Tag Archive | "Audi"

KBB Announces 2017 Best Buy Awards


IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book today announced the winners of its 2017 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards. The 2017 Honda Civic was named the Overall Best Buy of 2017, however, 11 other vehicles also took top honors for their respective categories.

“Kelley Blue Book editors went to the unprecedented choice of honoring the Honda Civic as the Overall Best Buy for the second year in a row because of the Civic’s unsurpassed all-around value,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for KBB.com. “It turns in very high marks in objective measures like resale value and cost to own, yet it also is a supremely satisfying car to drive and live with every day.”

Overall, the Honda brand took home four awards, with its new Civic also winning in the small car category. The Honda Accord and Pilot also won in the mid-size car and mid-size SUV/crossover categories, respectively.

The Chevrolet brand received the second-most Best Buy awards, with its Impala winning in the full-size car category and the automaker’s Tahoe winning in the full-size SUV/crossover category.

The 2017 Audi A4 was named the Best Buy in the luxury car segment, while the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster took top honors in the sports/performance car segment. The best electric/hybrid was the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

In the small SUV/ crossover category, the 2017 Kia Sportage emerged as KBB’s Best Buy. In the luxury SUV/ crossover category, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC was honored with the top award. And for the third year in a row, Ford’s F-150 received KBB’s Best Buy award.

Lastly, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica received the best buy award for the minivan category.

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VW Credit Teams With Safe-Guard on New Line of F&I Products


HERNDON, Va. — VW Credit Inc. — doing business as Volkswagen Credit, Audi Financial Services and Ducati Financial Services — has announced a new line of Volkswagen, Audi and Ducati branded lines of automobile and motorcycle protection products for the U.S. market.

The captive said this week it reached an agreement with Safe-Guard Products International LLC to bring the branded products to market. Together, the parties will develop, market, and distribute the newly enhanced suite of products, with program introduction to the Volkswagen, Audi, and Ducati dealer networks beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

“Our decision to take a direct role in underwriting most vehicle protection products, while also enhancing the offering with other products specifically developed for our brands, is part of a multipronged strategy that aims to increase overall customer satisfaction and to build loyalty by which our customers return to the dealer network for any future service needs,” said Richard Howse, vice president of marketing and business development for VCI.

The company said it will offer dealer support for all of its new products, including a dedicated 28-person national sales and training team, a completely branded marketing offering, and new technology, such as a branded mobile claims application.

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VW Will Cut Spending By $1 Billion, Launch All-Electric Phaeton in EV push


MUNICH — Volkswagen Group said it will reduce investment spending at the VW brand by 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) a year, as well as switch to a different diesel emissions treatment technology and launch an all-electric Phaeton sedan as the flagship for a new focus on electrification, reports Automotive News.

VW will increase its focus on long range plug-in hybrids and high-volume electric vehicles with a range of up to 300 km (186 miles), the company said in a statement today. The automaker also said it will speed up cost cuts and will overhaul the VW brand model strategy.

“The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient. We are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus,” VW brand chief Herbert Diess said in the statement.

Diess said the brand will create room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up an efficiency program that targeted 5 billion euros in savings and operational improvements by 2017.

VW will cut spending on models, technology and production facilities at the VW brand by 1 billion euros a year through 2019 from its previous plans, a spokesman said. He declined to say what those investment plans had been.

Audi, Porsche to seek savings

In November, VW announced 85.6 billion euros of investments across the group between 2015 and 2019, with half earmarked for modernizing and expanding the model range.

Other brands in the group, which includes Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda, are working on similar efficiency-boosting programs, the spokesman said, without giving details.

Audi, the biggest earnings contributor at VW Group, is continuing an efficiency program that started before the diesel scandal hit, spokesman Juergen de Graeve said. The luxury-car unit planned last year to rein in annual costs by about 2 billion euros to offset spending on new technology, according to people familiar with the matter.

Pushed by Diess, who joined in July from BMW, VW will adopt diesel technology it previously eschewed for smaller models. The brand is now moving to the “best environmental technology” for its diesel cars, the statement said.

VW said it has decided to switch over to installing only diesel drivetrains with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and AdBlue technology in Europe and North America “as soon as possible.”

VW engines affected by the diesel emissions rigging scandal used lean NOx traps to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions rather than the more expensive urea-based SCR and AdBlue systems. The tanks make diesel models heavier and more expensive, and they also must be refilled, making the cars less convenient to own.

Electric architecture

With diesel technology under pressure, VW plans to develop standardized components for electric vehicles with ranges as far as 500 km (310 miles).

VW said it will develop a new modular electric architecture dubbed MEB for compact vehicles for all group brands. The architecture will be designed for all body structures and vehicle types. It would allow the development of “particularly emotional vehicle concepts” and an all-electric range of 250 km to 500 km, the statement said.

At the Frankfurt auto show last month, VW said it would launch 20 battery-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles by the end of the decade, including the first all-electric Porsche based on the Mission E concept and a production version of Audi’s e-tron Quattro concept.

The shift includes redesigning the Phaeton as an all-electric model. The current model’s gasoline and diesel versions will be axed. The next-generation Phaeton is due to hit showrooms by about 2019-2020.

“There is a real chance for VW to even extract something positive from the diesel fiasco,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management near Cologne. “Funneling more resources into electric mobility gives them a credible future perspective to try to overcome this crisis.”

The VW brand is likely to slump to a loss this year as it will shoulder the bulk of costs from the diesel emissions cheating that also affected the Audi, Skoda, Seat and light commercial vehicle brands, Reuters reported on Friday.

Supplier cuts

VW wants to extract 3 billion euros ($3.41 billion) in price cuts from its suppliers to help mitigate the costs of the emissions scandal, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.

The measure would be part of a broader cost-cutting program including pay, marketing and sponsoring activities to help VW bear an estimated 40 billion euros in costs of the scandal, the paper reported, citing company sources.

The cuts come amid renewed criticism for Volkswagen’s handling of the scandal, which affects some 11 million cars worldwide. The company was far too slow to disclose its use of software to enable its diesel cars to pass U.S. laboratory emissions tests despite far higher on-road pollution, said Stephan Weil, prime minister of the German state of Lower Saxony and a VW board member.

“This admission should clearly have come much sooner — a further serious mistake,” Weil told the Lower Saxony parliament today. “Who decided this course of action and when is also something that’s being investigated.”

A VW supervisory board committee charged with overseeing the external investigation into the emissions cheating was meeting today in Wolfsburg.

VW presented German authorities with a plan last week for fixing affected cars in its home market. Regulators are still reviewing the proposals, which range from a software update to new parts for diesel engines.

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Audi Edges Past BMW to Lead Luxury-Car Sales Race in April


Audi was the world’s biggest seller of luxury cars in April, edging out BMW AG’s namesake brand and fast-growing Mercedes-Benz, reported Bloomberg.

Bolstered by U.S. demand for the Audi Q5 and Q7 sport utility vehicles, the Volkswagen AG unit’s deliveries rose 2.5 percent to 152,850 cars last month, compared with BMW’s 5.6 percent increase to 148,896 autos. Daimler AG’s Mercedes remained the fastest growing of the world’s three biggest luxury-car brands, posting an 11 percent gain to 148,072 cars.

“We’re seeing growth at a good pace,” Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler told reporters on Tuesday at a presentation of the revamped Q7 sport utility vehicle in Verbier, Switzerland. “We started the year with a very decent first quarter.”

BMW has vowed to defend its annual lead in global premium car sales, even as key models such as the 7-Series sedan age. The three German luxury-car brands are adding all-new models to widen their appeal and gain an edge over rivals. BMW is rolling out the van-like Gran Tourer this year, and Mercedes plans a pickup truck by the end of the decade.
Through the first four months of 2015, BMW held onto its No. 1 ranking, with sales up 5.5 percent to 600,473 cars. Audi’s deliveries increased 5.2 percent to 591,050 vehicles, while Mercedes demand jumped 14 percent to 577,674 autos.

Audi will expand its SUV offerings with the new subcompact Q1 next year and the full-size Q8 by 2019, Stadler said. The Ingolstadt-based carmaker expects SUVs to account for about 40 percent of total vehicle sales in 2020 compared with 32 percent now.

Those new additions could be critical. Competition in China, the manufacturer’s largest market, is set to intensify as growth moderates. Stadler forecast industrywide demand in the country to rise about 8 percent this year, which is still faster than many other major markets.

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VW’s Audi Sales Up 2.5 Percent in April to 152,850 Cars


Volkswagen’s Audi luxury division said on Friday sales increased 2.5 percent in April to 152,850 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the highest-ever level recorded for any month in the carmaker’s history, reported Reuters.

Sales in Europe edged up 0.9 percent as gains in Italy and Spain offset a 42 percent slump in deliveries in Russia to 2,116 vehicles, Ingolstadt-based Audi said.

In the Americas, sales were up 12.7 percent, bolstered by a two-thirds increase in Brazil to 1,856 cars and a 37 percent jump to 3,219 cars in Canada.

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Volkswagen’s Audi to Step Up Investments in 2015-19 on Models, Plants


Volkswagen’s flagship Audi division is to increase spending on new models, plants and technology through 2019 to push its goal of surpassing German rival BMW as the world’s largest luxury-car manufacturer, reported Reuters.

Audi, which contributes 40 percent of operating profit at Europe’s biggest automotive group, said on Saturday it will push up investment in car-making operations by 2 billion euros ($2.44 billion) to a record 24 billion euros over the next five years.

Seventy percent of spending will be assigned to developing new models and technologies such as emission-cutting plug-in hybrid vehicles, Audi said. The brand is also working on purely electric cars to catch up with BMW (BMWG.DE) and Tesla Motors (TSLA.O).

More than half of the funds will be spent on Audi’s two German factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm which accounted for half the carmaker’s nine-month output of 1.34 million autos, Audi said, confirming a Reuters story.

“We place top priority on sustainable growth,” Chief Executive Rupert Stadler said. “That’s why we are making large investments in the innovative areas of electric mobility, connectivity and lightweight construction.”

Audi, the world’s second biggest luxury automaker, is aiming to expand its model range to 60 from currently 50 by 2020 and is spending over 1 billion euros on new factories in Mexico and Brazil.

Ingolstadt-based Audi said on Saturday it will hire another 850 workers in Mexico next year where the Q5 sport-utility vehicle will be assembled from 2016.

Under its previous budget drawn up a year ago, Audi announced investments of 22 billion euros over the 2014-18 period. Parent VW in November unveiled auto investments of 85.6 billion euros through 2019, slightly more than a year earlier, even as the carmaker is pushing cost cuts at its core brand.

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