Monthly Archives: August 2015

Audi Motorsports boss Ullrich on F1 rumors: LOL

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NÜRBURGRING – With F1’s Red Bull Racing facing a dilemma about next season, the chance is still lurking around that Red Bull Racing is possibly considering the chance that German car manufacturer Audi might buy into the team or supply engines for them in the future.

However, the recent shuffle at the Inglostadt, Germany Company has not changed the difference that Audi, at the time being, has no interest at all in joining the formula one grid anytime soon.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk at this weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Ullrich said how the speculation about a possible move into F1 had been a long-running theme of his time at the helm at Audi.

“This is a discussion I’ve lived with for 20 years, and we never did it,” Ullrich said.

“So I would be surprised if we did it tomorrow.”

When asked by MotorSportsTalk whether some kind of entry to the sport in 2016 would be possible, Ullrich said that a lead up of a single year would be unwise.

“If somebody wants to go into Formula 1 and they think that they can do it from one to the next year, I think he shouldn’t try to do it,” he said.

The Audi-to-F1 story is something of an annual occurrence, but given Red Bull’s recent woes and the quit threats that have been issued in public, it has gained a little more traction in 2015.

Audi continues to exist as one of the two dominant teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship alongside Porsche, with its no. 7 trio of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler leading the drivers’ championship ahead of today’s race at the Nürburgring.

 

Volkswagen Creatively Counters its Carbon Footprint

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Every day, companies churn out billions of products to serve all walks of life. As consumers, we almost always see and experience the end product, but rarely do we think about what it takes to make the product.

When you drive your car do you ever think about all the manufacturing processes that went into it? What about all the emissions that stem from said manufacturing? From minerals and raw materials to production and consumer use, plus recycling efforts, all of these emissions add up in a hurry. When fossil fuels burn, they produce carbon dioxide. Production of coal, natural gas and oil generate methane. Fossil fuel combustion produces nitrous oxide. The list goes on. Companies have emissions requirements they’re expected to meet, but many times they either surpass these thresholds or simply want to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Recently, we had a chance to take a trip to Northern California to see an example of what a huge company like Volkswagen does to help with sustainability and reduce its emissions impact.

For starters, the entire Volkswagen group has very ambitious strategies that seem to go above and beyond what a standard company might do to help the environment. The automaker plans to reduce its passenger vehicle carbon dioxide emissions by 90% by 2050. That might seem a ways out, but a 90% reduction is massive. VW plans to improve fuel efficiency during each vehicle redesign by 10-15 percent. From 2010 to 2020, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions due to production are set to be reduced around 40 percent. E-mobility — personal transportation powered by electricity instead of internal combustion — is also a critical factor in sustainability for most automakers. Fuel cell, battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid vehicles can all contribute, provided a company can achieve efficient production and recycling processes. Volkswagen Group engineers are working on electrifying 40 different models, with many of them already in markets worldwide. The automaker will also invest $10 million dollars in charging infrastructure throughout the U.S. by 2016.

Despite these efforts, the reality is there are tens of millions of vehicles produced every year globally, with the VW Group producing millions all by itself. This brings us to carbon offsets, one of the most effective ways to help a large corporation reduce environmental impact. Essentially, an offset is a “credit” of sorts. A company can buy carbon offsets through projects that help reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. While offsets are voluntary, emissions limits aren’t, so this is an effective way to help meet emissions limits and do some good for the planet in general.

For this particular trip and in this instance, Volkswagen is working with 3degrees and The Conservation Fund, two companies leading projects at the Garcia River Forest to reduce logging impact, protect wildlife and other conservation efforts. These Garcia River Forest projects help preserve a roughly 24,000 square foot forest area, with emission reductions actually checked and monitored by an independent third party to ensure accurate assessment of these efforts. 3degrees acts as a ‘broker’ for offset projects, while The Garcia River Forest is owned by The Conservation Fund, a non-profit, who bought the area in 2004. We had an opportunity to talk with the wonderful folks from the Conservation Fund, who answered all sorts of questions about native redwood trees, endangered fish, and more. The end-goal for The Conservation Fund is to ensure business is able to be conducted in a sustainable way in the forest while still preserving and growing the habitat.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI: the last of its kind

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During the disco era, station wagons were parked in many suburban driveways, giving families additional utility and cargo space for flexible living. Four decades later, the crossover SUV has assumed this role, and it is basically the same thing as a station wagon but with a taller ride height and available all-wheel drive.

For most buyers today, the only choice in a modern, traditional station wagon is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. It used to be called the Jetta SportWagen, but with a redesign for 2015, this model adopts the Golf nameplate.

Available with a choice between two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, one burning gasoline and one burning diesel, and with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Golf SportWagen comes in S, SE, and SEL trim levels. Prices start at $22,215 for the 1.8T S model and rise to $33,955 for the TDI SEL model with all of the extras.

That’s pretty reasonable for a compact wagon, one providing comfortable space for four people and up to 30.4 cu.-ft. of cargo. Three children will fit across the back seat, as long as one of them doesn’t require a safety or booster seat, and if you need to maximize space, the Golf SportWagen can tackle up to 66.5 cu.-ft. of cargo with the rear seats folded down.

With the SportWagen TDI, you’re paying a $2,200 premium to obtain the turbo-diesel engine, which is expected to return 35 mpg in combined driving, regardless of transmission choice. Compared to the SportWagen 1.8T, that represents six extra miles of travel for every gallon of gas pumped, or 79.2 extra miles of travel with every tank of fuel. The TDI model’s improved fuel economy eventually pays for the price premium.

In the meantime, the Golf SportWagen is the last remaining affordable station wagon that you can buy.

Audi sets 55th straight monthly U.S. record with 20.8% gain in July 2015

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  • Fourth-best sales month in Audi of America history
  • Demand for Audi SUV models increased 68.4% for the month
  • All-time best July sales of Audi Certified pre-owned vehicles

 

Audi reported that its July 2015 sales increased 20.8% to 17,654 vehicles, a total that stands as the fourth-best monthly result ever in the U.S. market.

Audi achieved its best-ever July sales in the U.S., marking the 55th consecutive monthly sales record. The previous July record was set in 2014 with 14,616 Audi vehicles sold. Through the first seven months of 2015, Audi U.S. sales rose 12.4% from last year to 111,269 vehicles.

July results were bolstered by sales of Audi luxury SUVs, with a 68.4% increase in sales encompassing the Audi Q3, Q5 and Q7 models. The Q5 posted a 47.4% increase from last year, while the Q7 posted a 34.1% increase from last July.

“The showroom traffic that our dealers saw in July indicates that demand across the Audi product lineup is hotter than ever,” said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “We are confident that the Audi momentum will continue into the autumn selling season with the release of the entire model-year 2016 portfolio and the upcoming launches of the all-new TT and the first plug-in Audi, the A3 Sportback e-tron.”

The A3 model line achieved robust sales in July with a 46.3% increase over July 2014 sales. The A6 and A7 models also performed well, with year-over-year increases of 5.9% and 15.8%, respectively.

Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle sales also set a new July record, with a 10.3% gain on 4,542 CPO vehicles sold. CPO sales year-to-date have increased 9.5%.

Audi holds the longest running monthly record sales streak in the premium car market according to a competitive sales report from MotorIntelligence.com.

Watch This Porsche 934 Pass Nearly Everyone On Track, Twice

One of the great things about the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is that some of the historic race cars in the field are being piloted by modern sports car aces. That means that they aren’t just putting around in amateur hands, they’re actually being wrung out by people that do this professionally.

This 934 was being driven by Porsche ace Leh Keen. It’s fair to say he knows what he’s doing.

Before a clutch problem, he passes 11 cars in one lap. Then he goes back out after the repair to do it all again. Here’s what he saw:

Steve McQueen’s Porsche 930 Turbo Sells for 20x Normal Value

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Let’s set one thing straight here, if we were to have relatives like The King of Cool, not to mention if he was our father, we would never sell his bad a$$ Porsche 930 Turbo. Not only was it the last car he bought, but it was the Germans’ fastest road legal car of the time; a marvel.

If there’d be a book of records that registers the owners whose cars fetched most in auctions, then Steve McQueen would hold one of the top 10 spots. He is renown for having an excellent taste in cars and for having left a great legacy behind. Maybe there’s a type of aura left in his cars, or perhaps wealthy car collectors can’t help from buying the legendary actor’s vehicles.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to know that Steve McQueen’s 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera fetched an impressive £ 1.25 million ($1.95 million at the current exchange rate). The value of this beauty indeed went through the roof when it crossed the auction block over the weekend, at the Mecum Auctions sale in Monterey, California. Let’s consider that the regular price is somewhere close to $100,000, it’s safe to say the celebrity factor raised the stakes for about 20 times. Why?

It might be because of that gorgeous 3.0-liter engine working through that 4-speed manual transmission, the slate gray exterior, or the black interior. The impressive price it sold for may also be related to the one thing that made this vehicle stand out as a unique. There’s a dashboard switch McQueen added so that he could kill the rear lights in case he was being chased on Mulholland Drive.

For a legend both on set and on track, McQueen always made sure he’d give some of his success back. He made sure to offer some help to The Boys Republic, a non-profit treatment community for troubled youngsters in Chino Hills, California. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to this organization.

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