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Volkswagen looking to acquire Proton, Lotus?

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 13:01:00 EST

Let's say you're an automaker bent on world domination looking to grow your sales. That's going to have you looking at Asian markets, because that's where some of the biggest growth has been, and that's exactly what Volkswagen is doing as it considers making another run at Malaysia's Proton.
Reuters reports that Volkswagen is interested in at least a partial stake, if not a controlling interest in Lotus-parent Proton as a way to continue a production presence in the region without having to build its own factory.
Volkswagen already builds the Passat in a DRB-HICOM facility in Pekan, Malaysia, and plans are in place to build the Jetta and Polo there, as well. With both southeast Asia and its relationship with Proton figuring so importantly in Volkswagen's plans for expansion, buying into Proton can help ensure stability. Volkswagen is being tight-lipped about the whole idea, but CEO Martin Winterkorn did recently say, "it's our clear goal to continue the successful (expansion) course of past years with great dynamics and stability," which sounds an awful lot like deals are on the table to smooth the path to further growth.

Skoda racing Up! to Worthersee with Citigo Rally concept

Thu, 17 May 2012 15:31:00 EST

If you thought the Volkswagen Group was about to wind down the endless stream of concept cars based on the new Up! city car, think again. Because not only is the Volkswagen brand itself keeping the train a-moving, so are its sister brands.
Skoda has its own version of the Up called the Citigo. But what racing fans know the Czech subsidiary for best is its rally program that has become a dominant force in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the basis for VW's own foray into the World Rally Championship. Now Skoda is bringing the two together with an exciting concept car previewed by the rendering above and confirmed in the press release below.
Following in the footsteps of the tantalizing Fabia roadster unveiled last year, the Citigo Rally concept is to be the centerpiece of the Skoda display at the Volkswagen Group's annual hot-hatch gathering at Lake Wörthersee in Austria. Details are scarce, but the show car will feature rally-inspired bodywork complete with 18-inch white alloys packed into aggressively flared wheel arches, a substantial rear wing and vents aplenty.

Volkswagen Group previews its wares on eve of Geneva show

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:55:00 EST

The Volkswagen Group is comprised of 11 brands producing 240 vehicles across 49 factories throughout the world. So the best way to show off the range of the VW family is to cram a few thousand journalists and VIPs into a massive makeshift stand to outline the Group's goals, what's in the pipeline and what you'll be able to buy later this year.
To that end, VW pulled out all the stops on the eve of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, bringing along 10 vehicles from across the range. We'll be delving into the details of each over the next two days of show coverage, but before that happens, you can read all about what we saw tonight from the cheap seats after the break.

Volkswagen Group names Paefgen head of classics program

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 08:00:00 EST

You may remember the name Franz-Josef Paefgen. Until recently, the German engineer and executive was head of both Bentley and Bugatti. Before that he was chief executive of Audi, after working for several years at Ford. He technically "retired" earlier this year, but like the cars he helped create, an executive like Paefgen could never really retire. So it should come as little surprise that the Volkswagen Group has named Dr. Paefgen head of its Classic program.
In his new capacity, Paefgen will oversee the historic automobile activities of the entire VW Group, including those of Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Lamborghini, and of course Bentley and Bugatti. It strikes us as a suitable semi-retirement for the man responsible in no small part for the Bugatti Veyron and Bentley Mulsanne, to name just two, and who was decorated in 2006 by the ACO as the "Spirit of Le Mans" for his contribution to endurance racing. Read the official announcement after the break.

Skoda unveils Volkswagen Up!-based Citigo

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 16:30:00 EST

This is the all-new Skoda Citigo, and if you're thinking that it looks rather familiar, that's because its Volkswagen-badged kin recently debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. That's right, the long-rumored Skoda version of Volkswagen's new Up! city car has finally arrived.
Buyers will have a choice of two 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines - one with 59 horsepower, the other with a 74 hp and a blistering 106 mph top speed - both mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Powerful they are not, but these three-bangers should prove to be extremely efficient, with Skoda quoting fuel economy numbers of 62.8 and 60.1 miles per gallon, respectively (on the European cycle).
Being a Skoda, the Citigo will go on sale in its home market of the Czech Republic this fall, with the rest of Europe getting the car next summer. Follow the jump for Skoda's official release.

Honda wins Commercial of the Decade, but not for the ad you think [w/VIDEO]

Fri, 18 Dec 2009 19:58:00 EST

Honda's Commercial of the Decade: "Grrr" - Click above to watch video
The mad men at Adweek recently voted for the Commercial of the Decade (Super Bowl commercials not included) and Honda took top honors over memorable ads from the last ten years by companies like Nike, Budweiser and Sony. That's not a big surprise considering Honda often puts a huge amount of effort into its on-air spots. However, the Japanese automaker didn't win for the commercial you might have expected: "Cog." Though Honda's famous commercial that breaks down a European Accord Tourer into a Rube Goldberg-esque machine was also a finalist, it was beaten by another Honda commercial called "Grrr" that's narrated by Garrison Keillor of all people. You've probably never seen it, but you can after the jump.
Volkswagen also made the list of finalists, but the particular ad chosen out of all the comical VW ads we've seen was unexpected as well. Most surprising carmaker with a commercial in the finals: Saturn. Who knew...