25% Profit Rise as Seen by Volkswagen

The joint venture of Volkswagen with First Automotive Works Corporation (FAW), which is one of the top Sino-foreign car partnerships, proved to be a good venture as they now expect their 2007 profits to increase by at least a quarter, helped by brisk sales and cost-cutting efforts.

“The venture, FAW Volkswagen, in the northeastern city of Changchun, will have a “minimum” profit growth of 25 percent this year from 2006,” Joachim Wedler said, their vice-president in charge of finance. However, Wedler didn’t disclose how much the firm will earn this year. Volkswagen only holds 40 percent of the firm whilst FAW holds the 60 percent.

Venture’s sales chief Weiming Soh said that it plans on selling more than 400,000 cars this year, which is 50,000 more from last year’s sales.

The first five months gave the firm a good start of the year as their retail sales jumped by 25.1 percent year-on-year to 173,218 units, making it reach the third spot after General Motor’s venture with SAIC Motor Corporation and Volkswagen’s other partnership with SAIC. “FAW Volkswgen’s June sales are expected to exceed 40,000 units,” Soh said.

The bold profit and sales projection of the company came amidst the blistering growth of China’s vehicle market. China-made vehicles’ slaes were up by 22 percent to 3.65 million units from January to May, including 2.12 million passenger cars, based on the industry data. During the first four months, the profits of the combined top 16 Chinese auto groups reached 18.1 billion yuan, increasing by 51.3 percent.

Wedler said that the cost-cutting plan of FAW Volkswagen is to use locally made engines and spare parts. “We are shooting for a very high localization rate to have more financial power to beat competition,” he said.

The competition is China’s passenger car market is going at its peak as companies are coming up with price incentives and product launches. Automakers offered some 50 price cuts in the first five months this year, based from the FAW Volkswagen data.

The venture’s general manager An Tiecheng said that it has plans on rolling out at least two new models under the Volkswagen and Audi makes yearly during the next five years to appeal to the increasing sophisticated buyers .

The venture will introduce a Volkswagen Magotan large-sized sedan next month. Their current line up includes Volkswagen Jetta, Bora, Golf, Sagitar, and Caddy. They also included Audi A6 and A4.

New 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Revealed

The latest specification and details on Volkswagen’s new compact off-roader, the 2009 Tiguan Crossover has been disclosed. This compact crossover is not due to come out until September at Frankfurt’s Auto Show, but Volkswagen has decided to let people in on the latest features their 2009 Tiguan has.

The 2009 model year for Tiguan is 173.2 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and stands at 66.5 inches. It has the modified Golf/Rabbit as its platform and some specifications and attributes of the Touran MPV (which was sold in Europe) have been incorporated into this new compact off-roader. Three turbocharged gas engines and two turbodiesels are included in its global lineup of engines. The likely engine specification that U.S would have is a 200 hp, 2.0L turbo four with direct injection. There have been plans for a Jetta line having clean diesels and Volkswagen had also shown a Tiguan concept with clean diesel power during the 2006 L.A Auto Show but there is still no news on whether the upcoming 140 hp TDI engine will suit into the Tiguan.

In some world markets, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan comes with a choice of front ends. The first two will be called Trend & Fun and Sport & Style. Both will have 18 degrees at the front as their maximum entry angle. Track & Field will be the third one and it has a revised nose that would make it much more capable for off-road use. It is capable of entry angles of up to 28 degrees.

Volkswagen introduces another car technology in the form of the Offroad Mode. This is a button found on the dashboard that will activate a raft of alternative safety features. However, this technology will only be available on the Track & Field car, and this will switch on the hill descent control and hill climb assist. It wil also improve the throttle response to allow more accurate delivery of torque, and boost braking on loose surfaces.

This 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan will be launched at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show and will go on sale in Europe in early 2009.

Advanced Plasma Lamps made from Aluminum Foil?

When Gary Eden needed some raw materials for his new ultra-efficient, ultra-light, millimeter-thin plasma lamp, he went to the grocery store. The lamp is mostly aluminum foil.

Granted the lamp is not 100% aluminum, but part of the project was to try and make it as cheap and simple to create as possible, hence the run to the grocery store.

The aluminum "microcavity plasma lamp" is surprisingly simple to create. By bathing the foil in an acid, hundreds of thousands of micro-cavities (little holes) are created and a small amount of the aluminum is converted to dielectric aluminum oxide (sapphire.) Those holes are filled with a tiny amount of fluorescent gas and the cavities are all wired together. Then the whole package is sandwiched between thin sheets of glass coated with phosphor on the inside and the lamp is complete.

Imagine a flat panel lamp that would hang on the wall, or be inset in the ceiling. The lamps produce about 15 lumens per watt, significantly more efficient than incandescents, but only about half as efficient as current fluorescent bulbs. But the team at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana say they expect efficiencies of about 30 lumens per watt shortly (comparable to CFLs.)


See Also
Curly Lights
1000 Lumen LED
CFLs Could Cut Carbon by 10%

Small is Beautiful: Houses

Our friends over at Inhabitat
took the opposite tack from our recent piece about the top 10 green skyscrapers
and produced an article about the Top 5
Tiny Prefab Houses

These include such standouts as the Microcompact Home (pictured) and the
Tiny Tumbleweed House. In addition to all the other wonderful features
they offer, these are especially green because of their small size.
Fewer materials used and less space to heat and cool means a smaller ecological footprint.

The Loftcube and the Weehouse (and probably the Microcompact Home, as
well) are transportable, and suitable for installation on the roof of an
existing building (think urban loft, not an addition on your neighbor’s
50’s ranch). (For extra geekiness points, they would probably be
installed by cargo helicopter.) The Sustain Mini Home hosts a number of
green features including no vinyl, no formaldehyde, natural ventilation,
and FSC lumber, among others.

None of these is likely to be suitable for a family with children, but
for one or two people, these may offer all the living space that they
really need in a dynamic and attractive form.

Via: Inhabitat

Level 38 Eco-Tricycle of Maiming

It’s not gonna get you anywhere very fast, but if you’re lucky, it could get you out of some tight scrapes in the post-apocalyptic Australian Outback.  In any case this home-made, wind-powered tricycle is ridiculously cool, I’m just not sure why.

It’s not a practical design or anything, but I just feel like it’s necessary to congratulate people when they wade this far into the sea of peculiarity. This particular device was created by  Damon Vander Lind  and it’s come in ranked quite high at the Popular Mechanics DIY fair. Apparently he got the idea while working on a home-made wind turbine (admittedly a more practical persuit) and the entire rig cost him about $500 (and three weeks) to build.
Via Popular Mechanics
(Image and video credit: Popular Mechanics)

Tires to Diesel

Plastic is made from oil, unfortunately, it’s hard to make oil from plastic. Or, at least, it used to be. Global Resources Corporation has created a special kind of microwave that zaps plastic at very specific wavelengths in order to release the hydrocarbons.

As an example, put a tire into the GRC Hawk-10, and the machine slowly dribbles out diesel oil. What’s left inside the microwave is pure carbon black (which can be sold to tire companies for, y’know, making new tires) and the steel that gives the tires strength.

Put a bundle of insulated wires in, you get oil, and copper (with some dyes and carbon left over.) The process works on anything made of petroleum products, including hard plastic, rubber, foam rubber, even your old polyester pants. The microwave units range in size from a the size of a regular microwave oven to the size of a cement mixer.

Running 9.1 kilograms of ground-up tires through the Hawk-10 produces 4.54 liters of diesel oil, 1.42 cubic meters of combustible gas, 1 kg of steel and 3.40 kg of carbon black.

Via NewScientist

“Touareg Adventure” opens up Volkswagen’s travel business

Volkswagen of America is offering a vacation including their very own Volkswagen Touareg. Volkswagen has rolled out new vacation packages to Moab Utah, which they called the “Toureg Adventure.” This three-day adventure package costs $2,000 per person but it does not include airfare. This program will start in July and ends in October 31.

“Participants do not need to be experienced off-road drivers, as experienced guides will coach guests through the challenging Moab terrain,” the company said.

There will be three choices for the engines of the 2007 Touareg SUV – a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter six-cylinder, a 350-hp 4.2-liter V8 or a 310-hp 5.0-liter V10 TDi. All engines are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic.

Cardboard Ferrari Gets Green

Ferrari is showing off it’s green with a new concept, high performance vehicle, the Ferrari FFX Millechili. Yes, it’s a hybrid, and uses it’s electric drive train not just to boost power but also to increase efficiency. But we’ve seen hybrids. What’s really exciting about the FFX is that its made of lightweight materials including carbon fiber, plastic and cardboard.

Eh? Cardboard?! Well, apparently so. I’m not sure if this is just to make the prototype easier to build, or of Ferrari really is considering its use in vehicles, but, in any case, using light weight materials to increase efficiency is extremely necessary.

Additionally, the FFX incorporates an advanced aerodynamic undercarriage system that uses jets of air to keep whirlpools of drag from forming beneath the car.

Via Channel 4 and Crave

See Also:
-200 MPG Hybrid Velozzi
The Tesla Roadster

Mystery Mercedes AMG Model Set To Debut In July

Going through our inbox this morning, an anonymous reader tipped us off to a new animation appearing on Mercedes’ AMG website – one which depicts the above-shown vehicle along with a message stating ‘In July… the fog lifts.’ As for what model is making its debut, that we cannot say, although the grainy vehicle in question does bear a striking resemblance to the SLK-Class. Anyone up for a 500 horsepower SLK63 AMG?

New Smart ForTwo BRABUS Coming Soon, Priced From EUR 16,490

As you may remember, back in March we brought you the first details of the new BRABUS-tuned variants of the new smart fortwo: the smart fortwo BRABUS and the smart fortwo BRABUS Xclusive. Although at the time, the full list of specifications and performance figures were revealed, the one thing absent from the press release was exactly how much the various BRABUS-tweaked smarts would set you back; today, however, that answer has been revealed. For those of you residing in countries where the smart is sold, pricing for the BRABUS smart range is as follows:

New Volkswagen Mutlivan

The new Multivan, Volkswagen’s seven-seater vehicle, has had some added features on it for a more luxurious look. Volkswagen has always been connected with small cars with their Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, and Passat, with prices not exceeding $57,000(which would be the highest-priced Passat from Europe). But they actually have vehicles over that price range and the newest one would be their Volkswagen Multivan.

The Volkswagen Multivan is a luxury type vehicle which could seat seven passengers and was based on the T5 light commercial vehicle. But this vehicle is well sorted and with a lot of extensive features. If people would be asked to name the first “people-mover” van they remembered, there’s a good chance that they’ll be naming the Volkswagen Kombi. But today, the people-mover van that Volkswagen offers its market is one that has the touch of today’s luxuries.

The Volkswagen Multivan in it’s Highline trims has an electrically-operated sliding doors, a multifunction rear table, satellite navigation(which would cost about $4000 extra on lesser models), leather trim, heated front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors complete with front and rear fog lamps. Extra luxurious features would include a six-stack CD with eight speakers sound system, cruise control, power windows, ‘climatronic’ three-zone climate control and swivel seats in the middle row. All these extras give the passengers an even more comforting ride in the Multivan.

The Highline version of the Multivan is available with a choice of turbo-diesel or petrol engines and with Volkswagen’s 4Motion, which is their term for the all-wheel drive. The engines are placed transversally in the front. The petrol engine has the 3.2L V6, rated at 173kW of power at 6200rpm and 315Nm torque at 2900rpm. But these specs could only be attained if a premium (98RON) unleaded petrol is used.

Its diesel engine is the 2.5L 5-cylinder unit with intercooler, delivering 128kW of power at 3500rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2000rpm. Because it is with the 4Motion AWD either has to drive through a six-speed manual transmission. But in the front-wheel drive, it comes with a six-speed tiptronic automatic.

The Volkswagen Multivan Highline 4Motion is priced at $76,990 for the V6 petrol and $73,990 for the 4Motion diesel. The front-wheel drive diesel automatic is $72,990 and $75,990 for the V6 petrol.

Upgrade Your Rack to a Tube Top

Many Prius and Insight owners feel the need to own a second vehicle
for towing, hauling and other occasional mass-moving tasks. Whether
it’s taking the kayak out on the weekends or just bringing home a
Christmas tree once a year, it seems like there’ always an excuse to
keep that gas guzzler in the garage. No more excuses! With the HandiRack (For customers outside the UK, you can buy one here)
you can transform your gas sipper into a haulin’, guzzlin’, aerodynamic
brick when you need to, and change back to the sleek lines of your
car’s OEM look when you’re done. Going "EE-ah-aw-oh-oo!" and singing
"More than meets the eye…" is optional. (don’t get it?)

HandiRack keeps luggage off the roof with a pair of inflatable double
tubes, held in place by connecting the straps inside and closing your
doors or windows on the flaps. They deflate and roll up to "the size of
your toaster" so you can keep them in the trunk with the included air
pump, and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. The MPG-robbing ugliness
of a permanent luggage rack can now be permanently banished… along
with all evil Decepticons.

via AutoBlogGreen