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Volkswagen sends a fleet of 40 vehicles to support the 2012 Dakar Rally

For the third consecutive year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be the official supplier to the 2012 Dakar Rally – known as the toughest marathon rally in the world. The organization team, the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), can use as support vehicles a fleet of almost 40 vehicles, 30 of which are Amarok pick-ups. The rally is set to take place from Jan. 1 to 15.

The starting line for the 2012 Dakar Rally is at Mar del Plata, Argentina. Competitors from around the world will go on this 9,000 kilometre journey that passes through Chile and proceed to the finish line at Lima, Peru.

On the rest day of this rally, the event will be visited by several highly esteemed visitors. Formula One star Jacky Ickx will show Scorpions’ Rudolf Schenker and boxer Dariusz Michalczewski some safety handling tips for the Amarok Automatic under off-road conditions.

Read the entire article Volkswagen sends a fleet of 40 vehicles to support the 2012 Dakar Rally

Volkswagen Renntransporter is home on the wheels for your Porsche 935

Just last month, Porsche unveiled the new 935 during the “Rennsport Reunion” motorsport event at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. Featuring a body evoking the legendary Porsche 935/78, the 935 is definitely a race car you would want to drive in the track. Nonetheless, it isn't car you can just drive on the road from your garage to the track. After all, the 935 is a track-only race car and can’t be driven legally on the road.

The problem of getting a track-only race car from a garage to the circuit without circumventing any laws or local ordinances has already been solved a long time ago. To solve such a logistic issue, teams or carmakers have been using transporters, which can be large enough to accommodate more than one race car.

Such a situation is the main theme of one of the latest creative visual projects of Igor Shikitov, an automotive designer from Moscow, Russia. Posted at the Behance social creative site on October 3, 2018, Shikitov’s work was aptly titled “Volkswagen Renntransporter.” After all Porsche is now part of the Volkswagen Group.

Read the entire article Volkswagen Renntransporter is home on the wheels for your Porsche 935

Toyota did it again: keeps title as world’s largest automaker with 10.15 million vehicles sold in 2015

For the fourth year in a row, Toyota reigns as the top automaker in the world, edging out its closest rival the Volkswagen Group. It is also the only company that earned the distinction of delivering more than 10 million vehicles in 2015.

Toyota Group, which includes Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor, sold a total of 10.15 million vehicles which represents a 0.8 % drop compared with the year-ago figure. On second place is Volkswagen having reported 9.9 million units in sales, which include its MAN and Scania brands, and is a 2% drop from previous year level.

General Motors placed third in the round up, having delivered 9.8 million vehicles representing a 0.2 % increase. The Volkswagen group led the race in the first half of 2015 but was overtaken in the second half by Toyota after sales fell due to its emissions scandal.

Read the entire article Toyota did it again: keeps title as world’s largest automaker with 10.15 million vehicles sold in 2015

Hyundai and Volkswagen get alternate Web site provides for US dealers

Dealerships of Hyundai Motor America and Volkswagen of America, until December 2014, only had CDK Global Digital Marketing group as their exclusive certified Web site provider. Not anymore, as these carmakers have open doors for other providers to offer service to their retailers. Dealers for Hyundai – numbering 830 in the United States -- could now choose between the services of CDK Global and Dealer.com, disclosed David Tourtlotte, Hyundai's senior group manager of retail marketing.

CDK Global had been the only authorized Web site vendor for Hyundai dealers for the past four years. Tourtlotte remarked that as an authorized vendor, CDK Global and the factory has full integration to provide Hyundai dealers with inventory feeds, incentives, analytics and, importantly, leads generated from the Hyundai factory Web sites.

These features will now be available to dealers with Dealer.com Web sites. He quipped that the South Korean carmaker had chosen to have one vendor for its dealers to capture consistent inventory and performance data. He, however, said that having two technologies will allow Hyundai to better aggregate and analyze data coming from disparate software.

Read the entire article Hyundai and Volkswagen get alternate Web site provides for US dealers

Robby Gordon, once again for the 11th time, will try to become the first American driver to win the overall title at the Dakar Rally, which is considered as most challenging motorsports event in the world. Gordon and his HST Gordini race car are now in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to prepare for the big event this Sunday.

While he is regarded as one of the greatest off-road champions of all time, Gordon has yet to take the Dakar Rally crown into his trophy case. But the odds is already high as Gordon’s single-car team will be multi-car teams like those backed by Mini, Peugeot, Toyota, Renault and Ford.

Vying for the sweet throne will be 665 vehicles, 138 of them competing in the car class where Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell belong. Gordon is the only entry from the United States, which is among 53 countries represented in the Dakar Rally.

Read the entire article Robby Gordon gets ready for the 2015 Dakar Rally

The MINI ALL4 Racing is ready to defend its Dakar Rally crown in 2015 and will take its drivers across 9,000 km of the South American continent, through Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. For 2015, the Dakar Rally will return to its origins and open up the exhausting marathon stage to all classes for the first time since the rally moved to South America in 2009.

For those who don’t know, drivers and their co-drivers don’t know their route until the night before when the co-driver will receive his Roadbook. The Roadbook shows the route, highlights the dangers and the different terrains the car must negotiate.

Driving the MINI ALL4 Racing car will be the Dakar legends, Nani Roma and his co-driver Michel Perin.

Read the entire article MINI ALL4 Racing gets ready to defend its crown in the 2015 Dakar Rally

Volkswagen's decision to add extra production shifts in Germany for the Golf hatchback is not only attributable to strong demand, but also to problems adjusting to its new MQB platform, sources told Reuters. The MQB modular platform is expected to result to big savings as it uses more common parts across its increasing number of models.

According to a worker at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg site, the carmaker’s push to build more models has proven to be tricky on some assembly lines, leading to delays and overtime. He said that VW is having many “self-inflicted troubles.”

He added that this has forced some workers to work overtime, which has become totally unnecessary in some cases. Volkswagen has seen its sales – including those from it premium brands – surged significantly in recent years. Its sales have soared more than a half to around 9.7 million vehicles in 2013 and is expected to top 10 million units in sales this year.

Read the entire article New MQB platform adds problems for Volkswagen

The Peugeot 2008 DKR has a muscular yet beastlike appearance that clearly conveys its quest for success. This well-oiled machine will be piloted by Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres as Team Peugeot Total takes on the Dakar Rally in January.

The unveiling of the 2008 DKR to the public as the team’s main racing car comes three weeks after it was announced that Peugeot, Red Bull and Total are joining hands for the 2015 Dakar. Of course, the 2008 DKR looks similar to Peugeot's road-going crossover from which it was based. However, in terms of overall looks, the 2008 DKR has more imposing overall proportions and more muscular forms. Its impressive lines are a result of the collaboration between the people of Peugeot's Style Centre and those at Peugeot Sport's Design Department. With that, the 2008 DKR has a remarkable likeness to the production version.

Of course, the 2008 DKR isn't just a styling exercise or a design study. The technical limitations linked with the Dakar Rally are what influenced its dominantly aggressive stance.

Read the entire article Peugeot 2008 DKR ready to conquer the 2015 Dakar Rally [w/video]

Joan Roma of Monster Energy X-raid Team emerged as the victor of the 2014 Dakar Rally. Driving a yellow MINI ALL4 Racing, Roma finished the race just 5:32 minutes ahead of teammate Stéphane Peterhansel, who is piloting a black MINI ALL4 Racing. Coming in at third is Nasser Al-Attiyah driving a white MINI ALL4 Racing.

Roma has been leading the overall classification at 2014 Dakar Rally and has secured two stages. The 2014 Dakar Rally was essentially an all-MINI podium finish, proving the cars’ worth as not only fast but also reliable. It was Roma’s first Dakar Rally win in a car; after winning it on a motorbike in North Africa in 2004. "It was my big goal to win the Dakar not only on a motorbike but also in a car,” Roma remarked.

"The MINI ALL4 Racing is a brilliant car and was extremely reliable and quick throughout the whole rally,” Roman said, thanking co-driver Michel Périn for being a great navigator.

Read the entire article Joan “Nani” Roma wins 2014 Dakar Rally with MINI ALL4 Racing

The Dakar Rally set on January 5, 2014 in Rosario, Argentina will be Robby Gordon’s 10th try to win the overall title at the event, considered as the most extreme and demanding race in the world. Gordon first attempted to become the first American to win the Dakar Rally in 2005. That year, he became the first American to win a stage in the race.

Since then, Gordon has grabbed nine stage victories, but has yet to win the overall crown. No American has won the Dakar Rally since its inception in 1979. France so far has grabbed 19 Dakar Rally overall wins, followed by Finland and Japan, with five and three overall victories respectively. Germany has two overall wins, while South Africa, Belgium, Qatar, Spain and Sweden each has one crowns.

For this year’s event, 149 racers from around the world will compete for the overall crown, but Gordon is unfazed. “I feel more prepared than in any of our previous trips to the Dakar Rally,” Gordon remarked, adding that since becoming the first American to win a stage, his focus is now on winning the overall title this year, backed by a new car.

Read the entire article Robby Gordon tries anew to conquer the 2014 Dakar Rally

The Volkswagen brand saw its operating profit for the first quarter of 2013 reduced by almost half to EUR590 million as the carmaker struggles to sell more in a recession-hit Europe by offering steeper discounts. The VW brand accounts for over half of the VW Group’s EUR46.6 billion ($60.7 billion) sales.

The VW brand also saw its profit margin drop to 2.4 percent from 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012. VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn remarked that the current environment is definitely a tough challenge for the entire industry. Winterkorn remarked that the VW group is not “completely immune” to the intense competition and the impact this is having on the carmaker.

Sales of VW brand vehicles, including the best-selling Golf hatchback, dropped in March for the first time in over three years. Despite the setback, VW reiterated its targets announced on March 14, 2013 to match the EUR11.5 billion record operating profit set in 2012 and to drive sales and deliveries to new record levels.

Read the entire article Operating profit of Volkswagen brand drops by almost a half in the first quarter

A special edition model from MINI and John Cooper Works was recently launched in celebration of the win in the Dakar Rally 2013 of French duo, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret. Dubbed the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner 2013, this model is meant to commemorate the duo’s success in driving the MINI ALL4 Racing to being declared the overall winner in the toughest rally event in the world for the second straight year.

This is a limited-edition model that pays homage to its rally inspiration. Eleven samples of this model will be built, representing Peterhansel’s 11 wins at Dakar. It comes with exclusive design and equipment features. The inspiration for the special edition model is the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, the first model from the brand to merge racing powertrain and chassis technology with the all-wheel-drive system that has proven its capability in races.

ALL4 offers optimum traction and directional stability in all weather as well as under-wheel conditions. It also provides a significant increase in agility via dynamically taken corners.

Read the entire article MINI celebrates 2013 Dakar Rally win with special edition Countryman

Volkswagen van owners could now avail of contract hire or finance lease deal for as low as £199 a month (plus VAT and initial deposit), with deposit contributions from Volkswagen of up to £1,000.  Volkswagen is offering the finance deals for the entire VW van range. A customer could now avail of the Caddy for as low as £199 a month, excluding VAT.

One could also avail of a Transporter for as low as £239, excluding VAT; or of a Crafter for a low as £309, excluding VAT.  Volkswagen’s finance offers include an initial rental contribution from the carmaker of £1,000 for customers financing a Caddy or Crafter, or £500 for the Transporter.

Customers could also avail of alternative finance options like the traditional hire purchase or lease purchase methods, at a competitive flat rate of 3.79 per cent interest, plus a £1,000 deposit contribution from Volkswagen for a Caddy or a Transporter, or a £2,000 deposit contribution for a Crafter.

Read the entire article Volkswagen is offering financing for van models until end of March

In South America, a group of mostly injured soldiers began their mission to be the first disability rally team to ever complete the Dakar Rally, considered to be the toughest race in the world. The goal of this team named Race2Recovery is to raise funds for Forces charities. With Land Rover as its sponsor, the team put four Defender-based Wildcat race vehicles at the start line in Lima, Peru on January 5.

This is the start of 15 days of racing 8500km through extreme mountain and desert terrain that passes through southern Peru, Argentina and past the border into Chile. The finish line is in Santiago on January 20. Last November, Race2Recovery became the first ever recipient of a grant from the Endeavour Fund, established by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

In just 18 months, the Race2Recovery team quickly turned into a fully functioning rally raid team. The campaign started with only one Land Rover Freelander and about five members but now, there are 28 people in the team with four Wildcat race vehicles and a fleet of support vehicles.

Read the entire article Land Rover-sponsored Race2Recovery Team takes start in the 2013 Dakar Rally

Iveco is getting ready to compete at the world’s premiere off-road rally, the Dakar 2013, with a lean line-up of five rally trucks. The Dakar 2013 poses one of the greatest challenges for participating teams, as they need to cover some of the most difficult terrain in South America. Team De Rooy, the reigning Dakar champion, will pilot one Iveco Powerstar and four Iveco New Trakkers along the rally route, which starts in Peru and passes through Argentina and ends in Chile.

Team De Rooy and Iveco are prepared to defend their overwhelming victory in the Dakar 2012. In anticipation of the upcoming rally, Iveco has unveiled a new project dubbed “You are in the Dakar,” in cooperation with Radio Deejay, a popular Italian radio station, and Deejay TV.  The project will have Gross, an extreme sports journalist and blogger, and Radio Deejay’s DJ Vic will report on the high profile event throughout the race.

On the other hand, Stacey, René Kuipers and Jo Adua) will follow every stage of the race and will send daily updates to dakar.iveco.com/en. A filmmaker will accompany DJ Vic, recording a Dakar-Iveco documentary about the race, vehicles and drivers along with behind-the-scenes footage from the team’s camp.

Read the entire article Iveco and Team De Rooy preparing to defend rally crown at Dakar 2013

The Isuzu D-Max pick-up is now more than capable in taking on the Dakar Rally, when the race commences in January 2013. Based on the architecture that underpins a production Isuzu D-Max 4x4 double-cab, the Dakar-ready pick-up has been greatly improved to boost performance and to endure the harshness of more than 5,000 miles of grueling terrain, between Lima, Peru and the finish in Santiago, Chile.

The Dakar-bound D-Max is powered by an Isuzu-developed 3.0-litre (2,994cc) 16-valve common-rail turbo diesel engine, which returns up to 242hp of output and 589 Nm of torque.  The engine, which is based on a standard Isuzu engine, is paired with a four-wheel drive system and a sequential five-speed Hollinger transmission as well as Xtreme rally clutch.

Protecting the vehicle and its passengers against rock impacts and potential accidents is a chassis that boasts of custom-built, full-length 8-mm aluminium skid plates. The steel cab body is also fitted with an integrated roll-cage and carbon-fibre panels, protecting the D-Max’s key components. Isuzu also installed DBA Kangaroo Paw ventilated disc brakes with cross-drilled discs and Harrop aluminium racing callipers to provide more than enough stopping power.

Read the entire article Isuzu preparing to compete in 2013 Dakar Rally with enhanced D-Max

Honda has confirmed its intention to participate as a works team in the Dakar Rally in January 2013 in South America. Honda, through its Team HRC, will take part in the motorcycle class of the race, which runs through Peru, Chile and Argentina. Honda had participated in the motorcycle class of the predecessor of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally, from 1981 through to 1989.

Honda emerged as victor five times during that period. Team HRC will include: Helder Rodrigues, who was third in the 2012 Dakar Rally; Felipe Zanol, who has lots of experience in motocross and enduro race events; Sam Sunderland; and Javier Pizzolito. The team will be riding a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D.

Honda based the prototype machine on the CRF450X, an immensely popular enduro racing model that boasts of superior competitive strength as well as the ease of handling. Honda has also developed kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF450X model and will supply them to a limited number of teams.

Read the entire article Honda to compete in motorcycle class of 2013 Dakar Rally

It appears that Bentley has big plans with its upcoming SUV as Car magazine reports that the British manufacturer is planning to enter the 2013 Dakar with a production version of the EXP 9 F Concept. As expected, this move will be made to give its EXP 9 F a 4x4 motorsport pedigree in order to smoothe its arrival.

Same sources said that Volkswagen is currently buying back the Race Touaregs used in the Dakar and these vehicles will be updated in order to be ready for competition in early 2013. Although Bentley admitted that the upcoming SUV will not be as good as the Range Rover off-road, the Dakar will definitely help to promote the EXP 9 F.

The new vehicles which will be used in the 2013 Dakar will not reveal the final design of the upcoming SUV but will definitely drop hints of how the vehicle will look like. For those who don’t know, the Race Touaregs were powered by a 2.5-liter twin-turbo diesel engines delivering around 300 hp, while the Bentley SUV will run a twin-turbo 6.0-liter E12 delivering around 600 hp.

Read the entire article Rumor: Bentley to enter the 2013 Dakar with its new SUV

Qoros Auto Co.’s design chief Gert Hildebrand said that when the brand begins selling in Europe, it will be competing with established brands such as Volkswagen and Qoto. In January 2011, Hildebrand moved to Qoros but years before that, he led the design for BMW's Mini brand for 22 years. Qoros Auto, formerly called Chery Quantum, is China's newest automaker.

When interviewed during a recent trip to Automotive News Europe in a visit to Munich, Hildebrand said that its new mid-sized sedan will compete against established European brands. Hildebrand has a team making designs for cars. These will be built in China using designs that are very exciting.

Hildebrand oversaw the expansion of the iconic Mini brand into new variants such as the Countryman, Clubman and Coupe models. Hildebrand will assist Qoros to come out with an upscale brand of vehicles for China and Europe.

Read the entire article Qoros wants to take on Volkswagen

Iveco had a convincing win at the 33rd Dakar, getting the first, second and sixth positions in the overall truck ranking. The event is considered the most important rally in the world and is joined by most of the Asian and European truck OEMs. The Petronas De Rooy Iveco team finished the rally in flying colors with the Dutchman Gerard De Rooy behind the wheel of an Iveco Powerstar, a vehicle manufactured and sold by Iveco in Australia.

The automobile is powered by an FPT Industrial C13 engine, which provides at least 900 horsepower. It also has Magneti Marelli components. The two other players of the team, Biasion and Stacey drove two Iveco Trakker Evolution 2s, which are also fitted with the same engine.

The three automobiles were standard trucks, which are manufactured to be optimized for best-in-class energy efficiency. They are also built to adapt to the intense conditions of the rally.

Read the entire article Iveco wins the 2012 Dakar Rally