battery while driving.

    The e-tron package is visually distinguished by unique 18-inch alloy wheels and unique air inlets outfitted with LED light guides. The rear diffuser also brings a unique look, mostly concealing the exhaust outlets.

    Audi will build the A6 L e-tron through its FAW-Volkswagen joint venture in the northern Chinese city of Changchun, with availability expected sometime next year.

  • Supplier Magna to exit interior business

    April 17, 2015
    Canadian parts supplier Magna International is looking to exit the interior components production business with a sale of its operations to Spanish firm Grupo Antolin.
    Once the deal is approved, a total of 36 facilities representing a workforce of 12,000 in North America, Europe and Asia are to be sold for $525 million USD. The interiors division represented $2.4 billion of Magna’s reported $36.64 in sales in 2014, according to Reuters. “This transaction is consistent with our strategy of refining our product portfolio to focus on certain key areas of the vehicle,” said Don Walker, Magna CEO, in an official release.

    “We are confident that Grupo Antolin will continue to serve our interiors customers and provide to our interiors employees a solid foundation for the future,” he continued.

    Magna’s seating business is not included in the transaction.