Volkswagen Newsroom

One Rabbit GTI fan’s years-long build of his ultimate custom car

February 24, 2020

However much you’ve worked on a single vehicle, chances are you haven’t done as much as Derek Spratt did to his 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI.

Over the course of seven years, Spratt estimates he spent more than 12,000 hours modifying his GTI and documenting his labor of love in over 180 videos on social media. The videos range from Spratt’s descriptions of basic electrical wiring to installing a modern digital dashboard in a vintage vehicle. His own estimate of his costs: $140,000.

And today, he doesn’t even own the car.

This Mk1 GTI was the first car Spratt purchased as a 21-year-old college student in Ontario, Canada. He was among Canada’s first buyers of a true GTI, which arrived that year with a 90-hp engine and stiffened suspension of the true European GTI.

“All the automotive magazines had the GTI on their cover, saying that it was the car everyone had to have,” he said.

In the summer of 1984, Spratt and his now-wife, Cheryl, drove down Highway 1 from Vancouver, Canada, to San Francisco and back in the GTI. When Spratt, a former CEO and venture capitalist, turned 50 in 2011, his fond memories of the car prompted him to chase the dream of customizing a GTI in extreme detail.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to the first car I had as a young man and revisit that time in my life?’” he said. “My goal was for the car to feel and drive like an original Mk1 but with modern capabilities. I wanted to show that you can take an old car to the point where it operates like a supercar — without taking away the fun factor.”

Spratt with the GTI he drove along Highway 1 with his wife in 1984. Photo courtesy of Spratt.

Although he sold his original GTI decades earlier, Derek found another that matched his original with the same build date from 1983. He bought it and got to work, spending long hours in the garage at night and on weekends, methodically taking apart and elevating every aspect of his beloved GTI by hand. Over time, Spratt boosted the acceleration, chassis rigidity, corning and braking performance on the GTI — acknowledging that his perfectionism complicated and lengthened the process.

“I wanted the car to be versatile and flawless with its mannerisms and behaviors,” he said.

Spratt also wanted a track-capable engine for his GTI. Working with an engine builder, he designed a custom engine, avoiding the easy route of turbocharging in favor of naturally aspirated power that helped save weight. When mated to a custom cooling system, the engine generated roughly 220 hp.

Spratt also updated the car to include modern creature comforts, such as electric windows, adjustable heated seats, push-button engine starting, an electronically adjustable brake system, two-axis accelerometers and a touch-screen digital dash.

Carefully documenting each step of the process online, he quickly grew a following. Passionate Volkswagen enthusiasts and classic car hobbyists from Sweden to South Africa began following his journey and sent him encouragement, questions and advice. Some followers even offered to send Derek rare parts to the GTI, knowing they can be difficult to come by.

At some of the more difficult moments in the modification process, it was the enthusiast community that kept him motivated to persevere.

The 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI. Photo courtesy of Spratt. Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards

“There were times that I felt like this project was eating me alive,” Spratt said. “This was one of the most extreme commitments to a project I have worked on.”

When he finally finished the “Ultimate GTI” in 2018, he knew how he wanted to celebrate.

“The first thing I did was take my 85-year-old dad out for a drive,” he said. “We are a family of engineers, particularly in the automotive space. I owe my love for German cars to my dad.”

He also raced the car on the track and took it to several auto shows where he connected with followers. One fan he met in person at an auto show in Vancouver said he had watched every one of his videos. “I thought, ‘Wow, I haven’t even watched them all!’” he said.

And to complete the circle from 34 years earlier, Derek re-created his trip down Highway 1 with his eldest son.

“You can tear apart every nut and bolt of a car and then go and drive it for 10,000 kilometers and have nothing bad happen to it,” Spratt said. “The car made it all the way there and back without any issues.”

When he felt he had spent enough time with his GTI masterpiece, he turned back to his community of classic car lovers to sell it. He connected with a young couple living in Vancouver who are also Volkswagen enthusiasts and sold them his vehicle at a fraction of the cost of the modifications.

Spratt does not count this as a loss.

“If you get into restoration and modification for the money, you should find a new hobby,” he said. “The purpose of the project was fulfilled for me. I made the car faster and better than before and pursued my passion for seven years.”

Spratt’s father seeing the fully modified GTI for the first time. Photo courtesy of Spratt. Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards.

He was thrilled to see his project in the hands of fellow Volkswagen enthusiasts who would fully appreciate his labor of love. “It was important to me to sell it to someone who would allow me to stay connected to the car,” Spratt said. “I can take it for a drive or a tune-up. I’m happy they have it and love it. And I’m glad I can see it now and again.”

After seven years of detailed building, most people might take a break. Spratt already has ideas for his next project.

“My long-term goal is to electrify a 1961 Beetle,” he says. “The technology behind converting a vintage vehicle to an electric car really interests me.”1


Volkswagen celebrates world debut of mobility research as contributor to exhibit at Guggenheim Museum

February 21, 2020
Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG, photo by Philipp Gladsome

In an effort to reframe the global debate about what urbanism means today, Volkswagen experts have teamed up with architect and urbanist Rem Koolhaas, and AMO, an internationally acclaimed research and design studio for the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), to collaborate on a project that reveals the radical changes and transformations being made to the world’s countryside. This month marks the public opening of the rotunda exhibition, “Countryside, The Future,” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

This exhibition is the first step of an advanced e-mobility project developed by Volkswagen experts with Koolhaas and headed by Samir Bantal, a creative director for AMO. Led by Peter Wouda, Director of the Volkswagen Group Innovation Center Europe and Holger Lange, Project Manager at Volkswagen Group Innovation, and supported by Volkswagen Group South Africa, the international team created a study for an electric tractor and related infrastructure, designed to help facilitate small-scale agriculture and increase the productivity of subsistence farmers while also improving power-supply and mobility in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This project was about creating a meaningful and holistic system, which if done right, has the potential to bring people together and support a community. The beauty of the design will be in its simplicity and in the joy of using it,” said Wouda.

Through this exhibition, Volkswagen, Koolhaas and OMA hope to highlight various academic and industry leads who are revolutionizing the concept of ‘the countryside.’ Using current global case studies, “Countryside, The Future” portrays how these advanced systems – some of which include artificial intelligence, automation, digitalization and large-scale territorial management – are altering and transforming landscapes around the world. One such case study is Volkswagen’s initiative for a potential electrical tractor-sharing in Africa.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG, photo by Philipp Gladsome

The suggested e-tractor would not be sold to individuals, but leased by communes and shared amongst villagers and smallholder-farmers, helping to enable individuals who can’t afford to buy their own equipment access to the specialized equipment. The design of the electric tractor ecosystem taps into the extremely high solar radiation present: the tractor comes with a network of solar charging stations and designed to be fully electric.

This project is the first of a broader collaboration between Volkswagen and AMO. The joint initiative further deepens Volkswagen’s commitment to social responsibility and cultural engagement. The next step for the e-tractor project will be setting up relationships between Volkswagen Group South Africa and different African collaborators, universities and stakeholders to share knowledge on the technical system and its implication on local communities.

“Countryside, The Future” exhibition will remain open at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, NY through Summer 2020.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG, photo by Philipp Gladsome

Why Volkswagen SUVs are a great companion for winter driving

February 18, 2020
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Winter is here, and you want a vehicle that can help you weather a storm. Enter the 2020 Atlas and Tiguan. These SUVs carry a variety of passengers and help you navigate changing road conditions with confidence. Check out the features that make Volkswagen SUVs a great companion for your winter adventures.

Heated seats and steering wheel: It’s not always practical to drive in gloves, and with an available heated steering wheel, you can ditch them faster. Another way to warm up before the heater kicks in is heated seats – and not just for the front row. The available second-row heated seats can also be warmed up on the Atlas, so your fellow passengers can also be toasty. Heated front seats and steering wheels are standard on SE trims and above on the Atlas and Tiguan, and the top-of-the-line Atlas SEL Premium includes heated outboard seats in the second row.

Heated front washer nozzles and side mirrors: Scraping ice off the windshield is never fun, and on the coldest days, your side mirrors can grow foggy and frosty. Heated side mirrors can help remove fog, and heated washer nozzles warm up the washer fluid to help you melt that pesky frost. Heated side mirrors are standard on both car models, while heated washer nozzles are standard on SE trims and above.

4Motion all-wheel drive: Conditions change in the winter, but not to worry – Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive can adapt to the conditions of the road and can activate before wheelspin occurs. During regular travel, 4Motion will send power to the front wheels but will shift that power to the rear wheels when necessary. 4Motion is available on every trim of Tiguan and Atlas.

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

Snow Mode1: Both the Atlas and Tiguan feature Active Control as a part of the 4Motion system, which allows the driver to select specific vehicle profiles based on driving conditions. When Snow Mode is engaged, the transmission upshifts earlier in the power cycle to help optimize traction. The Traction Control System (TCS) helps reduce engine power when it detects slippage from the individual wheel sensors and adapts its sensitivity to straight-line driving and cornering, where traction is of paramount importance. See above for 4Motion availability.

Hands-free tailgate: Getting into the hatch with your hands full can be a chore in any weather, but especially in winter with chilly temperatures. With the available foot-operated tailgate on Atlas and Tiguan, you can load up your snow gear quickly and easily. Available as a higher trim option on the Atlas and Tiguan.

Range remote start: With the convenient push of a button, you can warm up your car from the comfort of the indoors – a welcome start to those bitter-cold mornings. The range remote start kit2 is available as a higher trim option on the Atlas and Tiguan.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Design the race livery for the Atlas Cross Sport R

February 7, 2020

This November, Volkswagen plans to bring a new vehicle to the grueling desert races of Baja – the Atlas Cross Sport R race car, a specially-modified 480-hp purpose-built version of the brand’s all-new midsize SUV. Desert racing has always been among the most open and accessible motorsports in the world, and today Volkswagen announced it will be opening up the opportunity to design the race day look of the Atlas Cross Sport R race car.

Eligible fans can submit their own original design for the race livery of the Atlas Cross Sport R race car. A panel of Volkswagen designers, drivers and executives will pick the winning submission that will be adapted for the vehicle’s final look. Beyond the pride of their car wrap design becoming a reality on the course, the winner and a guest will have the chance to attend a pre-race test experience with Volkswagen.

“We are continuously amazed by the creativity of our customers and fans,” said Reto Brun, Director of Volkswagen’s Design Center in California. “This is the people’s race, and Volkswagen is the people’s car brand. We’re excited to see how people propose to outfit our latest off-road racer.”

Built from a variety of Volkswagen and custom racing components, including a 2-liter turbo four-cylinder engine adapted from Volkswagen’s successful rallycross program, the mid-engine Atlas Cross Sport R race car is currently being tested and further developed for racing this fall.

The winning design will be revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this June. Official Rules and details for the contest can be found here.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older or age of majority. Void where prohibited by law. Begins at 10:00 a.m. PT on 2/21/20 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on 3/31/20. For complete details see Official Rules click here.

Atlas Cross-Sport R race car is not available for sale.

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas: Arriving soon with new looks and tech

February 6, 2020

In three years, more than 170,000 Volkswagen Atlas sport utility vehicles have joined American families as the kids-and-stuff hauler of choice. With up to seven adult-sized seats, 17 cupholders and more cargo room than almost all of its competitors (96.8 cubic feet with second and third-row seats folded, to be exact), the Atlas has proven itself as a compelling family companion.

In the past, that might have been good enough for a three-year-old vehicle, but not in today’s market. Instead, Volkswagen today revealed a refreshed Atlas, based on Volkswagen’s understanding of what Americans want in their SUVs.

“This refreshed model brings all the functionality of the previous model, and ups the ante with new technology and more style,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

If you’ve seen the all-new Atlas Cross Sport, the new face of the Atlas will look familiar. The standard LED headlights, grille and bumper all adopt a similar theme, while the rear of the Atlas also gets redesigned LED taillights. On higher trims, the Atlas daytime running lights have a new two-line look; a new all-weather lamp takes the place of separate fog lamps, and a new dynamic range control and cornering system allows them to turn with the direction of the vehicle and automate high-to-low beams.

Under the sheet metal, the 2021 Atlas arrives with a plethora of available new technology and advanced driver-assistance features. The Lane Assist feature has been updated to help keep the Atlas stable within a lane, while the new Traffic Jam Assist helps maintain the following distance to the vehicle ahead, from a full stop in traffic up to 37 mph. If traffic starts moving again within three seconds, the system restarts the vehicle into the flow. If the stop is longer than three seconds, the driver can start things off again by tapping the gas pedal or the “Resume” button on the steering wheel. Meanwhile, Dynamic Road Sign Display can display select key road data like speed limits in the on-board navigation system.

Standard Driver Assistance features on all Atlas models include: Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Traffic Alert. Higher trims add features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Park Assist, which can automatically ease the Atlas into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.

As with most new Volkswagens, the 2021 Atlas will arrive with the new Car-Net® with available Wi-Fi hotspot as standard equipment, with a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. The interior has been reworked with a stylish new steering wheel and updated colors. To help keep everyone entertained, there’s now up to five available USB ports for charging in the first and second row.

Power choices for the Atlas remain either the 276-horsepower VR6 or the 235-hp (achieved with premium fuel) four-cylinder turbo, now available on all trims. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with Volkswagen’s 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system (which had not been previously available with the four-cylinder engine). The V6 is rated at 5,000 pounds for towing, when equipped with the V6 Towing package.

Most importantly, the smart features that make the Atlas so welcoming — like holding three child seats in the second row — remain for 2021. If you need a three-row SUV, the Atlas might be your most versatile choice.



Driver Assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important limitations.

VW Car-Net is available on most MY20 and newer vehicles.  Always pay careful attention to the road and do not drive while distracted.  Certain services require trial or paid subscriptions, which may have their own terms and conditions. VW Car-Net requires vehicle cellular connectivity and availability of vehicle GPS signal, and not all services and features are available on all vehicles.  Certain Car-Net services, such as Roadside Call Assist, connect out to 3rd party providers that may require additional payment.  Standard text and data rates may apply for app and web features.  Certain services may collect location and vehicle information. See Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, and other important information at

The Wi-Fi hotspot feature is intended for passenger use only. 4G LTE coverage is not available in all areas. See materials provided for terms, privacy, data security details. Requires trial or paid Wi-Fi plan from third party wireless provider.

Remote Car-Net services offered for 5 years from vehicle in-service date.

Maximum tow rating when equipped with V6 engine and factory-installed towing hitch. Vehicle load, other accessories and options may reduce maximum towing capacity. See the vehicle owner’s manual for details.

When installing child safety seats, always ensure that the child restraint system is positioned correctly, is securely attached to the vehicle, and does not contact any of the safety belt buckles. See owner’s literature for details.

Classic Volkswagens, modern EV power: The future of hot rodding

January 30, 2020

Embracing the future doesn’t have to mean letting go of the past—just look at the growing number of classic Volkswagens that people have converted to now run on electric power.

The mid-century Beetle and Bus have long been used as canvasses for hot rodders and customizers, with the Meyers Manx serving as an early example of such inspiration. In recent years, hobbyists have explored how to combine the old-school Volkswagen charm with no-tailpipe electric drivetrains.

Showcasing the possibilities of the e-Golf powertrain to motivate classic VW models, Volkswagen of America recently commissioned west coast electric vehicle conversion specialist EV West to construct an electrified Volkswagen Type 2 Bus. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Volkswagen of America joined in last year, commissioning California-based electric vehicle conversion specialist EV West to build a one-off concept vehicle by merging a 1972 Type 2 Microbus with the modern electric powertrain of a 2017 e-Golf. Over several months, EV West harvested the 134-hp electric motor, 35.8 kWh battery pack and all the necessary charging hardware from the e-Golf and arranged the pieces into the Type 2 body.

The goal? To demonstrate what’s possible.

“When people see a classic Volkswagen charging next to a Tesla at the grocery store, their jaws drop,” says Robert Tietje, a design e-mobility, charging and battery management expert at Volkswagen of America.

An exterior shot of the electrified Volkswagen Type 2 Bus concept vechile. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

Bolted into the rear where the Type 2’s 60-hp engine had been, the powertrain from the e-Golf is designed to give the bus an approximate range of 125 miles. EV West also installed regenerative breaking through a single-speed transmission and a high-voltage auxiliary unit for heating and air conditioning. Wiring harnesses and control units completed the process.

While EV drive systems are typically reliable and can be easy to work with, an older model’s original hardware can create challenges for the conversion team. “The technical challenges are mostly around trying to update the car in regard to the older systems—things like upgrading the vehicle’s brakes and suspension,” Bream says.

An electric drivetrain from an e-Golf now powers the Type 2 concept vehicle. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

This transplant gives the Bus a more modern and refined driving quality but keeps intact its vintage charm. “The Bus is iconic because of its character,” says Michael Bream, the CEO of EV West, who drives an electric Volkswagen himself. “We want to preserve that character. We take our technology to the limits to make the vehicle more enjoyable to drive, without altering the classic driving experience.”

Although the movement to drive electric has been alive for over half a century, Tietje and Bream have seen a spike in electric vehicle deployment over the past ten years. The trend has grown so much that EV West now works on around twelve projects at a time and has a multi-year waitlist for new conversions.

Bream attributes this to two things: “People want to drive the classic car that they love, but they want to do it sustainably and dependably.” The Type 2 Microbus has always been popular for its charm, and there is usually a sentimental reason that people choose to convert. “Maybe it was their first car, or their parents’ car or the car they took on a road trip,” Tietje says. “People don’t want to let that go.”

The interior of the electrified Volkswagen Type 2 Bus concept vechile. Disclaimer: Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale.

For Bream, switching to electric mitigates a few negatives that are associated with hot rodding. “Driving classic cars is always fun, but with an older car, you do worry about the old car breaking down or whether you need to stop for gas,” he said. Since converting his car, he drives without the worry associated with driving a decades-old car. “It really changes people’s whole perception of driving,” he says.

Volkswagen’s efforts illustrate how an iconic vehicle like the Type 2 Microbus can get in on the trend of going electric and have a second—and more sustainable—life. Many of these models have already survived for decades, and with a lower-maintenance EV powertrain, can have many years left to run.

“A converted car can drive sustainably well into the future. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a vintage electric bus driving down the road 100 years from now,” Bream says. “They can last a lifetime—or several lifetimes.”

The modifications described are complex and dangerous, and they should only be handled by experienced professionals.  Modifying vehicles in the manner described can adversely affect compliance with required safety & other standards and can increase risk of fire and injury.

The ‘Timeless’ appeal of the Warren Miller Entertainment film franchise

January 28, 2020
“Timeless,” Warren Miller’s latest film, commemorates the past seven decades of ski cinematography and the future of the sport.

Year after year, ski bums and snowboard enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the start of the winter season. The annual ski-and-ride flick from Warren Miller Entertainment marks this occasion by capturing the joy, skill and adrenaline-pumping action that attracts viewers of all ages and backgrounds to extreme snow sports.

“Everywhere we go, people are excited to kick off winter with us. Even if it’s 70 degrees in southern California, people are out there with goggles on their heads and are fired up to celebrate the beginning of the season,” says WME road crew manager Colin Barry. “It’s always been the canon of the ski industry and, 70 years running, we’re still going.”

“Timeless,” Warren Miller’s latest film, commemorates the past seven decades of ski cinematography and the future of the sport by following top winter athletes in challenging locales around the world, including the mountains of British Columbia, the slopes of the Colorado Rockies and the rooftop of the European Alps.

“The goal every year is to go out and keep Warren Miller’s legacy alive,” says film producer Ian Anderson. “Our intention is to capture the best ski action possible at the best places you can ski with some of the best athletes on the planet.”

This year’s talented cast of characters includes ski veterans Glen Plake, Rob “Kinger” Kingwill and Forrest Jillson along with fresh faces like Olympian Jaelin Kauf and alpine ski racer Erin Mielzynski.

And, while WME films tend to incorporate some footage from their extensive archives, the team focused more heavily on fresh footage shot between December 2018 and May 2019.

“Primarily, most of the footage you see in the film was all shot last year,” Anderson explains. “In the past three years alone, we’ve doubled the amount of footage that we’ve shot in the past. This year alone, we are looking at close to 100 terabytes [for context, 1 terabyte of storage is equivalent to the storage capacity of roughly eight smart phones] and 200-300 hours’ worth of footage.”

Technologies, like drones, have completely changed the game for the film crew. “It’s offered us the capability to shoot next-level action shots and not have to pay for a helicopter to capture it,” Anderson says.

Despite advancements in technology, the crew is still always at the whim of weather and snow conditions.

“I kid you not, we literally had every single kind of snow condition you could imagine during our shoots, from icy steeps to nice perfect corn, to a little bit of powder, to just rotten, rotten slush,” says Anderson. “That said, we always have guides and professionals with us in the field, making sure we are staying safe.”

Having Volkswagen vehicles like the Atlas and Tiguan on hand over the course of film shooting and production, as well as with the WME film tour team, has also helped ease logistics, Anderson says. “They have a ton of room, which is great because we haul so much gear everywhere we go. We would pack all our gear and it would ride smoothly, even during a variety of driving conditions. It was nice knowing we had a car that could handle many variables thrown at it.”

WME is currently on the road with the film and has hosted 157 screenings in 103 different cities across the country, as well as select venues in Canada. “I think we put 7,000 miles on our Atlas in a month,” says Barry. “It is, by far, the best car we’ve ever had.”

The film will now also be available on streaming services. “It’s a film that literally offers something for everyone, no matter what kind of skier you are – from an early beginner to a seasoned vet,” says Anderson.

Helping train the next generation of auto technicians

January 24, 2020
To help address the growing need for trained automotive technicians, Volkswagen will donate 31 Atlas SUVs and diagnostics equipment to technician programs across the country.

Volkswagen recognizes the need for vehicles to be in the hands of students to help educate and equip tomorrow’s technicians with the tools necessary for future employment.

Over the next few months, Volkswagen will donate 31 Atlas SUVs and diagnostics equipment to trade schools and career centers across the country.

The goal? To help address the growing need for trained automotive technicians who understand both the hardware and the increasingly complex software in modern vehicles. With such skills in high demand by many industries, simply learning the nuts and bolts of automotive repair no longer suffices.

“There is a national shortage of technicians, and it’s expected to grow as many technicians are, or are very close to, retirement age. We have to start looking for avenues to backfill these individuals,” says Jon Meredith, Volkswagen national service operations manager.

Volkswagen will donate 31 Atlas SUVs and diagnostics equipment to U.S. trade schools and career centers.

Today, more than 770,000 people work as automotive technicians and mechanics across the country, according to federal government estimates. While the overall number of roles remains steady, federal labor experts and the automotive industry estimate the need for new technicians at tens of thousands of workers per year just to maintain current openings – demand that’s greater than what trade schools can currently supply with graduates.

“As an industry, we need to come up with different ways of thinking and doing to attract young people to this industry,” Meredith added. As a vehicle manufacturer, Volkswagen sees tremendous value in partnering with dealers and the technical and trade schools in their markets to bring both the Volkswagen product and diagnostic equipment to the younger generation considering a career in the automotive industry.

The Volkswagen ODIS software used to diagnose and update vehicles would normally have to be purchased directly from Volkswagen under the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act and would be out of reach of many programs. The selected schools will also collaborate with local dealerships to provide supplemental assistance and instruction on the donated equipment.

Darin Lewis, an automotive instructor at Ohio’s Medina County Career Center, says the Volkswagen Atlas and software will be the newest vehicle in his school’s training fleet by a decade.

“It goes far beyond donating a physical car. With the technology, they are providing their entry-level curriculum,” Lewis says. “I look back when I was in school and you were either a Ford guy or a Chevy guy. Those days are long gone.

“To have something that’s the latest and greatest out there – and to be able to show students, ‘This is where the industry is headed’ – is important.”

How one gourmet coffee shop gets up and goes with an Atlas

January 16, 2020

Looking for an excuse to indulge in a better-than-average cup of joe? You don’t have to go any further than National Gourmet Coffee Day, which takes place this Saturday.

In honor of the caffeinated holiday, Volkswagen chose to spotlight Dom’s Coffee, a family-run coffee business out of Avon, CT. The European-style coffee store opened in May of 2015 by Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene, who both emigrated to America from Lithuania with their family in 2013.

Named after their 8-year-old son, Dominykas, specialties of Dom’s Coffee include craft brews and locally sourced, scratch-made treats. Their artistically crafted drinks include espressos, affogatos, specialty lattes (honey, maple, matcha, and charcoal, just to name a few), cold brews and hot chocolates.

Dominykas poses with a cup of joe from Dom’s Coffee. The beloved European-style coffee store was opened by his parents, Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene, in May 2015.

The bright, minimalist brewhouse was recently recognized as the most beautiful coffee shop in the state by a national architectural magazine. “It’s really been an amazing adventure, and a lot of that is thanks to our community,” says Plankiene. “They are really supportive [of us] and people really appreciate what we offer.”

In addition to their popular brick-and-mortar shop in Farmington Valley, the family has a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar, which can be set-up and operated out of the trunk of their Volkswagen Atlas R-Line, when the car is parked. The mobile bar components are securely stored away in the vehicle when the car is in motion.1

The Volkswagen Atlas R-Line offers “a beautiful, modern, European-feel that is authentic to our brand,” Plankis said. Also, he loves that the car is spacious, and can be used for both business and family trips. “Our Atlas is a large part of our lives,” he says.

Dom’s Coffee built a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar that can be set-up and operated out of the trunk of their Volkswagen Atlas R-Line when the car is parked. Disclaimer: Professional installation required to minimize risk of injuries in a crash event and reduce the chance of an accidental fire.

A regular fixture at their local Volkswagen dealership, the couple participate in regular Cars and Coffee events hosted by the Volkswagen’s showroom on Sundays. They serve espresso drinks from the trunk of their Atlas-R Line and answer questions about their Volkswagen to interested parties. “Most people are shocked because they had never seen anything like that before,” Plankiene says. In addition to their Atlas, their roster of former Volkswagen vehicles include a Passat and two Jetta cars, including a Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition.

With their portable coffee bar, the couple has the chance to grow in their community steadily and economically. “We know from our experience that opening a new coffee shop is quite expensive because of all the equipment, staffing, and rent,” Plankis said. By adding a mobile component to their brick-and-mortar enterprise, they can reach new audiences and build new customers. They hope that their unique set-up helps them inspire future baristas to enter the coffee business as well.

“We want it to be an inspiration to people,” said Plankiene. “You don’t need to start big to start a business. You can start small.”

Driving imagination with the new MoMA

January 13, 2020
Artists at the People’s Studio at the Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Credit: Beatriz Meseguer/

Arts education takes center stage at the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. As a partner since 2011 and the lead sponsor of MoMA education since 2015, Volkswagen is proud to support new, outstanding enrichment opportunities for museum-goers.

The new MoMA opened its doors in the fall with an expanded campus, a groundbreaking new curatorial approach, and the centering of education—both physically and programmatically—as part of its new vision.

Of the new MoMA’s educational experience, Wendy Woon, MoMA’s Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education at MoMA, says: “Art museums are not just repositories of great objects from the past, they are vital public spaces for questioning, investigation, and for people to come together and connect to something bigger than themselves. That’s why as part of the new MoMA, education is infused throughout the entire museum experience. Now more than ever, we need the kind of empathy that is derived from imagining bigger. Arts education is essential to this process and Volkswagen’s support makes that a reality for every visitor who walks through our doors.”

Particularly notable in the new MoMA is the Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab, a dedicated space for arts education at the heart of the museum. The new Crown Creativity Lab creates a welcoming and experimental space for visitors to engage with and reflect upon their experiences with art, learn about artists’ processes and explore their own creativity.

An artist at work at the Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Credit: Beatriz Meseguer/

“We chose ‘The People’s Studio: Collective Imagination’ as our theme for the first experiment in the Crown Creativity Lab because we believe that imagining bigger means imagining together,” Woon says. “The challenge to ‘imagine bigger’ is not about ‘more’ in the sense of accumulating or taking over new territory or expanding and setting boundaries that divide us. Rather, it is a challenge to step back, take a bird’s eye view, and to see the interconnectedness of all people and of nature, and to know that we all play a part in the health and well-being of our world.”

Beyond the Crown Creativity Lab, education filters into MoMA’s galleries and is infused throughout the entire museum experience. From imaginative gallery experiences, school tours, and teacher workshops, to community programs, art spaces for LGBTQ students and allies and family tours, there is something for everyone.

The Volkswagen-sponsored education opportunities even expand into the online space, as MoMA recently launched its free, six-week online course, What is Contemporary Art? The online class, available on Coursera, explores art created between 1980 and today, and provides an in-depth look at over 70 pieces from MoMA’s collection. Learners can hear directly from the artists, designers, and architects during each class and can focus their studies across five different themes.

The People’s Studio at the Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Credit: Beatriz Meseguer/
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Findlay Volkswagen Henderson
Findlay Volkswagen Henderson
983 Auto Show Drive
Henderson, NV, 89014 US
(702) 857-6723
Findlay Volkswagen Henderson 36.044226, -115.0295745.