Innovation Workshop Reveals VW’s Cutting Edge Technology

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Volkswagen Innovation Workshop

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At the 2014 Innovation Workshop held at the Wolfsburg, Germany Volkswagen plant, more than a few game changers were revealed. For instance, take a look at the 2-shaped engine block featuring a dual-clutch transmission. A high performance diesel engine as well as the ten-speed (that’s not a typo!) gearbox with a dual clutch were some of the most talked-about items. Of course, powerful diesel engines is something Volkswagen’s known for—just look at the Touareg V10 TDI or even the Audi’s offering of the Q7 V12 TDI. However, it seems like you really can improve on perfection.

Previously, the diesel version of the Touareg offered 309 horses and a stunning 533 lb.-foot torque. The Audi ponied up 493 horses and 738 lb.-foot of torque, which is actually enough to haul a jumbo jet (just in case any Volkswagen fans have that task). At the annual Innovation Workshop, VW revealed how they made their diesel options even better with more cylinders and bigger displacements. That’s how the 286 horsepower 10-speed DSG TDI diesel was born.

Hell on Wheels

In Europe, the latest Passat boasts a twin-turbo 2.0 liter diesel engine with 236 horses and four cylinders. That’s more than enough to take on the Autobahn, but what if it could be even better? According to Volkswagen engineers, they could make the engine do more. Journalists invited to the workshop report seeing the torque figure go beyond 450 pounds, which easily trumps many of the TDI Audi models.

Of course, what really got people talking was that ten-speed gearbox. The very first DSG was introduced in 2003 in the Golf R32, and the same technology soon followed in the Audi TT. It’s been over ten years, and in that time a number of speed variants, including six and seven, have been available. Other auto manufacturers have tried to mimic VW’s innovation, but Volkswagen is sure to leave everyone in the dust with the world’s first ten-speed option.

Get in Line

Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen has yet to reveal when this technology will actually be produced and available—especially in the US. However, the German leader did tell journalists that right now, a maximum of 405 lb.-foot of torque is achievable and might be added to late-year models soon. Notoriously hush-hush until technology and models are soon to be released, this is one mean machine that you’ll have to add to your future bucket list.

More readily available technology includes a better stop/start system, a lighter weight body paneling system and smarter navigation. The latest VW technology takes note of your driving habits and turns engines off when you roll to a stop. It’s just one step closer to a “smart car”—which, of course, Volkswagen also has up their sleeve.

Volkswagen to Sponsor CNN

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Volkswagen just signed on as CNN’s first official auto sponsor of CNN Films—a documentary series which was added to the lineup in 2014. Even though it’s been several years since sponsored newscasts were “a thing”, if any duo has a chance of resurrecting this process it’s Volkswagen and CNN. The first film, “Ivory Tower,” premiered on November 20, 2014 to great reviews, and it’s no wonder. Tackling the hotly debated subject, “Is college worth the cost?” it kicked off a series that gets right into the heart of what matters.

For Volkswagen, this sponsorship means exclusive automotive marketing opportunities during the showing. Even though VW isn’t the only sponsor of CNN Films, it’s the only auto sponsor—which means screen time is reserved solely for Volkswagen makes and models. According to VW, their media firm, MediaCom, dreamt up the partnership and so far it’s working out beautifully. Previously, VW sponsored CNN’s series “The Sixties” and it proved to be a mutually beneficial endeavor.

The Perfect Match

Unsurprisingly, the details of the arrangement aren’t available, but Volkswagen has gone on record to say their commitment to spending on ads for CNN has doubled from last year. Thus far, the partnership is confirmed through the end of 2015, and many viewers saw early promotional clips at the end of 2014 (such as the “CNN Films, presented by VW” tagline). The sponsorship, outside of the Volkswagen ads themselves, are discreet and blend in.

However, there are some marketing experts who long for the days when sponsors got top billing. According to the Executive VP of CNN Sales and Marketing, Katrina Cukaj, the network is enjoying “sponsorship for our individual films” and “The idea became to find a partner we could work with, a quality partner that wanted to associate its brand with quality premium content.” It makes sense that VW was the obvious choice and Cukaj is certain the pairing will “drive more revenue for the company.”

VW’s Plans

As one of the leading auto manufacturers in the world, VW’s GM of Marketing Jennifer Clayton says, “By aligning with a program or a network in a more nontraditional approach, we hope to make more impact.” VW has also picked up NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” postgame show as another sponsorship. By connecting with established programming and/or networks, Volkswagen is making one thing clear: They’re both classic and give the people what they want, much like the brands they sponsor.

Keep an eye out for exclusive Volkswagen marketing, whether you prefer the CNN approach, postgame shenanigans or a little of both. You just might spot an ad for the Volkswagen machine of your dreams.