Went on a full, private charter Boeing 757 to Jerez on the Volkswagen Fleet Congress and Tiguan launch over the weekend.
Volkswagen UK invited more than 200 guests including fleet dealers, leasing and rental customers, and end users.
Dr Ulrich Hackenburg told the delegation of around 500 from across Europe that Volkswagen Group sales worldwide have gone up 8% to 4,614,000, but sales of Volkswagen in western Europe have slipped by 3.3%.
After an hour-and-a-half presentation, then a 45-minute bus ride to and from a monastery for a buffet meal, we all went to bed, ready for the next day’s programme, which included driving the Tiguan on a variety of routes.
It did a really good job on a fairly tame off-road course.
The build quality is among the best Volkswagen has produced but the best bit of the car is a new, very clever door design and seal system.
The door seals under the sill, meaning that the sill never gets wet or dirty, so the driver or passengers will never get dirty clothes from brushing against it while getting in or out.
This fact, and the unique design, was not mentioned once by Volkswagen – it really has missed a trick.
Vince Kinner, head of fleet sales, told me he was confident the Tiguan will be a popular fleet choice, and guests had told him how much they liked the design, price, specification and, above all, the quality.
Volkswagen expects to sell around 10,000 Tiguans in the UK next year, with roughly 3,500 going to fleet.
Down to Barcelona to drive the all-new Chrysler Grand Voyager on the European press launch (See Steve Moody’s full report in Road tests on Thursday)
. We had presentations from a number of senior Chrysler personnel before we took to the roads around Barcelona.
The new Grand Voyager is a full seven-seater, but with the clever Stow ’n Go system where all rear seats fold into the floor it becomes a van in less than 30-seconds.
Another optional feature is the Swivel ’n Go – not a name I would have choosen, but they know best.
This system includes the middle two captain chairs to revolve to face backwards and electrically operated rear folding seats.
We all liked the ambient lighting in the roof and door panels and blue spotlights scattered around the vehicle – real classy.
The most popular engine will be the 2.8-litre Turbo diesel which will account for more than 95% of sales is coupled to a new six-speed automatic gearbox – manuals will not be available – this gearbox is so much more refined than the present one.
The new GV is priced the same as the outgoing model, but with loads more kit as standard – more car, same price.