By on January 22, 2016

2013-volkswagen-lineup

Volkswagen to European diesel owners: “Why you mad?”

That, the mailman can’t deliver on the first lawsuit against GM, Caddies built in China and 51.3 million cars were recalled in 2015 … after the break!

2016_VW_Passat_Exterior_Grille

German officials criticizing Volkswagen for unfair treatment

Justice officials in Germany are telling Volkswagen that treating American and European owners differently “cannot be in the interest of VW” regarding its offering of compensation on one side of the Atlantic but not the other, according to Reuters.

This week, European Union officials delivered to the automaker a letter urging the company to make available a compensation package offered to U.S. owners last year. On Thursday, Volkswagen said it had no reason to consider the package for European owners because the fix for American cars would take longer.

“We are concentrating in Europe on the repair and service process,” the letter said, according to Automotive News. “The situation in the USA and Canada is not automatically comparable with other markets in the world. … Therefore this action (the compensation scheme) cannot simply be rolled out in other markets.”

GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

First lawsuit against GM for ignition switch dismissed

An Oklahoma man who sued General Motors because he said a faulty ignition switch in his Saturn Ion disabled his car’s safety systems when it crashed withdrew his lawsuit after allegations surfaced that he forged financial paperwork to buy a house, Reuters reported.

GM lawyers argued that Robert Scheuer forged a check stub from his job as a postal worker and used it to buy a house, from which he was evicted five months later.

Scheuer’s case was considered a “bellwether trial” for hundreds of lawsuits against the automaker for its defective ignition switch that has killed 124 people.

Lordstown

Union workers in Ohio ask to strike against General Motors

Plant workers at an Ohio plant who build the Chevrolet Cruze asked to strike over negotiations for their local contract, The Detroit News reported.

Although GM and the United Auto Workers hammered out a long-term contract last year, many regions and local unions are working on plant-specific deals that could take months longer. Workers at the Lordstown, Ohio plant say issues such as bathroom sanitation and job standards are holding up local negotiation.

Local union leaders said up to 4,500 workers would be ready to strike.

“They told me they didn’t feel management was taking the bargaining process seriously,” UAW Region 2-B Director Ken Lortz told The Detroit News. “We’re going to get a deal done or we’re going to have a problem.”

NHTSA-logo-large

Automakers recalled 51.3 million cars in 2015

More than 51 million cars in the U.S. were recalled in 868 separate campaigns last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The final tally fell short of 2014’s record mark of 63.9 million cars — 26 million were General Motors cars with faulty ignition switches. The final figure for 2015 represented the second-highest total for automakers in the U.S.

Last year, legislators and regulators focused heavily on automobile safety and handed out record fines to automakers such as General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This year, 18 automakers voluntary signed an agreement to share reporting data and improve safety and recall effectiveness for their cars.

Cadillac China

Cadillac opens plant in China

Cadillac announced Thursday that it had opened a new plant near Shanghai that will eventually build the CT6 — including a plug-in CT6 destined for American shores.

The $1.2 billion plant has a planned capacity of 122,000 cars, according to the automaker.

“This is another major milestone for Cadillac in its second-largest market,” GM Executive Vice President and President of GM China Matt Tsien said in a statement. “Local production will enable us to satisfy growing demand for luxury vehicles through the introduction of more Cadillac models built in and for China.”

Cadillac has high hopes for China, even amid the country’s massive economic slowdown.

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31 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Don’t Leave Europe Out of the Party, Bizarre End To GM Lawsuit, and 2015’s Recall-mania...”


  • avatar
    heavy handle

    EU officials want money from VW for breaking US regulations!

    At the same time, other EU officials will vote on easing-off on their own emissions regs, because manufacturers are complaining that they don’t feel like cleaning their rooms or eating their vegetables (or nearest automotive equivalent).

    EU officials have no shame.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Looking at those Cadillac models from a distance (as you would across a crowded parking lot) they look like Cadillac was trying to shamelessly crib a Mercedes design (minus the stand up hood ornament.)

  • avatar
    thegamper

    If you read the Reuters article (referenced in the TTAC article) about the GM ignition switch lawsuits, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed due to misrepresentations that came to light regarding the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries. Not dismissed because of a forged document, though that may very well have been used to show this plaintiff was a dammed liar. Sort of completely different than what is reported above, thought I would interject.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    GM is a tone deaf company, incompetently run still, with idiots aboard.

    “Gee, how can we further alienate an older demographic, very few as it is who still buy our larger Cadillac sedans intentionally avoiding foreign brands?”

    Exhibit No. 484 In The GM Incompetence Watch:

    “Cadillac announced Thursday that it had opened a new plant near Shanghai that will eventually build the CT6 — including a plug-in CT6 destined for American shores.

    The $1.2 billion plant has a planned capacity of 122,000 cars, according to the automaker.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Thanks for the link to the story on the ignition switch trial, Aaron. I encourage anyone with interest in this drama to read it.

    It seems that Mr Scheuer’s claims of neck and back problems being related to his Ion’s ignition switch failure were unsubstantiated. What is unfortunate is that due to his fraudulent claims, I guess he had to drop any claim for the loss of his vehicle. What isn’t clear to me is if the GM switch actually caused his crash.

    So GM dodges its first bellwether trial because of a semi-bogus plaintiff. It won’t go so easily for the other trials.

    Best quote by the prosecuting attorney after his client withdrew the case: “El Nino is unusual,” he said Friday. “This is way past unusual.”

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Cadillac may not the standard of the world any longer but they can certainly be the standard of Shanghai.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The UAW needs to negotiate the finer points of bathroom cleaning at its plants? Is the UAW just being picky, or is GM really not taking care of the simplest task, cleaning the bathroom??

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty sure cleaning the bathrooms is a union job. This is probably an issue with the facilities themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Changing a light-bulb is a union electrician job in a GM plant, so yeah I’m sure the custodial staff is unionized.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Changing a lightbulb or even picking up a screwdriver is union work for employees of Westinghouse Nuclear. I knew an engineer who was castigated for using a screwdriver in an assembly area.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            y’know, I used to joke along with others about “needing an electrician to plug something into the wall.”

            then I started having to work at trade shows, and I understood why. The electricians are *responsible* for the setup and operation of the electrical distribution required by the exhibitor, and are held responsible for making sure it works correctly and safely. So if some rando starts plugging in exhibits/equipment and the electricity goes down (breaker trips or magic smoke escapes) the electricians have to *stop* working and start troubleshooting. And the way most random idiots are, everyone will claim “I didn’t do anything!”

            So making sure the electricians are the ones connecting the equipment to power means if some piece of equipment causes problems, they’re right there and see what caused it.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            It varies by plant (even areas within the plant) and by people.

            I haven’t been grieved at work and I’ve done some labor intensive things. I was rebuilding pumps on Christmas day and no one batted an eye.

            If you disrespect your coworkers and employees, let the union games begin.

            I continuously remind all my coworkers how lucky we all are to be in such a plant. I think it takes a certain level of perspective to not take things for granted.

            Sanitation is contracted out at most (probably all) UAW facilities.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            In the Seventies, as an officer of Citibank, I was told that I couldn’t plug in a new computer, that I needed to book an electrician in advance.

            With a deadline looming, somehow that plug just fell into the outlet.

            And I understand that the NYC subways used to literally need four people to change a light bulb. Not a joke. A worker to bring the ladder, a spotter to make sure he didn’t fall off, an electrician to climb the ladder that had been properly placed by the first twoasund some kind supervisor to verify that the problem has been corrected.

            But, HEY, AARON! As someone who has a bit of knowledge of journalism, I recognize what you are doing with your “More after the jump” closings to all of your story headings. But I have gotten to the point where I am tired of being played to get me to click through…

            I wouldn’t mind if you actually completed a thought, or wrote a sentence or two, to let us know the gist of the outcome, and not just the subject. Then if I want to learn the details, I will click through.

            But as it is now, I am tired of you deliberately salting the trail with a subject plus absolutely zero information about what happened, so much so that most of the time now, I just skip it altogether and decide to wait til I hear the news elsewhere.

            How about just enough detail for me to decide if it is something I already know, or not, instead of things like “GM finds out that (the clearly allegorical) mailman can’t deliver…more after the jump!”

            Something like “Ignition switch suit against GM hits a snag, due to issues with plaintiff’s credibility”, or something like that…anyone who wants to know more will click through. Oh yeah, those of us who read that story on Yahoo yesterday wouldn’t waste our time, to the detriment of your click counts.

            Until such time as enough of us realize that we are being played.

            And don’t try to argue that there isn’t enough room in the leadin to put that in…there are plenty of other leadins considerably longer than yours that still make it to the front of TTAC.

            I’ll make a deal, I, and probably many others less vocal but just as annoyed, will start to click through on all of your articles that demonstrate that you have something new, before we have to click, if you’ll just start letting us know what it is that you have, and not just who your news affects.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      it’s not “The UAW,” it’s whatever UAW Local which represents workers at that facility. The master agreement negotiated between the UAW bargaining committee and the automakers sets things like wages, benefits, etc. the locals each have their own sub-agreements specific to each facility for things like work rules and other operational items.

    • 0 avatar
      TheDoctorIsOut

      When you ask how many people does it take to change a light bulb… in one of the rooms at the Major Motion Picture Studio I work at there is a glassed in display case that displays several Oscars, and when one light bulb in that case fails, the comedy begins. It takes someone to put in a formal request to change the bulb which is reviewed by another group that approves the request. From there it is a coordinated effort from the facilities guy required to unscrew the bracket holding the glass, to another union guy from craft to remove the glass, and then the unionized electrician to change not just the failed light bulb but ALL the bulbs in the case. Then, because getting the case open is such a major event another unionized group comes into to vacuum the case while a custodial services person (yes they are union too) cleans the glass and since the case is open, the archivists come in to carefully clean each Oscars. THEN the whole process is reversed.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Isn’t the Cruze built in Lordstown? That plant has a LONG history of labor issues going back to the Vega.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Close lordstown.
    Scene of the great toilet door strike in the 60s (?).
    You see, you can t sleep in the sh*t house if you dont have no doors.

    Seen in
    GMAD Doraville. 1998. Sign on the hourly restroom door. (Genl Assy. 2nd floor). Went to the effect, “no eating in the crap house.’

    they had a problem with the boys eating in there on the toilet. Really.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “This is another major milestone for Cadillac in its second-largest market.”

    So they sell even fewer Caddys in China than here? How long have they been over there?

  • avatar
    NickS

    VWs Goodwill Package was obviously a nice gesture for US and CDN owners but it does zero to solve the problem itself. Did all those who took advantage of it use it to trade in their non-compliant TDI with a compliant vehicle? Did it do anything to stanch plummeting sales? Did it cover the loss of value for those TDI owners who had to sell or trade-in? Did it mollify some owners enough to opt-out of class-action lawsuits? Does it help VW in the inevitable class-action settlement negotiations, or other legal cases that they offered free money to owners no strings attached?

    Unless VW has some solid data to indicate a multiplier benefit for the GP it is a PR gimmick.

    VW bungled the GP by making a nice gesture in some regions but not others. They are messaging that some regions are more worthy of goodwill. This creates world-wide PR problems that politicians can exploit. It’s all peanuts for VAG cash-wise, but it’s also a distraction from the real problem. They don’t *have to* offer any free money in any region in legal terms. But, by law, they do have to offer differing solutions and programs to comply with their legal and regulatory troubles in different regions. They haven’t solved the one thing they absolutely HAVE TO do in every region (in theory at least).

    I don’t see TDI owners giving up with a free cookie and a pat on the head, or regulators seeing this as some sort of redeeming gesture.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Wait? You mean people commit perjury and fraud when they smell blood in the water and a potential big day in court?

    Shocked I tell you! SHOCKED!!!


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