Volkswagen Group saw a two-percent rise in production at its Bratislava site in Slovakia unit to 426,313 vehicles in 2013 from 419,888 cars in 2012. The rise was attributed to strong demand for SUVs and minicars built by the unit, despite the unstable recovery of vehicle sales in western Europe. The Bratislava site builds the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 SUVs as well as bodies for the Porsche Cayenne.
In 2011, Volkswagen added the New Small Family line of minicars, built for the Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda brands. The site exports a third of its output outside Europe, primarily to China and the United States. According to VW, SUVs accounted for around 51 percent of total production in 2013, with minicars accounting for the rest.
The site’s chief executive, Albrecht Reimold, remarked that the unity is operating on the edge of its production capacity. He added that this year will be a huge challenge for the unit as it aims for similar production" to what was posted in 2013.
Volkswagen is bidding to increase production in Slovakia, aiming to take advantage of its euro adoption combined with lower labor costs. Volkswagen is intending make a EUR1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) investment between 2012 and 2016 to expand its Bratislava site. The carmaker has already invested around EUR600 million on the site in the period.
The new Volkswagen Touareg is now more agile, more fuel efficient and lighter than the previous model. In addition, the new Touareg is more versatile. This was achieved by making the interior more functional, the rear leg room larger and the seats more comfortable.
For the latest iteration of the Toureg, the rear bench seat could be adjusted up to 160 mm longitudinally. The angle of the backrest could now also be adjusted. When needed, the backrest could be electrically unlatched (optional) with single push of a button to be folded down in a matter of seconds, thereby increasing the cargo room by up to 1,642 liters. As standard, the base version of the new Touareg comes with a radio-CD and infotainment system that could be intuitively controlled through a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Interestingly, the driver could now activate the parking brake through a pushbutton. Optionally, customers could open or close the tailgate through a RF remote control unit that is integrated in the car key.
Meanwhile, the V6-powered models feature a Stop-Start system. This system automatically shuts off the V6 engine at traffic stops and then restarts it as soon as the brake pedal is depressed. The Touareg boasts of offering the largest panoramic sunroof among SUVs as well as the "Area View" that employs four cameras that could detect its surroundings.
Aside from this safety feature, the new VW SUV also features at most nine airbags as well as the Lane Assist system that helps ensure that the Touareg doesn’t stray in front of its intended lane. This system is complemented by the Side Assist system that provides warning over vehicles approaching from the rear when the Touareg is changing lanes. The SUV also features Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with integrated Front Assist that could initiate the brakes during an emergency while tension the seatbelts as a precautionary safety measure.
Moreover, the new Touareg is provided with Bi-Xenon headlights with Dynamic Light Assist. This feature could detect oncoming traffic and could adjust the light beam to get rid unwanted glare. The SUV also comes with adaptive roll compensation.
Amazingly, the new Touareg could be fitted with special features -- under the new "Exclusive" badge -- from Volkswagen Individual. For instance, customers may refine their Touareg with a leather interior (Nappa) in the "Dark Burgundy / Titan Black" or "Pepper Beige / Titan Black" color combos. Customers may also avail of 19-inch Girona alloy wheels as well as fine Olive Ash wood inserts.