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Volkswagen offers a £1,000 ‘thank you’ to van customers

Volkswagen £1,000 off commercial vehicles

As a thank-you for increased in sales in 2018, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering up to £1,000 off new vans and trucks.

There are Ts and Cs, mind. The caveat is that you have to be an existing customer, or the family member of an existing customer living at the same address. You must also order your vehicle in the first quarter of 2019, for delivery before the end of June. 

Volkswagen £1,000 off commercial vehicles

So what’s available in the VW Commercial vehicles range, and how much money do you save?

Unfortunately, the £1,000 isn’t a blanket discount across all models. We start at the bottom with the Caddy and Amarok pick-up, which are eligible for £500 off. The Caravelle and California can be had with a £750 discount. And the Transporter and Shuttle (and other derivatives thereof) attract the full £1,000 discount.

Volkswagen £1,000 off commercial vehicles

 

“We are kicking off 2019 with a big ‘thank you’ to our customers for their fantastic support over the years,” said James Douglas, head of sales operations at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“The loyalty bonus is available across our fantastic range of vehicles. We look forward to welcoming our owners into a Van Centre soon to help them find the perfect vehicle for their business needs and lifestyle.”

Volkswagen prepares for Nürburgring electric car record attempt

Volkswagen electric car record attempt

These days, a performance car doesn’t seem complete without a Nürburgring lap time to its name, which is why Volkswagen is preparing to set an electrifying record in the summer of 2019.

And we really do mean electrifying, because the car at the centre of this lap record attempt is the ID R, Volkswagen’s sporting flagship for an entire range of electric vehicles, which the company plans to launch from 2020 onwards.

Last year, Romain Dumas set a Pikes Peak record of 7:57.148 minutes in the ID R, beating the previous record set by Sebastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16. Dumas also broke the existing electric car record by almost a minute.

Now, the ID R is being further developed for the record attempt at the Nürburgring, with Volkswagen’s sights set on beating the current electric car record of 6:45.90 minutes, a time set by Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9 in 2017.

The ID R is powered by two electric engines with a total system capacity of 680hp, and weighs less than 1,100kg including the driver. It’ll sprint to 60mph in just 2.25 seconds, making it faster than Formula 1 and Formula E cars.

It uses lithium-ion batteries as the energy storage system, with roughly 20 percent of the electric energy required generated during the drive. When braking, the electric engines act as generators, converting some of the braking energy into electricity.

“Volkswagen’s goal is to reach the pinnacle of electromobility with the ID family,” said VW’s Dr Frank Welsch ahead of the Pikes Peak record attempt in 2018. The ID R will require some modifications before making the switch from Pikes Peak to the ‘Green Hell’.

Goosebumps

Volkswagen ID. R electric car

“Above all, we will modify the aerodynamics of the ID R, in order to cope with the conditions on the Nordschleife, which differ greatly from those on Pikes Peak,” says François-Xavier Demaison, technical director at Volkswagen Motorsport.

Dumas is unsurprisingly excited about the record attempt. “The thought of driving the ID R on the Nordschleife is already enough to give me goosebumps. I know the track very well, but the ID R will be a completely different challenge, with its extreme acceleration and huge cornering speeds,” he said.

No date has been set for the record attempt, but Dumas will need to average at least 115mph if he is to beat the current record.

Ford and Volkswagen to build pick-ups, vans together – and maybe electric cars

Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger pickup trucksVolkswagen and Ford have announced a global alliance that will lead to the introduction of a new dual-brand pick-up truck in 2022, quickly followed by a commercial van partnership.

The two automotive giants have also committed to explore potential collaborations on electric cars, along with autonomous vehicles and mobility services. Future vehicle collaborations may thus be announced in the future – potentially in a matter of months.

Both companies stressed it is purely an alliance; there is no cross-ownership between the two firms. Savings from the alliance are expected from 2023. 

Volkswagen Transporter

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.

“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.”

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world.

“At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.” 

British boon?

2018 Ford Transit Custom

Both the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups will be due for replacement around 2022, which is why the first stage of the alliance is timely.

The next step, to develop replacements for the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter, could be a boon for British automotive. In the announcement, it was confirmed Ford will take the lead to build new large commercial vans for European customers.

2019 Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen, in turn, will develop a city van for the two firms, replacing the current Volkswagen Caddy (above) and Ford Transit Connect.

The alliance will enable the companies to share development costs, leverage their respective manufacturing capacity, boost the capability and competitiveness of their vehicles and deliver cost efficiencies, while maintaining distinct brand characteristics.

Volkswagen is entering the energy industry with ‘Elli’

Elli Volkswagen energy company

Volkswagen is starting a company called Elli, short for Electric Life – but it’s not an all-new electric car brand. Think of it as an energy company, aimed at providing carbon-neutral power across a diverse network of charging points.

There is an automotive link, however. VW is addressing the leap customers need to take when buying an electric car. With current infrastructure on the road network and, indeed, at our houses, electric cars aren’t quite as ‘plug and play’ as we’d like. In the case of many residences, it’s more ‘lob an extension cord out the window’.

With that in mind, consider the following statement from Elli CEO Thorsten Nicklass: “The name ‘Elli’ stands for ‘electric life’ because we intend to enable a lifestyle that fully integrates the electric car in people’s everyday lives. This approach could be compared with the use of a mobile phone, which is taken for granted nowadays.

“We will be creating a seamless, sustainable ecosystem that addresses the main applications and provides answers to all the energy questions raised by electric car users and fleet operators.”

Elli Volkswagen energy company

The intention is to help prospective customers ‘upgrade’ their lives around their electric car purchase.

Elli wants to help put charging points at homes and workplaces, as well as across Volkswagen and VW Group dealerships. Fleet charge points (for company cars) and chain outlets are also on the radar. In Elli’s ideal world, there will be a unified charging infrastructure from your garage to your workplace, and where you’re going to eat or go shopping.

At present, VW employee car parks have 1,000 charging stations. That will increase to more than 5,000 by 2020. All 4,000 dealers throughout the EU will receive similar charging provisions by 2020.

There is also scope for energy management. That means communication across a network of car chargers that can, for instance, manage charging network-wide so that minimal strain is put on the local power grid. Your car can also be used as an energy storage unit and give power back to the network into which it’s plugged. Cars will even be able to take in power via their solar charging systems and add it to the grid.

Elli Volkswagen energy company

Thinking about it now, electric car proprietors taking such an active role in upgrading the infrastructure makes an awful lot of sense, rather than leaving it to local authorities and governments to make it happen. 

Companies like Elli and schemes like VW’s mobile charging systems will surely proliferate in the coming years.

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Volkswagen bosses will now be rewarded for ‘honourable behaviour’

Volkswagen bosses pay bonuses

Volkswagen has revealed that bosses at the company will be paid based on ‘compliant, honourable behaviour’. It’s a model designed to encourage ‘greater emphasis on team performance’.

The change, so says Volkswagen, is designed to reflect how the overall VW Group does business – its corporate culture – in order to strengthen team spirit.

There are no longer monetary performance bonuses for top execs in the short-term. Instead, group targets, if met, will inform at least half of any bonus awarded.

That bonus consists of virtual shares every year, which can be translated into monetary gain only after three years. The idea? Perform well, do exceptional work and, in theory, share prices will rise. 

Volkswagen bosses pay bonuses

The result is that every aspect of the group’s health, be it good or poor, will reflect directly what those at its head receive as payment. Reward is commensurate with success. It’s a genuine incentive to stoke the fire of the business, rather than knowing a fat cheque is coming at year’s end, regardless of what happens.

Crucially, the new system will also reflect on poor conduct. It can be reduced, cancelled entirely or even claimed back, should the situation or scale of misconduct call for it. Less scandal, more ‘honourable behaviour’, in VW’s words.

VW Group has a recent history of top-level skulduggery. The wrongdoings of high-rank executives in other marques have been rather public this year, too. On account of the above, this system sounds pretty sensible to us.

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Volkswagen e-up price cut

Volkswagen slashes price of E-Up electric city car

Volkswagen has cut the price of its electric Up – the e-Up – and added more standard equipment

You can now race a Volkswagen GTI on Snapchat

VW UK has partnered with Snapchat to create an augmented reality game that lets you race a VW GTI via the app

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross is a baby SUV with big ambitions

2019 Volkswagen T-CrossThe Volkswagen T-Cross baby SUV is the firm’s long-awaited rival to the top-selling Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. The firm’s smallest SUV is a crucial car for the firm and goes on sale in early 2019.

The T-Cross ‘Polo SUV’ joins a sector that Volkswagen predicts will double in the next 10 years. Already, the Renault Captur outsells the Clio in the UK; don’t be surprised if the T-Cross does the same.

120mm shorter than the Volkswagen T-Roc, the new T-Cross is related to the Seat Arona, and the same underpinnings will spawn Skoda and Audi small SUVs in time too.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

Volkswagen wants its T-Cross to be the most appealing though, so has given the new baby SUV a distinctive, edgy look that’s easily as bold as the larger T-Roc. The firm’s designers seem to be relishing the opportunity to go a bit more out there these days, and the T-Cross is certain to stand out in a sector that likes its designs distinctive.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

There’s a flat-look, contoured, 4×4-influenced bonnet, with castellations at the end that just hint at a Range Rover. The grille is broad, headlights integrated into it, and the side feature lines that mark out the new Polo are even more pronounced here.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

A tall car – it’s 112mm higher than a Polo (and 54mm longer) – the T-Cross had futuristic-look darkened rear lights, although the back end is rather upright. That’s perhaps because Volkswagen reckoned small SUVs must be practical as well as stylish (is it looking at you, Nissan, and your compromised Juke?).

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

The T-Cross is thus a genuine four-seater, five at a push, and has a boot that beats a Golf even with the seats up – and 385 litres expands to 455 litres if you slide the rear bench seat forwards. Maximum capacity is 1,281 litres, while all passengers have an elevated seating position: rear passengers sit higher than those in the front (similar to the ‘stadium’ seating all Land Rovers come with).

Presumably it will be a little smaller if you choose the optional 300-watt Beats audio system with eight-channel amplifier and separate subwoofer… mounted in the boot.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

Inside, it’s a little more generic VW, but livened up with some smart dash trims and a large glass-look central screen. Volkswagen says it’s “cool” and “sporty”, and there are numerous 3D-look decors for the trim panels and even the seats: pick from black, ‘energetic orange’ or ‘bamboo green’.

The T-Cross is certain to drive well as it’s derived from the same MQB platform used in umpteen VW Group cars, most notably the Polo and Golf. The engine range will be focused around petrol, with 95hp or 115hp 1.0-litre TSI or a 150hp 1.5-litre TSI. There’s also a 95hp 1.6-litre TDI and five- or six-speed manual gearboxes or a seven-speed DSG auto.

2019 Volkswagen T-Cross

In Germany, the T-Cross will be priced from around £16,000. It’s almost certain to cost more by the time it arrives in the UK: a Seat Arona costs from £17,000 and the VW is bound to be pricier. Our guess is £18,000, to slot it neatly below the £20,620 T-Roc.

Admirably, given its city focus, all T-Cross come with the Front Assist system that monitors for pedestrians and auto-brakes when it detects a low-speed collision. The sliding rear bench seat is standard too, and UK cars are likely to add in air con, 16-inch alloys and all-round parking sensors. Because Brits like their cars well-kitted. 

Don’t expect strong prices to daunt the prospects of the new T-Cross, though. It could be just the machine Volkswagen needs to help it get out of its WLTP-influenced sales slump when it arrives early next year.

New Volkswagen T-Cross: in pictures

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California depreciation

The Volkswagen California camper is almost depreciation-proof

California depreciation

Depreciation (loss in value over time) is usually the biggest cost when it comes to buying a new car. “How little will this car be worth when I sell it in three years time?” one thinks, shortly before signing on the dotted line. There are exceptions to the rule, however: the LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 911 R and… Volkswagen California.

Indeed, the California camper (specifically, the 2.0 California TDI BlueMotion Tech Beach 150 5dr DSG) has proved to be highly depreciation-resistant. Experts report that three-year-old models with 30,000 miles can retail for as much as 83 percent of their original purchase price.

Amazingly, one-year-old examples with 10,000 miles are holding onto as much as 97 percent of their original list price of £44,022.

Yes, it’s still depreciation: you’re not exactly making money hand-over-fist like you would with a limited-edition supercar. But in relative terms, the big bus is a safe bet. The loss, in percentage terms, is nowhere near what you’d experience with a normal car.

A similarly-priced Mercedes C-Class, for example, would likely lose the £1,320 that the VW sheds over the course of a year as it rolls off the forecourt.

California depreciation

Why is the California so in-demand? Experts at Cap HPI chalk it up to the increasing popularity of staycations – i.e. holidaying in your four-wheeled home-away-from-home, instead of flying abroad and using hotels. The cool kudos of the California no doubt helps, too.

“It’s no wonder that VW’s California campers are so popular” commented Rachel Limbert, valuations editor at Cap HPI.

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VW Caravelle on The Apprentice

You’re hired: how The Apprentice candidates hit the road

VW Caravelle on The Apprentice

The BBC’s The Apprentice returns to our screens this week, with Lord Sugar’s latest batch of supposedly business-savvy hopefuls gunning for his £250,000 investment and the opportunity to work alongside him.

Who’s the real star of the show, though? Not Lord Sugar, not his aides Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner  not even the Rolls-Royce Ghost that collects the series winner.

Rather, it’s the fleet of Volkswagen Caravelle Executives being used to ferry the candidates (usually in a hurry) from one location to the next. Expect bickering, shouting and tears in the back, and a quiet, calm chauffeur in the front. 

Look out for the Caravelles tonight (3 October) at 9pm on BBC1.

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