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Volkswagen Club of Western Australia (Inc.)

VW News

Compiled by Bernd Felsche
Current Week Archive Index

1998 Oct 24 00:33 Volkswagen AG Presents Investment Plans
1998 Oct 23 22:03 Mercedes A-Class Tyred Out
1998 Oct 23 21:30 Birmingham Motor Show
1998 Oct 23 18:30 200,000 Cars completed at Volkswagen Works in Saxony
1998 Oct 23 18:00 Skoda WRC Octavia
1998 Oct 23 08:45 Billion Dollar Penalty for Dirty Diesels
1998 Oct 23 00:00 Auto-Bild Tests new Polo GTI
1998 Oct 22 11:19 SEAT Ibiza tries not to Get Lost
1998 Oct 21 21:10 First Lupo-Lite Tests
1998 Oct 20 13:12 2-litre VW on the Drawing Board
1998 Oct 20 13:11 Mercedes to produce Maybach
1998 Oct 20 13:11 Audi Replaces Mercedes as State Vehicle
1998 Oct 20 13:10 Lopez to Build New Car
1998 Oct 20 13:09 Factory Blaze
1998 Oct 20 13:09 BMW Rejects Approaches by VW
1998 Oct 20 13:09 Karmann Ghia Defender
1998 Oct 20 13:07 Volkswagen-Ford Partnership Ends
1998 Oct 20 13:04 Volkswagen Recalls 180,000 Cars in Japan
1998 Oct 20 13:03 Volkswagen pushes for 6-Day Week in German Plants
1998 Oct 20 13:03 Bugatti Production Possible in Alsace
1998 Oct 20 12:59 BMW Recalls 2.4 Million Vehicles
1998 Oct 20 12:59 UK to get Left-Hand-Drive new Beetle
1998 Oct 20 12:00 900 Places for Vegetarian Cars to Feed in Germany
1998 Oct 20 00:35 Audi to run Open-Top at Le Mans
1998 Oct 19 21:06 Clocked Speeding by Swiss

Volkswagen AG Presents Investment Plans

Crewe (ots) - Volkswagen Sales and Marketing board member Dr. Robert Büchelhofer presented VAG's investment plans to the first global Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer meeting under the VAG banner in Crewe today.

Dr. Büchelhofer noted the intention to invest substantial sums in product development and underscored the future of operations at Crewe. Considerable advantages would be gained by group buying advantages and expanded access to the world market.

Dr. Büchelhofer's speech indicates Volkswagens commitment to Rolls-Royce and Bentley. He confirmed that a 500 Million investment over the next 5 years, in new models to be produced at Crewe. Bentley production is to increase to 9000 units a year in the medium term.

Paul Dixon, CEO of Dixons Motors Plc. a dealer representative in Sheffield, England commented that Dr. Büchelhofer had made a considerable effort to have the dealers thinking towards the future.

dpa 23.10.1998 17:33 CET
ots Original text: Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motor Cars

Mercedes A-Class Tyred Out

Munich (dpa) - Those looking for winter tyres for their new A-Class Mercedes should get a move on to down to the dealer as soon as possible, according to the ADAC (German Automobile Club). It appears that there are problems with delivery of sizes approved by Mercedes-Benz.

A size of 185/55R15 is required. Mercedes however, after the "Moose Test" debacle, limited the brands to Continental, Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli. Those manufacturers are not making enough tyres of that size.

The ADAC warns againt the temptation to use 195-rubber, or to buy another manufacturer's tyres as this can affect the legality of operating the vehicle on the road.

dpa 23.10.1998 15:03 CET

Birmingham Motor Show

For a quick tour of the Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda offerings at the Brimingham Motor show running from the 21st of October, follow the link to the Car Magazine UK Show Report

200,000 Cars completed at Volkswagen Works in Saxony

Mosel (dpa) - Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH (VW Saxony) has produced a total of 200,000 cars so far this year. It was announced on Friday that the jubilee car, a silver Golf destined for Japan, had left the production line on the previous day. A total of 122,800 Passat and 77,200 Golf vehicles have been made.

A quarter of a million vehicles are to be produced at the factory by the end of the year. Production is almost doubled in comparison with last year, when EU restrictions limited numbers to 110,000. Current production is in excess of 1000 vehicles a day.

VW Saxony is estimating a total turnover of 6,000 million DM at its Mosel works and engine plant in Chemnitz, against 3,400 million DM last year.

dpa sw yy to 23.10.98 11:30 CET

Skoda WRC Octavia

Skoda-Auto is going after the big boys in the World Rally Chamionships with an Octavia sedan.

With an engine of 2 litres giving close to 300 bhp (220kW), and driving all 4 wheels, the Ocatvia is set to write a new chapter in Skoda's Motorsport history which dates back to the first year of this century.

Watch out Scooby!

Visit the Skoda Web site for details.

Billion Dollar Penalty for Dirty Diesels

Not exactly Volkswagen, but ...

Washington (dpa) A total of 1000 million US Dollars in penalties have been imposed on some diesel engine manufacturers who provide 95% of the engines for heavy haulage and buses in the USA.

Engines were alleged to be constructed in such a way as to hide increased emissions during testing. Justice Minister Janet Reno commented that this was a historic action aimed at reducing heavy vehicle emissions by one third over the next 5 years.

Catterpillar, Cummins Diesel, Detroit Diesel, Mack Trucks, Navistar International Transportation, Renault SA and Volvo Truck are accused of altering the software in over a million trucks so that increased emissions would not be evident during standard tests.

A civil penalty totalling $83.4 million is to be paid. Another $850 million is to be spent producing cleaner engines and in removing deceitful software from vehicles during servicing. A further $110 million are to be invested in air cleanup actions.

dpa ch xx sp 23.10.1998 01:45 CET

Auto-Bild Tests new Polo GTI

German magazine Auto Bild recently tested the 120 bhp Polo GTI.

With 120 bhp, the Polo GTI is the nominal successor to the orginal Golf GTI first unleashed 22 years ago.

But is it worthy?

Link to Polo GTI test at Auto Bild Online (in German).

A (part) translation to appear here soon.

SEAT Ibiza tries not to Get Lost

Mörfelden-Walldorf (gms) - SEAT is to equip some Ibiza models with a navigation system. The German branch of the Spanish manufacturer said that the Carin 059 system from Philips would be provided.

The resulting Ibiza IQ has the screen integrated into the dashboard at the usual radio location. Carin 050 uses CD-ROM data and is also capable of playing music CDs and of receiving radio signals.

German pricing is around 25,000 DM, but this also includes air conditioning, electric windows, airbags and ABS. There's a 44kW/60hp engine under the bonnet, which could be coloured Tornado Red, Safran Yellow or Peacock Blue -- like the rest of the car, of course!

dpa 22.10.98 11:19 CET

First Lupo-Lite Tests

The first road tests of the "3-litre" Lupo, with 1.2 litre TDI engine have been published with generally positive results.

Auto Bild managed to get a fuel consumption of just 2.89 litres/100km without even trying to drive economically. They were impressed with the drivability.

Gear Shift The Shiny new Lupo
Saarbrücker Zeitung From Report in BBC's Top Gear Magazine

Auto-News report that the unique, clutch-less manual transmission takes some getting used to; as does the engine cutout after a few seconds of idle. The engine restarts as soon as the accelerator is depressed and the gate of the manual looks like that of a Tiptronic automatic, with an "automatic" side for economy, using preset levels or the manual-shift side where the driver can shift sequentially through the gears as required.

Both magazine were surprised by the agility of the car, which is no slug by any standard, accelerating to 100 kmh in around 14 seconds. This is due to the torque characteristic of the 61 hp (45kW) pump-jet-injected turbo-diesel engine in a light (for 1998) 800kg car.

Weight savings are due to subframe, suspension and body parts being made from alloy, and thinner glass being used throughout...

Greenpeace isn't so happy about the car, saying that the 27,000 DM car is just too expensive and it uses diesel fuel with it's carcinogenic emissions. A stripped Renault Twingo running on petrol is the basis for Greenpeace's assertions. However, no manufacturer has as yet taken on the invitation to produce the Twingo with such an equipment level. It's crashworthiness is also in question.

Volkswagen admits that the Lupo price is high, but is actually subsidising the price; the real price should be around 38,000 DM given the value of the materials employed. But then, even the special edition Lupo is not some bare tin can; it's equipped with many mod-cons we have come to expect of a car to take us into the next millennium.

Only 5000 "3-litre" Lupo cars are planned for the first year of production.

Pundits in Germany claim that Germany is "not yet ready" for the 3-litre car. Fuel is still cheap (enough) and people like their creature comforts.

2-litre VW on the Drawing Board

Ferdinand Piëch has foreshadowed a car with a consumption of under 2 litres/100 km. The car will probably not seat 4 people, but will probably be engineered using light-weight technologies such as carbon fibre and light alloy construction.

Mercedes to produce Maybach

In an effort to distance itself from Volkswagen's onslaught, Mercedes is building a new factory to build the Maybach super-limo. The car, which is estimated to sell for around 400,000 DM, with around 4000 being produced a year.

Visitors and prospective buyers will be able to watch every stage of production from the glazed visitors' gallery.

Rumours of workers having to join Actors' Equity remain unsubstantiated.

Audi Replaces Mercedes as State Vehicle

Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schröder is buzzing about the place in a special, armour-plated Audi A8. This is a significant break in tradition as Mercedes has been the marque of choice for post-war German governments. (The ones in the West anyway!)

With negotiations between the new coalition SPD (Social Democrats) and Greens still in process, it looks like there will be some concessions to what the Greens were pushing in their campaign; namely higher fuel prices (up to 6 DM/litre of petrol) and speed limits on the Autobahn, and reductions all round. Agreement on shutting down nuclear power stations has already been reached in principle.

It is unlikely though, that there will be a sharp rise in fuel costs, or that speed limits will be affected significantly in the near future.

The reason? Gerhard Schröder will be relinquishing his seat on the Supervisory Board of VAG when he takes office as Chancellor. His parliamentary seat is in Lower Saxony, the home of Volkswagen.

Lopez to Build New Car

Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, who left VW under a cloud of GM- originated accusations of industrial espionage is testing the waters for the production of a new car "Carmen" to be produced in Sebutal, Portugal. Distribution in Germany is rumoured to be via department-store giant Kaufhof.

Lopez was largely attributed with increasing VW's internal efficiency allowing it to offer high quality at lower prices.

Factory Blaze

The German Press Agency (DPA) reports that a fire broke out at the Volkswagen factory in Mosel near Zwickau in Germany on the 13th of October. Repairs could not be commenced until the following Thursday, affecting about 80% of its 5500 workers. The factory is Volkswagen's newest and a major employer in the area.

Reports indicate that the fire broke out in the body cavity preservation facility which injects wax to inhibit corrosion. Deliveries to the factory have not been affected, but production has been stalled.

The Mosel factory produces about 1200 right-hand-drive Passat and Golf vehicles a day. An outage of 5 working days is equivalent to the number of Volkswagen vehicles to sold in Australia in 1998.

A fire in the ventilation system of the same plant on the previous Sunday did not significantly affect production.

BMW Rejects Approaches by VW

BMW major shareholder, the Quandt family and the company's executives such as Rietzle reject any notion of a merger or share-swap with VW.

Wolfgang Rietzle, a member of the board of BMW, has denounced such rumours as being part of VW's PR-strategy without a single word of negotiations having taken place to back it up.

Karmann Ghia Defender

Karmann has reached an agreement with Rover to build Defender vehicles at its Karmann Ghia do Brasil subsidiary. A total of 15,000 vehicles have been contracted for assembly with an annual volume of around 2,600 vehicles.

The workforce will be increased from about 400 to 500 at the plant. Karmann employs about 9000 world-wide and has a turnover of around 2,000 million German Mark.

Volkswagen-Ford Partnership Ends

Volkswagen's partnership with Ford to produce the VW Sharan/Ford Galaxy/SEAT Alhambra runs out at the end of this year and is likely not to be renewed. Ford is rumoured to be going its own way on a successor.

VW and SEAT will be producing the Sharan and Alhambra for a little while yet at the same plant.

Volkswagen Recalls 180,000 Cars in Japan

Models affected were imported between August 1992 and 1998. Mainly electrical problems relate to electric windows, cabling in the vicinity of batteries and engine electronics/electrics.

Volkswagen pushes for 6-Day Week in German Plants

Volkswagen is negotiating with unions to have a 6-day week at it's German plants. At present, workers are paid overtime for work on Saturdays.

Bugatti Production Possible in Alsace

Ferdinand Piëch has announced that Volkswagen would like to produce a derivative of the Bugatti EB118 Paris show car, with the W18 engine at Molsheim, the home of Bugatti in the Alsace. Bugatti was founded there in 1909. The Alsace is now part of France. (Sort of...)

That'd be something to see: An Alsatian that isn't a dog.

BMW Recalls 2.4 Million Vehicles

In what has been reported as the largest single recall action in automotive history, BMW is recalling series 3, 5 and 7 vehicles produced from the mid-80's to early 90's. There is apparently a problem with the heater core likely to leak hot coolant into the passenger compartment.

Volkswagen did its recalls for a similar problem in bits and pieces, covering about 8 million Golf 2, Jetta and Corrado models.

UK to get Left-Hand-Drive new Beetle

Up to 5000, left-hand-drive new Beetle cars are likely to be shipped to the UK to satisfy some of the initial orders for the car. It is legal to register and drive a LHD car in Britain without significant conversion.

900 Places for Vegetarian Cars to Feed in Germany

Bielefeld (dpa) Cars can be vegetarians too [VW's TDI are a good example]. There are now 900 'Bio-Diesel' filling stations around Germany. The fuel is processed from rapeseed (aka 'canola') oil into rapeseed-methyl-ester.

Currently, about 5% of Germany's diesel fuel consumption could be replaced by Bio-Diesel.

dpa 20.10.1998 12:00 CET

Audi to run Open-Top at Le Mans

Ingolstadt (dpa) - Audi reportedly wants to run at least two open-top cars at its debut at the 1999 24-hour Le Mans.

According to Monday's 'Donaukurier' paper in Ingolstadt, four drivers have already been named: Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy), Rinaldo Capello (Italy) and Yvan Muller (France).

The cars with turbocharged V8 engines, producing about 700 bhp have been code-named R8, first revealed at the recent Birmingham Motor Show.

A further surprise is the co-operation with long-time Porsche-Partner Reinhold Joest. Joest won the event with Porsche in 1984, 1985, 1996 and 1997.

According to Audi Motorsport chief Wolfgang Ullrich: 'Le Mans is a high-profile motor sport event of enormous international importance'

dpa wr xx md tp 19.10.98 17:35 CET

Clocked Speeding by Swiss

Bern (dpa) If you get clocked speeding in the land of purple cows, you could be in for a bit of a surprise. Unlike Australia, the amount by which you exceed the limit and the limit itself are taken into account when determining the depth of your future impoverishment.

Doing 73 kmh in a 50 limit will cost you the equivalent of about 1700 Australian dollars (1200 Francs). But if you get Multanova'd doing 150 on their Autobahn with a limit of 120 kmh, then it's about $300 (260 Francs)

dpa abc xx hi 19.10.1998 14:06 CET

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