Forecasts on Fabia raised by Volkswagen Skoda

The Volkswagen AG’s unit in Czech, Skoda Auto AS, increased its full-year forecast on sales. This is because the demand for the Roomster all-purpose vehicle and Fabia small car were up to a high. “Skoda estimates deliveries will increase about 13 percent to 620,000 units from 549,667 units in 2006,” said Chief Executive Officer Detlef Wittig during an interview at the headquarters in Skoda’s Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic.

Only in February this year that Wittig made a forecast that sales will increase by up to 9.1 percent to 600,000. The six-month sales of the automaker made an increase of up to 15 percent from a year earlier to 310,000 vehicles as reported by Wittig, while their revenue increased between 7 and 8 percent.

The growth of profit “will be a little higher” than the sales increase as they said because Skoda has cut the production and the costs for material. The medium-term global target increase for the sales of Skoda of Wittig is 45 percent to 800,000 vehicles a year since the division expands production worldwide.

The Volkswagen’s second most profitable unit after the Audi luxury brand is planning on increasing their 2007 sales through their new version of their best-selling Fabia model. This model came to market in March and the Roomster was introduced in 2006. “The new Fabia and the Roomster are doing well, which is a good reassurance for the future,” Wittig said. The Czech division’s 2006 profit soared 40 per cent to a record 11.1 billion koruna ($520 million) as the Roomster appealed to buyers and thus the productivity improved.

The sales increased to 8.7 percent to 203.7 billion koruna. Skoda is investing a total of 350 euros or $471 million this year, and most of the money will be used for the expanding production capacity at the three existing Czech plants. However, they have no plans on adding a factory on th market even though they are experiencing a “tight labor market.”A fourth plant is absolutely out of discussion,” Wittig said. “The Czech labor market would not give us an opportunity to do that,” he added.

It was said by the government that their unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in May, which would be the lowest since 2004, the time Czech Republic joined the European union. Skoda also had to compete for workers as a joint venture was made between Toyota Motor Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroen and other automakers expanded.

Wittig’s objective is to introduce a new model every year and that includes a new Sports Utility Vehicle called the Yeti, which is scheduled to come out in 2009. Also, they plan to release a Combi Fabia in 2008, which will be manufactured at the main plant in Mlada Boleslav.

Skoda alo plans on expanding in emerging countries like Russia, India, and China. This year’s division began on selling the Octavia mid-size sedan produced at the Volkswagen plant in China, and they will also manufacture the Fabia and Superb, its most expensive vehicle.

The joint Volkswagen and Skoda factory will help the automaker in avoiding a 25 percent tax on imported vehicles. “Skoda now has 50 exclusive dealerships in China and by the end of the year will have 80 outlets,” Wittig said. “Skoda has received orders in the last month for about 10,000 cars in China and expects to sell as many as 30,000 vehicles there this year,” he added.

The first Octavia in Russia will be assembled from kits staring October or November with the full production beginning in 2009. “The major growth rate in the future will be in the emerging markets, in Russia, India, and China,” Wittig said.

The production for those cars “will be done in those markets.” The division in March began selling the first complete remake of the Fabia since its introduction more than seven years ago. 1.6 million units of Fabias were already sold by Skoda since its debut in 1999.

Volkswagen announced Phaeton prices earlier

Pricing and specifications of the revised Phaeton luxury saloon has already been announced by Volkswagen ahead of its launch on September this year. The revisions made on the Phaeton include an updated interior and exterior styling, a new engine that follows the Euro V emissions legislation, making it the first Volkswagen engine to follow such and is a 3.0L V6 TDI. This engine also prides itself of its more power than the outgoing unit.

This new engine uses common rail technology, with an utmost power output of 233 PS, which is eight more PS than its predecessor. This 3.0L V6 TDI engine also produces a torque measurable of up to 450Nm, 0-62 miles per hour in an approximate time of 8.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 146mph. But it still returns a 29.4 miles per gallon on the combined cycle. The 80 percent reduction in particulates (compared with the Euro IV) is one of the requirements of the Euro V emission and is not scheduled to come out until 2009, has already been achieved by this new Volkswagen engine.

Two other engines complete the Phaeton line up – the 4.2L V8 335 PS and the 6.0L W12 450 PS. All the models are equipped with the standard 4MOTION four-wheel drive and the long wheelbase, which gives 12cm additional rear legroom, are also available. The only thing offered with the standard wheelbase is the 3.0L V6 TDI engine.

There are certain subtle style changes on the Phaeton’s exterior and these are the re-profiled bonnet, newly-designed headlights complete with automatic driving lights, body coloured bumpers with chrome trim,cherry red rear light clusters, hazard lights which illuminate automatically in extreme braking situations for added safety, and chrome air inlets. There is an option however, to upgrade into the cornering bi-Xenon lights with LED daytime running lights. This innovation upgrade is already a standard on the W12.

Phaeton also now features a modified center console switchgear for enhanced ease of use in its cabin, and a new DVD navigation system. Again, as an option, the current telephone preparation is replaced by Voice Activated Mobile Phone Preparation. This already includes a Blueetooth Interface with hands-free operation and the control unit integrated into the “infotainment” system. This costs £825.00.

The prices for this revised Volkswagen Phaeton starts at £37,995* RRP OTR. This will arrive in UK in September this year and will be available to order now from Volkswagen retailers.

Volkswagen named best-full line corporation again

Strategic Vision has named Volkswagen of America, Inc. the best-full line manufacturer for the second consecutive year. Along with that, the Volkswagen Rabbit was also rated the top vehicle in its class in the yearly Strategic Vision Total Quality Index (TQI), which has the task of measuring the new vehicle owner satisfaction.

Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision said, “On top of strong quality, the Volkswagen Rabbit hits a strong emotional chord with its buyers. Overall, Volkswagen vehicles have proven to be of high-quality and owners are passionate about the brand and their vehicles.”

In the small multi-function segment, Rabbit has ranked top above many various competitors, all of which had something to offer. Executive Vice President of Volkswagen of America, Adrian Hallmark said, “Volkswagen has continued to do well in the Strategic Vision Total Quality Awards. It reiterates that our vehicles are well crafted and fun to drive and that our owners are some of the most passionate drivers in the market.”

Hallmark also said, “Our continuing commitment to building high-quality vehicles is evident in important quality surveys, like Strategic Vision; it is Volkswagen’s objective to continue to improve our quality and receive scores among the top tier.”

The Strategic Vision Total Quality Index observes all aspects of the ownership experience – from buying and owning to driving the car. It associates the satisfaction of customers with complete ownership experience, owner reported delight, future purchase intent, perception of quality, and emotional attachment to the vehicle.

Volkswagen R32 Sales Already Hit 1/5 of Total Units to be Sold

Volkswagen of America announced that it has already sold almost 1,000 units of its motor-sports inspired 250-horsepower 2008 Volkswagen R32 hatchback. That number of units sold already comprises one-fifth of the allotment of the 5,000 R32s that are bound for the US., noted Volkswagen. And the exciting part is that the Volkswagen R32 hasn’t even arrived in showrooms, and it won’t be for a few more months.

The pre-sale of nearly 1,000 units of the 5,000 coveted cars was the result of an exclusive pre-sale offer to current-model GTI and R32 owners, Volkswagen said. The news is that the R32 will have an MSRP of $32,990 upon arriving it showrooms.

Volkswagen also slipped some details about the launch of their R32 models in US. The car, as usual, will be available in metallic blue, which is its signature color. It will also be in tornado red and come 2008, two new colors will be added, which is candy white and united gray. The launching of Volkswagen’s new model was actually a bit delayed as when they announced the US launch of the R32 during the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, they said it would be on August. However, when asked now about the R32’s launching, they’d just say that it would be on fall.

It could be noted that shortly after the market debut of the 2004 RS, it sold out. The R32 has a 3.2L V6 engine that can deliver 250 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. And Volkswagen is proud to announce that it could accelerate from zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds.

Volkswagen Passat Estate Tops Towcar Awards 2007

The Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI 4Motion has been awarded the Overall Winner in the inaugural Towcar Awards 2007. Volkswagen proved itself worthy of the award as it was able to beat 50 other cars that were also tested for the competition. It was voted and judged by experts from What Car?, Practical Caravan, and The Camping and Caravanning Club.

50 cars participated in UK’s biggest and most extensive towcar testing program. These cars were put through their paces for their towing ability and other things as well such as driving performance when not towing, practicality, value for money, and their safety – and these were some of the criteria for the judging process.

Also, these cars were tested to help buyers choose the right match for their caravans or trailers. There were five categories for by kerbweight(the unladen weight with all alowances for a driver and fuel). Those who won in each category are the following:

Category – Model – Retail Price – What Car? – Target Price

Up to 1425 kg – Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Match – £16,067 – £15,168
1425-1574 kg – Volvo V70 D5 SE – £28,815 – £25,931
1575-1724 kg – Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion Estate – £22,337 – £21,256
1725-1900 kg – Audi Allroad 3.0 TDI Quattro Tiptronic – £36,925 – £34,448
Over 1900 kg – Land Rover Discovery TDV6 HSE Auto – £43,812 – £40,890

These cars within their categories were greatly recommended:

Best Budget Buy – Kia Rio 1.5 CRDi LS
Best Compact 4×4 – Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4 HSE
Best large MPV – Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Ghia
Money-no-object – Range Rover TDV8 HSE

Green Award – Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDi LS

“After five days of intensive testing, the Volkswagen Passat Estate emerged as a clear winner. It makes great sense whatever you’re towing, but just as crucial are its abilities in everyday driving and the fact that it’s a sound ownership proposition,” said Steve Fowler, Editor of What Car?

Editor of Practical Caravan, Carl Rodgerson said, “Choosing the right towcar is a tricky business as a car dealer is hardly going to pop a towball on the back so that you can go for a spin with your caravan or trailer. These Awards are designed to remove that uncertainty by putting all the leading models through Britain’s most comprehensive towcar test programme. An excellent car doesn’t automatically make a great towcar but you can be confident that the winners of the Towcar Awards are brilliant all-rounders that offer value, practicality and economy as well as superb towing ability.”

Cars that earned a thumbs up from the road testers from What Car? are the only ones who were selected for the week-long test program. As much as they are good with towing, these cars also got to be good to drive solo and to live with.

These vehicles were put through a series of devised tests for acceleration and braking, hill start, maneuverability, practicality, and stability and these tests all took place at the Motor Industry Research Center(MIRA) in Warwickshire.

Director for Marketing and Communications for The Camping and Caravanning said, “It is essential that consumers have all the relevant information at their fingertips in order to make an informed decision about the purchase of a new vehicle, especially when a considerable amount of money is at stake. This awards programme is the largest of its kind and is instrumental in opening up the minefield of information about not only the best cars for towing but also the best all round vehicles. The Club welcomes the results and is thrilled to be part of these awards.”

Volkswagen Transmission in China Awards Timken

Volkswagen Transmission Shanghai Co. Ltd. awarded the Timken Company the 2006 Excellent Supplier Award for their supply of needle roller bearings to Volkswagen Transmission. Timken is proud to receive that as there were only two suppliers to win the award.

Timken’s Wuxi plant in China began to work with Volkswagen in 2003 and its business with Shanghai has grown fast with their annual sales doubling between 2005 and 2006. “From the beginning, Timken has been dedicated to serving Volkswagen globally, including in growth markets like China,” said Kevin Raketich, general manager of Timken’s Asian automotive business. “Timken engineering, sales and manufacturing teams are positioned throughout the world to meet the needs of our global customers wherever they operate,” Raketich added.

The Timken Company also supplies the German-based Volkswagen AG with their products such as needle and tapered bearings for transmissions and needle bearings for finger followers, which are engine valve train components, aside from its business with Volkswagen Transmission.

Volkswagen Transmission asked for assistance in the reduction of bearing noises which were caused by another supplier’s products, and it was the engineers from the Timken Company who helped formulate a solution. Timken serves their customer’s local operations with much attention to service and this was what made Volkswagen system performance improve. Also, as part of their commitment to helping Volkswagen, they held annual evaluations in their Wuxi plant to hear the suggestion made by Volkswagen. The suggestions were mostly about service improvements and products. The plant also takes part in the customer quality improvement programs.

The Timken Company first had its advanced technology and innovation in China in the year 1992. They established their Asia Pacific headquarters in Shanghai and also developed a network of sales offices for the majority of the China region for them to serve local and international customers. Their offices could be found in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang, Wuxi, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

They also invested in large scale manufacturing sites in Yantai, Chengdu and three other sites in Wuxi. They were also able to establish logistics and industrial service centers for them to meet the needs of Chinese customers. Asides from these ventures they made, they also opened a specialist engineering training facility for the owners and engineers in China. Its goal was also to share technology and knowledge with their Chinese customers.

Volkswagen Transmission in Shanghai is a joint project between Volkswagen AG and two other leading China car manufacturers – Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and First Auto Works. This venture manufactures the transmission for a number of well-known models of Volkswagen in China, including Bora, Golf, Polo, and Octavia.

Clean Diesel Jetta by Volkswagen

Diesel-powered engines are mostly considered as emitting harmful emissions and used mostly on trucks and sports utility vehicles. Hybrid is the “in thing” when it comes to saving the environment from harmful emissions and many automakers have contributed their share of Hybrid vehicles.

However, Volkswagen didn’t follow that stereotype on diesel engines and they came up with their own clean diesel technology and incorporated it into their 2008 Jetta Diesel prototypes. Its clean diesel technology runs in the form of a 2.0L four cylinder common-rail diesel engine that meets the Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards of the 50 US states.

Volkswagen to enter Passat in 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge in US

Coming this November 3, 2007, the most awaited and one of the world’s ultimate car races will happen – the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. There will be different teams who’ll enter their “smart” vehicles on a course that run for 60 miles of unknown territory and is designed to imitate the conditions in urban driving, with the goal of posting the fastest time while observing traffic regulations.

This event will require participating vehicles to blend through traffic, cross roundabouts and make their way into busy intersections. Drivers are not permitted as computers will be the one to take control over driving and navigation. This 2007 Urban Challenge will have as their participant the customized Volkswagen’ Passat which was made by the Volkswagen research department and its California-based Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL) with Stanford University assisting them.

This Passat “Junior,” which was named after the founder of Stanford University Leland Stanford Jnr., is fitted with mostly electrically-powered parts – electromechanical power steering, an electric accelerator pedal, a Direct Shift Gearbox(DSG) and an electric hand brake. Volkswagen of America’s ERL team changed these electric systems and the brakes to make the vehicle 100% computer-controlled. Customized mountings for the array of sophisticated sensors were also designed and built by the ERL. The Volkswagen Passat’s “brain” is made up of Intel Core Duo Processors featuring two multiple-processing units per chip. This vehicle will be genuinely autonomous together with the software developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Staford University.

“After our victory at the last DARPA Grand Challenge, Volkswagen is excited to join the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. We see an opportunity to further advance intelligent technologies for use in passenger vehicles of the future. The features developed for the Urban Challenge will ultimately make driving safer and more enjoyable in today’s increasingly dense traffic”, said Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, head of Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Laboratory. “In the fuel-efficient diesel-powered Passat we have the perfect car for this challenge, just as our Touareg ‘Stanley’ was for its 2005 Grand Challenge triumph,” he further explained.

It could be remembered that in 2005 Volkswagen won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge with their Toureg TDI which they named Stanley. Stanley was able to defeat 22 other unmanned vehicles in a 132-mile championship racing in rough desert roads, mountain passes, dried-up lakes and tunnels with the use of on-board sensors and navigation system. Stanley was able to complete the race in a span of six hours and 54 minutes without a single defect.

Volkswagen to offer Sirius Satellite Radio

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will offer SIRIUS as a standard equipment on the 2008 MY Toureg2, new Beetle Convertible, GTI, GLI, and new Beetle, as announced by SIRIUS Satellite Radio on June 19. It will also be available on Jetta, Passat and Eos models. “The Volkswagen of America, Inc. plan to offer SIRIUS as standard equipment in select models not only proves VW’s commitment to the customer, but also shows VW’s commitment to technology that enhances driving pleasure and enjoyment in every sense,” Adrian Hallmark said, the Executive Vice President of Volkswagen of America. “SIRIUS Satellite Radio helps to enhance the driving experience and Volkswagen ownership pride,” he added.

“Since the first launch on the New Beetle in 2004, to now making it standard on the New Beetle and other key models, VW has always shown to be a significant partner in the growth of SIRIUS,” said Mel Karmazin, CEO of SIRIUS. “Volkswagen of America’s decision to move in the direction of standardizing SIRIUS on key models only shows their commitment for expansion and growth of our capabilities,” he also said.

It was in March of 2006 that Volkswagen of America, Inc. and SIRIUS announced their partnership in offering SIRIUS as Volkswagen’s sole satellite radio provider for vehicles sold in America until 2012. Volkswagen has exclusively offered SIRIUS beginning with its 2007 model year vehicles and they expect to install the SIRIUS satellite radios receivers approximately 80% of its vehicles. With this, Volkswagen also offers three months of complimentary service on vehicles installed with the SIRIUS satellite radio.

Volkswagen Leads German Stock Rise for a Fourth Day, BASF

Germany’s benchmark DAX Index increased for a fourth day. After increasing the number of workers in its Auto 5000 plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen AG paced the advance of the said increase. BASF AG, Henkel KGaA and SAP Ag also increased.

The DAX were able to add a 0.7 percent, to 8085.15 at 11 in the morning yesterday in Frankfurt, heading for a record close. DAX futures expiring in September this year climbed 0.8 percent to 8173. The HDAX Index of the country’s largest enterprises increased 0.7 percent. “It is very likely that we will see the DAX reaching a record high this week, as last week’s positive momentum could be carried forward into this week,” an equity strategist at WestLB AG in Dusseldorf, Michael Scholz, said.

Volkswagen increased 1.77 euros, or 1.6 percent, to 115.43 euros. As Auto Motor and Sport magazine have reported, Volkswagen will increase their number of employees in their Wolfsburg plant to 4600 this year, in order to boost their capacity for the launch of the Tiguan sports utility.

On another part of the globe, Dubai will begin an “Automobile City” in the United Arab Emirates with Al Nabooda Automobiles, a dealer of Audi, Porsche an Volkswagen in Dubai, and the Northern Emirates, the companies said on June 17.

The world’s largest chemical company, BASF, increased 2.41 euros, or 2.6 percent, to 94.45 euros. And the world’s biggest maker of business-management software, advanced 74 cents, or 2 percent, to 37.30 euros. Henkel, the maker of Persil detergent and Dial soap, increased 20 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 39.40 euros. Today a 3- for-1 stock split became effective.

Volkswagen Could Boost Productivity by 50%

The German Automaker Volkswagen could raise their productivity by 50%, informed by Volkswagen AG’s top labor representative, Bernard Osterloh. Osterloh is also the deputy chairman of the supervisory board. “I see the possibility to increase productivity by up to 50% with the next model generations,” Osterloh said, without giving details on its possible time frame.

But before this, Osterloh added that the executive board would first need to streamline the Volkswagen assembly system to allow for the quick and easy production of high quality cars. “We have to make the production easier, but at the same time maintain the diversity of models and variants for the customer,” Osterloh said. Productivity rose by 23% between 2004 and 2006, he further added.

Osterloh explained that the situation at Europe’s largest automaker by sales has eased compared with 2006, when the company became involved in a wide-ranging restructuring program. But still Osteloh acknowledges that risks remain. Thus, more efforts by the management and staff are needed.

By November, Volkswagen should have come up with a decision on the production of the new model in Wolfsburg, he added. The model will be based on the Volkswagen Golf hatchback and its annual production capacity would be between 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles. This would hike the Wolfsburg plant’s total capacity to 480,000 vehicles per year and safeguard 1,100 jobs.

Volkswagen is manufacturing its Golf and Golf Plus at its plant in Wolfsburg, as well as several components. Also, the Auto 5000 GmbH unit produces the Touran van in that plant.

Osterloh also addressed the issue on the planned commercial vehicles alliance between Volkswagen, MAN AG (MAN.XE) and said that it will take a while before it materializes. “The issue will become more concrete in the second half of the year at the earliest,” he said.

Synergies can be made specifically in fleet management, dealing with pre-owned vehicles, and engines and electronic systems too, he added. It is important that this synergies be completed, as only then will all three companies be able to compete in the market in the long term, Osterloh said.

Volkswagen launch Touareg Adventure to promote new SUV

Volkswagen of America has come up with a three-day off road driving course in Moab, UT, called Touareg Adventure, to introduce the Touareg 2 SUV that will be released later this month.

Volkswagen brand communications director, Steve Keyes, said Volkswagen will target current owners and prospects through a variety of promotions which includes dealership run initiatives. According to Keyes, the first couple of sessions are sold out. “It will run through the end of October at which time we’ll evaluate it. If we’re happy with the results we will extend it into year two, which is our inclination at this point anyway,” said Keyes.

Keyes also said that most SUV buyers rarely use the off-road features built in to the vehicles, that is why differentiating one feature from another can be a challenge. This tour is actually set to help consumers make the distinction between Touareg and its competitors by showcasing its off-road capabilities and technologies, according to the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker.

“When people are driving SUVs to and from work and the supermarket there’s not a lot to differentiate,” Keyes said. “So we felt the best way to leverage our capabilities was to offer this experience.”

Volkswagen will also be using consumer generated media created on site to help promote Touareg Adventure and the new SUV. Participants will be able to write blogs and post photos of their experiences from the Touareg Room at the housing lodge. “We’ve learned a big part of the success of these types of programs is from word-of-mouth,” Keyes said.

Before letting consumers take part, Volkswagen first invited the media out to Moab for the program’s initial run. Keyes said 15 media representatives were able to join the trip.

According to Keyes, most of the media representative that came to the initial run were from web-based and weekly automotive magazines. But there were also some from the lifestyle media “We’re trying to focus on the web-based and weekly publications because they can get the story out quicker,” said Keyes. He mentioned that among the media personnel who participated were from,, and other “general automotive Web sites,

Consumer participants receive a two-and-a-half-hour orientation on off-road technique the first day, and spend the following two days behind the wheel. Keyes said unlike other off-road courses, Volkswagen wanted the participants to operate the SUVs themselves.

“Some programs last one day, they put you on a dirt road and give the participant very little actual drive time,” Keyes mentioned. “Here, you’re driving the whole time. There’s an instructor in every car, but they’re in the passenger seat. And by the end of the first day they will have gone through some of the more challenging areas of Moab… [giving] them a sense of accomplishment.”

Interested consumers can sign up at The price per person is $2,000, which gets them an advance welcome kit, resort lodging that offers single occupancy and meals.