Despite Fines, Sales Declines and Shame… VW Product Planning Shines Through
Facing an April 21st settlement deadline in the $46 billion Federal Lawsuit in the diesel emissions scandal that broke open last September, German car maker Volkswagen was slapped last week with another US legal action when the Federal Trade Commission accused the company of false advertising. The charge that VW engaged in an ongoing deceptive “clean diesel technology” campaign claiming false environmental impact and mileage results, could cost the beleaguered car company another $5 billion in penalties. And this $50 plus billion is in the US alone, with VW facing massive judgments around the globe.
And while the VW brand is taking a beating, with a 2015 slide extending into the first two months of this year, the company’s Audi brand continues to post healthy sales gains.
Beyond the negative stats and headlines, purely objective appreciation of great product planning and overall design is VW’s persistent strength. Case in point is a recent test drive of the new VW Beetle special Dune edition. For the rare child of the mid-century who never appreciated the Beetle and viewed the front mounted engine version as a cheap hustle, this car was a revelation.
Leaner and less puffy since 2011 this $24,000 Beetle in a disarming Sandstorm Yellow gets tough with a wider track, raised suspension, new LED taillights, rear spoiler, a low slung black honeycomb front grille and an energetic 1.8 liter 170 horsepower inline 4 cylinder turbocharged engine. The interior is spectacular with rich leather seating with matching yellow piping and stitching, leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel, Fender® Premium Audio, and a rearview camera.