2012 Passat Sets New Benchmarks in the Midsize Segment:
Herndon, Va. ? Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced pricing for the all-new 2012 Passat, a vehicle that brings new standards to the highly competitive midsize segment, with a starting MSRP of $19,995. The 2012 Passat offers exceptional features and premium options in three powertrains and a variety of equipment levels, with equally impressive pricing.
"The 2012 Passat is a true Volkswagen, offering German engineering, class-leading standard features, and superior fuel economy, all for a remarkable value," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "Demonstrating our commitment to the American market, the car will be produced at one of the newest, most advanced, and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world in Chattanooga, Tennessee."
The 2.5L model with manual transmission and 170 horsepower has a starting MSRP of $19,995.The 2.5L model, available in eight equipment levels, comes standard with automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls and Volkswagen's no-charge three-year/36,000 mile scheduled Carefree Maintenance Program. The up-level SE model starts at $23,725 and includes additional equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, and a multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel (see 2012 Passat pricing chart for further details and additional model information).
The 2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel model offers three trim levels and starts at $25,995. The Passat TDI ? the only clean diesel option in the midsize segment ? is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway, with a range of nearly 800 miles. The TDI base trim package, the SE, comes standard with features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Volkswagen's touchscreen Premium VIII radio and a six-speed manual transmission. Volkswagen's automatic DSG® transmission is optional. This direct-shift gearbox is a technologically advanced six-speed transmission that incorporates an automatic dual-clutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal.
The powerful 3.6L VR6® is offered in three trim levels and has a starting MSRP of $28,995. The VR6 model comes standard with a six-speed automatic DSG transmission and offers a highly competitive 280 horsepower. Additional standard premium features in the VR6® model include 18-inch alloy wheels, comfort sport seats, a sunroof, and a class exclusive Fender® Premium Audio System.
The new Passat, designed specifically for the North American market, provides premium features uniquely offered in the U.S., yet maintains the dynamic character that is expected of a Volkswagen. For instance, the new Passat sets new standards for comfort, with best-in-class rear-seat legroom. The all-new midsize sedan is 191.7 inches long and has a 110.4 inch wheelbase.
Premium options include leather seating surfaces, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, wood decor, ambiance lighting, memory driver's seat, power passenger seat, a choice of Volkswagen's RNS 315 or RNS 510 navigation systems, front fog lights with static cornering lights, and keyless access with push button start.
The Passat will also offer the new Fender Premium Audio System, designed exclusively for Volkswagen. In a partnership that combines quality automotive engineering and quality sound engineering, Volkswagen and Fender have teamed up to bring the raw emotion of live music to the driving experience.
The 2011 Subaru Outback ranks 1 out of 3 Affordable Full Size Wagons. This ranking is based on our analysis of 13 published reviews and test drives of the Subaru Outback, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The 2011 Subaru Outback continues to offer value and versatility. Unlike previous generations, the latest Outback diverges further from its wagon roots and embraces the crossover trend.
Redesigned for the 2010 model year, the 2011 Subaru Outback receives only a handful of small changes.
With bulging fenders, 8.7 inches of ground clearance and a rather upright stance, reviewers have taken well to the looks of the Outback. Autoblog describes it as "a properly designed vehicle with significantly contrasting planes, lines and details." For 2011, Subaru has added to those lines with new folding exterior mirrors ? something drivers accustomed to parking in tight spaces will appreciate.
The Outback's pleasant interior carries over for 2011. New for 2011, Premium and Limited trim models can be equipped with a Rear Vision Camera with a 3.3-inch display in the rear-view mirror.
Despite a sales hike of $200 for all 2011 Outback's over their 2010 counterparts, the Outback still represents a terrific value. Reviewers say drivers accustomed to light off-roading or snow will greatly appreciate the Outback's standard all-wheel drive system.
While both four and six-cylinder engines are offered with the Outback, reviewers contend that the standard 170 hp 2.5-liter flat-four provides enough power for most buyers. When equipped with the optional continuously-variable-transmission, the four-cylinder Outback is capable of an EPA rated 22 MPG city and 29 MPG highway.
Buyers interested in towing should check out the less fuel-efficient, but more powerful six-cylinder Outback, which has a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds ? enough to tow a small boat or trailer.
Although the crossover market is flooded with options, reviewers agree that the Outback's generous cargo-space, standard AWD and sufficiently powerful four-cylinder engine make it one of the better choices in its class.
It's not often that a company can turn a negative into a positive, but that is exactly wwhat Chrysler did this week.
Wednesday, the world-class carmaker announced it had paid back the U.S. and Canadian governments the balance of their loans a full six years ahead of schedule. The loans, which had an outstanding balance of $7.6 million yesterday, were a lifeline for the company.
Paying them off early represented an opportunity for Chrysler to not only showed the strength of Chrysler as a company, but also highlights the automaker's future viability. The loans were repaid early after Chrysler received corporate financing on the private market, allowing it to repay U.S. and Canadian taxpayers ? with interest ? for their assistance.
Overall, taxpayers made a profit of $1.8 billion dollars on the loans, silencing some of the early critics of the bailout program.
Eileen Wunderlich, Manager of Corporate Communications for Chrysler, explained the win/win outcome of paying back the loans early. "The payback improves Chrysler Group's financial bottom line by allowing the Company to save more than $300 million in interest payments each year," Wunderlich said in an email with benzinga. This is money that can immediately be reinvested in new products, she said.
"The improved financial state of the company in the past year, made possible by the steady sales of our 16 all-new and significantly refreshed new vehicles in dealerships, has already led to the ability to invest more than $3 billion in facility upgrades and increased employment with the hiring of 6,000 Chrysler employees," Wunderlich said.
The good news hasn't stopped the 24-hour internet trolls from seeing conspiracy and controversy around every corner. The Truth About Cars website wrote an op-ed last month, calling the then-potential loan payoffs a shell game.
"G.M.'s global interests are far too diverse for it to serve its taxpayer owners faithfully, and it can't afford to subjugate its business prerogatives to the political needs of its major shareholder in the White House. So, unless Americans develop a sudden obsession with G.M.'s $40,000 Volt electric car just in time for an I.P.O., taxpayers will be stuck with tens of billions of dollars in losses," Edward Niedermeyer of The Truth About Cars wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
Oops. Not only did Chrysler pay back their loans, they did so ahead of schedule and at a profit to taxpayers. The U.S. and Canadian governments still own small, but significant, stakes in the automaker. Investment in the company from private banks and other lines of private equity have made it easier, not harder, for Chrysler to grow and recoup those share-price expenses for taxpayers.
Other rumors, including those that the Department of Energy had loaned Chrysler the money that it used to repay the TARP loans are almost laughably false. Chrysler, like other car companies, has applied for Department of Energy funding to develop even more fuel-efficient vehicles. Contrary to conspiracy theorists assertions, the payback this week was done completely with private money. No government money was used to repay the government loans.
"Chrysler Group's improved sales and financial results of the past year were the basis for the financial community's willingness to invest in the Company," Wunderlich said. The financial community's interest in the company shows that Chrysler has turned the corner and is making believers out of nearly everyone.
Even the employees at Chrysler are excited about the turn of events and the future prospects of Chrysler.
"Employees are very proud of the accomplishments the Company has achieved in the past two years that enabled us to pay back the loans in full, six years early, and with a total of $1.8 billion of interest paid," Wunderlich said.
CEO Sergio Marchionne said this week that the loan payback was only one marker in a line of successes that the company sees in the next few years.
"Paying back the loans, along with the financial community's investment in our refinancing packages, marks another step in the Company returning as a competitive force in the global automotive industry? however, we know there is more work to be done and we remain focused on fulfilling the goals outline in our 2010-14 business plan," he said.
Herndon, VA ? The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta was chosen today by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com as one of the 2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000. Editors at kbb.com searched for the most enjoyable vehicles that get you from point A to point B without breaking the bank.
With 'fun-to-drive' and 'fun-to-own' as Kelley Blue Book's focal criteria, the 2011 Jetta continues the model's legacy of delivering an exceptional driving experience. According to kbb.com, "the Jetta continues to deliver superior ride and handling, but it's now roomier and priced more competitively" within the compact sedan segment.
"Volkswagen is excited that the Jetta has been recognized by Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com as one of the 2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000," said Tim Mahoney, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "The Jetta is one of the most recognized Volkswagen nameplates and with the 2011 pricing strategy we have made the model line accessible to more consumers," added Mahoney.
With Jetta sales up more than 70 percent compared to last year, consumers are seizing the opportunity to buy a German engineered sedan with sophisticated style at an accessible price. New Jetta purchases have contributed to Volkswagen's 27.9 percent increase in year over year sales, making May 2011 the company's best sales month since August 2003.
The new Jetta comes standard with the Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), which is unique in its class. ICRS turns off the fuel pump, activates the hazard lights and unlocks the doors in the case of an airbag deployment. The 2011 Jetta is also covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Warranty ? three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
Kia's well-designed, well-equipped, and rather fun Soul has made a lot of friends around here. Now, two years after the boxy hatch's launch, Kia is showing off a mid-cycle refresh for the 2012 model. Previewed at the 2011 New York auto show, the update includes more content, more power, and a few surprising touches.
First, the fun part: Thanks to direct injection, the base 1.6-liter four-cylinder now puts out 135 hp and 121 lb-ft of torque (up from 122 hp and 115 lb-ft for 2011's 1.6). Fuel economy also increases, jumping from 26 mpg city/31 highway to 28/34. A six-speed manual replaces last year's five-cogger as the standard transmission. The available 2.0-liter four also gets a boost, landing at 160 hp and 143 lb-ft of torque (versus 142 hp and 137 lb-ft), with fuel economy rising three ticks on either side of the equation, to 27/33. That consumption applies to both the six-speed manual and the newly available six-speed automatic. It will take more power than that, of course, to make the Soul truly fast, but a bump in output accompanied by an increase in fuel economy is a good start.
Exterior styling updates include new LED taillight clusters for higher-spec trims, along with ritzy LED projector headlights. All Souls get a redesigned hood and new front and rear bumpers, as well as body-color door handles and mirror housings.
The cabin is promised to be quieter, thanks to a thicker insulation panel in the dash, although the driver can offset that by exploring the upper volume ranges of the Infinity audio system now available on fancier trims. Top-spec Souls also offer the option of either navigation or Kia's UVO voice-controlled infotainment system, although, oddly enough, the two options cannot be ordered in tandem. Other surprisingly upscale options include heated leather seats, automatic climate control, and a push-button starter. If that doesn't seem particularly unexpected to you, consider that pricing isn't likely to climb much from the $14K?$20K range of the current model. See now why we like the Soul?
On October 13th at 1:00pm, local nurses Cathy Truran and Autumn Grice were at Lee Volkswagen in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to accept delivery of their new 2012 Volkswagen Beetles. Cathy and Autumn won the cars when they attended a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago on November 22, 2010.
"We are so excited!" explained Autumn, "I selected the Tornado Red and Cathy decided on the Reflex Silver Metallic. I still can't believe this is happening!"
Oprah owns and drives a New Beetle and asked Volkswagen to help her recognize the time, talents and contributions of select viewers by giving them one of her favorite things, a Volkswagen Beetle. As one of the most iconic vehicles in America, everybody, including Oprah has a Volkswagen Beetle story and this reveal kicked off the next chapter of a great saga. Volkswagen donated two hundred seventy-five 2012 Beetles plus applicable taxes and fees, to each member of the studio audience.
"Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the "Oprah" show approached us with this incredible opportunity to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "Our all-new 2012 Beetle exemplifies power, styling and sophistication, and is an automotive icon reinvented to create the new shape of performance."
Lee Volkswagen in Fort Walton Beach will deliver the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetles to the winners on October 13th, 2011 at 1:00pm at their location at 130 Hollywood Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach.
"We are very pleased that Lee Volkswagen can be a part of this unprecedented event," said Lee Automotive Group President, Bob Lee, "And we are thrilled to have not just one, but two local winners in our area."
Automotive Group has five locations in Fort
Walton Beach, Niceville and Crestview. The Lee
Automotive Family has been serving the Emerald Coast
for more than 60 years.