COVID-19

Volkswagen hosting Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser benefitting out-of-work musicians

A livestream fundraising concert featuring Joe Bonamassa will be sponsored by Volkswagen and Fender.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

COVID-19 pandemicGuitar legend Joe Bonamassa spends months each year on the road touring but lately he's been at home, not playing gigs. He's not the only one. Musicians across the world are seeing their incomes slashed due to shelter in place and stay at home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bonamassa's 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Keeping the Blues Alive has begun an emergency initiative aimed at helping musicians struggling to survive in the difficult economy. The Fueling Musicians Program provides financial assistance for essential living expenses along with pre-paid fuel cards to qualified musicians in need.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Bonamassa will bring his signature blues rock style to the livestream.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen and Fender have teamed up to support a livestream fundraising concert by Bonamassa benefiting the program.

"We are so excited to be working with Joe on this meaningful and entertaining live stream," said Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President, Volkswagen Brand Marketing. "When given the chance to support individuals in the music industry during this time, it felt like a true Drive Bigger moment that we wanted to be a part of."

Bonamassa began his career as a child prodigy, opening for B.B. King at the age of 12 playing a 1972 Fender Stratocaster he called "Rosie". That lead to even bigger gigs, playing on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1991, just a few years before Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Timberlake made it to the clubhouse.

Over the next 30 years, his fame continued to grow, playing with Greg Allman, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, and Warren Haynes among others. The 43-year old has won a Blues Music Award and been nominated for a Grammy all while showcasing his signature blues rock style.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Fender audio systems are available throughout the Volkswagen lineup as premium upgrades.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In addition to being an artist, Bonamassa is a collector, having amassed 1000 guitars and amplifiers according to a 2019 article on GuitarPlayer.com.

"My sincerest thanks and gratitude to both Volkswagen and Fender Premium Audio for their generous support of our Fueling Musicians Program," said Bonamassa. "Musicians have a tough road ahead and this will help them regroup until they can head out on the road again when everyone gets the green light."

To watch the event, visit the VW Facebook page here on Thursday, May 14 at 8 pm EST.

To donate to the Fueling Musicians Program or to complete an application for assistance, visit www.KTBA.org.

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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