Happy Anniversary to Volkswagen in America . . . 70 years and still going strong

Volkswagen LogoIt’s hard to believe it’s been 70 years already. Seventy years of Volkswagen in America. But while Volkswagen vehicles seem ubiquitous here now, believe it or not, they didn’t get off to the best start.

In 1949, a Dutch businessman by the name of Ben Pon came to New York with two Volkswagen Type 1 vehicles (eventually known as the Beetle), with hopes of selling affordable small cars to America. It took him two whole months to sell those two vehicles, but America quickly embraced the Beetle, Volkswagen of America was officially established in 1955 in order to organize dealers and provide service and parts. By 1959, the brand launched its now-legendary “Think Small” campaign, highlighting the benefits of the easily maintained and air-cooled Beetle.

Since then, the Volkswagen brand has become nothing short of iconic in American pop culture and on the roads from coast to coast. It’s hard to think of the 1960s without imagining a Beetle or Bus in the mind’s eye, whether in Hollywood pictures or at Woodstock. Such popularity of Volkswagen models prompted the company to respond with additional models such as the Dasher and the Squareback. By the 1970s, more efficient models started gracing the roads, and the first-generation Scirocco joined the lineup, followed by the Golf, but with its American name—the Rabbit.

By 1978, Volkswagen built its first U.S. plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, which eventually assembled more than 1.1 million Rabbit models. Additionally, the Rabbit GTI was “born” at this plant, a car that would create its own culture of fans and spawn many hot-hatch competitors.

As time went on, the original Volkswagen consumer base “grew up,” so to speak, and their tastes became more refined. Appropriately, throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, the brand started offering an increasing level of refinement and sophistication in models like the Passat and the Jetta. When retro culture came back in the ‘90s, Volkswagen re-introduced the beloved Beetle as the “New Beetle” in 1998.

While originally a product of Germany, Volkswagen shifted production and design of some models to North America in 2011 at its newly-opened plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The new 2020 Passat (now in our showroom) is manufactured there, as is the Atlas and upcoming Atlas Cross Sport. Perhaps most importantly, the Chattanooga assembly plant will play a key part in the future of Volkswagen in America when it launches the worldwide MEB electric vehicle platform over the next few years.

“Over the past 70 years, Volkswagen has grown from two Beetle models to a significant part of American history,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “As we look ahead to driving our company toward bigger goals like our next-generation electric vehicles, we will always remember where we started out.”

Volkswagen of Inver Grove is proud to offer the iconic “people’s car” to Inver Grove, St. Paul, Dakota and Washington counties, and even Hudson, Wisconsin. Whether a Beetle, Jetta, Golf, Tiguan or Atlas, every Volkswagen model has been known for both great value in transportation and being simply fun-to-drive vehicles for 70 years and counting. With such variety, we’ve got something to fit everybody’s needs. Take a look at our inventory and schedule a test drive with us today, or simply stop in. We look forward to meeting you!

The TDI is Back at Volkswagen of Inver Grove!

Volkswagen of Inver Grove has an inventory of pre-owned TDI models that have been prepared for resale. Now, they come with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty.

It’s time to revisit our popular diesel models. As a refresher, a diesel engine is fueled by a special petroleum blend designed to run on specifically designed internal combustion engines. Today, that fuel is called Ultra Low Sulfur for the lack of sulfur in the fuel – about 15 parts per million. Diesel fuel is now cleaner than ever.

When looking at our inventory of pre-owned TDI models, here are a few things to consider:

  • Gasoline might be less expensive at the pump, but the gap between regular gasoline and diesel fuel has never been narrower. Diesel fuel is currently running around $3.00/gallon in the Twin Cities.
  • Diesel engines used to be noisy. Not anymore! A lot of sound deadening and exhaust enhancements enable diesel vehicles to be as quiet as gasoline-powered ones, and even quieter in some cases. The clatter is inaudible from the driver’s seat when driving along at highway speeds, as well as around town.
  • Diesel engines used to be dirty. But in 2008, Volkswagen invested in bringing a clean diesel to the U.S. That means using a fluid called AdBlue (or DEF for Diesel Exhaust Fluid) to pour into the exhaust system for cleaner emissions. This was why TDI models were sold across the country — including here in Minnesota.
  • Lastly, diesel engines are more fun to drive than gas engines! That greater low-end torque helps in passing on the highway or getting from a stop onto traffic. Diesels have greater flexibility, because of their efficiency and standard use of a turbocharger for an additional performance boost.

Check out the inventory of pre-owned TDI models at Volkswagen of Inver Grove. Don’t forget about our two-year unlimited mileage warranty that goes with every pre-owned TDI model sold by us! Come on in for a test drive and take one home today!

2020 Golf GTI and Jetta GLI named to Car and Driver’s “10Best” list

We’re excited to share that both the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta GLI were recently named to Car and Driver magazine’s “10Best” list. This is the 14th year in a row that a Golf family model has been awarded this prestigious honor. That’s an impressive track record for an impressive car!

The editors of Car and Driver were impressed with both vehicles this year. They said, “These VWs check every box and do everything well. They are affordable; they are efficient; they are spacious, fast, and fun. It’s their unflinching sense of fun that makes these two so easy to love. They bring the same verve to a crosstown jaunt as they do to barreling into the braking zone.”

The annual “10Best” list is exactly what it sounds like — a feature of the ten best vehicles of the year. They are judged on value, performance, overall ability to satisfy a consumer’s driving needs.

Those nominated for the “10Best” list are all-new vehicles, 2019 “10Best” winners, those that were not available for the 2019 competition, and those with significant updates. This is the first year that the competition combined cars, trucks, and SUVs into a single event. All eligible vehicles for this list must fall under the base-MSRP limit of $90,000 and be on sale in January 2020.

“We are honored that Car and Driver has recognized two of our performance Volkswagen models as part of its ‘10Best’ awards,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “The GTI and GLI represent the best of what Volkswagen has to offer—stellar driving dynamics, high-tech features and outstanding quality at a value price.”

The Golf GTI returns in 2020 with many upgrades to previous models. It is available in two trims – S and SE. To further increase value, it now comes standard with Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert, which were only options before. Also  standard in GTI models is in-car Wi-Fi capability when you subscribe to the Car-Net infotainment system and a data plan.

The SE model also has an Autobahn Package available, which enhances the vehicle with more upscale features, such as a Discover Media infotainment system with navigation, Climatronic® automatic dual-zone climate control, Fender® Premium Audio, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist), and High Beam Control (Light Assist).

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI with a standard six-speed manual transmission starts at an MSRP of $28,595. Should you choose the seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission with Tiptronic®, MSRP starts at $29,395. All Golf GTI models have a destination charge of an additional $920.

For more information on the 2020 Jetta GLI, check out our preview page.

Both the Golf GTI and Jetta GLI are featured in Car and Driver’s January 2020 “10Best” issue, and available right now wherever magazines are sold. Find out more information about the list online at http://caranddriver.com/10best2020. We’ll be getting them in stock very soon here at Volkswagen of Inver Grove, so contact us to set up a test drive today. Depending on when you read this, we might already have some. We look forward to showing you the two of the “10Best!”

Playing In the Sand: The Atlas Cross Sport R at The Baja 1000

The Baja 1000 race is a test of the machine against the toughest terrain on the planet – Baja California. Off-road racers must conquer all 1,000 miles of the peninsula south of the border.

Volkswagen fielded a heavily modified version of the Atlas Cross Sport in the SCORE Baja 1000. The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R will compete in the Class 7 Open Production Unlimited competition.

Developed in conjunction with Volkswagen Motorsport driver Tanner Foust and Baja race veteran Rhys Millen, the Atlas Cross Sport R will be the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to enter Baja Class 7 competition. Power will be distributed to the wheels from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, first developed by Volkswagen Motorsport for use in its WRC and Rallycross programs. Capable of running up to 600 horsepower—or 300 hp per liter—the engine will be detuned to roughly 480 horsepower for an optimized balance of performance and reliability.

When it arrives at Volkswagen of Inver Grove in the early part of 2020, the Atlas Cross Sport will not come with all of the race modified that are on the Baja 1000 racer. However, our parts department can help with accessories to make your Atlas Cross Sport ready for your own Baja 1000 or that run to the Boundary Waters. Maybe the next season of Vikings or Gophers tailgates!

Contact us at Volkswagen of Inver Grove to become one of the first owners in the Twin Cities of the Atlas Cross Sport. In the meantime, we have some inventory of Atlas models available for test drives.

R for Thrills and Excitement

At Volkswagen, the letter R stands for excitement, fun, thrills, exhilaration, and more.

While the letter R has been a part of the history of Volkswagen going back to the 1970s, it would be our turn when the Golf R32. The MkIV Golf was the perfect canvas for a new level of performance in one of the most iconic models in our lineup.

Imagine a Golf with the legendary narrow angle VR6 engine, sporting 238 horsepower, attached to the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. Not only was the Golf R32 fast, but it handled beyond anyone’s expectation. There are plenty of examples of the MkIV Golf R32 still on the roads of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. They are coveted by our local enthusiasts.

From the MkIV Golf R32 came its legendary successors. The MKV Golf R32 brought back the hardcore enthusiast to Volkswagen dealers, but for only one year and with just 5,000 units available to us. The Golf R would gain more of its iconic status with the MkVI model. Leading right into the MkVII Golf R, which ended production this year.

The letter R is not just for Volkswagen enthusiasts. For 2020, this hot letter will appear on the select Jetta, Tiguan, Atlas, Passat, and Arteon models. These R-Line models offer sports appearance enhancements, aggressive wheel designs, sporty seats and high content. It is everything you expect from a sporty Volkswagen.

Later in 2020, you will see the evolution of the letter R. A newly designed badge will appear on the Atlas Cross Sport R-Line. It is a letter for the future of Volkswagen for those seeking a sporty side to our great vehicles.

You can get your hands on one at Volkswagen of Inver Grove – the Twin Cities’ source for the letter R. Check out our inventory and test drive one today!

 

 

Volkswagen is most improved in J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index

There are many awards in the automotive industry, mostly conducted by research firms and automotive-related publications. Volkswagen wins many awards about the vehicles themselves, but it’s also important to know what consumers feel about the overall sales experience. 

We’re proud to announce that the consumers have spoken for 2019, and according to a survey by J.D. Power of nearly 30,000 people who purchased or leased a new Volkswagen in April or May 2019, Volkswagen is the most improved non-premium brand in their Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study.

Last year, Volkswagen placed 24th in the overall brand category, but this year, it moved up to number 15.

For non-premium brands, however, Volkswagen jumped from last year’s 24th place ranking up to fourth place, with an increase of 24 points. That’s a huge improvement in customer satisfaction in just one year! 

Additionally, the brand’s scores improved for what are known as the buyer and rejecter index categories, which contribute to the overall SSI score. According to the buyers, Volkswagen placed in the top three for non-premium vehicles, and also in the top third for leading buyer key performance indicators (KPI’s). 

There is also the “rejecter satisfaction index,” which measures satisfaction of brands and dealerships that consumers considered, but ultimately rejected in favor of a different brand or dealership. Volkswagen ranked second in this category, meaning that even though they didn’t purchase or lease a Volkswagen and went elsewhere, they were still very happy with the service and vehicles overall. 

At Volkswagen of Inver Grove, we’re proud to offer such award winning vehicles to our community, but it’s a great feeling to know that our community feels the same way about their experience at our dealership, too. It means we’re doing our job right, and getting better and better every year. Feel free to contact us to schedule a test drive of anything in our inventory, whether it’s a Jetta, a Tiguan, an Atlas, or any of our other models. Or, you could just stop in sometime. The Inver Grove community has already said a lot of nice things about us, and we’d like to show you ourselves. We look forward to meeting you!

Drop Off Your Unwrapped Toy at Volkswagen of Inver Grove

This year, Volkswagen of Inver Grove is a drop-off point for the annual Marine Toys for Tots drive.

Every year, the United States Marine Corps sponsors this drive to collect unwrapped toys for less fortunate children across the country. They are distributed locally from various drop-off points in the area. Volkswagen of Inver Grove is one of several locations in Inver Grove Heights.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was ranked as one of the top-rated charities in the “Philanthropy 400” index. They have also earned the Charity Navigator Four-Star rating.

Every year, St. Paul Autos participates in charity drives that benefit the great folks of the Twin Cities.  We know that the Marines will help bring the toys we collect in our showroom to the less fortunate children of Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington Counties. This is why Volkswagen of Inver Grove is proud to be a drop-off point for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign.

What should you bring for our Marine Toys for Tots drive? You can bring in anything from Hot Wheels to a big stuffed animal. Think of toys for both girls and boys – even games!

Bring in an unwrapped toy for a child in need at Volkswagen of Inver Grove. You can find the designated box in our service lobby near the receptionist’s desk. It is a very convenient thing to do next time you are in our dealership for service or to check out one of our new or pre-owned vehicles in inventory!

Happy Holidays from Volkswagen of Inver Grove!

IIHS Awards 2019 Tiguan Top Safety Pick+ Rating

The award-winning compact SUV, the Volkswagen Tiguan, just added another trophy to its mantle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just awarded the Tiguan its TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation, which tests vehicles in six categories:  driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It must also offer an autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) that earns at least an advanced rating for front crash prevention and headlights that earn at a good rating for visibility and lack of excessive glare.

The Tiguan is the second Volkswagen model to earn the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK for 2019.  Earlier this year, the 2019 Golf GTI also earned this award, which puts it in very good company.

The 2019 Tiguan, when equipped with LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and High Beam Control (Light Assist), in addition to Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), passed each of the IIHS’s tests with flying colors. 

”Earning an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating for the Tiguan underscores the Volkswagen’s commitment to delivering vehicles equipped with latest advanced driver-assistance technology,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy.

Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring is an available feature that helps warn drivers of potential frontal collisions (Forward Collision Warning) with vehicles, pedestrians (and sometimes animals), and in certain situations provides automatic braking assistance (Autonomous Emergency Braking).  Forward Collision warning warns the driver of potential front-end collision situations by both alerting the driver with sound and displaying a warning symbol in the instrument cluster if the car is traveling above 18 mph. Additionally, an automatic jolt of the brakes warns the diver of the danger. If the vehicle is going below 18 mph and the driver does not brake. The Autonomous Emergency Braking actives to help slow the vehicle down, even if the driver does apply the brakes but not as heavily as needed.

Light Assist (also known as High Beam Control) is an available option that activates the headlight high beams automatically on poorly-lit roads while traveling above 40 mph so long as the vehicle detects no oncoming traffic. There are many other available driver assistance features on the 2019 Tiguan, which include:  Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist), Park Distance Control, and Overhead View Camera (Area View). Availability depends on model and trim.

Additionally, the Volkswagen Tiguan includes standard safety systems (both passive and active), which include six airbags and a plethora of standard safety systems like Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and the Volkswagen Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.

If you’d like to learn more about the IIHS safety tests and ratings, please visit http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings

At Volkswagen of Inver Grove, the safety of you and your family in our vehicles is of utmost priority, which is why we’re proud to offer such highly-rated vehicles like the Tiguan and the Golf GTI. But we know there’s nothing like experiencing one of our vehicles for yourself, so contact us for a test drive or stop into our dealership any time. We look forward to meeting you!

 

Meet Gunhild Liljequist — the woman behind the plaid in the Golf GTI and other fashionable automotive elements

Gunhild Liljequist

If you’ve ever been in a Volkswagen Golf GTI, you may have noticed the interior looks much different from that of any other vehicle. Notably, the plaid upholstery and the golf ball gear knob. 

But why is the interior of the Golf GTI different? How did it come to be that way? 

You can thank one woman — Gunhild Liljequist. While she had been a porcelain painter and chocolatier candy-box designer by trade, she was hired in 1964 by Volkswagen Germany’s Department of Fabrics and Colors. Since her hire at the impressionable young age of 28, Liljequist’s contributions to the legacy of the Golf GTI and other aesthetic aspects of vehicles have become timeless.

While the overall looks of the Golf GTI were not unlike the “regular” Golf, these two standout features — the plaid upholstery and the golf ball-style gear knob — helped the GTI debut as a worldwide sensation in 1976. So where did these ideas come from?

“Black was sporty, but I also wanted color and quality,” Liljequist said. “I took a lot of inspiration from my travels around Great Britain and I was always taken by high-quality fabrics with checked patterns … you could say that there is an element of British sportiness in the GTI.”

And the golf ball gear knob, she says, came totally out of the blue.

“That was a completely spontaneous idea!” Liljequist said. “I just expressed my sporting and golf associations out loud: ‘how about a golf ball as the gear knob?’”

While at first, these unconventional elements were unwelcome by some, the golf ball knob and the seat pattern (now known as “Clark Plaid”) are so synonymous with the Golf GTI it’s hard to imagine one without them. 

Liljequist’s contributions to automotive fashion were not limited to just those two things, however. Throughout her 30-year career at Volkswagen, she influenced some of the brand’s most iconic pain hues, trims, and interiors, while designing some special models of her own. Beyond the Golf GTI, she was responsible for the design of the 1987 limited edition “Etienne Aigner” Mk1 Golf Cabriolet — inspired by the luxury designer of handbags and other accessories. 

But her influence was definitely not limited to Volkswagen — in fact, you can see one of her most widely-adopted additions on nearly every vehicle on the road. While experimenting in paint and coloring, she created an iridescent pearl color that she applied to a car’s surface. The result? The metallic quality of paint used on today’s modern cars.

While Liljequist retired in 1991, her legacy shines (pun intended) on the entire automotive world, and literally stitched into the fabric of Volkswagen.

Gunhild Liljequist’s influence on our vehicles is definitely worth checking out in person. Contact Volkswagen of Inver Grove today to schedule a test drive, or just stop on in and we’ll be happy to give you a front-row seat driving behind the  wheel of a Golf GTI or any of our other models. We look forward to meeting you!

WardsAuto names 2019 Arteon to 10 Best UX list

2019 VW Arteon

The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, the brand’s flagship sedan, recently received high praise for its user experience and earned a spot among the WardsAuto 10 Best User Experiences (UX) list. The infotainment system, available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Car-Net and Adaptive Cruise Control were highlighted among many other features in the Arteon that make it such a remarkable vehicle. 

WardsAuto is one of the leading authorities in automotive insights and analysis. For this 4th annual competition, they evaluated 23 vehicles on their ability to make technology easy to use while enhancing an individual’s lifestyle. These vehicles either had all-new or re-engineered UX features like digital display screens, interfaces, connectivity, and apps. Overall value was also a consideration, though there was no cap on pricing. 

“From the moment the R-Line logo lights up the instrument panel during startup, the Arteon delivers a unique user experience setting itself apart from its competitors,” said Wards Senior Editor James Amend. “The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit then comes to life with its richly detailed navigation map nestled between bright, easy-to-read gauges. Wards judges also gushed over the Arteon’s smooth-running adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, a technology underpinning autonomous driving of the future. Owners surely will enjoy the wealth of connectivity through VW Car-Net, and the central infotainment screen with proximity sensing and haptic feedback is a snap to use.”

The 2019 Arteon is a rare sedan in that the styling and technology of it are of much higher quality than one would expect for its price range. With a sleek gran turismo design, it has a spacious interior thanks to the MQB platform. Standard features of the Arteon include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, full LED headlights, Front Assist, Side Assist, Rear Traffic Alert, and DCC® adaptive damping. Arteon is powered by a 268-horsepower 2.0-liter TSI® engine, which is paired with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and optional 4Motion® all-wheel drive.

What you’ll notice right away in every Arteon model is the innovative Volkswagen MIB II touchscreen infotainment system, which has a glass-covered 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen display. This is similar to the touch sensor that you have in your smartphone and much easier to use, as opposed to the majority of vehicles’ touchscreens that require pressure to do common functions. Gesture controls in the Arteon like pinch-zooming are much more intuitive and less challenging than in other systems. 

Arteon SE models use the Composition Media unit, while SEL Premium models offer the Discover Media system with navigation. Both of these systems offer SD card slots and USB ports, plus Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio free for a three-month trial, HD radio, the ability to send and receive text messages with Bluetooth compatible phones, and pair two phones simultaneously. SEL Premium models’ Discover Media systems also offer 2.5D navigation, which features one-shot voice destination entry, destination entry with search and auto-complete, and predicts possible destinations according to routes used frequently. 

The Volkswagen Car-Net connectivity system was a big factor in the Arteon landing on Wards 10 Best UX list. This system exemplifies the dedication of Volkswagen to the development of intelligent and connected vehicles. Car-Net is divided into three areas: “App-Connect,” “Security & Service,” and “Guide & Inform.” 

The first, Car-Net App-Connect, is standard on all Arteon models. It allows users to run select smartphone apps right on the display through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink, whichever you prefer.

SEL Premium models are equipped with Car-Net Security & Service, which is a suite of elements providing security features and allows owners to access their Volkswagen through their smartphone app or vw.com/carnet. Security & Service offers many convenient features, such as Automatic Crash Notification, Manual Emergency Call, Roadside Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, Family Guardian speed and boundary alerts, diagnostics and maintenance information, and remote vehicle access—including remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash of lights, last parked location information, and remote status check (doors and windows). On select models, owners are able to send a location from their device to the navigation system. Information Assistance is available for those who prefer a more personal touch, just press the i-Button in the overhead console. 

Arteon SEL Premium models also come standard with VW Car-Net Guide and Inform, which is an enhanced navigation and infotainment experience. This system adds convenient information to the navigation experience, including gas prices, movie information, and weather data as part of the three-month SiriusXM Travel Link trial. Additionally, owners will enjoy real-time traffic information and a three-month trial of SiriusXM Traffic. 

There are so many more innovative UX features of the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon that we could list here for you to read, but there’s nothing like experiencing one in person. Contact us to schedule a test drive, or just stop into Volkswagen of Inver Grove today to drive one and you’ll see firsthand how the Arteon easily made it to the Wards Top 10 Best UX list. We look forward to seeing you soon!