The Volkswagen Group extended its lead over Toyota through the first half of 2016, putting it in a strong position to be the world’s largest automaker for the first time ever.
A 40,000-unit lead in the first quarter of the year grew to 120,000 units by the end of June. VW Group’s diverse portfolio of brands collectively sold nearly 5.12 million units in the first six months of 2016, representing a 1.5 percent increase over the same period in 2015.
Sales at Toyota, meanwhile, dropped 0.6-percent to just under five million units, a lackluster performance that allowed VW to gain a cozy cushion for the second half bout.
It’s worth noting that both automakers had to content with separate problems at the time, with the TDI dieselgate scandal affecting VW sales and materials and parts shortages affecting limiting Toyota’s production.
Even so, at the rate the two rivals are selling, 2016 will surely mark the end of Toyota’s top dog status as the largest carmaker in the world, a title it has held onto for seven years after dethroning General Motors back in 2009.
VW I.D. Roomzz Concept Previews An Electric Three-Row SUV
The latest concept in Volkswagen’s I.D. family is a people-hauler first and foremost.
Volkswagen is cooking up a flagship electric SUV, and the VW I.D. Roomzz Concept is an indication of what’s to come.
Based on a stretched version of the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform that underpins the I.D. Crozz concept, the Roomzz is a full-size SUV with three-rows of seating for up to eight occupants. More than that, the seats can be reconfigured to deliver a lounge-like experience.
Other interior highlights include a digital, glass-front panel, and massive screens for the instrument cluster and dashboard infotainment.
Level 4 autonomous capabilities means the I.D. Roomzz can drive itself in certain areas and under certain conditions without an active driver. Power is provided by two electric motors, one on each axle to provide all-wheel drive capability, energized by a 82-kWh battery.
The electric drivetrain generates a total of 302 horsepower, can accelerate the SUV from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.6 seconds on route to a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h), and provides a driving range of up to 280 miles (451 km) on Europe’s WLTP cycle, or 475 km (295 mi) under NEFZ in China.
The production version of the Volkswagen I.D. Roomzz concept is slated to debut sometime in 2020, around the same time as the production versions of the I.D. Crozz and I.D. hatchback. The Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz and I.D. Vizzion sedan will follow suit in 2022.
Updated, 2020 Volkswagen Passat Is A Little Bolder, More Refined
The refresh brings a slightly bolder design, a more modern interior, and a pinch more power.
Volkswagen has upgraded the North American market Passat midsize sedan, upping the style a tad bit and expanding the range of interior design options.
Despite riding on the same platform as the outgoing model, the refreshed Passat looks sleeker thanks to a sloping coupe-like roofline and a ‘tornado’ line. The grille is slightly bolder and is flanked by standard LED headlights and taillights, while Passat badging can now be found on the trunk lid.
The upgraded interior boasts a more modern instrument panel and a glass-covered infotainment screen. Designers also broadened the range of design options, adding more colors and, depending on the model trim, a choice of V-Tex leatherette or Nappa leather seating.
Power is provided by the same 2.0-liter TSI engine found in the previous model year Passat, producing a slightly higher 184 to 207 pound-feet of torque.
The 2020 model Volkswagen Passat goes on sale in summer 2019.
Ford And VW Form Global Automotive Alliance
The two automakers will focus on trucks, vans and mobility solutions.
Ford and Volkswagen have entered into a global automotive alliance to jointly develop both vehicles in existing market segments and future mobility solutions.
Unlike the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance or other strategic partnership in the industry. neither company will have a financial stake in the other, at least not initially. The partnership was formed solely to mitigate vehicle development costs.
The first programs to benefit will be medium-sized pickup trucks and other commercial vehicles in the European market, with Volkswagen relying on Ford’s expertise in the area. Expect to see their first products to hit the market as early as 2022.
Ford and Volkswagen also signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles and are already in the process of exploring opportunities.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” stated Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
The fact that neither company owns a stake in the other should result in smoother sailing than experienced by Renault and Nisan.