by: Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com
An Australian couple has set a new record for single-tank fuel economy this week, making the more than 1,600-mile trip from Houston, Texas to Sterling, Virginia on just one tank of gas. The duo used an American-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE TDI Clean Diesel to set the new mark, beating the old one (also set in a diesel-powered Passat,) by 99.5 miles.
Over the course of their journey, Helen and John Taylor drove 1.626.1 miles, using 19.3 gallons of diesel and averaging more than 84 mpg. Their fuel costs averaged out to less than 5 cents per mile, whereas the average new vehicle currently sold in the U.S. will cost its owner more than three times as much to drive.
The couple used a regular, stock Passat TDI (which is rated at 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 36 mpg combined) for their drive, but were able to use so-called “hypermiling” techniques to get even better fuel economy from a car that is already one of the most efficient non-hybrid sedans on the road.
“The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record,” said John Taylor, in a press release provided by Volkswagen.
Though the Taylors have used a lot of Volkswagen-built diesels for their trips, their mission is about more than just promoting a single vehicle maker’s cars. Last year, they achieved nearly 75 mpg in a Toyota Prius hybrid driving across South Africa, and drove through every U.S. state in a Chevy Cruze Eco at an average of 64 mpg.
In fact, you might say that the couple have turned personal fuel economy into their life’s work. In addition to several record-setting attempts each year, the Taylors teach green-driving seminars through their Australia-based driving school, Fuel Academy. In all, the husband-wife team hold more than 90 world driving records.
Committed to changing an “environmentally-challenged” industry and protecting future generations, LAcarGUY is active in local environmental programs and initiatives. Just recently, Mike Sullivan’s Volkswagen Santa Monica completed a lighting retrofit in the service bays, parts department and business offices. The job included taking out the CFL’s (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) and replacing them with LED (light emitting diodes bulbs). One of the main advantages of LED lights is the simple fact that they last much longer. The average lifespan of an LED lightbulb is around 11 years. The other main advantage is that they are much more energy efficient.
The retrofit reduced the energy usage from 245,875 annual kWh to 82,781 annual kWh. The annual energy cost was reduced from $36k to $12k. A total savings of 67%!
In addition to our energy savings, we reduced our carbon footprint even further by using E-Cycle Environmental to recycle 80 lbs of wood, 656 lbs cardboard and over 500 fluorescent tubes and lighting fixtures. Our landfill diversion was 100%.
Mike Sullivan’s Volkswagen Santa Monica opened in 1964 and continues today one of the nations leading VW dealerships.
By Alysha Webb
Volkswagen will use the same battery module design for all its electric vehicles globally across all its brands according to Dr. Tobias Giebel, head of the Volkswagen Research Lab in Shanghai. Those battery modules and the battery cells in them are likely to be sourced from China, he said.
“You have to be focused beyond the cell level. That is the only way, said Giebel at the EV Battery Forum Asia 2011 in Shanghai. The Forum took place on November 7 – 9, 2011.
Volkswagens Giebel was optimistic about Chinese battery makers’ capacity to one day build low-cost, high-quality vehicle batteries. In an interview with PluginCars.com, Giebel said Volkswagen is working with local battery manufacturers in China to produce a product that meets Volkswagens global standards. We believe the future of battery cell sourcing is in China, he said. Today, Chinas lithium-ion battery makers are focused on consumer technology, said Giebel. Its automotive-grade batteries are not up to the high-level vehicle traction battery manufacturers in Korea or Japan, he said.
But Volkswagen is working closely with about 20 of Chinas more than 100 battery producers, and is already seeing improvement. We think in a couple of years we will have really strong suppliers in fully domestic companies, said Giebel. When they are, Volkswagen will use the same source for its Asia, Europe, and the United States operations, he said.
That could mean a significant amount of business because Volkswagen will use a standard module for all electric vehicles across all its brands. That means all hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles produced under the Volkswagen Groups 10 nameplates, which include Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Bentley, Porsche, Scania, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
“The module shape and number of cells will be the same, said Giebel. The module is not part of any international norm. It is a company internal standard. Inside the module, Volkswagen might adapt the connection between the cells to vary the number of parallel and serial cells, said Giebel. The module is a company internal standard, he added.
Volkswagens current parallel hybrid models, including the Touareg SUV, have a different technology, but the company will use the standard module concept first on battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric models, said Giebel. The extension to parallel hybrid (HEV) will be decided later, he said.
LAcarGUY’s two Volkswagen stores, Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica, handed over the keys of the newly redesigned 2012 Beetle to three local Oprah Winfrey fans, as part of the show’s “Ultimate Favorite Things” giveaway!
These three lucky fans were given the surprise of their lives during a November 2010, Oprah “Ultimate Favorite Things” episode, when audience members, all specially selected community heroes, found out that they would be receiving a brand new 2012 Beetle.
Excited to participate in such a deserving promotion, LAcarGUY’s Volkswagen Santa Monica was proud to give Gina Elise, the “calendar angel,” her new, Silver 2012 Beetle. Gina is the founder of PinUpForVets.com, a project that supports hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops.
The other local recipients were a couple, Evelyn and Rob Calip, who picked up their Red and Blue 2012 Beetles at Pacific Volkswagen earlier today. Evelyn is a breast cancer survivor who started a non-profit, Evelyn’s Breast Friends Forever! to provide support to other women going through the same journey.
Redesigned for only the second time in history, the sportier 2.5L 2012 Beetle is a modern interpretation of the iconic Beetle design. Balancing classic beauty with a contemporary edge and enhanced performance, the 2012 Beetle provides an exhilarating driving experience.
“LAcarGUY is thrilled to offer Los Angeles the 2012 Beetle, reborn and reengineered for the 21st century,” said Mike Sullivan, Owner of LAcarGUY. “I’m especially pleased that we are giving these Beetles away to such a deserving group of local heroes.”
Lease a 2012 Passat S for $219** mo./36 mos. $1,999 due at signing (excluding titles, options, and dealer charges)
Offer good through 10/31/2011.
As a valued customer, we know you appreciate all things Volkswagen. Did you know that the all-new Passat has the most premium features standard in its class?† When you consider the price, the sleek new look, and the choice of engines – including the TDI® Clean Diesel that gets up to 43 miles per gallon†† – that turns into a pretty stellar deal. So what are you waiting for? Visit Volkswagen Santa Monica and test-drive the all-new Passat today.
Premium Features Standard:
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Intelligent Crash Response System
Multi-function steering wheel
One-touch control for all four windows
60/40-split folding rear seats
Automatic vehicle illumination
3-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance‡
Volkswagen Santa Monica
2440 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
phone: (888) 394-4903
*Base MSRP of $19995 for 2012 Passat S with manual transmission. Prices exclude transportation, taxes, options, title, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price. **Based on MSRP of $23,460.00 (including destination charges) for a 2012 Passat 2.5L S with Appearance Package with automatic transmission, excluding title, tax, options and dealer fees. Excludes TDI models. Monthly payments total $7,884.00. Requires dealer contribution of $1,419.00, which could affect final negotiated transaction. Purchase option at lease end for $13,722.20. At lease end lessees responsible for $0.25/mile over 36,000 miles and excessive wear and tear. Dealer sets actual prices. Lessee responsible for insurance. Closed-end lease offered on approved credit by Volkswagen Credit through participating dealers. Supplies limited. U.S. cars only. Additional charges may apply at lease end. Initial vehicle availability may vary by dealer and location. See your Volkswagen dealer for financing details or for general product information call 1-800-Drive-VW. ©2011 Volkswagen of America, Inc. †Based on manufacturers’ published specifications comparing 2012 Passat S to 2011 non-premium midsize sedans. ††EPA estimate for 2012 Passat TDI Clean Diesel with manual transmission. Your mileage will vary. ‡3 yrs/36,000 miles of no-charge scheduled Carefree Maintenance, whichever comes first during term of new vehicle limited warranty. Some restrictions. See dealer or program for details. ©2011 Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Having moved North American production to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the all-new Volkswagen Passat has now been repositioned to compete at the heart of the mid-sized sedan market. Now it has earned the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick rating for 2011, which is the highest possible for the non-profit safety research organization.
This annual rating recognizes vehicles that perform best in protecting passengers in the Institute’s front, side, and rear crash test evaluations, along with the newly required roof-strength test evaluations. Top Safety Pick ratings are only awarded to vehicles that are fitted with electronic stability control and head protection airbags.
“Performance of the Passat is another example of Volkswagen’s ongoing commitment to engineer vehicles that earn the highest safety ratings,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “Top Safety Pick winners achieve that status by earning the top ratings in the Institute’s four demanding tests, and by having electronic stability control, the most important feature in helping drivers avoid many kinds of crashes in the first place.”
“The new Passat is an important vehicle for Volkswagen,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “It has been engineered in Germany specifically to compete in the heart of the North American mid-sized sedan segment.”
“To have IIHS recognize the Passat as the Top Safety Pick is a great statement for this new car–and to have eight Volkwagen models with this significant award is an equally great statement for the brand. It’s a testament to our commitment to make safety such a high priority in vehicle development, using advanced techniques such as laser seam welding and the extensive use of high-strength steel to build exceptionally strong structures.”
The Passat will hit our showrooms in the third week of September. Join our Facebook community or follow us on Twitter to be one of the first to know! Or contact us today and have one of our sales consultants contact you personally as soon as the vehicle arrives.
Reposted with the permission of acarisnotarefrigerator.com.
The adorable little kid in the Darth Vader outfit who starred in VW’s popular Super Bowl commercial, The Force, won’t need to invoke The Force to compel consumers to buy the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat. I’m relieved to report that the car is good enough to sell itself. [For the record, that commercial turned out to be a very good investment for Volkswagen as it went viral and has been viewed more than 41.4 million times on YouTube alone. ]
Like most auto enthusiasts, I was concerned and apprehensive last year when VW announced that its new mid-size car was going to be a US-only Passat with an inflated size and a deflated sticker price. To do this, VW built a beautiful, shiny, new $1 billion factory in lovely, noisome Chattanooga, Tennessee. And they did it all with “only” around $557 million in state and local taxpayer incentives.
Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Right now, the only model built there is the 2012 Passat.
The new Passat was announced after the 2010 launch of the all-new 2011 Jetta. I found the new Jetta disappointing in almost all metrics save for the wonderful TDI engine option. The Jetta had been stripped of suspension parts and fitted with interior plastics courtesy of Walmart. Built in VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant, the Jetta is now cheap enough to compete with the Asians. Ugh. In short, the new Jetta had turned to the Dark Side to boost sales.
Americans respond to big price reductions, so sales of the Dark Side Jetta are up. I mourn the loss of a Jetta sedan with a class-leading interior, independent rear suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. I’ve always been a fan of VW because the little German-engineered cars were günstiger.
The 2011 VW Jetta – knock knock – come on, wake up!
The 2012 Passat, with a base MSRP of $19,995, is targeted directly at the mid-size family sedan leaders: The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. It’s thousands less than the previous German-built Passat, primarily due to cost cutting and elimination of the profit-sucking exchange rates.
Where the Jetta’s styling redefines anonymous, the new Passat is more detailed and mature, albeit as conservative as the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. Pictures don’t do the Passat justice and color makes a significant difference. All the promos show the car in a pale color; however, my black tester really popped with its controversial, bright, rapper-size fore and aft VW badges and sinister-looking polycarbonate shades streamlining the halogen headlamps into the prominent 3-bar corporate chrome grille. It may look like Darth Vader, but it hasn’t gone to the Dark Side.
The front of the 2012 Passat looks a bit menacing in black. The VW badge is certainly prominent.
I contacted VW Santa Monica (part of the LACarGuy group) ahead of time to make sure they had a diesel Passat available to test. The test car was just that – a VW tester sent directly to the Santa Monica dealer to make the rounds of local events and provide a dedicated test vehicle for 40 mpg-hungry LA-area greenies.
No window sticker, just a nice “gift” to Santa Moncia Volkswagen. Note the QR (quick response) code on the sticker. You can read it with an app on your smartphone.
I’m sure the base Passat 2.5L, saddled with VW’s unremarkable 170 hp 5-cylinder hamster wheel, will be the volume leader. Inexpensive always sells. VW also offers a top-line Passat with a 3.6L 280 hp V6; but here in green veneer L.A., the marquee model is the TDI with the 2.0L 140 hp 236 lb-ft torque turbo-diesel direct-injected engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or VW’s 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automated gearbox.
Why the excitement? Well it’s because the manual version is rated at 31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and the automatic is rated at 30 city/40 highway. The Passat’s highway mileage meets or beats any mid-size sedan, including the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata Hybrids. Anecdotal evidence from numerous sources suggests that the TDI’s highway mileage will actually be higher. With its 18.5 gallon tank, the Passat TDI has a cruising range exceeding 700 miles. Vegas road trip anyone?
The rear of the 2012 Passat is more defined than the Jetta. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s well executed. Note the large VW badge and the TDI SEL on the right trunk lid.
It was a nice day for a drive in Santa Monica where the blistering summer heat was all the way up to 73 degrees — a daunting test for the Passat’s standard dual zone automatic climate control.
The little diesel engine feels right at home in the Passat and has no problem tugging around its 3,360 pounds. I experienced a bit of hesitation from the DSG when I punched it into a turn from a stand still; however in normal driving in city traffic, the transmission shifted smoothly. I never felt a lack of power because of the gobs of torque available from only 1,400 rpm.
All in easy reach: The handsome DSG shifter, start stop button and dual zone automatic climate control. The digital temperature settings can be read in the center infotainment screen.
The new electromechanical power steering felt light, somewhat isolated, but on center. It retains enough German precision to make it a better driver’s car, particular in DSG sport mode. The front wheels tracked dead straight. As with most VW products, torque steer has been all but banished by the engineers in Wolfsburg.
I did my usual tap and scratch test on the interior plastics of the new Passat and I have good news: This isn’t the Jetta. The dash cowl is covered in a pleasing, textured, soft-touch plastic. The “Autumn Nut Burl” trim, while not real, is convincing enough. The door trim above armrest level is textured and softened while the trim below the arm rest and below the dash belt line is a harder plastic that taps a bit hollow.
The driver’s side door panel is pleasing and the various plastic panels all match despite being of different quality. I like the way the grab handle was integrated into the design.
The tilt/telescope three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel felt good in my hands and adjusted for a perfect view of the instruments. Basic functions were all easily accessible and my hand fell naturally both to the shifter and adjacent start/stop button.
I was grateful for the 8-way power sports seat with driver’s side memory that are part of the $4,300 TDI SEL2 option package. It took a bit of fiddling, but I found a comfy position for my 6′ 1″ lanky frame. The heated and leather-trimmed seats have Dynamico ® (synthetic suede) inserts that tether you in for an added sporty dimension.
It’s not a great picture; but you can see the power seat controls.
I didn’t test the navigation system, but the smallish 6.5″ touch screen had sharp graphics and was easy to read. The Fender Premium Audio System has a 30 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, satellite radio and iPod control. The interior is almost Lexus-quiet, with surprising little engine or road noise infiltrating the airy cabin. This modern advanced “clean” diesel engine is both quiet and odor-free.
The smallish – 6.5 inch – infotainment screen. Here you see some of the controls for the Fender Premium Audio System.
I missed a backup camera or sensors that would be an inexpensive add-on to the existing navigation system. There were no rain-sensing wipers either. And I’d prefer the iPod controls in the center armrest area rather than the glove box.
The 2012 Passat has class-leading front and rear legroom and its cargo capacity is almost at the top with 15.9 cubic feet. The standard 60/40 split rear bench folds down so that long flat cargo (think flat boxes at IKEA) are an easy fit. The trunk was completely lined and flocked; however, the trunk lid was naked and sported goose neck hinges rather than gas-pressure struts. I smell a diligent cost accountant at work.
The back seats look inviting and you can see the suede-like material inserts.
The capacious trunk has a fairly low lip, so it’s easier to load stuff. It’s nicely lined too. Note the little pulls at the top of the opening that allow you to drop the rear seats for more room. Also you can see the naked trunk lid and cheap goose neck hinges.
Base MSRP for the 2012 Passat TDI with DSG is $27,895. The SEL2 package is $4,300; however, you get almost every luxury feature and infotainment upgrade you could want. In fact, there are no other options offered. Add the $770 destination charge and the fully-loaded car is $32,965. This prices the 2012 Passat TDI smack in the middle of its similarly-equipped fuel sipping hybrid competition and it is, by far, the frugal enthusiast’s pick of the bunch.
We have some great news for you! Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that the new Beetle will start at just $18,995 which is fantastic value for the agile, driver-oriented coupe whose design draws from the vehicle’s reminiscent past while still looking toward the future.
“The 21st Century Beetle is an automotive icon reinvented, a nod to the heritage and character of Volkswagen and our remarkable history,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This new interpretation of the original Beetle holds true to the traditional spirit of the car, with all the benefits of modern technologies and efficiencies.”
The 2012 Beetle is sportier, more dynamic, and features bolder styling than previous models. It is also 3.3 inches wider, 6.0 inches longer, and half an inch lower, giving it a much more muscular appearance which will have a much broader appeal. The Beetle will be available is three trim lines which might include the transparent, panoramic tilt/slide glass roof that is 80 percent longer than on the previous models.
So what do you get for $18,995? The 2.5L model equipped with a 170-horsepower in-line five cylinder engine. It offers fuel economy that is improved by up to 10 percent over the past 2.5L model. When equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, mileage is estimated at U.S. ratings of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The optional six-speed automatic transmission offers U.S.-rated EPA fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
That’s not all. Standard are split folding rear seats, aux-in for portable audio players, a leather steering wheel, unique and customizable 17-inch alloy wheels, and an eight-speaker audio system. Options you might want to consider include a kaeferfach additional glovebox that is similar to that of the original Beetle, Bluetooth technology, iPod connectivity, heated front seats, three-color interior ambient lighting, and leatherette seating surfaces.
The sportiest model is the 2.0L TSI which will have a starting MSRP of $23,395. It comes equipped with Volkswagen’s critically acclaimed 2.0-liter in-line four cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. As well as providing genuine performance, the four-cylinder engine with automatic transmission offers a U.S.-rated EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.
Standard equipment on the 2.0L are a six-speed manual transmission, with the option of Volkswagen’s DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Along with standard equipment from the 2.5L, also standard is Bluetooth technology, iPod connectivity, three-color ambient lighting, larger brakes with red calipers, a kaeferfach which is an additional glove box that is similar to the original Beetle, sport seat surfaces, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, fog lights, three additional gauges on the dashboard, and alloy pedals.
In 2012, a TDI Clean Diesel model will become available, powered by VW’s highly efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder diesel engine that produces 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. This will be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever produced, with an expected highway estimate of 40 mpg.
For the music enthusiast, the Beetle comes standard with the RCD 310 sound system with eight speakers. While the optional premium VIII audio system features a CD changer, interface for SD cards, and a touchscreen. The Beetle will also offer concert-quality sound with an available Fender Premium Audio System, designed exclusively for Volkswagen. The partnership combines quality automotive engineering and quality sound engineering where Volkswagen and Fender team up to bring the raw emotion of live music to the driving experience.
And safety features include Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pumps, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in some type of accident. The Beetle is also covered under the no-charge, 3-year/36,000-mile scheduled Carefree Maintenance Program.
To be one of the first to find out when the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will arrive in our showrooms, make sure to follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to stay informed. Or contact one of our sales consultants today to have them contact you immediately when the first car arrives!