Interior Color: Black
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Number of Doors: 4
Exterior Color: Blue
West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Volkswagen owns or has controlling interests in three commercial truck operations: besides its own, VW began buying shares in Sweden's Scania in 2000 and now controls 89.2 percent of its shares and 62.6 percent of its capital, then bought into Germany's Man in 2006 - in order to prevent Man from trying to take over Scania - and now owns 75 percent of it. The car company has managed to work out 200 million euros in savings, but believes it can unlock a total of 650 million euros in savings if it takes outright control of Scania and can spread more common parts among the three divisions.
It has proposed a 6.7-billion-euro ($9.2 billion) buyout, but according to a Bloomberg report, Scania's minority investors don't appear inclined to the deal. Although effectively controlled by VW, Scania is an independently-listed Swedish company, and a profitable one at that: in the January-September 2013 period its operating profit was 9.4 percent compared to Man's 0.4 percent. Some of the other shareholders believe that Scania is better off on its own and will not approve the deal, some have asked an auditor to look into the potential conflict of interest between VW and Man, while some are willing to examine the deal and "make an evaluation based on what a long-term owner finds is good," which might not be just "the stock market price plus a few percent." The buyout will only be official assuming VW can reach the 90-percent share threshold that Swedish law mandates for a squeeze-out.
Many of the arguments against boil down to investors believing that Scania's Swedishness and unique offerings are what keep it profitable, and ownership by the German car company will kill that. (Have we heard that somewhere before?) If Volkswagen can buy that additional 0.8-percent share in Scania, perhaps its buyout wrangling with Man will give it an idea of what it's in for: "dozens" of minority investors in the German truckmaker have filed cases against VW, seeking higher prices for their shares. It is likely only to delay the inevitable, though. If VW is really going to compete with Daimler and Volvo in the truck market, it has to get the size, clout and savings to do so.
Less Flower, More Power
Pardon our political incorrectness for a moment, but the Volkswagen New Beetle was, undeniably, a "chick car." There was almost nothing that the New Beetle offered to enthusiasts (of either gender), and by the end of its run, VW had even stripped all of the exciting engines from the car's lineup. Looking to resurrect some of the excitement behind the Beetle, the third generation of the iconic car ditched the cuteness when the coupe debuted for 2012, and now the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible aims to show how much fun drivers can have without a top.
Celebrating almost six and a half decades of the Beetle convertible, Volkswagen is offering a trio of distinct special editions that celebrate three of the car's most popular decades (the '50s, '60s and '70s), but as one of the unofficial cars of the 1960s, it would almost be a crime not to test this version, right? Besides, this is also the only special edition to get the turbocharged engine. While our first drive of the 2013 Beetle Convertible was in the fuel-miser TDI variation, our two-week romp in the 2013 Beetle Convertible '60s Edition came just as peak convertible weather was kicking off down in Florida.
Sometimes you meet folks who, when they tell you "Hey, I have an idea," your reflex response is to stop what you're doing and tell yourself, "Get ready...." We imagine Mike Niemans is one of those folks, and the idea in question is putting a tank engine on a Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle. Not just any old tank engine - as if there were such a thing when we're talking about putting them in cars - but a 668-cubic-inch, 220-horsepower radial engine built by Continental in 1941 and procured from an M2 tank.
In the image above Nieman is using the tank clutch hub to get the motor set up, but in one of the images below you can see what really belongs back there is: a two-inch, reverse-pitch prop taken from a wind generator. He says there's enough mojo with the propeller action to get the car rolling down the runway like a jet when he gives it gas - and speaking of gas, the engine's been refitted to run on propane.
After a few safety tweaks Nieman's going to take the matte-black Beetle to Bonneville, "put the prop on, let her go and see what happens!" We can't wait to see the video of that. There are two shakedown videos below to get you ready.