Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 Auto Show Brings Optimism to Auto Industry

Employees of Fox Valley Volkswagen were impressed by the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, and not just with the Volkswagen display, but with the entire event. "The setup this year was amazing," said Christina Wickersheim, Operations Manager at Fox Valley. "Audi has some great new vehicles; Land Rover made some significant changes to their line; Ford's display is enormous; and Buick, Hyundai and Jaguar are showcasing some fantastic new vehicles."

Overall, the 2011 Chicago Auto Show is comprised of quality vehicles, making the economic future of the auto industry look promising. Filled with a jam-packed crowd, the Auto Show saw more foot traffic its opening weekend than it's seen the past two years. And it's the everyday cars that are driving in all the traffic.

"This year, manufacturers were more focused on creating cars that their customers want," said Emir Abinion, President of Fox Valley Volkswagen. "There were a few concept cars, but most manufacturers brought in what they plan on selling in their dealerships." These obtainable cars are making such an impact, people are already frequenting dealerships to buy those they saw. "We had people come into the dealership on Saturday morning after going to the show on Friday night who wanted more information on the new cars we have coming out," said Wickersheim. "People aren't just going to the Auto Show this year to look, they are going to get information on a car they plan on purchasing."

Unlike past years, Auto Show visitors can test drive certain cars. Chevrolet has a course for those wanting to drive the Chevy Volt, the new electric car. Jeep also has a course. "Allowing visitors to drive the cars gives them the extra push to purchase a vehicle," said Shakeel Omar, Owner and Used Car Manager. "They can walk away in love with a car's features as well as the way it handles.”

Along with the other manufacturers showcasing new vehicles, Volkswagen had a few new items on display. "Volkswagen really focused on redesigns this year," said Abinion. "The Touareg, Beetle, Jetta, Eos, Passat—all of them have been redesigned with features our customers are looking for. 2011 is a new year for Volkswagen."

The biggest Volkswagen hit is the new Passat, a mid-size sedan. The Passat is the first American-built sedan in 20 years, and Volkswagen will have the car in showrooms by early fall. This car is also gaining attention because it's equipped with a Fender stereo system. "The system is crazy," said Wickersheim. "When you sit in this car, that stereo system is unlike anything ever heard."

Another Volkswagen eye catcher was the premier of the new GLI, a blend of the regular Jetta's four-door sedan body style with the GTI hatchback's performance modifications. "This car was a big hit with our visitors," said Omar. "It's been getting so much attention, we can't wait to get it into our showroom this spring."

Due to all the traffic Fox Valley Volkswagen alone has seen from the Auto Show, employees are optimistic about the industry's future. "The quality of cars are better and manufactures are doing great things,” said Abinion. "The market is ready to turn and things are looking promising. It's an exciting time for the auto industry."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Contest Winner Has Heart Of Gold

January 26, 2011 will be a day that Stephanie Flood, the 2010 winner of Fox Valley Volkswagen's LoveBug2 Contest, will never forget. After a long day of doctor visits and an MRI, her tests came back clear, making her cancer free for nine long years.

At age nine, Stephanie was diagnosed with ependymoma, an aggressive brain cancer. She has battled the disease four times and has beaten it every time, but she has also experienced late effects due to her treatments. In 2005, she suffered a mini stroke, leaving the left side of her face paralyzed. In 2008, doctors found grey matter in her right hand which has affected her writing abilities.

But through it all, Stephanie remains a positive and giving person. She actively participates in The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and she has also been involved in multiple events at Children's Memorial Hospital, including The Race for Kids 5K Run/Walk and Taste of Lurie Children's Hospital.

Stephanie Flood, the 2010 winner of Fox Valley Volkswagen's LoveBug2 Contest

Stephanie Flood, the 2010 winner of Fox Valley Volkswagen's LoveBug2 Contest
Stephanie Flood, the 2010 winner of Fox Valley Volkswagen's LoveBug2 Contest

Knowing first hand what a disease can put you through has made Stephanie's desire to help others who are sick grow stronger. As a fighter, and more importantly, as a survivor, her strength doesn't solely come from being optimistic. "First, you have to have faith," she said. "Then, you have to be strong, even when you feel weak. And finally, you have to talk about it. Having a great support system is key."

Her optimistic disposition even impacted the name of her car. "Felicity is a synonym for joy, and I wanted to name the car Felicity because of all the joy I have felt from winning and the joy I experience every time I look at her," she said. "She even has her own Facebook page, Felicity Flood, so people can see what she's up to."

Along with the great feeling Felicity brings, Stephanie loves all of her features. "I love the color, and all the lights, and how I can pump the height of the seat up," she said. "I love the ESP, which has come in handy in storms, and it's also nice to have a CD player." But there's one main attraction that puts a big smile on Stephanie's face: punch bug. "I laugh when I see other people glancing at Felicity and punching someone else in their car," she said. "I'm part of a constant game!"

Winning the LoveBug2 Contest has also given Stephanie a positive outlook on the future. Having recently graduated from Northern Illinois University, Felicity has helped Stephanie get to job interviews and has given her the opportunity to travel. "I want to visit all 50 states and all the people who helped me win the car," she said. And she knows these experiences wouldn't be possible without the LoveBug2 Contest. "The team at Fox Valley Volkswagen is superb, and I will be reminded of their generosity every time I look at or talk about Felicity," she said. "I think it's an amazing thing they're doing, and I hope they continue to bless others in the future."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Days Survival – Tips to winterize you vehicle!

It’s that time of year again. Whether the cold temperatures are making your engine struggle or snow and ice are limiting your traction and visibility, the winter is here to wreak some havoc on your car.

But instead of dreading your commute the next few months, know that there are easy steps you can take to properly prepare your car for winter.

Service Your Vehicle
While there are steps you can take to winterize your vehicle on your own, some winterizing steps are best left to the professionals. Take your vehicle to your dealership or service station and let them do the following:
  1. Check your tires. Not only will your mechanic check the wear and tear of your tires, but they’ll also check the pressure. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop, and a properly inflated tire ensures the best possible contact between you and the road. If you are in need of new tires, your mechanic will be able to offer you the best options.
  2. Change the oil (correctly). Your car needs oil to run effectively, but the cold weather thickens the oil, making it harder to circulate through your engine. Your mechanic will not only ensure your engine gets an oil change, but they’ll use the right type of oil your car needs in the winter.
  3. Check belts and hoses. Cold temperatures weaken belts and hoses. Your mechanic will check for wear and tear and replace any that may be damaged.
  4. Service battery. During cold weather, your engine requires more current from the battery in order to start the engine. Have your mechanic run a load test to see if your battery needs to be replaced.
Do It Yourself
Along with having your car serviced by a professional, there are a few things you can do to winterize your vehicle on your own.
  1. Replace windshield wiper blades and refill wiper fluid. Having working blades and enough fluid will help ensure you have the best visibility.
  2. Check heater and defroster. Make sure both are working properly. This will help keep your warm and, along with blades and fluid, help your visibility.
  3. Check your spare. Make sure there is air in your spare tire and all proper tire-changing equipment is in the trunk.
  4. Stay fueled. Keep gas tank as full as possible to prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.
  5. Check 4WD. If you have four wheel drive, make sure your system is working properly.
Safety First
The number one step in winterizing your car is making sure you put safety first.

If your area gets a great deal of snow during the winter, you may want to invest in snow tires. Snow tires have different tread patterns than regular tires, designed to form a better grip on snow and ice. They are also made from a softer rubber that better retains flexibility in cold weather.

Friday, January 7, 2011

LOVEbug2 Finalists Video

The “LOVEbug 2 Contest” ran June through November 2010. Each month three semi-finalist winners were selected to receive a monthly prize and entered to win the grand prize. Finalists’ stories received votes nationally and internationally submitted to the contest website at

Mundelein's Coslet has enjoyed a wonderful life

Like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," Ken Coslet has found himself on that proverbial bridge, wondering where his life is headed.

He has indeed been through a lot over the years, surviving health problems, the closure of his business and the loss of his home.

In the midst of it all, however, Coslet continued to help others, ministering to inmates at the Lake County Jail and collecting food for the needy. Then, during a particularly low moment, Coslet made a discovery that has truly changed his life: he developed a relationship with Jesus Christ.

"God has a big plan for me," said Coslet. "I'm still alive."

Ken Coslet

The Mundelein resident's wife, Leslie, recently nominated him for the Fox Valley Volkswagen's LOVEbug2 Contest, designed to recognize an individual whose good deeds have inspired others. He won a widescreen portable DVD player and had a chance to win a 2010 Volkswagen Beetle.

In her submission at, Coslet's wife said of her husband: "He is always looking for ways to help people who are in need, despite the fact that he is in need himself. He has the unique ability to put others before himself.

"Nothing would be more fitting than to see him driving around town in a VW Bug, with a couple of hearts on the side of it," she wrote. "He may have suffered a heart attack, but he still has the biggest heart in town, and everyone in our community knows that! Driving this car would help him continue to do his community work, cut down on the fuel expense and be a way of giving back to him, what he has given to both his family and others!"

Coslet may not have won the car, nor does he seek recognition, but he still feels blessed in so many ways.

"It has been a wonderful life," he said.

Coslet said his inspiration to help others came from his parents, now in their late 80's, who have always considered community service important.

"When I was a little guy, I would go door-to-door with my mom and try to collect dimes for March of Dimes," said Coslet. During the holidays, he would help his mom wrap candy in handkerchiefs to give to nursing home residents.

Truly Blessed

"The Lord has truly blessed me, so I feel the need to bless others," said Coslet. "After I lost everything, I just felt the drive to be helping others that are less fortunate. I would not pity myself I would reach out and help others."

To say that Coslet has been through a lot would be an understatement.

He survived a massive heart attack in 1996 and then walked away unscathed from a major car crash during a friend's funeral procession, during which a woman in another vehicle ran a red light and hit Coslet's car at 40 miles per hour. He suffered a stroke in April 2010. He woke up one morning to let his dogs out and then went back to bed.

"I got up to go to church and I just collapsed," said Coslet. Thanks to the doctors at Advocate Condell Medical Center who administered a blood thinner, Coslet "was able to spark back up."

Along with surviving these medical-related crises, Coslet has also survived the loss of his business and home. In 2004, Coslet bought out his partners at Terra Cotta Truck Service and became the sole owner. The business had been around since the 1950's. After not being paid by some clients, including one from a major local road project, Coslet ended up losing his business.

"It was just a great, great company," he said.

It was during this time that Coslet developed a relationship with Jesus Christ and became a self-proclaimed "Jesus freak." In 2004, while out for coffee with a friend, Coslet "was totally crumbling" and filled with worry about not receiving the small-business loan he needed to buy his trucking business. His friend, a Trinity International University graduate, "reached into his pocket and gave me a Gideons pocket Bible," said Coslet, who had been a Catholic his whole life.

'Helping hand'

"That was the moment that Christ came into my life and turned the light switch on," said Coslet.

"If you need a helping hand, reach out and it's all there," he said of the Bible.

Now a member of The Chapel, Coslet often shares his story with people at the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. He also participates in a prison ministry program. During a visit to Stateville Correctional Center, he saw 22 inmates turn their lives around and profess faith in Jesus Christ. The prison ministry program also takes him to the Lake County Jail.

"We're all sinners. We all make mistakes," said Coslet.

Through The Chapel, Coslet often helps collect food for the needy. During one church food drive, members were encouraged to take a paper bag home, fill it with food and return it the following week. Coslet picked up 60 bags and handed them out around his neighborhood.

He picked up all but two bags the following week and returned them. Then, a neighbor called and asked Coslet to pick up two more bags. At the time, Coslet and his family had been living off of the food they had in their freezer and pantry following Coslet's job loss. While the "little devil" on his shoulder was telling him to take the food and put it in his own pantry, he turned it in to be given to the needy.

When he returned home, a card was waiting for him that said, "It's all going to be OK. From your friends in Christ." Inside the card were two Jewel gift cards valued at $500 apiece.

"To this day, we don't know who it was from," said Coslet. He added that not long after his business closed, the community held a fund-raiser for his family that brought in $14,000.

"Life is good," said Coslet, who is feeling better and getting back to work. "I live each day and make the best of it and try to bless others."

Lake in the Hills Cancer Survivor Wins 2010 VW Beetle

Stephanie Flood thought long and hard before coming up with the perfect name for her brand-new 2010 Volkswagen Beetle.

In the end, “Felicity” seemed appropriate, she said.

“This car makes me smile every time I look at it,” said Flood, 23, of Lake in the Hills. “I wanted to find a name that’s representative of this whole experience. This whole process has been joy, which also happens to be my middle name. There is still good in the world."

Flood won the car, valued at $20,390, on Dec. 18 through the Fox Valley Volkswagen’s “LoveBug2 Contest.” The winning announcement ceremony was held at the dealership's West Chicago location.

The five-month contest asked Chicagoland residents to nominate someone whose good deeds have been inspirational or helpful to others.

LOVEbug2 Winner Stephanie Flood

Since June, the dealership accepted monthly nomination stories, and each month the public voted for their favorite nominee. Flood’s aunt, Jennifer Dzierozynski, of Libertyville, nominated her in June, and Flood won the most votes that month, she said.

Dzierozynski wrote in her nomination letter: “Most of us go through our lives not realizing what a gift each day is. My nominee, Stephanie Flood, lives each day knowing how truly precious life is. At age 9, she was diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly brain cancer, ependymoma. She’s battled this four times, but continues to give back and fight cancer.”

Flood’s cancer fight began when, in the fourth-grade, she experienced flu-like symptoms for three weeks which included dizziness and nausea. An eye exam and CATscan revealed a growth on her brain. Her first treatment involved surgery to remove the tumor and six weeks of radiation.

The treatment was successful, and the tumor disappeared for three years.

“We thought we had it beat,” said Flood, adding that her mother, Ursula and father, Kevin, supported her throughout her battle.

“But then in 2000, I had the same symptoms again. We thought, 'uh-oh, it’s back.' But we were just hopeful again that I’d have the surgery, and it would go away.”

The second treatment involved surgery and an experimental form of chemotherapy, she said. A year later, the tumor returned, and Flood endured a third sugery and Gamma Knife radiation, a procedure that killed both good and bad cells, she explained.

That treatment shrunk the tumor, but it wasn’t gone for good. In 2002, Flood went through a fourth surgery and received another experimental treatment at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Intrabeam radiation.

“That treatment only kills bad cells,” she said. “And I’ve been cancer-free for eight years.”

Since then, Flood graduated from Jacobs High School in 2005, and from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, in August with a communications degree.

She recently completed an internship at Children’s Memorial and said she hopes to find a public relations job in fund-raising or marketing in a position where she can help others.

She’s also been instrumental in the fight to raise cancer awareness and research funds. She has served on the leadership board for the American Cancer Society, she said. She appears in the Children’s Memorial commercial “One Day,” where she shares the message of new cancer treatments.

She’s also helped chair and co-chair several “Relay For Life” fund-raising events at Elgin Community College and at NIU, she said.

Flood said her new wheels are much appreciated. Her old car, a '95 Toyota Camry, broke down permanently a year ago. She had a good feeling about the contest because she knew her family and friends were rallying votes on her behalf.

“I know I had a lot of people in my corner,” Flood said. “My supporters went above and beyond the norm to get more votes. My uncle Tom (Dzierozynski) had friends calling in from Puerto Rico.”

The top three monthly winners in the "LoveBug2 Contest" won smaller prizes, such as Apple I-pods, Garmen GPS systems and video cameras, said Fox Valley Operations Manager Christina Wickersheim.

The 15 monthly winners were entered into the December Grand Prize contest for the 2010 Limited Edition Volkswagen Beetle, which is the final build of the current body style, Wickersheim said.

More than three million people visited the contest website,, according to the contest organizer Desert Rose Design

“We had people from 48 states and 9 countries casting votes,” Wickersheim said.

Lake in the Hills Resident Wins Grand Prize in Fox Valley Volkswagen's "LOVEbug2 Contest"

Stephanie Flood of Lake in the Hills was named Fox Valley Volkswagen’s “LOVEbug2 Contest” Grand Prize winner of a 2010 Limited Edition Volkswagen Beetle Saturday at an award ceremony at the dealership’s West Chicago location. Flood was one of 15 finalists and 100 overall nominees in the “LOVEbug2 Contest,” which asked Chicagoland residents to nominate someone whose good deeds have gone a long way to help or inspire them or others. The public was then asked to vote for their favorite finalist, with the largest vote-getter winning the grand prize valued at $20,390.

Flood’s friend, Jenny Dzierozynski, nominated her for her remarkable efforts on behalf of cancer awareness and research. Flood herself has battled brain cancer since she was nine years old, overcoming this deadly disease four times. In spite of her health challenges, she continues to raise money for research and volunteer for the Children’s Memorial Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Flood is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and is currently interning at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Recently Flood’s car broke down, and due to its age, could not be repaired. It was her friend’s wish that Flood win the new Volkswagen Beetle so she could continue her life’s mission.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to honor Stephanie for her remarkable contributions to our community, and to help her continue to help others by having a new car to drive to her internship and volunteer activities,” said Emir Abinion, President of Fox Valley Volkswagen. “We at Fox Valley Volkswagen are dedicated to giving back to the community and the LOVEbug contest is a great way for us to recognize and share our neighbors’ many good deeds that may otherwise go unnoticed.”

The “LOVEbug 2 Contest” ran June through November 2010. Each month three semi-finalist winners were selected to receive a monthly prize and entered to win the grand prize. Finalists’ stories received votes nationally and internationally submitted to the contest website at