Exterior Color: Gray/Orange
Interior Color: White
Number of Cylinders: 4
Drive Type: ...
Orlando, Florida, United States
It is mostly original,it is beautiful and runs and starts perfectly.
As I scoured auction sites and classified ads for the perfect vehicle to take into battle with Autoblog Associate Editor Brandon Turkus, I knew I needed to find something unique. You see, I'm currently 0-2 at winning a round of This or That, in which two of our editors agree on a category, choose a side, and argue it out over a (mostly) friendly chain of emails.
The first time we did this, my chosen Fiat 500 Abarth took about a third of the popular vote in our reader poll. The second time, my lovely 1980 Oldsmobile 442 did just a little bit better against a 1989 BMW 635 CSi. Despite holding the opinion that my automotive choices, though perhaps a little bit more... obscure than my fellow editors, are still better, an outright win would go a long way toward boosting my vehicular self worth a few notches upward.
With all of that out of the way, even if three isn't my lucky number after all, I go into battle against Brandon knowing full well that I've made the perfect choice: A 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. My rough-and-tumble van/'ute has a formidable opponent in the form of a 1987 Land Rover Defender, which, truth be told, is exactly what I was expecting from Turkus, a self-proclaimed Rover aficionado.
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.
The Volkswagen brand sold 407,704 cars last year, a 6.95-percent decline compared to 2012, and it's down a further 8.36 percent through the end of April 2014 compared to this time last year. In order to to put the sales football between its Strategy 2018 goal posts, the brand would need to add 100,000 more sales every year to achieve the lofty 800,000-unit target. Coming to grips with how unreasonable that is, VW US CEO Michael Horn has said, "For now, we have to have realistic targets."
The reasons for the brand's slow-down are imprecise, but lots of folks are throwing lots of reasons around. Last November, VW Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech told Bloomberg, "We understand Europe, we understand China and we understand Brazil, [but] we only understand the US to a certain degree so far." Analysts say the brand hasn't had midsize and compact SUV offerings, especially an overdue retail version of the CrossBlue, and the ones it does have are priced too high for their segments. It "didn't introduce enough new engines, or alternative technologies or model variants" for the Passat and Jetta. It devoted so many resources to China that the US market suffered. It was being outspent two-to-one on advertising by competitors. Its J.D. Power dependability ratings aren't high enough to overcome its past. It "has never really taken the US customer seriously." And so on.
There's still no official admission of defeat concerning the target, but reading between the lines there are some VW execs that appear to accept it won't happen short of some deus ex machina. Still,