Innovating the future at VW’s Electronics Research Lab

Located in Silicon Valley, Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) is the epicenter of the company’s vehicle electronics expertise in North America and its largest research facility outside of Germany. More than 160 ERL engineers, social scientists, researchers, product designers and psychologists work with teams across the globe to develop technologies for future generations of vehicles. From autonomous driving to connected mobility, the high-tech lab is charged with creating breakthrough ideas for VW Group brands, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. Last week, VW Group announced a new collaboration with Aurora Technologies to speed the development of software and hardware for driverless vehicles. VW Newsroom asked the ERL’s Executive Director, Nikolai Reimer, to describe his role and vision for ERL, what makes it unique, and how he draws top talent to drive innovation. Question: How have your past roles prepared you for your current role at the ERL? Reimer: I started my career at Bosch as an engineer focused primarily on navigation software and services. For the past 16 years, I have worked with VW Group in a variety of research and development (R&D) leadership roles overseeing technologies ranging from navigation and infotainment to mobile online services. At every turn, I have been lucky to work with incredible international teams across the globe on highly exciting, cutting edge technology products. I’ve also been lucky to have had consistently excellent managers and mentors who led by example at each phase of my career. Question: You recently moved from a position in Wolfsburg to Silicon Valley – what are your first impressions? Reimer: I miss the rain (kidding). As someone who loves outdoor activities, I’m amazed by the abundance and variety of nature in the Valley. Combined with the great climate of Northern California it is a truly beautiful place to live. The work culture is also different in many ways. The most obvious difference is the diversity of industries and people at work here in the Silicon Valley. However, as diverse as we are in the Valley, there is one thing that unites most of the people who live here. It is the drive to build the future, not just to be prepared to face it. Question: What is your vision for the ERL? What do you see as the biggest opportunity/challenge? Reimer: Our core purpose is “innovate to drive change.” Innovation is definitely the fun part. Everyone in Silicon Valley is very innovation driven. Over almost two decades, the ERL has developed a solid process to keep our focus on the right collaborations and the most relevant ideas to drive change that will have a real impact for driver experience and society as a whole. The integration of Google’s satellite map and online voice-enabled destination search, as well as a predictive navigation algorithm, are only few examples of ERL’s innovations that have been shipped with millions of vehicles around the globe. Question: How do you define future mobility? Reimer: With respect to technology, future mobility is increasingly electrified and automated. We at the ERL envision a future mobility where both usership and ownership of vehicles will coexist. We anticipate that seamless multimodality will combine public and private transportation into one organic service powered by big data and artificial intelligence. We are hopeful that future mobility will also include digital travel with the help of ubiquitous broadband access to the internet at a low cost and advancement in virtual reality and augmented reality. This means that you won’t have to travel physically but “beam” yourself to the destination. It’s like going to places without necessarily moving. Question: How will we get there? What role do you see the ERL playing?  Reimer: The amazing reduction of computing costs, ubiquitous connectivity and innovations in sensor and battery technology are the main building blocks for the most significant innovations we are working on. At the ERL, we leverage the unique benefits of the Silicon Valley for the Volkswagen Group. Specifically, we cooperate with universities and startups on promising, emerging technologies such as sensors for autonomous driving and battery technology. Our focus is on connected mobility, autonomous driving and holistic user experience to help improve the driver experience and drive meaningful change. ERL’s proximity to the local tech giants allows us to be the perfect incubation place for joint innovations as well as a reliable local collaborator for product development. Question: What connected-car services is VW Group working on for customers? Reimer: We put our customers and their digital experiences at the center of our innovations. More than ever, it will be the anticipation of customers’ mobility needs and the provision of mobility services which are seamlessly integrated alongside other services like entertainment, education or shopping. Over-the-air software updates via available connected-car services could also allow automatic upgrades to the vehicles technology packages, which can help enhance the enjoyment of one’s car. Question: Which technologies do you believe are the most promising for the next five years? Reimer: There are many important trends in technology emerging right now that will likely serve to reshape the industry as a whole – from car maker to mobility service provider. Some notable ones include artificial intelligence and deep learning, on-demand services, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, edge and fog computing, intelligent agents and 3-D printing for manufacturing, just to name a few. Trends outside of technology will be equally important to the overall story of what’s now being called Industry 4.0.  For instance, the growing middle class, aging population, urbanization, economic power shift and climate change will all impact the automotive industry in dramatic ways.  Question: How do you see autonomous driving and connectivity changing the industry? Reimer: Generally, it is anticipated that widespread adoption of autonomous driving can greatly reduce accident rates and significantly extend the lifespan of a vehicle. Now think about the impact on the insurance industry. Think about the impact to the spare parts and repair industry. The benefits to the elderly and disabled will be immense.  The entire mobility ecosystem is undergoing a disruption not seen since the invention of the car itself. Smartphone connectivity on the other hand was the key enabler for ride-hailing and ride-sharing services. Multi-billion dollar mobility services companies emerged in a matter of a few short years by simply making an app that could easily, conveniently, and cost-effectively feed the mobility needs for millions of people. Nothing was really invented here. It all came from a few people with a clever idea in the form of a business model. I’m convinced there are many more vehicle-related business opportunities to be discovered, as more and more cars get connected and automated. Question: VW has ambitious goals in autonomous driving tech. What role does the ERL play in meeting them? Reimer: At the ERL, we have a long history in working on autonomous cars. In 2005, we won the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge with our Touareg “Its autonomous driving technology was developed in strong cooperation with the Stanford University. The ERL was also the first entity in the Group to start considering how humans would interact both inside and outside of these cars in a safe and trustworthy manner. In 2015, Audi was the first company to allow non-engineers in the driver’s seat of a car equipped with highway pilot technology to go on a 566-mile test drive from Silicon Valley, Calif. to CES in Las Vegas, Nevada. Significant parts of this technology have been developed and integrated by the ERL. Today, we are applying deep learning methods, new sensor and IT technology in a completely new engineering process to build tangible prototypes. Transferred to our Engineering teams in Germany, this is a significant contribution to the effort of the Volkswagen Group to continue to be the leading and most innovative global car maker. Question: What’s happening at the ERL in the field of advanced battery research? Reimer: I cannot talk too much about this. In cooperation with start-ups, we have made significant progress that we will be able to demonstrate in the near future. Question: What is your perspective on EVs and the biggest hurdles? The future of cars is electric. Energy density, safety and battery life time will remain a big challenge for our industry. But I’m very optimistic, seeing the recent progress in our company and the number of start-ups tackling these issues with promising concepts. On the other hand, a competitive charging technology and infrastructure providing 100% renewable energy for EVs is a hurdle that can only be solved in strong cooperation between car industry, grid providers and public administration/regulation. Question: With technically talented people in such high demand around Silicon Valley, how do you draw top talent to VW Group? What do you look for when evaluating candidates? Reimer: Many great talents want to join the ERL team because of the incredible scale of our company, which gives our engineers the potential to immediately work on products that are shipped globally about 10 million times a year. They are also drawn to the power of the Volkswagen Group and the opportunity to work with automotive brands like Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche. We have seven core teams at work within the ERL in areas ranging from Technology and Strategy to Mobile and Cloud Intelligence. We look for people with deep expertise in a particular area, combined with excellent collaboration and communications skills. Question: What’s a fact about the ERL that would surprise people? Reimer: One interesting fact about the ERL is that it is one of the smallest, yet most diverse business units in a company of more than 600,000 employees. There are people here from every continent on the planet – besides Antarctica of course. I lived on three different continents before moving to California. In this aspect, Silicon Valley for me feels very much like the right place to be. As a father of six kids, I have a very strong sense of my personal, but also our corporate, responsibility to use today’s resources and opportunities to provide a more sustainable working and living environment for the generations to come. I am sure that the current way of exponential change will impact my 16-year-old daughter even differently than my youngest twins who have not yet turned two. However, still in the future people will be on some sort of journey – whether that’s for business or for pleasure; whether that’s short or long; or whether that’s physical or digital/virtual. We at the VW Group ERL are working hard to make every journey enjoyable.

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New Gear for the New Year

Whether you’re taking up kayaking this year (hello New Year’s resolution to be more fit) or you just need extra space, a set of Base Carrier Bars makes the perfect accessory. Customized attachments for bikes, skis, and snowboards can help you stay active all year long—and leave plenty of space inside to stretch out on the way home.1 The best adventures see their fair share of dirt and debris. No problem! Monster Mats (high-quality, all-season floor mats) help protect your floors from dirt, snow, sand, mud, rain, and slush.2 Take them out, hose them off, and you’re ready for the next adventure. Perfect for long road trips, the Universal Tablet Holder attaches to the front-seat headrest and securely holds a tablet or smartphone in place.3 Tap and swipe, pull up a movie, and instantly create a rear-seat entertainment center to occupy even the fussiest travelers. This is the year when “Are we there yet?” becomes “We’re there already?” Easy to install, the Snakey Headrest Hanger attaches to front-seat headrests creating a set of hooks to help you keep your car organized. No more backpacks, clothes, or trash bags on the floor! Emergencies don’t announce themselves. But you can help prepare yourself for a number of situations with the VW Roadside Assistance Kit. Complete with booster cables, tools, warning triangle, blanket, LED flashlight, poncho, work gloves, cable ties, bandages, and a whistle. Tiny details can make a big difference in how you feel about your ride. Whether you prefer polished exhaust tips, brass valve stem caps, a sleek steel license plate frame, or a stylish door sill protector, you’re sure to find something to find the flair that sets your car apart from the crowd.

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The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta arrives in all-new style

For some three decades, the Volkswagen Jetta has been among the most popular European cars in America, with 3.2 million sold since its debut here in 1980. Americans have long embraced the Jetta’s combination of timeless style, affordability and crisp driving dynamics that set it apart from an ever-evolving field. All of which makes redesigning the Jetta for the 2019 model a tall order. To walk us through the changes, we sat down with Daniel Shapiro, product manager for the 2019 Jetta. Q: What’s new about this Jetta? Daniel Shapiro: Almost everything is completely new; there’s almost nothing shared between the current model and the 2019 Jetta save the basic engine. The bold, coupe-like styling announces just how different it is. The basic suspension layout is similar, but even things like the brake booster and master cylinder have been changed. It’s larger than the outgoing model; it is now 1.7 inches longer and 0.8 inches wider, with a wheelbase that is 1.3 inches longer. of We’ve added a host of new available features, like standard LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, 10-color ambient lighting, and ventilated seats. The Jetta is also the first North American VW vehicle to offer a Beats premium sound system. Plus, because the car is now based on the MQB platform, it enables us to bring a whole new list of available driver assistance features. For those people who like a little more aggressive styling, this is the first Jetta to be offered in R-Line trim. And the new Jetta’s pricing starts at $18,545, before destination charges, which is less than the outgoing model.” Q: Why is there a new Jetta at all? Do Americans even like small cars anymore? Shapiro: The market for small cars continues to be extremely strong. Compact sedans far outsell compact hatches or coupes. For a lot of shoppers, fuel economy can be paramount, and sedans will typically outperform an SUV by that measure. There’s no reason to look away from the compact car market. If anything, we see even more competition evolving within that segment, and more differentiation from brand to brand. There’s a historical importance to the Jetta, as it has been the entry to the VW brand in America, and we don’t see that changing. Q: Who were you thinking of as the typical person who would buy this new Jetta? Shapiro: Our buyer base is very diverse. You have your entry owner, those who are getting their first job, or are buying their first new car. There’s the young professional who aspires for something great, who wants no compromises. You also have older buyers who may be downsizing from a larger sedan or SUV who want all the features but are looking for a vehicle with better fuel economy and great driving dynamics in a smaller package. That’s the real strength of the Jetta. It’s a versatile platform that serves the gamut from drivers who want a comfortable commuter all the way to people that want to push the driving limits. It exudes a much higher quality feel and a more premium driving experience than our competitors. 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Facts Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® four-cylinder, Power: 148 hp, 184 lb-ft of torque Transmission: 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic Trims: S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium and R-Line Wheelbase: 105.7 inches On sale: Second quarter 2018. Q: What was the goal in redesigning the Jetta? Shapiro: The Jetta name has established itself as the affordable European sedan which offers great design, quality and driving dynamics. Our goal was to build a Jetta that delivers on that heritage while writing the next chapter in the story. We saw the all-new Jetta as an opportunity to reinvent the compact sedan. First, we focused on building a great vehicle with respect to value, fuel economy, and reliability, using the proven 1.4-liter TSI engine and new eight-speed automatic transmission. And second, we brought Jetta further into a rapidly developing digital world with key available features like the Digital Cockpit, driver personalization, and full LED lighting. Q: How would you describe the styling changes? Shapiro: Overall, the all-new Jetta embodies the fusion of a sleek and sporty design with everyday usability. The combination of large front grille, sharper lines and LED lighting creates a sportier, coupe-like profile and that exudes a bold character with premium style. A fast sloping roof line gives a dynamic appearance. Meanwhile, the Jetta’s entire interior has been rethought and refreshed. A driver-oriented cockpit with the infotainment screen placed high in the dashboard gives the interior of the all-new Jetta a modern look and makes vehicle information easily accessible to the driver. And all the materials you touch and feel exhibit a high quality of workmanship, a VW strength. Q: What’s the most important technology upgrade on the Jetta? Shapiro: The expansion of available driver assistance technologies will take the Jetta into the next decade. In designing the Jetta, we thought in advance of what technologies people will want, from lane departure warning (lane assist) to adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, where the car can slow itself down, then resume your chosen speed. We’ve seen the usage pattern of such technologies evolve very quickly, where they go from being new and amazing to being practically essential. Rear-view cameras were once like that, and blind-spot warnings are becoming like that now; people are gradually being exposed to it, and once they see the advantages they embrace it. It’s not technology for technology’s sake, it’s how to help improve the driving experience. Q: What’s the first thing people will notice when they sit in the new Jetta, compared to the current model? Shapiro: The cockpit is now driver oriented — the dash curves around, and the center console is angled toward the driver. The instrument cluster and the radio are high on the dash; and with the clear VW instrumentation you have a wall of information at eye level and fingertip reach to make it easy to use. With the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit option, your vehicle is filled with cutting-edge technology. Nobody in the Jetta’s segment comes close to that offering of fully configurable instrument cluster tech. Beyond that the new Jetta has wrap-around ambient lighting in 10 user-configurable colors, a first for VW, which instantly changes the interior ambience. Those colors are coordinated across the instrument panel and with the driving modes; if you switch into sport mode, the colors shift into red. The seats are all-new, and the interior integrates fewer hard plastics and many more soft textures. There’s more color choices available, plus leather seating surfaces with ventilation and heating are available. Q: If someone asks how the Jetta stacks up to the competition, what would you say? Shapiro: I’d say it’s not just fun to drive — that’s always been a VW strength – but that the new Jetta is also fun to be in. One of our key new features is personalization, available even on the entry model Jetta. Every new Jetta can have different settings for up to four drivers, from simple things like radio presets to the memory for power driver’s seats. That radio, by the way, comes with AppConnect standard, but can also be configured with the new 400-watt BeatsAudio system that makes it easy to plug in, turn on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and rock out. The new Jetta meets or exceeds the competition in many areas. It’s a fantastic car that raises the bar.  I think owners old and new will find a lot about the 2019 Jetta that surprises and delights them, and I can’t wait for them to try it later this year. 1

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Mimi runs across America, and into the unknown

However far you think is too far to run, Mimi Anderson has run farther. The 55-year-old British grandmother of three holds multiple World Records for distance running and ultra-marathons. She’s competed in more than 50 long-distance events from the Sahara to Death Valley, the jungles of Peru to the Arctic, running dozens of miles in a day and becoming an inspiration for many. In September, she attempted to set a new World Record for a woman running across the United States from Los Angeles to New York. The previous record was set in 1979 with a trek of 2,850 miles in 69 days. Anderson’s goal was to accomplish the run in 53 days—a pace roughly equal to running two marathons a day for nearly two months. Anderson’s journey wasn’t just about pushing her own limits, but also serving others by raising money for cancer research. Volkswagen of America championed her endeavors, providing two support vehicles, a Volkswagen Tiguan Limited and Golf Alltrack, which Anderson and her crew affectionately named “Tiggie” and “Penelope.” All long-distance races have their surprises, and this effort would test Anderson in a way she had not expected. She sat down with VW Newsroom to share the long, emotional journey. VW Newsroom: First, how did you get into endurance running? Mimi Anderson: It is rather a silly thing, really. I always wanted to have thinner legs, so I took up running. I started training on a treadmill. Literally, I couldn’t even run for a minute. So, I gradually got on a treadmill and taught myself how to run. Eventually, I would run for three miles without stopping, so I was very pleased with myself. That’s how it all started, on a treadmill. And that was in 1999 when I was 36. VW Newsroom: What was the longest race you’d run before this goal? Mimi Anderson: The Freedom Trail in South Africa. We basically ran over 1,000 miles across South Africa in 2014, it was an amazing adventure. VW Newsroom: Why do you push yourself to run such long distances? Mimi Anderson: I do like to have a challenge. I’m constantly looking for ways to push my boundaries and limits—beyond what most people could even imagine is possible. Running has taken me all over the world, and allowed me to have some extraordinary adventures I would not have otherwise been able to experience. I decided to run in South Africa, because it has always been a country I’ve loved. I was looking for something to do and somebody said, “Why don’t you run across the Freedom Trail?” It just seemed absolutely perfect. The scenery was breathtaking. VW Newsroom: What gave you the idea to run across United States? Mimi Anderson: I’ve run the lengths of the UK and have achieved the female world record for that, and hold the female world record for the length of Ireland. Ever since 2011, I’ve always wanted to run across America, because to me, that’s the ultimate challenge as far as a road event is concerned. The record was originally set in 1979. I knew it was doable, if everything went in the right direction. The thought of starting on the West Coast and continuing running until I eventually end up on the East Coast was something that excited me. VW Newsroom: What was the high point of the effort for you? Mimi Anderson: For me, it was my fantastic crew who supported me during the run, but also going through all the different states—we had 12 states to go through and they were all so different. Obviously, we were starting off in California and the one thing I noticed about California is that the skies are so big. I mean, they’re massive. Everything seems much, much bigger than in the UK. You then go into Arizona and you’ve got the mountains. They are quite scraggily sort of mountains and red in color. Going into Colorado you’ve got the beautiful colors of all the trees as it was the fall and all the leaves were beginning to change on the trees. We were surrounded by beautiful mountains, very different to Arizona. It was wonderful to meet lovely people along the way. A group of 6 people would turn up with a great big RV and two vehicles and people let complete strangers stay on their property or would cheer me through a town, it really was very special. Two marvelous guys in Missouri even bought us all breakfast at 4 a.m. I had lots of people who came and ran with me and the moments spent with the runners was wonderful and something I will never forget. Everyone was very generous with their time and to complete strangers. VW Newsroom: What was your day-to-day routine like? Mimi Anderson: I would be woken up at 4:30 a.m. and my crew would also get up, make me by breakfast and one of them would get ready to run with me. Breakfast consisted of a smoothie and a coffee which I drank while getting dressed. All my kit would have been laid out the night before to make it easier and quicker in the morning, so all I had to do was literally get dressed. I would start running at 5 a.m. My support vehicle with two crew members in (one would be my physio) would meet me every 4 miles for the first 4 stops of the day then it would be every 3 miles. I would run between 30 to 32 miles, then have a short lunch break of about 20 minutes to half an hour. After my lunch break I would continue running for a further 28-ish miles. During the last section of the day the RV would find a suitable and safe place to park up and on my arrival I stopped my watches, showered, had some food, a massage then sleep. On events such as these you need to have a good routine, not just for me but for the crew as well. If you don’t have a routine, then nothing works properly. It’s extremely important that everyone knows what they are doing. VW Newsroom: From the start of the effort, how did you feel physically? Mimi Anderson: My training got me used to running long distances every day. I wake up quite early at home, so I didn’t mind waking up at 4:30 a.m. in America. There was only one day, when I actually felt tired during the day, my crew were totally on the ball and made sure I had lots of coffee to keep me awake, but that was the only day I actually felt physically tired. VW Newsroom: Along the way, what was the most challenging part? Mimi Anderson: The toughest part for me was when we were going on Route 40 in Illinois. It was a really busy road, and on huge sections of it there was no hard shoulder at all. I was concentrating the whole time on the cars coming towards me, thinking “is that car going to hit me or will it go round me go so it doesn’t hit me or is it going to continue coming towards me?” You are constantly watching the cars; I nearly got hit about three times—pretty frightening. There was one occasion, where I was absolutely shattered from just literally watching the cars. I got into my RV for lunch and the thought of going out again into that traffic was simply awful, but I had to do it. I was trying to set a new world record, I had no choice—there was nowhere else to run. That, I think, was the hardest part. VW Newsroom: Did you get any fans to stop and run with you along the way? Mimi Anderson: There were a few people who turned up and ran with me which was lovely. One man just turned up, and took me through his town of Alamosa in Colorado, which was fantastic and he had also arranged a crowd to cheer me through. Another guy who was a marathon runner had heard my interview in the United Kingdom, so he turned up and ran with me for about 6 miles each day for two days and a marvelous group of ladies from Archie, Mo., came out and ran with me along part of the Katy Trail. Loved them all for taking the time to run with me. VW Newsroom: How did the vehicles help out? Mimi Anderson: The vehicles were fantastic, making a huge difference to the day to day running of the event making life much easier for the crew and safer for me. VW very kindly gave us two vehicles—the Tiguan and Golf Alltrack—so one of them was always with me. The Alltrack had all of my food, drinks, medical stuff and everything I needed as I ran. This vehicle would go two to three miles ahead and wait for me. If it started pouring or something happened, it would turn around and come and drop off my raincoat or whatever I needed. The Tiguan was great, because it enabled the crew—because our RV was so big—to actually go scout my route ahead. There were occasions where we had to take a slightly different route because the planned one was flooded. The Tiguan was also used for the crew to go off and do laundry and buy food, without having to take the big RV with them. Both vehicles were invaluable—couldn’t have done without them. VW Newsroom: By the 40th day, you’d run 2,217.2 miles through nine states and raised $12,000 for charity. What happened in Indiana? Mimi Anderson: The last of two weeks or so, my right leg was getting more and more painful. You notice in some of the pictures, my leg was going in toward my left leg in sort of a V-shape. Subconsciously I was trying to take the pressure of the leg as it was so incredibly painful. Because of this I began to lean to the left causing my back to become sore although I felt as though I was running straight. If I didn’t concentrate on my posture I felt as though I would fall over – a very odd feeling. The pain was unbearable. Eventually, my crew said, “we are going to go to the hospital.” I carried on for a few more days and I managed to get the mileage in, but putting any pressure on my leg, either trying to walk or run, was very painful and I have a very high pain threshold. We ended up having an MRI scan and it showed that I had a lot of bruising on my bones, which in itself could have caused multiple stress fractures. I also had a lot of fluid at the side and on the back of my knee. The pain was actually firstly by the bruised bones and secondly the bones on the lateral (outside of my knee) were rubbing together; this type of pain is excruciating, I have never felt a pain like it before. If I continued, I could have ended up having to have a total knee replacement on returning home. Even being given all the facts by the doctor it was an incredibly tough decision to make, and giving up seemed unthinkable. I thought about having an injection in the knee which might have reduced the pain for a bit, but a lot of the time they don’t work. It just wasn’t worth injuring myself or causing so much damage that I would never run again, which could easily have happened. It was awful. It was the worst decision I have been faced with, because I was on track to get the record and the only thing stopping me was my leg. When I finally made the decision to stop I sobbed my heart out. I had given this run my all, but even that wasn’t enough. On returning home I felt as though I was going through a bereavement, I was struggling to come to terms with the outcome. I can hold my head up high and say without a doubt that I never gave up, not once did I think of stopping even when the pain became overwhelming painful.  On receiving my results the plan had always been to continue running; I even had my running kit on. It wasn’t me that gave up—it was my body that gave up on me! VW Newsroom: How do you feel now? Mimi Anderson: Once home it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that as far as I was concerned, I had failed. I found it difficult talking to people about it as I wasn’t quite sure what to say. Before the run, I could say, “I’m off to America to try to set a new world record.” What do I say now? I don’t mind the fact that I haven’t got the record, but what have I achieved? It has become easier as the weeks have gone past, but it is still a big disappointment. VW Newsroom: We know you feel disappointed, but we hope you know we’re amazed by what you’ve accomplished. How has this changed your perspective on running? Mimi Anderson: One of the things that running long distances has taught me is that that the mind is incredibly strong and when the body wants to give up the mind will persuade it to keep going! My running life is going to take a slightly different route from now on as I unfortunately won’t be able to do the long distance runs any more because of my knee, but I know I made the right decision as once my knee is feeling better I can start running shorter distances again. I don’t regret anything about taking on such a big challenge as I know I did everything I could have done to get there in the best possible shape together with the best support crew looking after me. Between us we couldn’t have done any more. It was never going to be easy, but if everything in life was easy everybody would do it, wouldn’t they? VW Newsroom: What is next for you? Another attempt in the longer run? Mimi Anderson: My brain can’t function at the moment on things like that. I am putting all my energy into getting myself back to fitness. Once I’ve done that, then I can start thinking about what I want to do next. It is almost like my brain, as far as my running is concerned, has gone into shut down mode for a bit, allowing me time to recover—physically and mentally. I’ve been planning this for three years. I spent a lot of time going over the maps, getting sponsors and my crew together. There will be a goal for 2018 but it wont be running until my knee is sorted. Perhaps I can give cycling a try! VW Newsroom: Mimi, we’re proud to have helped you on your effort. You deserve a vacation. Mimi Anderson: It was an honor to have your support, thank you. Hopefully my husband will take me on a vacation!

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Watch the live unveiling of the next-level Volkswagen Jetta Jan. 15

Since it first arrived in the United States in 1980, nearly 3.2 million Volkswagen Jettas have found their way into American driveways. From the moment it arrived, and continuing through six generations of engineering, the Jetta has stood out in a crowded field for offering European style, engineering and driving dynamics at an affordable price. On Jan. 15, Volkswagen will unveil the seventh-generation Jetta, an all-new model built from the acclaimed MQB chassis. A new chiseled, yet classic, look will wrap around a driver-centric interior, powered by an efficient turbo engine. While we’ve released a few key details, there are still surprises to come when the camouflage comes off. Join us live on the Volkswagen Facebook page at 10:05 am EST to get your first view of the 2019 Jetta.

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Celebrating diversity is in VW’s roadmap

Volkswagen employees with Selisse Berry, Founder & CEO of Out and Equal in the Volkswagen booth. To help mark LGBT Month in October, Volkswagen had the privilege of supporting the 2017 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Philadelphia, an annual conference for the LGBT and ally community to share best practices and strategies for an inclusive, equal workplace. “We have been a proud sponsor of the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, an annual meeting that brings together corporate and industry leaders to discuss and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, for over 10 years,” said Machelle Williams, Senior Director for Diversity and CSR at Volkswagen. With a 20-year history, the Out & Equal Workplace Summit grew in 2017 to its largest event yet, with more than 4,000 attendees from 40 different countries participating this year. “As a corporation, we strive to not only attract a diverse workforce, but to get our message out to a diverse consumer base. Conferences like Out & Equal allow us to meet with and better understand the issues and priorities of diverse communities and consumers,” said Williams. “Becoming more sensitive to these important issues can, and have, in turn impacted our corporate policies over the years,” As part of the Out & Equal Summit, members of Volkswagen’s Employee Resource Groups for LGBT employees and allies attended the conference and spoke with conference attendees on VW’s behalf – along with showing off the all-new Atlas and 2018 Tiguan. They also participated in workshops and sessions on workplace equality and inclusivity, and heard from powerful speakers and leaders in the LGBT community. “This is my third year attending the Out & Equal Conference for VW as part of the ERG and it is wonderful to see companies here supporting diversity, and I take pride knowing VW is part of that,” said Victoria Marcella, a Workforce Management Manager for VW Credit, Inc. “Working for a company who values diversity and encourages inclusion is very important to employees,” said Marcella. Volkswagen’s ERGs, in addition to workplace education initiatives, help the company get the word out that Volkswagen is a place that welcomes and embraces diversity. “ERGs help recruit, serving as the face of the company – most recently at the Out & Equal Summit – to the public so people can get insight on what it’s like to work for the company. They provide a true testament that VW is a place that values diversity,” said Williams.

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Volkswagen Car-Net, the app that does all that

You’ve done this before, right? On a hot day, you leave your car’s windows down a bit to keep it cool. Suddenly, while you’re away, you hear the rumble of thunder and realize there may be too much of the outside trying to get in. If you have subscribed to Volkswagen Car-Net® Security & Service1 and have a compatible device, there’s an app for that. Available VW Car-Net Security & Service has been keeping VW owners connected to their cars and to needed emergency services for years. This week, VW released an update to the VW Car-Net app that can give owners a whole new set of available tools to help provide even greater connectivity. The mobile app can help a driver locate a parked car2, remotely check the vehicle’s status, and lock or unlock doors3, among many other functions. The new upgrade can send personalized push alerts based on location and weather conditions – so if there’s rain near where you’re parked and the window is down, you could get back to close it before a drop hits.  You can also setup the VW Car-Net mobile app to send you a notification if you leave the car without locking the doors or closing the trunk. “We all have enough things going and it’s easy to forget what is going on with your car,” says Shelly Desmet, Digital Marketing Manager, Connected Services. “The VW Car-Net mobile app helps make owning and maintaining a VW easier with helpful and proactive push notifications.” Another new feature in the latest update of VW Car-Net mobile app allows owners to pull up a vehicle health report4. This report captures key data like your mileage, next scheduled maintenance, and can remind users of issues that might need an owner’s close attention. Need to schedule a dealer visit? Click right in the app to call your preferred dealer. For those parents with children who are still getting used to the road, VW Car-Net Security & Service offers boundary and speed alerts5; users can get a push notification or email if their vehicle exceeds a pre-set speed limit or leaves a pre-approved boundary area. And for electric e-Golf owners, VW Car-Net Security & Service has even more offerings, such as remote climate control – so that you can heat or cool your e-Golf while it’s plugged in, helping to save battery energy for moving down the road.6 VW Car-Net is an available option on all models except Touareg, and new vehicles come with a six month no-charge trial. New vehicle owners can subscribe to their trial at the dealership at the time of purchase or press the i-Button in the overhead console and speak with a representative. To get information on subscription prices after trial, call (877) 820-2290 or go to vw.com/carnet.

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