‘Volkswagen On Tour’ comes to Penang

volkswagen us

I caught up with the inaugural ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ brand showcase that took place in Penang last week. We actually went twice coz it was so much fun! Admittedly, the first time was a bit of a short session coz I had to sort out my hotel and other things after I got stuck on the Penang Bridge after running out of gas. Haha!

bicycle popcorn

There is popcorn, test drives, and a play pen for the kids. This all comes at a rather reasonable admission fee – it’s free! Yup, it’s the classic Volkswagen hospitality in action here, which I’ve experienced to my delight on a trip to Germany last year.

polo r wrc
The Polo R WRC that just won the FIA World Rally Championships 2013

Volkswagen On Tour‘ will literally tour the entire nation – there are 13 stops all over Malaysia, so it’ll be coming to a place near you soon! It’s an invitation to everyone for an exclusive brand experience right at your doorstep.

volkswagen tour penang

It’s a lot of fun, I managed to catch the press conference where Ms Petra Schreiber (Director of Marketing & Communications, Volkswagen Malaysia) was holding court and fielding questions from the media.

driving gti simulator

I went back again the next day. I wanted to collect all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that forms a coaster. There are a lot of activities you can do at the ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ roadshow – my favorite being the Golf GTI simulator.

gti simulator

This isn’t something that you can get to see in arcades – the setup is so realistic that your *entire bucket seat* moves and you really get thrown around a bit if you drive into gravel beside the virtual track at high speeds. I know people who set up expensive steering wheel and pedal combos to play racing simulation games at home.

driving simulator

Prepared to be blown away! You’ve never seen anything like this. There are even pistons to move your seat around the 3-screen immersion Golf GTI simulator – you really get the exhilaration of driving on track that I actually flinched when I made a fast and tight corner. :)

gti puzzle

You get a piece of the puzzle that forms a coaster after you experience each station.

popcorn challenge

There is another interesting one called Popcorn Challenge which uses a clean source of energy (namely, you) to power a popcorn machine. A stationary bicycle is hooked up and your kinetic energy from pedaling the bike makes the corn pop.

popcorn

You can have the satisfaction of eating the popcorn that you’ve just made with your own energy after that too!

shout out loud

There is also an interactive station called Shout Out Loud where you can rally four (4) people to speak into each of the microphones at each corner of a model city to light it up. The louder you are, the more intense the blue light becomes.

think blue wall

It’s a brilliant way to showcase their ‘Think Blue.’ philosophy which is all about fuel efficiency and educating the public on carbon emissions for a sustainable future, as well as how Volkswagen is applying it to their award-winning automotive technology for a better tomorrow. Guess which one is the message we wrote?

ISOFIX

There are exhibits where you can familiarize yourself with Volkswagen’s advanced safety technology like their range of child safety seats and ISOFIX (child seat anchor). This would be of interest to parents with small children or people who’re planning to have kids!

kids station

There is a place for kids to learn and play too, which is great for parents with small children. The kids can have age-appropriate fun and learning while you get your own fun and learning in…test driving the latest Volkswagen models!

test drive

It’s the most popular station so remember to sign up early while you wait your turn.

volkswagen test drive

There’s also a ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ photo contest where you can snap a photo of yourself with a complete coaster puzzle.

interactive stations

You can get each piece of the puzzle by going to each of the stations (Popcorn Challenge, Test Drive etc) and after you’ve completed it, the redemption counter will give you a free gift for completing all the stations.

Volkswagen On Tour

You just need to post a photo of yourself with the complete coaster with the #VolkswagenOnTour hastag on either Instagram or Facebook and tag @VolkswagenOnTour or the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page respectively (remember to follow the accounts first) and stand a chance to win one of nine prizes, including an extended two week test drive with any of your favorite Volkswagen models!

coaster puzzle

It’s really a lot of fun for the whole family and you get to experience the latest (and eat some popcorn you made with your own energy while you’re at it).

volkswagen tour schedule

We had a blast and we’re looking forward to the Selangor stop of the tour! ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ will be heading to 13 locations nationwide between now till March 2014. Get more details about the stop nearest to you at www.volkswagenontour.com.my.

Think Blue. World Championship 2013

think blue championships

3.48 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers! That’s how much the winners of this year’s Think Blue. World Championship 2013 managed in Germany for the finals! The father and son duo drove down the designated 592 kilometer route from Berlin via Wolfsburg and Weimar to Frankfurt am Main. I’ve been to most of the cities in the route during my trip to Germany last year with Volkswagen and it’s hard to imagine such fuel efficiency but they did it!

think blue malaysia

This is the culmination of the Think Blue. regional preliminaries which our own country participated in. I wrote about the first Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 held in Philea Resort, Malacca in Malaysia earlier this month which saw Mr Ong Ling Kern coming up top and going to Germany on an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the Think Blue. World Championship.

think blue dresden

The regional competition in Germany were different – in addition to quiz questions and fuel efficient driving challenges (which were the tasks in Malaysia too), they had challenges like building miniature energy plans for renewable energy and cooking regional dishes with locally-sourced ingredients.

mavis kitchen

I thought the last one was quite interesting! It’s a concept that’s taking hold in a lots of places, like Byron Bay in Australia. In addition to the surfer culture there, there’s a lot of emphasis on low-food-miles and locally-sourced produce. The menus at the best restaurants like Mavis’ Kitchen (gotta remember to write about that) has large gardens and only cooks with ingredients that are in season and from surrounding orchards and farms!

think blue world championships

I thought that was a really good concept for the environment – very in line with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy which is a holistic approach to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action by raising awareness about sustainability and eco-conscious behavior.

think blue contestants

Back to the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany, the results on 12th September goes to Volker Muller-Tonnissen (52) and his co-driver Jorn-Luca Muller-Tonnissen (16) who is also his son! They averaged a mere 3.48 litres per 100 kilometres on the 592 kilometre route using the new Golf TDI BlueMotion. What’s more impressive was the set-up – each car competed with three occupants plus balance weight so it’s a full load! Each vehicle has a load of exactly 294.4 kilos so no one has an unfair advantage from size and built over distance (due to the balance weight).

winners tb

The most efficient performance driving father-son duo were also the winners of the German national preliminary contest. There were also 16 other national winners competing (including our very own Mr. Ong Lin Kern from Malaysia) and the second place went to the team from the Canary Islands (3.63 liters) and third was snagged by Russia (3.67 liters).

malaysia results

Mr Ong’s team representing Malaysia came in at 13th for an average consumption of 4.08 liters per 100 kilometers.

united states team

That’s not too bad considering they came in ahead of teams from Argentina and the United States (which came in at last at 17th with 4.57 liters/100 km).

think blue volkswagen

All the participants visited the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main after the event, where Volkswagen had a stand showcasing several efficiency models. They also got a very unique experience at the Volkswagen test centre in Ehra-Lessien where cars like the diesel-powered Golf TDI BlueMotion, the natural gas powered eco-up! and full hybrids like the Touareg Hybrid were shown. To cap it all off, they are among the first ever drivers to get the opportunity to test drive the Volkswagen XL1 (the highly anticipated most efficient series vehicle in the world) as well as the first purely electric high volume production Volkswagen – the new e-up!

e up

This is the third year of the Think Blue. World Championship and Head of Marketing at the Volkswagen Group quoted that they almost doubled the number of participating countries and motivated several thousand people from around the world to find out about driving efficiently. It’s the perfect embodiment of the Think Blue. philosophy which aims to inspire people and contribute to significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions by adopting a more intelligent driving style.

malaysian team

Find out more about Think Blue.

Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 in Phileo Resort, Malacca!

think blue philea

I was down in Malacca over the weekend for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. This is the culmination of the push for sustainability and eco-awareness that had 30 finalists nationwide competing against each other to win the title of Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

philea

Philea Resort is an ideal setting for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. It’s an eco-resort located close to Malaccca. I’ve stayed here before earlier this year as a surprise my better half gave me. Its wooden chalets and sustainable living concepts are perfectly in sync with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy.

indoor stations

There are five tests in total for the first ever Think Blue. – National Challenge – three of the stations are indoors and and the remaining two of them outdoor driving challenge.

Station 1 was a quiz which had participants answering questions based on a booklet given during the journey here.

test 2

There is also a physical puzzle where finalists arrange cubes to the 9 tips for better fuel consumption described in the Think Blue. booklet. This is a time based challenge totaling to 10 points.

ipad test

The iOS Think Blue. Challenge app which I’ve been playing quite a bit is also one of the tests! The iPad game at Station 3 is where the finalists had to play the Think Blue. driving challenge online. The objective is to chalk up the most distance using the least fuel! Extra fuel was given for those who answer the bonus round correctly. The better you do; the more points you have! 10 points.

driving orange

Station 4, an orange was placed in a bowl on the Polo Sedan which humorously alludes to the tofu scene in Initial-D for driving fans. This is a physical driving test which contributes 20 points of the total score. As this was also a time based challenge, a penalty of 2 seconds was imposed if the driver knocks over any orange cones. And if the orange (the fruit, not the traffic cone) falls out of the bowl, the driver will need to stop the car, pick up the orange and continue driving – while the time is still ticking!

stations

The final challenge, Station 5, is a 20 kilometre drive at the track with the seventh generation of the Golf 1.4 TSI. This is a fuel efficiency test where every one of the finalists will need to apply the fuel saving tips they learnt throughout the Challenge. This better you score on the fuel consumption, the more points you’ll get. 50 points.

backseat

I hopped into one of the cars for the last challenge – it’s obvious that the participant has already read all the fuel saving tips in the booklet. He didn’t use air-conditioning, the windows were up (to improve aerodynamics), he switched up to the highest gear and tried to keep it there, coasting on gradients and keeping the speedometer stable.

fuel consumption

The best performer got an amazing 3.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel in real time driving!

ivan

Ivan from the Events team and Dara from PR were there to guide us around.

food philea

I was watching some do better than the others while sipping artisan coffee brought in to the lobby. I must say that Volkswagen always have the best treatment during its events! I was lucky enough to go to Germany with them last year.

think blue bag

Coincidentally, this is also where the winner of the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 will be headed! It was a very close one as scores were tabulated and re-checked. The next morning, the winners were announced.

trophies

The prize-giving ceremony was held on three different level podiums – the 1st place is the lowest and the 3rd place highest, signifying the fuel consumption of the three winners. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the philosophy of Think Blue. – the holistic approach adopted by Volkswagen to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action.

winners

The “winner” is thus the person with the lowest fuel consumption. Ong Ling Kern narrowly defeated 29 other finalists (the runner up was 2 points behind – something he could have made up with one more correct question in the quiz) with Ong Wu Zhuan (no relation – who also got a Samsung S4 smartphone) and Chew Fun Sing (iPhone 5) bagging second and third place.

press con

Thus, as the first ever Malaysian Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 champion, Ong Ling Kern is off to represent Malaysia on an international driving competition held at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from 6th-10th September.

malaysian think blue

Winners from all around the world will take part in the world championship by competing against each other in a drive from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt in Germany.

slalom

The world champion will be determined based on the lowest amount of fuel used to complete the distance.

orange

Imagine doing that on the Autobahn! I’d love to see them try every possible fuel saving technique. There are some which are proven “hypermiling” (a relatively new buzzword for energy efficient driving) techniques built-in to newer Volkswagen cars like the start/stop system which automatically stops the car engine at red lights.

test 4

The Think Blue. initiative by Volkswagen is constantly striving to combine environmental protection with cutting-edge automotive technologies to give drivers low-emission vehicles.

finalists

However, drivers also need to play a part in adopting eco-concious behavior both on and off the road and that’s what events like the weekend’s Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 is set to promote!

blu monkey

Interesting fact: Blu, the Think Blue. mascot is a monkey designed in Malaysia and adopted byVolkswagen AG in Germany! :)

Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. Think a trip to Germany!

taschenbergpalais keminski

Volkswagen Malaysia has kicked off the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 in Malaysia to spread the philosophy of Think Blue. and to display the brand’s efforts on the importance of fuel savings and that a change in driving behaviours could further reduce CO2 emission.

The hunt for Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver is on and that person will get the chance to compete with others like him/her from around the world at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany!

think blue logo

The qualifying round starts from 1-21st July and there are 2 ways you can take part:

1. Register at any Volkswagen dealerships in Malaysia
2. Play the Challenge online via Facebook at www.facebook.com/VolkswagenMalaysia

To be eligible, participants would have to be aged 18 years and above and possess a valid driving license in Malaysia.

Shortlisted participants will move on to the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 that will be held from August 17th to 18th, where they will be competing against each other in real driving situations to become Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

The winner of this Think Blue. – National Challenge will then represent Malaysia in the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from September 6th to 10th, 2013 and stands a chance to explore Germany, from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt, via a German-engineered Volkswagen, to become the world’s most fuel-efficient “Think Blue.” champion.

eco footprint

The Think Blue. World Championship app reveals another facet of Think Blue. – Volkswagen’s holistic approach to sustainability. The game heightens awareness of more efficient driving and shows that all drivers can make their own personal contribution to environmental protection without sacrificing driving pleasure.

The principle of “Think Blue.” is perfectly reflected by the game and inspires everyone in adopting a healthy driving behavior in an exciting and entertaining way.

Now, let me inspire you to take part in the challenge and be in the running to win a trip to Germany by sharing my own personal experience gained from a Volkswagen trip there last year.

obama hotel

I went to Germany on a Volkswagen trip last year. It was a very interesting trip, while in Dresden, I stayed at Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski – it’s the very same place President Obama stayed in while he visited Dresden. That’s a bit of interesting trivia there. I didn’t know until we checked into the hotel.

driving germany

Anyway, I traveled from Dresden to Wolfsburg (where the Volkswagen factory is) and then to Berlin and Frankfurt and had a blast going around and experiencing new things. It was my third trip to Europe at the time.

electric car charging

I like how the bigger cities have initiatives for fully electric cars with special parking lots. The same parking bays have charging facilities too – meant to encourage people into adopting a more environmental friendly mindset and behavior.

up car

It’s not just about up! – their fully electric car.

think green

It’s an entire mindset that affects every single aspect of Volkswagen’s efforts to create environmentally friendly products and solutions. It’s about encouraging eco-conscious behavior and a sustainable future through economical fuel consumption and reduced carbon emission.

glass factory

This can be seen from their production facilities (this is the famous glass factory right outside Dresden)…

vw mini

…to the fun and educational interactive displays at Wolfsburg where you can learn a lot more about Think Blue.

e drivers

The initiative is present from the manufacturing floor to the topmost management decisions. I saw various places where you can sign up to test drive the Golf Blue-e-Motion.

eco cars

The people in Germany are very conscious about vehicle emissions. They even have various ratings on their car based on how environmentally friendly the car is. In fact, electric cars are also cheaper due to tax breaks.

think blue

I think Think Blue. is an amazing holistic mindset that we need to instill deeper over here – such as little things like no-vehicle zones and priority parking for electric vehicles.

water usage

I have had the chance to experience Germany from Dresden to Frankfurt thanks to Volkswagen and now you can have the same experience, but only much better!

wolfsburg station

I can guarantee you it’ll be one of the most valuable experiences of your lifetime!

germany trip

Find out more about how you can win a trip to Germany by being the nation’s most fuel efficient driver at thinkblue.volkswagen.com.my.

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