C&D Reviews 2016 VW Golf R Manual

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Our favorite car magazine Car & Driver tests the 2016 VW Golf R manual transmission and, well, likes it.

The only genuine criticism of the R, excluding any subjective critiques of the styling, is the cost. The toughest thing the R has going for it is the existence of the GTI. Our test car cost nearly $39,000—basically double the price of a base Golf. Granted, this car is close to twice as good as a base Golf, but is it 50 percent better than a $26,000 GTI? Buyers make that call, but there’s no denying the greatness here.

Naturally, it’s slower that the DSG automatic R.

VW to Diesel Owners: Let’s Stay Friends for $1000

VW Visa gift card

The deal: VW will give owners of US VW diesel cars affected by Dieselgate a $500 Visa gift card, and one $500 voucher for oil changes, service, or merchandise from  VW dealers.

Our take: not bad. We still feel that this PR catastrophe will blow over in a year, but this is good. VW needs to get back some customer goodwill. We believe 20-40% of owners will say this isn’t enough, but that same group couldn’t be placated with anything less than new VW cars anyway.

No word on a diesel buy back program. With this, there might not be one.

Dieselgate Expands to Gasoline VWs

Dieselgate Expands to Gasoline VWs

News is breaking that VW cheated on gasoline car emissions in addition to the already-revealed diesel cheating (“Dieselgate”). Bloomberg reports “Gasgate” affects the VW group’s 1.4-liter gasoline engine. The 800,000 European market cars emit more carbon dioxide and achieve fewer miles per gallon (MPG) than the automaker stated when the cars were certified.


Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. VW wasn’t doing one bad, bad thing, they were doing several bad things.


What does management know? It seems like they were kept in the dark about the emissions-cheating software. Or at least that what they want us to think.

Meanwhile, VW stock is getting (re) hammered, now 39% below its price before Dieselgate.

The latest issues affect Volkswagen’s Polo, Golf and Passat models, Audi’s subcompact A1 and A3 hatchback, the Skoda Octavia, and the Seat Ibiza and Leon, with most in Europe. While smaller diesel motors account for the vast majority of affected cars, a specific type of 1.4-liter gasoline engine is also involved, the company said. Germany’s Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said that 98,000 gasoline cars are affected.

MVWS Commentary

Whatever the case, our question at MVWS is this:

  1. All this stuff is easily verified. CO2, MPG, etc… science gave us the tools to measure these things roughly a hundred years ago. Why were our governments, so stuffed with regulatory money, not testing these cars? Why were they taking VW’s word for it?

That’s it. Just one question. We don’t get it. A couple smart ten-year-olds could test fuel efficiency, given a legal driver. The carbon dioxide and diesel cheats are also easily tested, relatively speaking. Although those would require high school age kids.

2016 Volkswagen CC Driving Impressions

2016 Volkswagen CC

My mom got a 2016 VW CC two weeks ago, and I drove it yesterday. It’s a 2.0T, not diesel or V6. Here are my impressions:

Quiet — wind noise and road noise are very low.

Frm ride — but not too firm, little body roll.

Awesome seats — not much lateral support, but easy to adjust to a comfortable driving position.

Good gauges and controls — speedometer, tach and gauges are amazingly well-lit. VW has been using these for several years now.

Good tilt/telescoping steering wheel — but the leather on the wheel itself is anything but grippy.

Engine — well, it’s a turbo four, it moves the car, but it’s not the smoothest. Downshifts can be dramatic.

Turbocharger — there’s a bit of turbo lag here.

So-so infotainment controls — the screen is a touch (no pun intended) laggy, and somewhat fussy regarding taps and touches on its surface.

Great trunk and trunk release (the VW badge is the trunk release) — there is little effort required to open the trunk and raise the lid.

High stepover height getting in the car — the sill is high, causing a bit of effort getting feet in the car.

VW Returns Sales Crown to Toyota

VW gave back its #1 car sales bragging rights to Toyota, after capturing it just three months ago. Oh well.

Toyota’s sales include Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors.

Both car makers’ sales fell 1.5% on the year, to 7,498,000 (Toyota) vs. 7,430,800 for VW.

Note this loss of the top position has little to do with Dieselgate, VW’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. Dieselgate news broke too late in this sales period.

 

Diesel and the EU

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To us here at MVWS it’s strange how the EU, so full of rules, regulations and limits on pollutants, could have let the diesel dragon run so far from the cave.

The European Union (EU) is considered by some to have the most extensive environmental laws of any international organisation.[1] Its environmental policy is significantly intertwined with other international and national environmental policies. The environmental legislation of the European Union also has significant effects on those of its member states. The European Union’s environmental legislation addresses issues such as acid rain, the thinning of the ozone layer, air quality, noise pollution, waste and water pollution. The Institute for European Environmental Policy estimates the body of EU environmental law amounts to well over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions.[166]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_policy_of_the_European_Union

Europe’s long love of diesel, which enjoys tax benefits in many countries, was driven by an ambition to fight climate change: diesels burn 20 percent less fuel. Now, the technology is used in more than half of all cars sold in the European Union.

But the more fuel-efficient the engines are, the more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) they create. In London alone, NOx pollution causes the equivalent of up to 5,900 deaths a year, a recent King’s College study concluded. Most European cities habitually exceed the allowed NOx levels, often by a large margin. The transport sector, and diesel in particular, are mainly to blame.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/10/26/how-diesel-mad-eu-laid-seeds-of-vw-scandal/

It turns out the regulations were there, they just weren’t enforced regularly, or strictly, or both:

On average, new diesels sold in Europe in real use emit seven times more NOx than the official limits allow, a 2014 study of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a non-government organisation, showed.

Whoa. Seven times more NOx than allowed!? In such a highly-regulated, rich continent so able to apply this policy? But how?

VW equipped cars in the United States with “defeat devices” that damped down emissions during lab testing. In Europe, carmakers have had no need for such tricks, thanks to the leniency of the testing regime.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/10/26/how-diesel-mad-eu-laid-seeds-of-vw-scandal/

Ah, that’s how. So VW cheated in the US, but didn’t need to cheat in the EU because nobody was enforcing the policy.

Perhaps to blame is the disparate nature of the Union:

The European Commission not only has an exclusive right to propose new environmental policy, but it also has a responsibility to ensure the implementation of environmental rules. Therefore, since its creation in the 1950s the European Commission has been at the heart of the European Union. However, it did not set up a unit dedicated to environmental issues until the 1970s and a full Directorate General for the environment until 1981.[9] Initially DG Environment was perceived as a relatively weak DG but it has gradually become more assertive through the development of technical and political expertise. However, the Commission still has to depend on member states to implement its policies.

[…]

Policy making in the EU can be extremely complex. It has been suggested that the policy making process is too densely populated with veto players (i.e. actors whose agreement is necessary for a policy to be adopted) for any single actor or group of actors (including the EU’s member states) to consistently control the direction of policy making.[15] The result in environmental policy making has been widely depicted as being especially unpredictable, unstable and at times even chaotic. However, the European Commission, as a key player in the policy making process, has under pressure to develop ‘standard operating procedures’ for processing policy.[16] This has led to a number of changes in policy making processes in recent years, including: adopting minimum standards of consultation; the impact assessment of all major policy proposals; and the earlier publication of its work programmes.[17]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_policy_of_the_European_Union

Turns out our (US) glacial pace on mainstreaming diesel technology into the private automobile industry wasn’t such a bad thing, despite the chorus of booing that would arise over here when this or that marque announced no diesel version of any particular model was bound for US shores. Just look on any car enthusiast site, like Car & Driver, for instance.

VW: EA 288 Engines Clean, EA 189 Dirty

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This comes just a day after VW said it was probing its new diesels for emissions testing cheat software. Could they have completed testing in just 24 hours?

The EA189 engine was replaced by the EA 288 in 2014, with the latter being offered in models for the US market since the start of the 2015 model year.

In a separate statement issued today, VW said diesel cars with EA 288 engines (both Euro 5 and Euro 6) meet legal and environmental requirements.

“Volkswagen confirms today that no software constituting an improper defeat device as defined in law is installed in vehicles with EA 288 EU5 as well as EU6-engines in the European Union. Consequently, new vehicles of the Volkswagen Group offered within the European Union with those engines comply with legal requirements and environmental standards,” the automaker said.

This contradicts a recent report which said VW had developed defeat devices for the EA 288 engine as well.

http://www.carscoops.com/2015/10/vw-halts-eu-sales-of-ea-189-equipped.html

VW Future: Doom & Lawsuits?

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US states organizing to sue for a recall or buyback

Just when you think there are no government agencies not already involved in VW’s Dieselgate fiasco, that there cannot really be any regulators, lawmakers, bureaucrats without a finger in the pie, news breaks that there are.

Doom and Gloom Predicted for VW…

But Not From Us

Personally, we here at MVWS don’t believe this scandal will throw VW far off its current course, which is now the world’s #1 car manufacturer. People have short memories. There was Audi’s unintended acceleration fiasco in the 1980s, and recently some very high profile scandals at Toyota and GM, and these are forgotten. 100% gone today.

Only recently, General Motors was caught covering up a serious defect in its ignition switches that cost dozens of lives. It paid a piffling $900 million fine, no one went to jail, and barely anyone talks about it anymore. Not long before, Toyota was penalized for failing to share information with regulators regarding runaway cars. The government fined Toyota $1.2 billion, and various recalls, civil suits, and consumer settlements will add billions more to the Japanese behemoth’s tab. And yet general public sentiment is again a resounding Zzzz.

This is Going to Hurt, Volkswagen

Don’t fall for the Dieselgate Armageddon crowd’s proclamations of doom. It will be complete in a year, whatever happens whether buybacks or recalls, the press will calm down, and VW sales will return.

Dieselgate Sucks Vacuum Maker Into Fray

Think it can’t get stranger? It gets stranger.

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Brit vacuum-cleaner maker Dyson is taking legal action against Bosch and Siemens, accusing the pair of cheating in energy efficiency tests.

According to Dyson, the Siemens Q8.0 and Bosch GL80/In’Genius ProPerform vacuum cleaners conveniently operate at a lower power level in lab tests, and dramatically increase their power consumption when used in the real homes. This led to the two rival machines unfairly gaining AAAA energy efficiency stickers from European regulators, it is claimed.

On Tuesday, Dyson said it has filed for an injunction against Siemens in Germany, and started proceedings in Belgium. It also said it has start legal action against Bosch in the Netherlands, and appealed to France’s advertising watchdog to get Bosch’s ads changed.

Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

Old VW Bug Ads

Road & Track has some cool VW Bug black & white ads from the 1950s up today.

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Students of modern advertising learn all about Volkswagen’s legendary 1950s and 60s ad campaigns, which highlighted everything unconventional and backward-seeming about the car—its size, its thrift, its stalwart dedication to humble minimalism in an era when American automakers were redesigning their cars yearly to be bigger, wider, and more flamboyant.

King Rose Archives maintains a fantastic YouTube channel of vintage video footage from throughout the many eras of the automobile. The Archive just uploaded a plethora of original Volkswagen ads, spanning both the Type I era and the later Super Beetle. Here are some of our favorites.