Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
Volkswagen brought an angular, bulldog-like small crossover concept called Taigun to the São Paulo motor show last year, claiming that it wanted to gauge interest in the design before making a decision about production. If a new report with alleged leaked patent images is to be believed, then, interest must have been pretty high.
China's Auto.Sohu.com has published this group of Taigun images, claiming that they have been sourced from the Chinese patent office and that the subcompact VW utility based on the Up! has been cleared for production.
If all of that is true, and if these images are representative of the final product, you'll see that designers haven't done much to alter the concept car's appearance. Comparing, shot for shot, with the images we have from Brazil, we see that even small details like roof rack-mounted lights and exhaust tips integrated in the rear fascia have been carried over. Take a closer look for yourself in the attached galleries.
Do you recall the failed efforts by Porsche to take over Volkswagen? According to a Bloomberg report, former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking (above) and ex-CFO Holger Haerter have finally been charged with market manipulation over the exercising of options as part of the German sportscar manufacturer's ill-fated attempt to take over the much larger VW. That failed bid eventually resulted in the reverse coming true - VW swallowing Porsche.
The charges leveled by Stuttgart prosecutors come after a three-year investigation centered around allegations that Porsche execs made a concerted effort to increase the company's share in VW to 75 percent in preparation for a hostile takeover. Porsche had previously told its investors on at least five occasions that it had no intention to buy VW.
Portions of the investigation have subsided, according to prosecutors, citing an inability to prove certain improprieties with a "necessary degree of certainty." The number of charges is down to 5 from a previous 14 counts regarding "information-based market manipulation."
According to a report in Autocar, Volkswagen might have more in mind for the XL1 than mining it for advances to grace the next-generation Golf. Aiming to fight the Honda FCEV due for public consumption next year, we're told VW executives have put a four-door, four-seater version of the XL1 - it could be called XL2 - on the drawing board. The impetus is said to come from the top, with VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch intent on staying in the deep end of "super-efficent vehicles."
Autocar suspects the necessary changes could raise the weight of the car from 1,749 pounds to 2,068 pounds, which would make it four pounds less than the 2,072-pound Up! we drove a few years ago. Crucially, however, the mag thinks the extra capacity wouldn't change the two-seater's 310-mile-per-gallon rating, with tech tweaks and the aerodynamic benefit of a longer car offsetting the weight. Speculation is that the back seats would be staggered like the fronts in order to maintain the XL1's overall profile.
We recently heard about another XL1 variant that's gone off the radar entirely, the Ducati-engined XLR that we thought we'd see at the Geneva Motor Show and that was said to be going into production, so this one could go the same way. The biggest hurdle to making such an idea a reality, though, could be the price: the current XL1 costs 110,000 euros ($146,116). If VW really is going to compete with the Honda FCEV and the Toyota FCV - $70,000 in Japan - that might be where it wants to start.