Print 28 comment(s) - last by wolrah.. on Jul 21 at 1:31 PM

Volkswagen's upcoming all-electric E-Up!

The Audi E-Tron is an electricified version of the Audi R8

Porsche is planning a hybrid/electric variant of its popular 918 Spyder supercar/roadster.
Company says it wants to become the world's leading electric car maker

Germany's Volkswagen AG has long been a pioneer in fuel efficient vehicles – some of its European variant diesel vehicles get well over 60 mpg.  However, it has trailed in hybrid and electric vehicle efforts.  In fact, will just get around to offering its first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. later this year.

At its Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, amid the backdrop of the launch of its sixth-generation VW Jetta compact, the company talked about its transition from being focused on diesel to going for the gold in the electric arena.  Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn comments, "I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world."

The company's efforts will be spread across its base consumer brand and its luxury brands -- Audi and the recently acquired Porsche brand.  

VW plans to release a Touareg (SUV) this year and Jetta (sedan) hybrid in 2012.  It will then follow up with hybrid Golf and Passat models in 2013.  In 2011, it plans to start testing a fleet of electric VW Golf vehicles.  VW will also introduce a new electric called the E-Up! .

On the luxury front, Audi will release its first EV, the e-tron.  Meanwhile, Porsche is cooking up hybrid variants of its Cayenne (SUV) and 918 Spyder (roadster).

VW reports that by the time these vehicles hit the market, its electric efforts will be as refined as its diesel ones.  It says that its E-Up! batteries are already capable of running for 93 miles on a charge -- more than the 2011 Chevy Volt's, which can only muster 40 miles on a charge.

Winkerton states, "Our customers are not willing to compromise.  They expect the same high standards from an electric Golf as from a conventional one."

Volkswagen has seen a long slide in sales in America.  Once the top foreign brand -- selling 570,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 1970 -- the company has been gradually displaced by Japanese and Korean automakers who have a better reputation for quality.  Diesel enthusiast still love VW, though, and Volkswagen Group of America increased deliveries by 29 percent to 175,000 vehicles in H1 2010.

The German automaker will soon open a $1B USD plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will produce the popular Jetta and its upcoming hybrid variant.  The plant will mark VW's first auto-production facility in the U.S. since it shut the doors on its Pennsylvania assembly plant in 1988.

Volkswagen has set a relatively lofty goal of selling 800,000 VW-brand vehicles and 200,000 Audis annually in the United States by 2018 -- over twice current sales levels.  Winkerton states, "We want to take Volkswagen to the top of the industry by 2018. ... We know that the United States is one of our main destinations on our way to the top."

The company realizes that diesel will not necessarily win many new customers, so its hoping its shift to electric will win new business.

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RE: VW Qualit...
By jonup on 7/20/2010 2:13:48 PM , Rating: 4
WOW. I would think that your friends driving must have something to do with all these issues. I mean:
- DSG transmission choked
- Water pump died
- Stretched timing chain
- Head gasket
- Car pretty much rattles everywhere
- Brake rotors warped long before the pads needed changing.
VW would be broke if these were design flows and they had to replace them under warranty for all their models.
No offense to you or your friend!

RE: VW Qualit...
By Iaiken on 7/20/2010 2:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
I would think that your friends driving must have something to do with all these issues.

Having ridden with her on numerous occasions I can safely say that her driving isn't the issue (unless she turns into some form of road demon when I am not around). We've done our research on the subject and all of these problems are pretty much par for the course in a 2006 Rabbit 2.5L.

Most of the electrical problems are caused by the cars wiring not being designed and properly covered to prevent corrosion in places where they use salt on the roads. Basically, it's just laziness/cheapness on the part of VW when it comes to the export market.

The rotors are just a low quality POS OEM part that overheat quickly under only moderate braking and take a long time to cool down. This causes them to deform in situations like continuous stop and go traffic or high speed emergency braking(this is actually what did hers in).

Stretched timing chain was caused by the use of low grade metal that fatigued easily under all but the gentlest acceleration. When you come in to get it fixed, they actually use a different part made to a higher standard. The waterpump failure was related to this problem.

With the exception of the diesels, VW has a terrible track record when it comes to head gaskets, which is fine by them because they tend to fail outside of warranty.

The DSG is pretty much the exception, they either last 100,000+ km or they pretty much choke right away and then VW blames the owner and refuses to fix it under warranty.

As for the rattles, I'm talking about generic body/trim rattles. This is because VW bodies/trim are put together with plastic clips and hangers that stretch over time. This is made worse by the fact that the Rabbit frame is not particularly rigid and the body/trim gets twisted out of shape over time. This is by no means restricted to VW, a friend of mine with a Saab 92x ahd his windshield crack right up the middle because of this and the dealer was like "no worries, happens all the time with the Saaberu".

RE: VW Qualit...
By wolrah on 7/21/2010 1:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the DSG had the warranty extended to 10 years, 100,000 miles on all cars equipped with it, so your friend should be able to get refunded anything she paid for a replacement.

A friend of mine has a 2009 GTI with the DSG and drives it exactly like you'd expect a mid-20s male in a fairly quick car to drive, no problems at all. It's been to the drag strip and launched hard (using the launch control feature) repeatedly (sometimes for up to two hours of nearly nonstop runs if the track is deserted that day) without a single complaint. It's also chiptuned up to 250HP, so it's putting a lot more power through the transmission than your friend's 2.5L.

As you said though, the DSGs do seem to be one of those things that either breaks or doesn't, there's no in between, but it seems to be all related to sensors rather than mechanical failures. The problem is that the thing is so complex that from my understanding not even VW dealers have service manuals for them, they just swap in a new one and send the old one back to Germany no matter what the problem.

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