Category: Crime & Punishment

By on October 9, 2015

South Dakota Rampage

Police in Rapid City, South Dakota arrested a man they say stole a bulldozer and dozed electrical poles, rammed a pickup and damaged a building Sunday.

Authorities said 21-year-old Justin Thornley stole a bulldozer from a construction site and demolished a house before ramming other objects.

According to the Rapid City Journal, officers needed beanbags fired from a shotgun, a Taser and pepper spray to arrest Thornley.  Read More >

By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn testifying

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.

Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.

“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.

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By on October 8, 2015

Werk Wolfsburg - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

Volkswagen offices and private residences were raided Thursday morning in Wolfsburg as part of the ongoing investigation into the company’s emission scheme that saw “defeat devices” used in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, reports German media outlet HAZ.

A team of approximately 50 task force personnel from the Lower Saxony’s office of criminal investigation raided multiple locations to gather evidence on those involved in the scandal.

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By on October 3, 2015

Der neue Volkswagen XL1/XL1 ? Drive Luzern nach Genf

Volkswagen has a very steep, very tough hill to climb, and Volkswagen’s incoming chairman said the emissions scandal that affects 11 million cars is “a threat to the firm’s viability albeit a surmountable one,” reports Reuters.

Dieter Pötsch, who will soon take the chairman spot at Volkswagen Group AG, described the challenges ahead as an “existence-threatening crisis for the company” during a corporate meeting with employees in Wolfsburg, Germany’s Welt am Sonntag reported.

In order to take on those challenges, Volkswagen needs to fund the repairs of some 11 million vehicles, meaning cuts may be made to the company’s 100 billion euro R&D investment budget that was expected to last until 2018.

A cut in R&D spending is seen as a way to avoid a downgrade of the company’s credit ratings, a source close to the company’s board told Reuters.

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By on October 1, 2015


German prosecutors on Thursday said they focused too quickly on former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and removed a statement from earlier this week that they were investigating the former executive for the scandal that has engulfed the German carmaker.

In a statement by the Lower Saxony prosecutor’s office obtained by Automotive News Europe on Thursday, the office said there must be “concrete facts” before officially investigating Winterkorn. So far, no specific individuals have been named in the office’s investigation.

The stakes are high for whomever may be responsible for the 11 million cars that illegally cheated emissions tests. Volkswagen supervisory board member Olaf Lies told The Local in Germany that “those people who allowed this to happen, or who made the decision to install this software — they acted criminally. They must take personal responsibility.”

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By on September 30, 2015

Are those tall buildings or are you just happy to see a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta [sportwagon]? (courtesy

Green Car Journal announced Wednesday that they would take back two awards given to vehicles that are now part of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions debacle. The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI were bestowed Green Car of the Year awards by the publication.

“Rescinding the Green Car of the Year awards for the VW Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI is unfortunate but appropriate,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal.

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By on September 29, 2015

Mark Rosekind Circa December 2014

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles admitted Tuesday it hasn’t accurately reported required early warning report data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The safety administration said that warning data includes “significant under-reported notices and claims of death, injuries and other information.”

According to the automaker, FCA self-reported its violations to NHTSA as part of its increased scrutiny after a record $105 million fine and consent order that FCA agreed to in July. Under the order, FCA agreed to have an independent monitor review its recalls for at least two years. Read More >

By on September 28, 2015

Xu Winterkorn - Picture coutesy

A criminal complaint in Germany (that could have been filed by anyone) has prompted an investigation into whether former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn knew the automaker was selling cars with an illegal “defeat device” to fool emissions test, Reuters reported.

Several complaints have been filed with German prosecutors, including one from within Volkswagen, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Winterkorn’s investigation may take months — or even years — as German authorities look into how widespread cheating and lying was at the automaker.

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By on September 25, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

It’s entirely possible that the Environmental Protection Agency could levy the largest ever civil penalty for Clean Air Act violations against Volkswagen after the automaker lied about emissions from their diesel engines.

In 2014, the government agency fined Hyundai and Kia $100 million for spewing 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases above what they reported for 1.1 million cars.

For Volkswagen, using the EPA’s own penalty worksheet (which is apparently a thing), the fine may be substantially more than that levied against the Korean automakers — about $3.15 billion more.

Here’s how we got that number.

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By on September 25, 2015


A recent press release on the completion and success of a three-year program to test biofuels in Volkswagen Jetta and Passat TDI models may hint that two external companies had knowledge of the high levels of NOx produced by the “Clean Diesel” vehicles.

The two California-based companies — Solazyme and Amyris — were given the Volkswagen vehicles to test their fuels. VW announced that the program was a success a few months ago, stating CO2 emissions were reduced when using the biofuels. However, the companies only would have known their fuels produced less emissions if the biofuel companies tested the emissions output using diesel fuel and compared it with their own products.

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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  • Doug DeMuro, United States
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