Sunday, 14 April 2019

Three wins for ŠKODA: KODIAQ, OCTAVIA SCOUT and SUPERB crowned “All-Wheel-Drive Cars of the Year” in readers’ poll

› German Auto Bild Allrad magazine’s selection underlines ŠKODA 4×4 expertise
› KODIAQ best import in “Off-road vehicles and SUVs up to 35,000 euros” category
› OCTAVIA SCOUT gets nod as top import car in the “AWD crossover” class
› SUPERB wins best import car in “AWD passenger cars up to 40,000 euros” category
Mladá Boleslav, 12 April 2019 – Triple success for ŠKODA in this year’s “All-Wheel-Drive Car of the Year” poll: the readers of German all-wheel-drive car magazine Auto Bild Allrad have awarded ŠKODA multiple category wins, thus adding to a series of victories stretching back many years. It’s the tenth time the SUPERB 4×4 has snatched the coveted laurels, this year as the best import vehicle in the “AWD passenger cars up to 40,000 euros” category. The OCTAVIA SCOUT, winner in the “AWD crossover” import category, collects its fifth “All-Wheel-Drive Car of the Year” title. And the KODIAQ 4×4 takes first place in the “Off-road vehicles and SUVs up to 35,000 euros” import category. It’s a repeat of the KODIAQ’s performance in 2017, when the readers of Europe’s biggest-selling all-wheel drive magazine awarded the large ŠKODA SUV the import title in its debut year.
This year marks the 18th time the magazine’s readers have chosen the “All-Wheel-Drive Cars of the Year”. Overall, 211 vehicle models across ten categories entered the competition. From 4 January to 1 February 2019, the readers of Auto Bild Allrad were invited to vote for their favourites online. Among the Czech brand’s prize-winning models, the 4×4 version of the SUPERB flagship achieved the best individual result, garnering 9.97 per cent of votes cast. 8.18 per cent of the magazine’s readership voted for the all-wheel-drive OCTAVIA SCOUT. The KODIAQ 4×4 won 7.80 per cent of the vote.
All-wheel-drive vehicles have a long history at ŠKODA. The Czech brand developed its first prototypes of vehicles featuring more than one driven axle in the late 1930s. The modern-day ŠKODA 4×4 success story began in 1999 with the OCTAVIA COMBI 4×4. Since then, ŠKODA has manufactured a total of over 700,000 all-wheel drive vehicles. Given continuously increasing demand in this vehicle category, ŠKODA has steadily expanded its 4×4 range over the past four years. Today, the KAROQ and KODIAQ SUVs as well as the OCTAVIA and SUPERB are all available with all-wheel drive.
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Sunday, 7 April 2019

New Passat breaks record on debut: Number one mid-range model with 30 million vehicles worldwide

On April 3, the Passat broke the 30-million-model mark for production in the Volkswagen plant at Emden, with the result that the bestseller set a new record in its segment: no other mid-range model and no other business vehicle globally has been sold more often than the Passat. The 30,000,000th vehicle – a Passat GTE Variant with a plug-in hybrid drive and a Pyrite Silver Metallic exterior – is already one of the first models in a new evolutionary stage to feature an extensive technical update (European presales will begin in May). The 30 millionth Passat will be used as a press and test vehicle for the international media over the coming months.
Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Volkswagen: “The Passat is one of Volkswagen’s most important and most successful cars – since its launch 46 years ago, 30 million customers have had confidence in this Volkswagen vehicle. As a result, the Passat has become one of the world’s greats; a car which today is as much at home in Beijing as it is in Berlin, Sydney, Johannesburg or on the streets of San Francisco. At Volkswagen we are proud of this successful model, which is still the benchmark within its class today.”
Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Production for the Volkswagen brand: “We currently produce the Passat on three continents in 10 plants for over 100 markets. That makes the Passat a true global bestseller.” 
Volkswagen offers the Passat in various independent versions, depending on the continent. The eighth generation of the European model will be launched early this year as a saloon and a variant with a new technical setup. Thanks to the “Travel Assist” system – a new IQ.DRIVE system, to use the Volkswagen name for intelligent drive systems – the Passat is the first Volkswagen vehicle that can be partially driven with assisted driving if desired, and at any speed (0 to 210 km/h). The new model also includes features such as interactive IQ.LIGHT – LED matrix headlights and the MIB3 modular infotainment module applications with constant online access. 
The enhanced Passat GTE will also be of particular importance within the model range as, just like the 30 millionth vehicle, the plug-in hybrid models to come will offer significantly more electrical range in the future2. This is currently at up to 55 km measured using the new WLTP cycle, which corresponds to around 70 km2 according to the NEDC. The new Passat GTE (160 kW/218 PS system output) already achieves the limits set out in the Euro 6d emissions standard, which will apply to new vehicles from 2021.

Volkswagen launched production of the first Passat models in its Wolfsburg plant on 14 May 1973, under the motto “The beginning of a new VW era”. The model heralded a completely new family of vehicles containing water-cooled engines, front-wheel drive and ultra-modern all-steel chassis. Positioned as a mid-range model, the Passat was the successor to the VW 1600 (Type 3 with air-cooled rear engines and rear-wheel drive). In that May 46 years ago, no one in Wolfsburg could have guessed that the Passat would sell 30 million and as such would even outdo the legendary Beetle (21.5 million). Together with the Golf (35 million) and the Beetle, the Passat is one of the three best-selling Volkswagen vehicles of all time.

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Sunday, 31 March 2019

ŠKODA SCALA wins coveted Red Dot Award

› New compact model convinces expert jury with its outstanding product design  
› The SCALA is the 13th ŠKODA to receive this internationally renowned design award
› Red Dot Award jury assessed around 5,500 submissions; 64th award ceremony will take place on 1 November
Mladá Boleslav, 27 March 2019 – Even before its launch, the ŠKODA SCALA has already received its first accolade. A jury composed of around 40 international experts has awarded the new compact model the prestigious Red Dot Award 2019 in the product design category. This is the 13th time the Czech brand has been honoured with this coveted accolade. The SCALA is the first production model to feature the new ŠKODA design language destined to define the look of future models from the brand.
With its new sculptural shapes, dynamic lines and meticulously designed details, the SCALA is the first ŠKODA production model to showcase the brand’s new emotional exterior and interior design language. Its perfect proportions, clearly defined surfaces, flowing lines and advanced aerodynamics make this new compact model appear modern and sporting. Distinctive features include the upright radiator grille, a dynamic roof line and a sporting diffuser rounding off the wide rear section. In addition, the SCALA is the first production model for the European market to bear the ŠKODA wordmark in individual letters on the tailgate, superseding the traditional logo. The optional extended rear window features that wordmark on the glass surface itself.
The Red Dot Award is among the most prestigious design accolades in the world. Composed of experts from around the globe, the jury brings together independent designers, academics and industry journalists. This year, they were judging around 5,500 submitted products based on criteria such as degree of innovation, quality of design, functionality, longevity and environmental impact.
2019 marks the 64th year in which the Red Dot Award is presented as a global hallmark of outstanding product design. The award ceremony will be on 1 November.
The new SCALA is the 13th ŠKODA to receive the Red Dot Award. In 2006, the ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBI estate was the first to be honoured with the coveted accolade.
Here is an overview of all the award-winning ŠKODA models:
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Friday, 22 March 2019

New Golf Variant TGI natural gas model now available to order

Volkswagen’s natural gas strategy continues to gain ground: only recently available to order, the Polo TGI and Golf TGI are now joined by the Golf Variant TGI1) with eco-friendly natural gas engine. The new model now boasts three natural gas tanks – instead of just two as before – once again increasing the already long range of the CNG drives. And there’s no need to compromise on space either to accommodate the three tanks on-board, as the natural gas tanks are integrated as a space-saving underfloor solution. At the same time, the additional tank increases the range in natural gas mode by up to 80 kilometres compared to its predecessor. You’ll now also reach your destination faster, as the bonnet conceals an overhauled, powerful 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 96 kW (130 hp). This engine is primarily powered with compressed natural gas (CNG) – the petrol tank is smaller as a result and thus only serves as a backup.

Thanks to the TGI Miller combustion process and the variable turbine geometry (VTG) of the turbocharger, the Golf Variant TGI’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is even more efficient and responsive than its predecessor. It delivers 96 kW (130 PS) and boasts a torque of 200 newton metres. With the petrol tank reduced in size to 9 litres (for a Golf Variant TGI, that corresponds to a range of approximately 200 kilometres) and now serving merely as a backup, this is referred to as a quasi-monovalent drive concept. In other words, the range with natural gas alone has increased by around 80 kilometres, enabling routes of up to 440 kilometres (based on WLTP) with natural gas alone.
The three natural gas tanks have a combined volume of 115 litres, which corresponds to a total weight of 17.3 kilograms. The tanks are made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) or from metal.
The CO2 emissions of a natural gas vehicle are much lower than those of a comparable vehicle with a conventional engine, as combustion of compressed natural gas (CNG) releases around 25 per cent less CO2 than combustion of petrol. The reason for this is the low percentage of carbon in natural gas. Thanks in part to the innovative lambda split process, natural gas also burns extremely cleanly: the exhaust contains much less carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide (NOX), resulting in minimal soot and fine dust. If you fill up your vehicle with biomethane or e-gas, you can minimise your emissions even further, as biomethane is derived from residual plant matter, and e-gas from excess green energy (power to gas). Both can be added to fuels or are available as pure biofuels.
Driving with natural gas is also comparably cheaper in just about all countries. In Germany, natural gas is around 20 per cent cheaper than diesel and as much as 40 per cent cheaper than petrol. And that’s despite the fact that natural gas contains much more energy. For comparison: one kilogram of CNG corresponds to around 1.3 litres of diesel or 1.5 litres of petrol.
In Germany, the number of natural gas vehicles is expected to reach one million by 2025, with some 100,000 natural gas vehicles already registered. For this to work, the product portfolio needs to be expanded and the network of filling stations in Europe increased to 2,000 – also by 2025.
In addition to the eco up!5 and TGI models of the Polo3, Golf4, Golf Variant2 the Volkswagen Group also already offers an extensive range of 14 CNG vehicles.
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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Volkswagen Touareg gets 340PS petrol flagship model

Volkswagen has increased the engine choice for Touareg customers, with the introduction of a new, powerful 340 PS 3.0-litre V6 TSI engine to the premium class SUV’s range, in addition to the capable 231 PS and 286 PS TDI diesel units already on offer.

The latest member of Volkswagen’s growing range of SUVs brings even more choice for Touareg customers, adding a third powertrain to the model’s previous line-up of 3.0-litre V6 TDI engines, with all three units available in SEL, R-Line and R-Line tech specs.
This new petrol engine delivers its peak 340 PS power output between 5,300 and 6,400 rpm, with 450 Nm of torque produced between 1,340 rpm – just above idle – and 5,300 rpm. Just like the diesel-powered Touaregs, the petrol engine’s power is delivered to all four wheels via Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, with a limited slip differential combining with the system to give the Touareg its sharp road handling.
The Touareg 3.0 V6 TSI 340 PS reaches 62 mph from a standstill in 5.9 seconds before going on to a top speed of 155 mph where permitted, making it the fastest variant in the Touareg range.
Towing weights remain unchanged over the diesel models, with a maximum weight of 3,500 kg possible for all three powertrains, while the 340 PS Touareg itself is a full 50 kg lighter than its diesel counterparts, at 2,020 kg. On the combined cycle, the model returns 31.7 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 203 g/km1.
Orders open today for the first petrol variant of the third-generation Touareg, with first cars expected to arrive in the UK in April.
Product Manager Brian Luckie said: “The addition of a powerful petrol engine to the Touareg range now gives customers three options – the choice between one petrol and two diesel units ensures that there’s a Touareg for all customers.
“Being available in the same technology-packed specs as the existing range means that the Touareg’s long list of talents now includes the flexibility of being available in both petrol and diesel forms throughout the line-up.”

1) NEDC derived under the new WLTP test
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Friday, 8 March 2019

Advance Look at the Series: The Audi Q4 e-tron concept

It has been roughly a year since the first series production Audi with electric drive made its debut at the same location: The Audi e-tron* was still covered in camouflage wrapping foil at that point. The brand with the four rings is now giving an advance look at a further automobile with an all-electric drive at the Geneva Motor Show: The Audi Q4 e-tronconcept is a compact four-door SUV with an exterior length of 4.59 meters whose relation to the Audi e-tron is apparent at first glance.

Friday, 1 March 2019

The ŠKODA FELICIA convertible celebrated its world premiere 60 years ago

› ŠKODA presented the open-top ŠKODA FELICIA in Leipzig on 1 March 1959
› Most ŠKODA FELICIA convertibles found their fans in export markets
› The open 2 + 2-seater is one of the most popular classic ŠKODA models among collectors 
Mladá Boleslav, 27 February 2019 – The ŠKODA FELICIA – probably the most popular Czech convertible ever – is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its world premiere. The beautiful 2+2-seater first rolled into the limelight at the Spring Fair in Leipzig on 1 March 1959. A total of 14,863 vehicles of this type ran off the production lines at the Czech ŠKODA plant in Kvasiny between 1959 and 1964. More than two-thirds of the production was exported around the world.
The Leipzig Spring Fair opened its doors on Sunday, 1 March 1959. The new cars that ŠKODA presented at the exhibition were crowd pullers; alongside the OCTAVIA, the attractive ŠKODA FELICIA convertible appeared in front of an audience for the first time. Shortly after this world premiere, the open-top FELICIA also attracted international attention at the Geneva Motor Show from 12 to 22 March. From 4 April 1959, ŠKODA also presented three copies of the new convertible at the New York Coliseum; as the world’s largest automobile market, the USA had immense significance for all manufacturers. European convertibles, in particular, were import hits across the Atlantic, and ŠKODA offered a desirable new model with the open-top FELICIA.
The predecessor of the beautiful newcomer was the ŠKODA 450, which was also released as a convertible in 1957. The type designation was derived from the number of cylinders and the engine power – the ŠKODA 450 had a four-cylinder with 50 hp. Most of the 1,010 units that had been built prior to the 1959 model change found enthusiasts in demanding markets such as Britain and the United States.
The successor to the melodious name ‘FELICIA’ was produced at the Kvasiny factory and featured a number of significant technical innovations. Instead of the transversely mounted leaf spring that the 450 used, the newcomer’s front axle now utilised coil springs. Thanks to large rubber silent blocks, significantly fewer vibrations were transmitted through the central tube chassis to the all-metal body. Further, the now asymmetrically refined headlights lit up the road more effectively. In addition to the standard folding roof, ŠKODA even offered a 27-kilogram light fibreglass hardtop as an option for the FELICIA.
The basic version of the ŠKODA FELICIA weighed 930 kilograms and had a payload of 300 kilograms. Thus, the 2+2-seater could comfortably carry four people and up to 320 litres of luggage. With a wheelbase of 2,390 millimetres, the body stretched to 4,065 millimetres in length. Under the bonnet purred a four-cylinder in-line petrol engine with OHV valve control and a 1,089 cm3 displacement, which reached its peak output of 50 hp at 5,500 revolutions. The maximum torque of 74.5 Nm was available at 3,500 rpm. Rolling on 15-inch tyres, the convertible reached a top speed of 130 km/h; the average consumption was 9 litres per 100 km.
Thanks to its attractive proportions, the ŠKODA FELICIA was in great demand both at home and abroad. In the first year of production, 1959, almost 70% of the 3,251 units manufactured were exported. The chic convertible even attracted considerable attention at more exotic locations such as the auto shows in Mexico City and Johannesburg. Among the most famous foreign owners was one of the best hockey professionals of his time – the Canadian Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard (1921-2000), team captain of the Montreal Canadiens. As the first in the history of the NHL National Hockey League, the FELICIA driver scored 50 goals in 50 NHL games.
In March 1961, ŠKODA again presented a revised FELICIA in Geneva. In addition to a more distinctive grille, the drop-shaped taillight units were particularly eye-catching. Since the front seat backs could now fold down, the convertible even offered the possibility of lying down to sleep in the vehicle. The new control panel made of the fibreglass-reinforced plastic Polytex received a cover made of black artificial leather. In the fibreglass hardtop, openable side windows improved the air supply to the interior. One particularly sporty feature of the new generation was that FELICIA drivers could change gears faster and more precisely thanks to the repositioning of the gearstick from the steering column to the centre tunnel. With the higher-quality 70-octane petrol available in most countries, the 1.1-litre engine’s output increased by 2 hp.
The following year, in 1962, the more powerful FELICIA SUPER appeared with a 1.221 cm3 four-cylinder, which supplied two downdraught carburettors made by the Czechoslovak brand Jikov with a combustible fuel mix. Thanks to these and other technical improvements, customers now enjoyed 55 hp (40.5 kW) at 5,100 rpm and 82 Nm at 3,000 rpm. These performance characteristics meant the FELICIA SUPER – weighing only ten kilograms more than the basic model – reached a top speed of 135 km/h on wider tyres measuring 5.90-15.
The popular ŠKODA FELICIA model family was produced at the same time and on the same line in Kvasiny as the equally successful OCTAVIA COMBI. By 1964, 14,863 FELICIA and FELICIA SUPER vehicles had been produced at the site before the era of ŠKODAs with an open body, central tube frame and the classic front-engine rear-wheel-drive concept came to an end. ŠKODA was preparing for the production of the completely redesigned rear-engine generation, which started that same year with the 1000 MB.
Sixty years after the world premiere, the ŠKODA FELICIA still enjoys great popularity today. On the one hand, this is reflected in the growing interest of classic car collectors and rising market prices of well-preserved specimens. On the other hand, FELICIA drivers at classic car events experience the great affection that this model awakens among classic fans from Western Europe to China.
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