Marketing

Volkswagen issues statement in support of U.S. women's soccer team equal pay lawsuit

Volkswagen is a major sponsor of U.S. soccer.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The U.S. women's national team (USWNT) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) citing gender discrimination a year ago following the revelation that women's team members are paid significantly less than the men's team despite winning the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. The men's team placed 15th in 2014 and did not qualify for the tournament in 2018.

The lawsuit, which named 28 team members as plaintiffs, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, and they are seeking class-action status over "institutionalized gender discrimination" toward team members. The lawsuit was filed under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

One of the examples of disproportionate pay cited in the lawsuit states that U.S. Soccer paid $5.375 million in bonuses to the men's team in 2014 yet, when the women's team won the World Cup in 2015, they were only paid $1.725 million in bonuses.

A motion filed on behalf of the USSF challenged the lawsuit, saying, "The point is that the job of [a men's national team] player (competing against senior men's national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of [a women's national team] player (competing against senior women's national teams)."

The wording in the motion was met with immediate criticism, not just by the plaintiffs but by the sponsors of the USSF, including Coca-Cola, Deloitte, and Volkswagen, the latter of which released a statement this afternoon:

"We at Volkswagen of America are disgusted by positions taken by U.S. Soccer and they are simply unacceptable. We place great emphasis on gender inclusivity and equality and require our partners do the same. We stand by the USWNT and the ideals they represent for the world. We demand that U.S. Soccer rise up to these values. #DriveBigger"

The outrage promoted an apology from USSF President Carlos Cordeiro.

When the lawsuit was originally filed last year, women's team member Alex Morgan said, "Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that," Morgan said, also in a news release. "We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility. As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender."

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Volkswagen ID.4 will debut this year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 will be uvelied later this month. Before it is shown sans camouflage to the public, the automaker has revealed a plan that would give ID.4 owners three year of unlimited, free charging on Electrify America's nationwide network of ultra-fast chargers.

Electrify America currently has more than 470 charging stations and over 2,000 DC fast chargers nationwide. The company currently boasts two cross-country charging routes and recently announced a partnership with Love's Travel Stops for additional charging station placement. Additionally, the company will soon compete with Amazon and sell Electrify Home charging units, complete with installation.

Electrify Home Electrify America will compete with Amazon by selling at-home EV charging stations. Photo courtesy of Electrify America

Electrify America is currently the only open, public charging network to offer chargers with power levels up to 350 kilowatts. Across the country, 96 percent of the population live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger.

"With a relentless commitment to driving the electric vehicle industry forward, Electrify America opened DC fast-charging stations at an accelerated pace of 1.2 per business day in 2019," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. "As more and more electric vehicles are introduced to the market, and consumer interest grows, we are excited to announce this agreement with Volkswagen to deliver fast and accessible charging to ID.4 customers and a new wave of EV adopters."

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "By adding three years of fast charging at no additional cost through Electrify America, we are eliminating all barriers for mainstream compact SUV buyers to go electric."

Electrify America continues to expand. The company plans to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December 2021.

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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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