Retrospective

It's been 65 years since VW rolled a gold and rhinestone Beetle off the line in Germany

Volkswagen created this one-off Beetle to celebrate a signninficannt anniversary.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The one-millionth Volkswagen recently rolled off the line at the company's Chattanonoga, Tennessee plant. It's been 65 years since the same thing happened in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The factory first opened in 1938. Due to regulations put in place by the German government then American occupation in the lead up to and throughout World War II, the factory did not gear up to produce civilian vehicles en masse until after the war was over.

Volkswagen Wolfsburg line Volkswagen produced the Beetle and Bus at the plant following World War II.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Leadership by British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst saved the plant from complete ruin. Hirst convinced the British government to place an order for military vehicles with the plant. Slowly, as Europe worked to recover from the warn, Volkswagen began creating a sales network.

In the early 1950s, the Wolfsburg facility began assembling the Beetle and the Bus.

By 1955 the Beetle was one of the most popular vehicles ever made. To celebrate the one-millionth vehicle milestone Volkswagen hatched a plan to celebrate the moment by producing a gold-painted Beetle whose bumpers were lined with rhinestones.

Volkswagen 1 millionth plant The company had 150,000 people join in a ceremony to celebrate the 1 millionth vehicle produced at the plant.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The car rolled off the assembly line in a celebration with nearly 150,000 people joining in for the festivities.

The golden, one-millionth Beetle now makes its home in Wolfsburg's AutoStadt Museum.

Just 17 years later, on February 17, 1972, Volkswagen broke the record for the total production of a vehicle surpassing the Ford Model T. The Model T was produced between 1908 and 1927.

Volkswagen had produced its 16 millionth Beetle by 1973 and on June 23, 1992, they company reached the 21 million mark.

VW bid farewell to its iconic Beetle on December 31, 2019 with a short film that aired during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020". The film, called "The Last Mile" featured a number of moments from the Beetle's history. Eagled eyed watchers can nview the film and see numerous pop culture references throughout the film including cameos from Kevin Bacon's character in "Footloose", an astronaut, and artist Andy Warhol. There's a sign proclaiming that its "Not a Lemon" and a cameo from Bravo TV host Andy Cohen in the 90-second spot.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Volkswagen has chosen a name for its new SUV.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The forthcoming new Volkswagen SUV will be called the Taos after the town in New Mexico. The name was chosen to specifically appeal to North American customers, who are the target market for the SUV, which Will slot below the Tiguan in the VW lineup.

“We're thrilled to announce the name for the newest member of the Volkswagen family," said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President for Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "It was important to choose a name that really embodied the nature of the car and the town of Taos, New Mexico was a perfect fit. It's a small city that offers big things—from outdoor adventure to arts and design and great cuisine."

Taos New Mexico Taos, New Mexico is the namesake for a forthcoming Volkswagen model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"We are excited that Volkswagen has named their sport utility vehicle after the town of Taos," said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone. "It's a great opportunity for our community to share its rich history and culture alongside Volkswagen with its unique and rich history and culture."

Taos, New Mexico is a thriving small town of 6,000 people. It has a 400-year history and a 1,000-year-old Native American community just a few miles from the center fo town. Artists and skiers flock to the city, which is noted for its stunning landscapes.

Incidentally, Taos was also home to John Muir, an engineer turned mechanic, and author of "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot." First published in 1969, and illustrated by local artist Peter Aschwanden, this counter-culture guide to Volkswagen repairs quickly developed a popular following. The book, started in Muir's Taos shop, has helped keep countless VW models running, from Beetles and Buses to Type 3 and Type 4 models.

Volkswagen promises that the new Taos “will offer great value, excellent fuel economy, and great packaging, as well as advanced infotainment and driver-assistance features”.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos will be revealed on October 13.

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The Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition is a new addition to the lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of GMC

Truck drivers are no stranger to the challenges of towing. With updates to the GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty pickup trucks for 2021, the premium division of General Motors is adding a suite of customer-focused technologies to the make trailering easier.

"Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers. More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures," said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. "We continually listen to customer feedback, which tells us they want class-leading safety, technology and comfort to tow what they need, whether it's a boat, an RV or a trailer hauling off-road toys."

2021 GMC Sierra: Jack-Knife Alert

Photo courtesy of GMC

New or enhanced trailering tech available on both 2021 GMC Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty models includes:

  • Trailer Length Indicator - New for 2021, when enabled and driving forward with the turn signal activated, the center console screen displays a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer and shows when other vehicles are present and may interfere with a lane-change maneuver.
  • Jack-Knife Alert - New for 2021, Jack-Knife Alert tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle. If the front of the trailer approaches the rear of the vehicle, an alert is displayed when there may be a potential jack-knife situation.
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator: Rear Trailer View has been enhanced to include guidelines that assist when backing a trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator to show the relationship between the truck and compatible trailer. Rear Trailer View requires the customer-installed available GM auxiliary accessory camera.
  • Rear Side View enhancement - When driving forward on the 2020 GMC Sierra, Rear Side View provides a split view of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer that is automatically biased based on the trailer's angle. In the 2021 GMC Sierra, drivers will have access to this view while driving in reverse, making it easier to see surrounding vehicles and objects while positioning a trailer.
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement - New Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which can be helpful for aligning and hooking up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.

Select trailering features require a conventional-hitched box or camping trailer and additional setup may be required. Customers can see their dealers for full details.

Additionally, GMC is expanding the availability of their MultiPro Tailgate to Sierra 1500 SLE and Elevation trim models, which will also be offered in a number of new paint colors. The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 will be available with 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and off-road high-clearance step.

GMC is also reducing the price of its available 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine by $1,500 for 2021 making it just $995 above the the Sierra 1500's 5.3L V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management.

The 2021 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty Denali gets new standard equipment including HD Surround Visionn and Bed Video camera technology. The new Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition will have several unique features, including exclusive 20-inch high-gloss black wheels and new power-retractable assist steps. Similar to the Sierra 1500, the Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 will now have available 18-inch Mud Terrain tires and an available off-road high clearance step accessory.

Other additions to Sierra HD include the MultiPro Tailgate standard on the SLE grade and three new available paint color options.

The 2021 GMC Sierra goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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