First In: Worlds Collide – Waterfest, Road Tours, VW Executives and more…

It’s not exactly every day that I get a phone call from Executive Vice President of Volkswagen of America Len Hunt telling me he wants to respond to a topic in our discussion forums. I vaguely remember asking if he was serious or kidding, to which I got a laugh and an assurance that he was indeed going to post, and questions regarding what he’d need to know about the forums – good luck, Len!

The topic in our forums can be found HERE. In a nutshell, the topic asks why people are leaving the VW brand and going elsewhere and the responses prompted Len to take a few moments out of his day to make this simple but earnest response:

“Thanks, Vortexers, for this subject which I obviously find very important. Our challenge seems to be a combination of quality and exciting vehicles. I can tell you all that we are listening to your views, and I personally take them with me on my many trips to the factory in Wolfsburg. I’m so excited about cars like the new Jetta, Passat, GTI and Golf which truly are VW’s and, more importantly, a great “Driver’s Wanted” statement for the brand.

Keep sending the comments; I’m listening.”

Within days I received boatloads of emails, phone calls, interviews (the AutoWeek story can be found HERE) and more. Readers started sending me emails telling me that Len had sent them an instant/private message through our forums asking about a specific problem they had or just to comment more personally towards their concerns. It is amazing that such a simple gesture could have such far reaching impacts. Len Hunt has always been a “car guy” and a genuinely gracious and warm individual who has the unique ability these days to actually listen to what people have to say as opposed to other executives who only want to listen to themselves talk. Given his personality and those that know him personally, it surprises none of us that Len Hunt would actually post responses in our discussion forums – he’s just that kind of guy.

VWvortex GTI/GLI Road Tour

It is fitting, then, that Len was one of the individuals responsible for setting in motion our plan to take a new Golf V GTI and a new Jetta V GLI out on the road this summer to various Volkswagen shows so that all of you could get a chance to actually see the new cars in the metal, sit in them, touch them and in some cases even ride in them. The new Golf V GTI has won a heap of awards in Europe, including BBC Top Gear’s Performance Car of the Year, and the GLI emulates that same formula, albeit with a trunk hanging off the back end. All-in-all we’re really excited that we are able to give our readers an advanced look at these two cars in person.

Actually getting our hands on a new GTI and GLI was no easy task since there is no U.S. version of the GTI, and the Jetta V GLI won’t go on sale till the end of August. A black Golf V GTI with leather interior, navigation and DSG transmission was imported from Germany and our red Jetta V GLI is a pre-production sample that did some time on the auto show circuit. Both cars will be on display in our booth at the following shows for the rest of this season:

July 16&17 – Waterfest, Englishtown, NJ

July 31 – Waterwagens, Kent, WA

August 21 – Treffen 2005, Chicago, IL

September 18 – Dubfest, Los Angeles, CA

September 25 – H2O International, Ocean City, MD

If you have time, please stop by our booth to check the new cars out and chat.

VWvortex At Waterfest

Waterfest is the largest VW/Audi show in North America bar none and once again VWvortex is an Official Sponsor. We sponsor and attend a LOT of other Volkswagen shows each year and Waterfest eclipses them all with nearly 20,000 people attending. For several years now we’ve started to paint ourselves into a corner when it comes to Waterfest. Each year we try and bring something special to the show for our readers to see. Two years ago we brought a German-market Polo. Last year we brought a Golf V TDI and a Bentley Continental GT, both of which were huge hits.

This year we knew we had to have a new Golf V GTI at the show – that is a given – but that’s not all… Not just satisfied with one GTI, we’ve decided to feature all five generations of the GTI in our booth (all in black, I might add). But wait, there is still more… We’re also going to have the new Jetta V GLI on display in our booth. But wait, there is yet still more… We’re also going to throw in the all-new sixth generation Passat – not just in stock form, but with a never seen before Votex body kit, courtesy of the Volkswagen Accessories group. So if you stop by the VWvortex booth you’ll get to see not just one, but five generations of the GTI including the new Golf V GTI, you’ll also get to see the all-new Jetta V GLI *and* the all-new sixth generation Passat. Order now and we’ll be throwing in a few more cars from our sister Audi publication Fourtitude, some limited edition GTI/GLI Road Tour t-shirts available at our booth along with VWvortex license plate frames and stickers. Hey, I may have just found my calling doing late-night infomercials! Hmmm…

Seriously, though, if you plan to attend Waterfest this year, please be sure to stop by our booth to check out the cars, meet our staff, pick up some cool schwag and hang out with other readers. Rumors are circulating that we’ll even have a special guest in our booth on and off during the day, so make sure you stop in as we always enjoy putting names with faces.

For more information on Waterfest check out their website at:

Also check out our official Waterfest Discussion forum that can be found HERE for all the latest information on the show, caravans/cruises of cars heading up to the show and more.

Finally, click HERE to view a map of the complete vendor area for the show this year.

See you at the shows this summer!