It was impossible to ignore soccer superstar and social activist Megan Rapinoe in 2019. She led the U.S Women’s National Soccer Team to a monumental world championship victory in July and made repeated headlines for her unapologetic stance against gender discrimination and racism. And now she can add one more honor to her banner year: Being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, the fourth woman in the award’s 66-year history to win it unaccompanied. Rapinoe is the only woman in history to start in three consecutive women’s world championship finals, helping lead the United States to victory in the 2019 world championship this past July. Rapinoe’s multiple accolades include earning awards for top scorer and most valuable player at her sport’s highest level. On and off the field, Rapinoe has made it her mission to stand for something bigger than herself, her team and her sport, striving to rectify inequalities and promote social change. “I think my success bears witness to, not only the necessity of speaking truth to power, but also the power of truth,” Rapinoe said during her acceptance speech. “Not only do I believe we can be better; I believe that we together — we are just better.” Volkswagen has recognized Rapinoe’s accomplishments and most recent award with a campaign using the people she inspires every day — her fans. The work features fans in Rapinoe’s signature pose, which has become synonymous with the confidence of the U.S. Women’s National Team and the fight for equality that has engaged people around the world. “It’s clearly more than a celebration,” Rapinoe told SI about her signature pose. “I’m still trying to articulate exactly the way I feel in it. This is me in the full. We’re not going to be a certain way for anyone. This is me, and you know you love it.” Volkswagen’s ambassadorship with Rapinoe is an extension of an existing program — this past summer, VW announced a similar collaboration with Alex Morgan, Rapinoe’s teammate on the U.S. Women’s National Team. As the presenting partner of U.S. Soccer through 2022, Volkswagen plans to help U.S. Soccer in its mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States through increased visibility, player and coach development, and promoting greater fan engagement across the country.
Sport utility vehicles are having more than a moment. Accounting for more than half of all new U.S. vehicle sales, Americans’ appetite for SUVs have steered automakers into an arms race to produce more and more of them, in increasing numbers of niches. It is no coincidence that Ford and Volkswagen will enter the long-range EV market with compact SUVs rather than conventional passenger sedans. Volkswagen predicts this trend is unlikely to end, barring a severe economic shock In a survey 1 polling 1,000 U.S. SUV drivers, Volkswagen found that nine out of every 10 current SUV owners (87 percent) plan to stick with the vehicles for life, citing safety and comfort as two key features driving their SUV purchases. Ninety-four percent also agreed that they feel more confident on the road overall when driving an SUV— a big driver in their purchasing decisions. “This survey confirms that our current portfolio of SUVs aligns with what consumers are prioritizing here in the U.S.,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy for Volkswagen of America, Inc. “All of our SUVs rank high on independent measures of comfort, safety and passenger space within their classes, and we’re focused on those priorities as we develop new entries like our upcoming compact SUV that will slot in below the Tiguan.” In addition to the rise in public SUV sentiment, the survey uncovered two additional trends with major implications for the next generation of automotive consumers: Gen Z and Millennial Drivers’ most valued features aren’t design or performance, but safety For Gen Z and young Millennial SUV drivers (ages 18-34), safety ranks first as the most important feature of their SUVs. The Volkswagen survey found that 43 percent of younger SUV drivers are more likely than other generations to value their SUV’s handling on rough roads and overall safety. Comparatively, 76 percent of SUV owners over 55 years old value comfortable seating foremost among vehicle features. Families are foregoing living room discussions for SUV dialogues The survey also found that the location for important family discussions has literally hit the road. Rather than resorting to the living room or dining room table, more than eight in 10 parents say they are having important family discussions in their SUVs, creating a new space for family time, whether they are on the way to school or on a family road trip. Ninety percent of parents who took the survey agreed that they expect to continue to own an SUV from now on and use their SUV as a place for family discussions. Along that same vein, the survey found that SUV owners with a third row are more likely to have family discussions take place in their SUV (75 percent vs. 60 percent of owners without a third row), while younger SUV owners (18-34 and 35-54) and parents are more likely to use their third row on a daily basis. “As we look to the future of Volkswagen, and the direction we are mapping out for our lineup, we understand that appetites for certain capabilities of SUVs evolve. This includes EV options in the SUV market,” said Schafer. “Taking into account the features that we know consumers are looking for in upcoming models, we’re eager to bring a price-conscious, thoughtfully-designed, and long-range electric SUV to the U.S. market in the near future.”
A time-honored tradition in millions of households this time of year is holiday tree buying. However, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an estimated 20 million Americans who purchased a live holiday tree in the last three years failed to properly secure it to their vehicle. Damage resulting from improperly loaded trees can lead to serious vehicle damage, including scratched paint, torn door seals and warped window frames, and dangerous road debris. Whether you’re at a cut-your-own tree farm or a local tree lot, we want to make sure you are transporting your perfect holiday tree home securely without damaging your car. To help, follow our handy tips and tricks below. Take measurements. Write down the measurements of the space where you plan to display your holiday tree at home, as well as the size of the roof area or back seat of the car you plan to transport it in. Keep in mind that holiday trees can be deceptively wide, and “you may underestimate how much room you actually have,” says Robert Gal, a Senior Manager of Performance and Accessories at Volkswagen. “You don’t want to get too ambitious with what your home allows.” Dress appropriately. Handling a holiday tree can be difficult, uncomfortable and sticky, thanks to the tree’s scratchy and sappy pine needles. To protect your hands, it’s best to pack a pair of utility gloves. Also, be sure to check the weather before you leave to your neighborhood tree lot, especially if you are planning to transport on the roof of your vehicle. Bring the right supplies. Regardless of whether you plan to haul the tree inside or outside of the vehicle, you should come prepared with the right equipment, including some dedicated ratcheting straps to secure the tree and prevent it from shifting in transit. If you plan to mount the tree to the roof of your car, you should ensure that you have crossbars or roof rails installed prior to your trip to help keep the tree in place. Bars can help protect your painted roof and sunroof from potential damage and rails will add additional support. Lightweight twine, often provided for free by tree lots, should not be used to secure the tree to the roof as twine wrapped through door jams or open windows can cause damage to the car’s window frames and water seals, and could obstruct the performance of the car’s side airbags. Securely load your tree. Before you load the tree into or onto your vehicle, ask the tree lot to wrap the tree in netting as tightly as possible. If netting is unavailable, contain loose branches by wrapping the tree in an old blanket or tarp. Using ratcheting straps, tie the bundled tree to the crossbars or roof rails. “People will often secure the tree, but forget to secure the tarp, and when they drive off it flies off,” says Roger Chung, Manager, Accessories Development at Volkswagen. Always travel with the bottom of the tree trunk facing the front of the vehicle while transporting on the roof and within the cabin. Taking these precautions will keep features like the Panoramic Sunroof in the Volkswagen Atlas from becoming damaged and in working shape. Adjust the interior to fit smaller trees. Large SUVs like the Atlas allow for its second and third row to be folded down to allow a smaller tree to sit flat, which should be holstered with straps tied to anchor points in the trunk to keep it securely in place. Before you leave the lot, give the tree a firm tug from various directions to make sure it is properly secured. If the tree budges, pull the ratcheting straps tighter. Drive carefully and cautiously. Stay on local roads and avoid driving at high speeds. Watch out for large potholes and bumps in the road. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your holiday tree and challenge even the best tie-down methods. Avoid sudden and abrupt maneuvers, such as hard braking, and accelerating quickly. Spot-check the vehicle. Check for tree sap and residue in and outside the car, and, if found, clean immediately. If found on the exterior, use bug and tar remover with a clean cloth to wash.
From fresh drinking water and wildlife habitats, to helping fight climate change and providing natural resources, American forests play an essential role in our daily lives. To help protect forests in the United States from development and fragmentation, Volkswagen, through a sponsorship of The Conservation Fund, will donate $1.2 million to help increase the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee by roughly 1,500 acres and support other woodlands projects. “We are excited about our partnership with Volkswagen and the opportunity to help advance their commitment to corporate leadership around sustainability,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “Volkswagen is taking real, measurable steps forward to help protect the environment, embrace sustainable business practices and support the communities in which they work.” The goal is for the additional public lands, located near the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant, to be open to the public for recreational use and used to help protect the habitats of local animal populations, including the black bear and the endangered Indiana bat. The Conservation Fund is currently negotiating with private landowners to acquire the properties, which will be held until they can be transferred to the USDA Forest Service for long-term stewardship over the next few years. “Our support of The Conservation Fund will help strengthen the environment and help us give back to a community where more than 3,800 of our colleagues live,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “This collaboration in our own backyard underscores our ‘Drive Bigger’ goal of pursuing ideas bigger than ourselves and then taking action. We feel a responsibility to show how a major automaker can credibly contribute to the greater good.” Located on the outer edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee National Forest stretches the length of eastern Tennessee’s border. The forest’s acreage includes the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, several whitewater rivers and 12 designated wildernesses. In addition to supporting land conservation, Volkswagen’s donation will go toward helping to preserve and protect natural resources in Tennessee, with The Conservation Fund developing a grant program of $200,000 to support the state’s environmental objectives and goals. The Conservation Fund, will solicit grant requests of up to $50,000 from qualified nonprofits, schools and public agencies working in eastern Tennessee to help improve water quality, increase access to outdoor recreation and advance environmental education. For more information and an application, visit to conservationfund.org.
Ben Pon and the first Beetle in America, 1949 The first time a Volkswagen Beetle came to America was nearly the last. A private importer, Ben Pon, thought the small, odd-looking cars that were popular in Europe in 1949 could find the same audience here. Early that year, Pon shipped two Beetles to the United States and tried to recruit dealers. By all accounts, the reception was a cold one; Pon sold both with no fanfare, and lore has it one had to cover his hotel bill. But Pon had the right idea. The Beetle did catch on, as did the Bus, the Jetta, and on through the decades. To mark 70 years on American soil, Volkswagen held something of a family reunion for its models in Los Angeles this week – a rare gathering of classics from Volkswagen of America’s collection and the best of the modern era. Although seven decades of engineering and design advances have transformed the lineup, certain important traits shone through. 1949 Beetle / 1979 Super Beetle / 1998 New Beetle / 2019 Beetle Final Edition While the Beetle evolved from the ones Ben Pon sold to the last 1979 Super Beetle, they were mostly remarkable for how little didn’t change. Power more than doubled – from 25 hp to 48 hp – and the later Beetle had more creature comforts, but the basics remained the same: an air-cooled engine driving the rear wheels, all designed for simplicity. The revival of the New Beetle in 1998 was a huge historical moment, which brought the Beetle into the 21st century with modern safety features, engines and interiors. The 2019 Final Edition offered much of the original’s spirit in a package with 174 hp and up-to-date technology. 1967 Type 2 21-window Bus / 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Volkswagen has always built stylish people movers; the first Type 2 Bus came to America in 1950, kicking off a five-decade run of Volkswagen vans. The rarest and most expensive variant of the classic Bus was the 21-Window “Samba” version, which has now become a sought-after collector’s item. The Volkswagen-owned copy in two-tone white-on-orange paint makes all of 53 hp. Today, the Volkswagen Atlas people mover is available with 4Motion all-wheel-drive, the ability to tow up to 5,000 lbs. when properly equipped,2 and up to 17 cupholders. There’s even an available panoramic sunroof that gives modern families a taste of that 21-window feeling. 1984 Mk1 Rabbit GTI / 2019 Golf GTI With 90 hp and a five-speed manual, the original Rabbit GTI created the “hot hatch” segment and offered affordable performance with everyday usability. That formula has been honed over 35 years into the current GTI – a compact, 228-hp (achieved with premium fuel) expression of driving enthusiasm that can still haul four people and their stuff in comfort. 1982 Mk1 Jetta / 2020 Jetta Offered as a sedan alternative to the Golf/Rabbit, the first-generation Jetta mixed European design and engineering with fuel-efficient packaging. A 76-hp four-cylinder engine was linked to either a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Jetta demonstrates just how far compact sedans have come – growing some 15 inches in length compared to its ancestor, with far greater performance and creature comforts, like an available 10-color interior LED lighting system. 1973 Squareback / 2019 Golf Alltrack / 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan The Squareback wagons used components of the Beetle in a more family friendly shape, complete with storage under the hood and above the engine in back. The 65-hp version was among the first vehicles worldwide to have fuel injection. The 2019 Golf Alltrack was its direct modern descendant, offering the kind of wagon packaging that thousands of families over the decades embraced, along with 4Motion all-wheel drive. The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan has proven itself a different kind of successor; with an optional third row1 and one of the largest interiors in its class, it too has been embraced as a Volkswagen that can transport multiple generations in style.
More than 50 years ago, a loose band of hot-rodders decided to run their motorcycles – and eventually the first Volkswagen-based dune buggies — through hundreds of miles of Mexican desert, practically inventing the field of Baja desert racing. Today, Volkswagen revealed its homage to that history – the Atlas Cross Sport R – and its plan to go racing in the 2020 SCORE Baja 1000. Built from a variety of Volkswagen and custom racing components, including a 480-hp, 2-liter turbo four-cylinder, the mid-engine Atlas Cross Sport R concept will be the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to compete in Baja’s Class 7 Open Production Unlimited. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. “Racing as a sport has historically been limited to a very privileged group,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president of VW Brand Marketing. “However, Volkswagen virtually invented the people’s sport of Baja racing, and we’re excited to help keep the fun, youthful spirit of the competition alive by way of our Atlas Cross Sport R.” Founded in 1967, the SCORE Baja 1000 ranks among the most dangerous races in the world. Designed for adventure seekers, the race stretches across 1,000 miles of sun-drenched, rock-strewn mountain roads, from Tijuana to La Paz, Mexico. The long and dusty competition is open to any off-road enthusiasts who can pay the race entry fee and use an eligible car (trucks, motorbikes, and Beetles are all welcomed). The race has historically attracted a wide range of thrill-seekers, from everyday racers to Hollywood petrolheads. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt. With a long history of Baja success, Volkswagen hopes to continue its run next year with recent U.S. rallycross champion and Volkswagen R brand ambassador Tanner Foust at the helm. “I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of,” Foust said. “I’m really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel.” Built with the assistance of Rhys Miller Racing, a detuned version of the Rallycross 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder will be used to power the race truck. Atlas Cross Sport R concept will feature an all-wheel-drive system and braking system similar to the Beetle R and Polo WRC cars. The four-wheel independent suspension offers 24 inches of wheel travel, with Fox bypass and coil-over dampers to absorb the worst thumps the desert has to offer. The turbo truck’s body will take its cues from the Cross Sport with an added twist: designers from schools and colleges nationwide to participate in the design of the Atlas Cross Sport R concept’s race livery. Stay tuned for more details on the 2020 competition and the Atlas Cross Sport R concept in early 2020. of
For more than a decade, Volkswagen vehicles have been known worldwide for a variety of timeless designs built from a single common chassis. The MQB platform that forms the basic pieces of the Golf compact hatchback also underpins the seven-seat Volkswagen Atlas, and almost every other Volkswagen in between. At the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Volkswagen revealed another example of how it will take that same approach with electric vehicles, with the ID. SPACE VIZZION — a sleek concept crossover that previews a production electric vehicle coming to America. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may vary. Almost exactly as long as the new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, but about 10 inches lower at the roofline, the ID. SPACE VIZZION concept has a long, luxury-like visual profile while still looking rugged. While the design draws from all previous ID. concepts, the ID. SPACE VIZZION evolves the look while adding a few new features. The new light-up VW logo sits proudly at the front tip of the hood, flanked by slim white LED strips. All of the lights on the car switch on when the driver approaches; the headlights can be animated to look as if they’re opening and closing like eyes. Overall, the ID. SPACE VIZZION has been designed to maximize its aerodynamics. Several new surfaces keep air moving smoothly, such as a horizontal slot between the headlights and an integrated spoiler-type panel above the tailgate. The 22-inch wheels have special designs to minimize airflow disruption. The doors have no handles; instead, touch-sensitive haptic pads illuminate as soon as the car’s driver approaches. The result: a 0.24 coefficient of drag, making it sleeker than most production vehicles. Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may vary. Inside, the ID. SPACE VIZZION seats four in limousine-like comfort with a sizable center console; the production version will likely offer a more traditional back seat. Most of the driving information is shown on a head-up display rather than a traditional instrument panel, and next to the driver sits a 15.6-inch touchscreen. All seating surfaces and some trim use a new material known as AppleSkin — which uses the byproduct of apple-juice making to create a fabric that feels like leather without any animal content. Behind the seats the concept has a 20.7 cubic feet luggage compartment, like many SUVs, with two electric skateboards stowed underneath the storage floor that can be used to get you to the destination a car can’t take you, like the beach at Venice, California. While the ID. SPACE VIZZION looks laid back, it can hustle when needed. Power comes from a 275-hp electric motor driving the rear wheels, drawing from an 82-kWh battery. An additional 101-hp motor on the front axle can provide all-wheel-drive capability and a combined peak output of 335 hp. This 4MOTION version of the ID. SPACE VIZZION can hit 60 mph in 5 seconds, with a projected range under U.S. testing standards of up to 300 miles. of Underneath all the design and technology, the ID. SPACE VIZZION relies on the same set of basic components as all other ID. concepts. Known as the modular electric toolkit, or MEB in its German acronym, Volkswagen expects the chassis to underpin about 20 million vehicles worldwide by 2029. That includes the upcoming production version of the ID. CROZZ concept and the production version of the ID. BUZZ concept revival of the Volkswagen Bus. After those two arrive, Americans may get a chance to sample a more spacious vision of an electric future.