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Auto blogMon, 03 Sep 2012 18:03:00 EST
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:31:00 EST
After adding Italian motorcycle icon Ducati to its stable and spending $5.6 billion on the rest of Porsche, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn says he's done shopping for a while.
"We have enough to do at the moment in taking our twelve brands to where we want to be," Winterkorn tells German newspaper Handelsblatt.
This really was a matter of when, rather than if. Volkswagen will apparently be the first manufacturer to phase out naturally aspirated engines in favor of turbocharging its full slate. VW is kind of responsible for ushering in this push towards small-displacement, turbocharged engines that's taken the industry by storm. When it dropped its direct-injection, 2.0-liter turbo in the 2005 GTI it demonstrated that strapping an iron long to an engine can enhance the powertrain as a whole. VW made fuel economy gains, while also giving a linear, non-laggy turbo experience that it has replicated, model-after-model, to this day.
Speaking with The Detroit News, Volkswagen's executive Vice President of Group Quality, Marc Trahan, told the paper that, "We only have one normally aspirated gas engine, and when we go to the next generation vehicle that it's in, it will be replaced. So three, four years maximum."
Really, it's hard to get teary-eyed about either of these engines going away. VW has access to smaller powerplants that could easily match the performance of the 2.5 five-cylinder and the 3.6 V6, while gobbling up less fuel and providing a better driving experience. What we are sad about is that a similar statement about the extinction of NA engines came from the Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Ford, Joe Bakaj. We'd certainly get teary-eyed over a world without Ford's excellent 5.0-liter V8.
According to Automotive News, automakers are expected to manufacture 16 million light vehicles in North America in 2013. That's up 500,000 units from last year and marks the largest number since 2002. The prediction comes courtesy of LMC Automotive and IHS Automotive, which point to the improving US economy as a bellwether for total production. LMC Automotive says North America will produce 16 million vehicles while IHS has a slightly more optimistic forecast of 16.1 million units. A total of seven automakers are slated to increase production on the continent this year. Nissan is set to see the largest jump at 20 percent over last year.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, is one of the only manufacturers predicted to scale back production. Analysts expect the German company's output to fall by 23 percent to 170,000 units, thanks in part to slow demand for the Volkswagen Passat and Jetta.