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One tuning division has basically emerged right after the announcement that one is in the midst of winding down its business. We already know that Mitsubishi's Ralliart division is basically winding down its business due to Mitsubishi pulling out from most motorsport activities due to the ailing economy but when it comes to the powerhouse Volkswagen, things are different. It has somehow seen the need to set up its own performance tuning company simply called R GmbH. Sales of the R versions of their cars must be very encouraging for this to happen. Now Volkswagen has officially passed the Scirocco R and the Golf R as R GmbH's first models and other products that would emerge from this new company are something called R line design packages. This probably is something like Audi's S line packages, bodykits, spoilers, rims exhaust tips and interior trim. This was also announced at the Geneva Motor Show recently. Volkswagen states as follows:
At the European driving event for the Volkswagen Golf R, company representatives confirmed that they would be setting up a new performance orientated division, named the R division, to compete with other similar divisions such as the BMW M division and Mercedes's AMG. R GmbH, a limited liability company, will be set up inside the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. In addition to representing the sportiest models in the VW range, it will be an expanded version of the VW Individual programme, which currently offers sporty add-on accessories and styling components under the R-Line brand in Europe. The division will be officially confirmed at the Volkswagen presentation during the Geneva Motor Show in March. The new company will sell the 266-horsepower Volkswagen Golf R, and the similarly-powered Volkswagen Scirocco R. The rumored Jetta R Sport would probably also be sold through the new company. A few months ago, BMW announced a dedicated showroom for its M division offerings in Singapore. This is a concept that Volkswagen Centre Singapore may wish to emulate to further enhance the brand's image locally, following the introduction of the R division.
Yeap! 2009 has been dusted and we're in the presence of 2010, a year that holds much promise and continued success for some and for others, the continuing fight to stay in the black. And if you're wondering, LTA did release the sales figures of the various brands in Singapore last month. Besides the disheartening jump in the number of units from brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and Bentley, the lesser Continental brands and the Koreans have also made good with the injection of all new products that boast not only good fittings but attractive and daring styling respectively. Audi, on the back of record sales last year spearheaded by it's R8 supercar will be introducing no less than five different models throughout this year, the MINI-challenging A1, A7, A8, Q5 Hybrid and the R8 Spyder. Probably the most anticipated of the lot by most of you guys, the R8 isn't on my list of the cars to watch in 2010. Why? The proportions on the car itself are questionable, the power delivery is sedate and diluted by various electronic equipment that keep you straight while driving and also helps you fall asleep at the wheel faster. Rather the A8 will be an interesting addition. Not only does it look almost the same as the last car from the side, the front and rear shots of the car don't seem too complimentary of the cars hefty size. The A1 is the other one. Poised to go head-on with MINI, I'm looking forward to seeing how it actually measures up to the MINI, primarily in the handling and the chassis section. Determined to have its turn in the spotlight, Volkswagen will be bringing in their Golf and Scirocco R cars, making its way into town within the first half and second half of the year respectively. The R32 which the Golf R replaces was a stonker of a car and the R is supposed to be much more fun at the wheel with less heft under the bonnet. With the Scirocco, VW's current line-up of 1.4 and 2.0 variants are wonderfully sprite engines but the suspension seems to have taken the hit of compromise, in an effort to not tear buyers between the Scirocco and the Golf models. Then the Korean camp is represented by Kia, introducing the Sorento after highly successful runs with the Forte and the Koup in the market last year. It's parent company Hyundai is also scheduled to release their all-new Sonata in March. Both cars are on my "to watch" list...they should do very well in this market. Next up the Opel Insignia. Not only does this baby look every bit as good as its press pictures suggest, but the two-litre turbocharged ecotec engine it's mated to will produce 220 bhp and 350 Nm of torque through a six-speeder to all four tyres! Not too shabby...another car that we'll see more of on our roads. Now that we're done with the everyday movers, let me get on with those of the supercar nature. Two highlights for me this year will be the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and the three Reventon Roadsters. Both have reached legendary status's in the short time they've been revealed at the various motor shows and have become very sought after objects. The SLS AMG, despite not looking anything like the 300SL Gullwing it was meant to pay tribute to, looks nothing like the German company has made in recent times and with a 6.2-litre V8 under that long bonnet, is bound to take straight off into the hearts of the rich in Singapore.