Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
During a gathering of 20,000 Volkswagen Group employees at company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany on Wednesday, CEO Martin Winterkorn dropped a bombshell. The boss stated that the automaker isn't operating efficiently enough and admitted the company needs to radically start cutting back to raise its profit margins. To right the ship, Winterkorn has proposed killing off less profitable models and spending less on research and development.
According to Reuters, Winterkorn wants to raise the VW brand's profit margin from about 2.9 percent in 2013 to a target of 6 percent. To make that possible, his plan amounts to increasing cost cutting until Volkswagen reaches about 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) per year to get things back in order. "Over the short-term, we urgently need more efficiency and higher profit," the CEO said during his speech, according to Reuters.
However, Winterkorn can't make these decisions unilaterally. Volkswagen's works council also has a seat on the supervisory board to represent laborers, and it isn't likely to take the proposed cuts sitting down.
Part of the Volkswagen Golf recipe that has helped the car sell more than 30 million units in just under 40 years is the number of variants in which the hatchback is offered. Building on that range here in the US, Automotive News is reporting that we will finally be getting the sporty Golf GTD, likely as a 2016 model. It's the GTD, you'll recall, that crosses the performance abilities of the venerable GTI with a powerful and fuel-efficient diesel engine.
After speaking with Andreas Valbuena, Volkswagen product manager for the Golf, AN not only says that the GTD will for sale in the US in a couple years, it also estimates a baseline price of around $27,000, which would place it between the current pricing for the GTI and the Golf R. The GTD is launching in Europe this summer, but we won't be getting the seventh-generation Golf in the US for another year. The news about the performance diesel model isn't entirely unexpected - VW officials have been hinting at it for at least a year now, going so far as to import a sixth-generation model for media test drives on US soil, a task we happily took them up on last year.
The Mk VII GTD uses VW's 2.0-liter TDI engine with output increased to 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, allowing the car to sprint to 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds while returning more than 40 mpg in highway driving. We can't wait.
We've reached a new step in the ongoing drama at Volkswagen's factory in Chattanooga, TN. The United Auto Workers recently dropped its opposition to the union vote and agreed that it wouldn't hold another ballot for at least a year. Now, the new question becomes where VW is going to build its forthcoming midsize SUV.
Earlier, it had been considered all but certain that the SUV, likely a production version of the CrossBlue concept (pictured above), would be built in Tennessee. However, it seems the Chattanooga factory might have competition to produce it. In emails obtained by The Detroit News, VW's lawyer wrote to the Tennessee economic development department in January saying, "While we understand there are some 'non-deal' issues that are causing a delay in the TN solution, VW has been successful in reaching agreement on terms at the alternative locations."
As previously reported, the state of Tennessee allegedly offered VW about $300 million in incentives to build the vehicle there and create an estimated 1,350 jobs, but it later rescinded the deal. Newly leaked documents from NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) in Nashville allegedly show just how close that offer was to being completed. It appears that VW actually sent the government the first draft of a memorandum of understanding agreeing to the incentives, but the state removed the offer in late January.