Volkswagen

Those reasonable Republicans we hear about it in Congress? Tell that to union organizers in Chattanooga.

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American manufacturing is basically the same everywhere. It’s an albatross around the necks of places that depend on it, preventing them from attracting the “creative class,” which drives economic development today. Except in a few very high tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturers are looking for lower costs above all else. That’s why, if they’re staying in the United States at all, they’re moving to low-wage locations.  Metropolitan areas, with their higher costs, offer manufacturers no special advantages. These beliefs about the geography of manufacturing in the United States

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On Monday, Volkswagen launched the 2012 Beetle, the second redesign of Volkswagen's most famous model. The original Beetle was in production for 65 years, the longest-running single design in automotive history; the car has also featured in movies ranging from The Love Bug to Dazed and Confused. The new Beetle (at right) has become slightly less curvy and lower to the ground to project what Volkswagen's design chief calls "a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness." The design also echoes the original Beetle, as well as its aesthetic cousin, the Porsche 911.

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I'm not all that fond of dogs myself, but it seems like they need a bit of defending. A few months ago, New Scientist reported that a large dog like a German shepherd has twice the carbon footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser that's driven 6,000 miles each year—mainly because of the dog's meat-heavy diet. (Cats, by the way, have a carbon footprint comparable to a Volkswagen Golf.) And that's not to mention all the havoc they wreak on local wildlife.

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Going to Woodstock was interesting. Getting out of there was ecstasy. Four of us set out on the morning of Friday. August 16. 1969--me, fresh out of the Navy; my college friend Phil; and our girlfriends, Karen and Mary. We had spent Thursday night at my sister's farm in Rockland County, not too far from where the festival was to be held. She and her husband wanted to come with us, but they had a small child and decided to stay home. They waved goodbye to us from their porch as we pulled out in Phil's beat-up Volkswagen bug. We knew we were in for an adventure of some sort. Why did we go?

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Something about Lee Iacocca inspires exaggeration. Twenty years ago, as general manager of Ford, he made the cover of both Time and Newsweek with his hot new car, the Mustang. Time began its story this way, Iacocca in the driver’s seat: The trim white car rolled restlessly through the winding roads of Bloomtield Hills, like a high-strung pony dancing to get started on its morning run … The driver of a Volkswagen raised his fingers in a V-for-victory sign. As the car picked up speed and headed southward toward Detroit, a flickering trace of satisfaction crossed its driver’s hawklike face.

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