Volkswagen’s Atlas Strategy: Plug the Hole Now, Worry About Selection Later

Volkswagen Atlas, Image: Seth Parks

The journey Volkswagen’s uber-American midsize crossover took in between CrossBlue notion and Atlas production model was a lengthy 1, but it isn’t more than.

Even though production begins next month in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the model designed in the hopes of tapping America’s utility automobile addiction leaves many queries about its future unanswered.

Speaking to Wards Auto, Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer for VW in North America and head of its Chattanooga engineering center, implies that obtaining the model to customers in any form was Job No. 1 for the struggling automaker.

Sporting three rows and styling that can only be described as generic, the Atlas is the vanguard of VW’s SUV-heavy push into the U.S. marketplace. The automaker is counting on the Atlas and future utility models to reclaim sales ground lost due to the diesel emissions scandal. There’s also that pesky issue of buyers shunning cars — VW’s standard sales territory — in increasing numbers.

The Atlas closes “the largest gap” in the automaker’s lineup, Erb told Wards Auto.

It was long rumored that the model would come in a plug-in hybrid version, but that plan is not set in stone. Erb claims the firm hasn’t however decided if a heavily electrified version ought to join the Atlas range.

“This is a issue we are nonetheless discussing, Erb stated. “At the moment, the plug-in is not so extremely desirable to us since of the upstream emissions (greenhouse gasses made in the generation of electricity).”

He added, “We genuinely don’t know how desirable these automobiles are anymore because the CO2 balance is not considerably better than the balance of (standard) hybrid autos.”

A plug-in is still attainable, but so is a conventional hybrid, he stated. As well, VW is open to letting other models carry the hybrid burden, even although Erb admits there’s clients willing to pay a premium for the technologies.

“This is open,” he mentioned. “We have a particular strategy, and I cannot actually talk about that, but we’re still thinking about where (in the model lineup) to electrify and where not to electrify so significantly.”

The automaker has a variety of hybrids and battery electric automobiles planned as part of its 2025 item method. Development carries a steep cost tag, and the Atlas sits at the core of VW’s fundraising efforts.

Provided initially in a seven-seat configuration to battle the likes of the Ford Explorer and other mid-sizers, a far more stripped-down Atlas variant could be on the way.

“If you appear into the SUV segment, you can see that it is type of separated into two parts, 7-seaters and five-seaters, and in our opinion it would make perfect sense to also offer you a five-seater,” Erb stated. It is feasible that the Atlas could sport two wheelbase lengths in the future, he added.

[Image: © 2016 Seth Parks/The Truth About Automobiles]

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Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating Just Produced it Tougher for Every person


There’s a opportunity drivers may possibly be in for an even tougher smog test subsequent time around, all thanks to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.

Like the kid who produced a ruckus in school and brought on the entire class to be sent to detention, VW’s “defeat device” shenanigans could cause drivers of all vehicle brands to be studied under a more glaring microscope at test time, Bloomberg reports.

“The Volkswagen scandal underscores some huge flaws in the emissions test systems we have in the true world,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an environmental nonprofit.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency certifies every model ahead of it goes on sale in the U.S., responsibility shifts to the state level to make positive vehicles presently on the road pass muster. Currently, 32 states call for emissions testing. 

The VW scandal is prompting critics to get in touch with for sweeping adjustments to local emissions test systems, arguing that many neighborhood tests merely involve a check of a car’s computer software to see if the pollution control systems are in working order.

This is precisely the scenario VW’s cheater application (created by Audi in 1999) was made to game. Even if the system appears to be functioning, that’s no guarantee that pollutants are not streaming out of the tailpipe.

Naturally, this could make emissions tests tougher for all drivers, no matter whether you personal a Volkswagen or not. Like the kid in college who set the picnic table on fire during a field trip, it only requires a single undesirable apple to ruin it for everyone.

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What’s Going On with Volkswagen’s Golf GTI?

2015 VW GTI 2-Door Exterior Side 7

Dealers are shaving thousands off of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI — up to $ 5,000 at some dealers — and the hatchback is comparatively easy to find at rental automobile counters across the country.

So, is everything going OK with 2015’s North American Vehicle of the Year™?

For starters, in Volkswagen’s defense, most of its automobiles are offered with at least a couple of thousand dollars off as dealers cope with sagging sales from its diesel crisis. At my nearby Volkswagen dealer (Emich VW in Denver) it’s not uncommon to locate a Jetta or Passat with $ two,500 on the hood.

But there are some GTIs on the identical lot that have been docked almost $ four,500, without having any incentive trickeration or destination withholding. (To get the deal, it just needs to be a conquest acquire and financed by way of Volkswagen, which are not extraordinary situations.)

Last year, Volkswagen sold more than 23,000 Golf GTIs, which is much more than 20 % much more than it sold in 2014, even though it is unclear how several of those have been fleet purchases.

Readers over at VWVortex have noticed the trend too owners have reported comparable rates at dealerships across the U.S.

We reached out to Volkswagen officials to see what they have to say but haven’t but heard back.

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Report: Volkswagen’s Repair is New Catalytic Converter

TDI Clean Diesel

Engineers at Volkswagen have proposed fitting a catalytic converter to more than 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. to comply with emissions, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday (by means of Reuters).

The costly and lengthy repair could bring into compliance vehicles that Volkswagen admitted cheated diesel emissions test by means of an illegal “defeat device” that lowered nitrogen oxides by up to 40 times in the course of test cycles.

Officials at Volkswagen didn’t comment on the report.

Volkswagen and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency have struggled to agree on how to fix a lot more than 500,000 illegally polluting cars in the U.S. Last week, the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA sued Volkswagen for the vehicles, searching for up to $ 48 billion in damages and penalties. In announcing the lawsuit, EPA deputy Cynthia Giles stated Volkswagen had not “produced an acceptable way forward” with its proposals to fix its vehicles. 

German newspapers have reported that Volkswagen may possibly be preparing to get back more than one hundred,000 cars in the U.S. if they couldn’t be repaired.

According to the Bild am Sonntag report, the catalytic converters would only be fitted to vehicles equipped with Volkswagen’s EA 189 engine. In testimony to Congress, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told officials that newer automobiles would only want a software update to bring those cars into compliance with the law.

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EPA Recalling Volkswagens, Audis for Bogus Emissions Tests


The Environmental Protection Agency took the rare step of recalling more than 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi automobiles for using a “defeat device” to force the cars to comply with emissions standards, the New York Times reported.

The California Air Resources Board and EPA slammed the automaker for employing the device that can detect when the vehicle is becoming tested for emissions and implement complete pollutant controls to curb nitrogen oxide emissions.

“Using a defeat device in automobiles to evade clean air requirements is illegal and a threat to public well being,” Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, said in a statement. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, E.P.A. is committed to producing positive that all automakers play by the same rules. E.P.A. will continue to investigate these quite serious violations.”

Final month, TTAC reader Stephen reported that his newly ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was being held at port for months for months for an EPA hold. We reached out to Audi, and they reported the same, directing us to the EPA who reported that the automobiles had not but received a Certificate of Compliance.

According to the EPA, researches at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, uncovered the devices.

When pressed by the government agency, Volkswagen admitted in September that the vehicles employed the illegal device to pass emissions.

The recall signals the altering connection among government and automakers, who’ve in the previous had a fairly cozy relationship. This month, security regulators issued recalls for more than 1.7 million Fiat Chrysler Automobile models and penalized Common Motors $ 900 million.

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