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THE BUS THAT KEPT A SECRET

Don Capestrain's Golden Retriever mix and his 1978 Bus at the site that the threesome visited frequently.

 

CLIFF LEPPKE'S CYBER SEAT

VW Resumes Chattanooga Plant Production, Builds Green-Machine 2021 Atlas

VW Resumes Chattanooga Plant Production; Green-Machine 2021 Atlas

WEDF-TV reports VW is ramping up production at its Chattanooga plant starting May 17.  VW halted output on March 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VW says it and its suppliers must take new precautions.  Anyone entering its plant must take a temperature check.  Employees and contractors get fresh mandatory-to-wear face masks every day.  Gloves are available.  Plant disinfecting is robust.  Fresh air circulation is better.  Doors are propped open to reduce touchpoints.

Virus protection measures extend to the work floor where physical distancing is encouraged.  Staggered break times reduce large gatherings.  Those who can work remotely will continue to do so.  VW erected partitions within the plant and its signature entrance bridge to cut virus spread.

Meanwhile, VW orchestrated news for its existing and future customers.  Current owners, whose vehicle warranties expire during March or May get three months extended coverage.  This applies to both certified pre-owned and the new vehicle warranties.  It’s part of VW’s Community Driven Promise campaign.

The other measure is VW product updates.  Since, it cannot stage crowded media events, VW’s executives provide tidbits via emails about the next-generation GTI and 2021 Atlas.

Let’s examine the Atlas’ finish first.  VW paints its big wagon Racing Green, a new color described as a sophisticated statement.  Sorry fans, striking Kumara Yellow is out.  VW says a four-year process with input from employees led to this discreet dark-green machine.

VW claims its new metallic paint pays homage to British Racing Green, which evolved from national colors used to identify vehicles during early 20th century motoring competitions such as the Gordon Bennett Trophy.  While the color is similar to a 1990s Passat hue, it’s applied in a single pipeline, which reduces cost.  Other designer colors include Aurora Red Chroma.  It gets an additional top coat for a deeper, richer look.

CLIFF LEPPKE'S VW REVIEWS

2019 VW Arteon Review: A Pinnacle of Panache by Cliff Leppke

Once upon a time, VW built a humble looking car.  That changed when the forever-fashionable Karmann Ghia coupe arrived.  Its Italianate body looked Ferrari fast, elegant and expensive.

For 2019, VW offers a new couture creation:  the Arteon, a four-door coupe-like vehicle with a liftback.  That and frameless side glass, gem-like body surfaces and Dior-tight panel fit ape the Audi A7 for fewer bucks.  Its full-width grille with effective LED headlamps looks like Kabuki mask after a Bauhaus makeover.  The clamshell-like knee-low hood has a built-in pedestrian protection system.

Because Arteons don’t share their metal skins with VW’s sedans, their fastback silhouettes look cohesive.  No automotive gerrymandering, here.  Compared with the old VW CC, this one dons a stretched wheelbase.  Thus, there’s more rear legroom under the rakish roof.  Headroom is sufficient, too.

Push the logo-motion VW rondel on the rear lid and tug.  You’ll open access to an expansive trunk with a premium rug.  Few new vehicles put this much class at their backs.

The Areton is sporty; not a sports car.  It steers precisely, but pushes when things get twisty.   Maintaining a dignified quick clip on highways, however, is its forte.  It whispers with barely any wind rush.  A pushbutton lets you recalibrate shock damping and steering effort.  The 245/45R18 Conti ProContacts clop rudely in sport.

There are 268 turbocharged ponies under the bonnet.  My tester routed those stallions via an eight-speed automatic to the wheels via 4Motion all-wheel-drive.  When prodded, those equine posers are gruff.  Power is certainly adequate.  The vehicle weighs 3,854 lbs.  At 70 mph, the mill loafs at 1,850 rpm.

Duck in.  Its dashing interior décor is a tick up the luxury motoring ladder.  Two front power adjusting seals provide equal rights (same height, lumbar and backrest adjustments).  Their kinked pleats, which echo the grille, are supportive.  An analogue-style clock punctuates the dashboard’s Noirish horizontal vent slats.

Wood-tone inlays flank an eight-inch touchscreen with volume and tuning knobs.  Soft-touch materials cover the dash and door cards.  CarPlay and Android Auto are included.   There’s a phone tray below the center stack plus USB and 12-Volt ports.

VW’s bright digital cockpit resembles a Best Buy TV showroom. One must wend through the infotainment screen’s menus in order to tweak instrument brightness.  Convenience items include self-folding mirrors, a driver’s seat with memory and radar cruise control.

The aft pew has a designated center seating position—adults may apply.  This section’s arm rest folds opening a slot for skis or gutters.

Fuel economy crested at 26.5 mpg overall.  Its EPA numbers: 20 city, 27 highway and 23 combined, burning recommended but not required premium fuel.

The $42,790 Arteon is nicely trimmed and smoothly powered.  It’s VW’s automotive pinnacle of panache, a charming set of wheels for Euro-discerning shoppers.

WHAT IS THE VWCA?

The VWCA (Volkswagen Club of America) is a not-for-profit hobby club for owners and enthusiasts of Volkswagen and Audi automobiles. Founded in 1955, the Club has followed the evolution of Volkswagen from the early air-cooled Beetle to the latest models to roll off the assembly line. We are not owned by, affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen AG or Volkswagen of America, the Importer. The Club is operated and managed solely by volunteer members who contribute their time and energy in pursuit of our motto, "to help Volkswagen and Audi owners enjoy their cars to the fullest." Read about the club's history.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Jun 12 , 2020
EVENT CANCELLED ~ 22nd Annual Funfest for Air-Cooled Volkswagens

Mid America Motorworks 17082 N. US 45 Effingham, Illinois


Jun 28 , 2020
NIVA Bugfest 2020 CHANGE OF LOCATION!

Fox Valley Volkswagen, 4050 E. Main Street Saint Charles, Illinois


Jul 05 , 2020
Bartlett Independence Day Parade
Kirk Schulz 630-837-7887 Firebugman@aol.com
Bartlett, Illinois


Jul 11 , 2020
Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival CHANGE OF DATE!

Arbor Motion, 669 State Circle, Ann Arbor Michigan


Jul 12 , 2020
33rd Annual Vintage Picnic - Rockford, IL

Alpine Park Rockford, Illinois


Sep 04 , 2020
Buses Nowhere Near the Arch
Bill Bowman: bill@bnnta.com
Hannibal, MO