Monday’s main event included a sophisticated new car, a snazzy concert, and a serious apology.
Volkswagen unveiled its brand new 2016 Passat with a grand event at Brooklyn’s Duggal Greenhouse earlier this week, showcasing an updated model that goes on sale later this Fall.
Despite the company’s current scandal following charges it cheated on EPA tests, the event was well attended — perhaps thanks most to the promise of an intimate concert experience with rocker Lenny Kravitz. However it did give President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Michael Horn, the opportunity to ask both for forgiveness… and the chance to make amends.
“We are utterly and deeply sorry. Volkswagen has broken the trust of our customers and the public here in America. … Let’s be clear about this: Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and with all of you,” he told the crowd. “In my German words, we totally screwed up. We must fix those cars and prevent this from happening again; and we have to make it right.”
And as guests sipped German beer and noshed on pretzels, the Passats rolled in.
“This is the first time the Passat family will have a very smart model at a very attractive price,” Horn said.
The design of the mid-size sedan features a new hood, grille, rear bumpers, and front fenders. It will be the first VW sedan to offer LED head and taillights as an option, and the 2016 version is the first Passat to get an R-Line package, which includes black accents, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and a custom front bumper.
“The only sheetmetal that remains unchanged is the roof, the doors, and the body side stamping,” touts the press release.
Inside, the cabin is upgraded with nicer materials, a new steering wheel, and refined trim, as well as VW’s latest MIB II infotainment system. Heatable rear seats are a new available feature, along with Easy-Open keyless access that opens the trunk via moving a foot near the rear of the vehicle. Volkswagen’s Car-Net system is also available, which allows for smoother smartphone integration.
And speaking of those smartphones… All were out and ready to capture images and social shares of rockstar Lenny Kravitz as he took the stage to belt out his biggest hits.