Wednesday December 7th, 2011 08:00 German Car Manufacturers – In a League of Their Own

There are a number of countries that have a prominent motor manufacturer market but few are able to compete with Germany. The cars that Germany produces are second to none, and they compete fiercely with each other for very similar markets. They don’t just compete in Germany either, as they have thriving demand throughout the rest of mainland Europe, the UK and the US too.

As the economies of India and China also develop there is an increase in demand for luxury cars where the Germans are also sitting comfortably at number one. The Americans have tried their hands at luxury cars such as Cadillac, but they have never hit the mark of quality and driving experience on the same level as their German counterparts.

The French have got a strong market share in the more affordable car sector with brands such as Peugeot, Renault and Citroen competing for affordable small, mid-sized and family cars across Europe. Citroen leasing offers remain some of the most popular in the industry. The Japanese market is also strong with brands like Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan all holding their own, targeting the Asian markets and mid-priced industries with their well-built and reliable cars. When it comes to luxury and premium marques however, it always falls back to Germany. They have 5 major brands that compete in similar markets and make some of the most desirable cars on sale today. Here they are:

BMW– One of the most recognised car manufacturers in the world. BMW make a range of premium executive saloons, 4x4s, and sports cars with great avail. They brand their cars as the ultimate driving machine as they only allow the power to be delivered through the rear wheels. The balance of their vehicles is always spot on, and they have a huge following all around the world.

Audi – Audi make a number of cars in the same category as BMW and although have a smaller market share, they are constantly growing. With the success of their Quattro rally car, they have built a reputation for attractive and well-handing models that have been inspired by this heritage. The R8 supercar has further increased their profile.

Mercedes-Benz – One of the world’s most powerful and recognised brands. There is a huge range of Mercedes models on the market, and they range from small, to executive and luxurious. They also produce a number of fast and powerful cars with their AMG tuning division and McLaren partnership. The recent retro-modern adaptation of the classic SLS has reminded us what Mercedes are capable of.

Volkswagen – VW are slightly more affordable than BMW, Mercedes and Audi, but are parallel in terms of respect and quality. The ‘car for the people’ brand image has created some highly desirable family cars and their success with the Golf GTi throughout the years has brought them much acclaim.

Porsche – The legendary cars created by Porsche have gone down as some of the greatest sports cars in history. Although not as big as their German brothers, the desirability of their models and strength of their brand has led them to become one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. Their racing heritage has even inspired ranges of clothes, luxury watches and baggage.

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011 20:38 Volkswagen Beetle Set for Spring 2012 Release

Next spring will see the latest version of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle hit the roads of the United Kingdom. The famous German car manufacturer has now opened orders on the new Beetle, and it will cost consumers upwards of £16,490.

In recent years, the Beetle has been regarded by many as nothing more than a fashion accessory to those who know nothing about cars. However, with a press release titled “Less Flower, More Power”, it seems that Volkswagen is looking for the car to be taken more seriously.

At the Beetle’s launch, Volkswagen is offering buyers the option of two different engines – a 1.4-litre TSI engine with a six-speed manual or a 1.2-litre TSI engine with a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

There will be three levels of trim available for the Beetle, and these are the entry-level Beetle trim, the Design trim and the Sport trim. Entry-level Beetles are fitted with air-conditioning, CD player, DAB radio and a central locking system.

Those who opt for the Design trim will also benefit from 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, Fogs, a DAB radio, as well as body-coloured dashboard trim.

Costing £21,220, the most expensive range-topping Sport model will include 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, parking sensors and fancy sports seats.

That won’t be the end of things for the latest version of the Beetle though, as later in 2012 Volkswagen will be adding three new choices of engines for the car. These will be a 1.6-litre TDI Bluemotion Technology model, a 2.0-litre TDI and a 2.0-litre TSI unit. The 2.0-litre TSI unit will have an impressive 197bhp.

The Volkswagen Beetle is available to order now, with deliveries taking place in the spring of 2012.

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Saturday May 28th, 2011 18:10 Volkswagen Inaugurates New American Plant

 

Earlier this week, Volkswagen inaugurated its new plant in the United States. The new Volkswagen Group plant, situated in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will see over 2,000 employees produce up to 150,000 vehicles each year, and is the first Volkswagen plant to be opened in the United States since a plant in Pennsylvania was closed in 1988. For now, only the Volkswagen Passat will be built at the Chattanooga plant, although the company has left open the possibility of other models being built there in the future.

At the inauguration, attended by a host of prominent characters from politics, business and media, Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said: “The Volkswagen Group has finally arrived as a local manufacturer in the United States. We are proud to be part of this great automobile nation as a producer, an employer and as a friend and good neighbour to people in the region.”

Volkswagen is investing nearly $1 billion in the development of the Chattanooga facility. The German car manufacturer say that the facility will be one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly automobile plants in the world. The facility relies entirely on energy-saving LED systems for outdoor lighting, and through the use of collected rainwater, water consumption is also lower than at facilities of a similar size. By adopting a painting process that does not involve any filler, CO2 emissions are reduced by around 20%.

The building of the plant in Chattanooga is part of a long term plan by Volkswagen to boost both its market share and its sales in the United States. Volkswagen hopes to win a market share of six percent at the same time as pushing Group sales in the United States to more than a million vehicles per year by 2018.

By building a new version of the Passat that is tailored especially for the needs of American customers, Volkswagen hope to tempt more Americans away from cars such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The new version of the Passat is both bigger and cheaper than the current model. With a starting price of around $20,000, the new Passat will cost customers around $7,000 less than the Passat that is currently on the market.

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Friday May 13th, 2011 14:50 Volkswagen Announce 35th Anniversary Special Edition Golf GTI

 

Earlier this week, Volkswagen announced to the world that it would be releasing the special edition Golf GTI Edition 35. Made to mark the 35th anniversary of the release of the original hot hatch in 1976, the Edition 35 will be the most powerful Golf GTI to date.

Although Volkswagen is keeping details about the special edition car close to its chest at the moment, we do know that the Edition 35′s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine will have a peak horsepower rate up to 232bhp. This is an improvement of 25bhp over the standard Golf GTI.

There are no figures as of yet on the Edition 35′s top speed or 0-62mph time, but they should improve upon the regular GTI’s top speed of 149mph and 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds, while being below the more powerful Golf R.

To compliment the anniversary edition car’s increase in power, Volkswagen has given the Edition 35 a number of cosmetic tweaks. In addition to a revised front bumper and lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels, the Edition 35′s front wings, sill plates, head restraints and seats will bear the ’35′ signature. The Edition 35 will also see the return of the golf ball gearknob.

The special edition Golf will be given its world debut at the Wörthersee tuning festival in Austria in early June, before it gets its German release a few weeks later. Expected to cost somewhere in the region of £27,000, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35 will be available in the UK later this year.

 

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