Click To View Passat R-GT Gallery

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 1, 2005 – Volkswagen of America Inc. today hosted its first display in the 42-year history of the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) annual exhibition of automotive parts and accessories, presenting a trio of ultra-high-performance dream vehicles, two new accessorized sport sedans, plus a glimpse into the future with a race-winning robotic SUV.

Volkswagen has been a familiar marque at the SEMA Show since the first Beetle was transformed into a dune buggy, but never before has Volkswagen of America exhibited at the automotive aftermarket’s most important gathering. In addition to the three project vehicles built in cooperation with HPA Motorsports, the display features two of Volkswagen’s newest production cars, the Jetta 2.0T and Passat 2.0T, each adorned with a comprehensive array of Genuine Volkswagen Accessories, from body kits to sport suspension springs to uniquely styled interior accoutrements.

Click To View Jetta R-GT Gallery

Volkswagen also brought along “Stanley,” an electronically sophisticated Touareg developed with Stanford University. The driverless SUV made history by winning a 130-mile race for robotic vehicles across the Nevada desert in October. Bristling with advanced electronics, some of which may soon make their way into Volkswagen production cars, Stanley has been hailed as a genuine breakthrough in remote guidance vehicle technology.

Evidence of this passion was plainly visible in the three R GT project vehicles, inspired by the success of the high-performance R32. Mixing and melding some of Volkswagen’s most advanced production car technology – a responsive narrow-angle V6 engine, handling-enhancing 4MOTION all-wheel drive and the innovative and acclaimed dual-clutch auto-manual transmission DSG – with the aesthetic visions of Volkswagen’s California-based design studio, the Jetta R GT, Passat R GT and Touareg R GT represent just a few of the many ways that Volkswagen’s core strengths can be enhanced to deliver performance based on solid German engineering.

Performance tuners are drawn to platforms that capably support increased engine power and that also accept complementary upgrades to such other elements as brakes and suspension. Volkswagens platforms have fulfilled those needs for generations, but never have the worlds of the showroom stock vehicle and the highly modified aftermarket special been as close as they are now. Personalizing a Volkswagen begins as early as the first visit to the dealer, as demonstrated by the 2006 Jetta 2.0T and 2006 Passat 2.0T on display. Each was modified inside and out using Genuine Volkswagen Accessories and shows how the enthusiast, at the time of purchase, can order an even more appealing platform for subsequent upgrades.

Volkswagen always has had a presence at SEMA – reflected by the hundreds of VW vehicles shown over the years, and by the many exhibitors who specialize in parts and accessories aimed at the Volkswagen enthusiast. This year’s exhibit, however, isn’t a look back at a rich history but instead is an expression of a vital component of Volkswagen’s philosophy: fun-to-drive performance.

VW’s current technical strengths and enriched model lines are simply one wave of a torrent of new models, including a new Passat with a larger, more powerful V6, the next GTI, the Eos hardtop convertible, and, further down the line, a 2+2 sport coupe that hearkens to the heyday of the Scirocco. Look for more exciting Volkswagens at next year’s SEMA Show.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen of America and its affiliates employ approximately 3,000 people in the United States and are responsible for the sale and service of Audi, Bentley, and Volkswagen products through retail networks comprising in total more than 900 independent U.S. dealers.

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Zerin Dube

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