Category: Germany

By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)

In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.

(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)

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By on October 7, 2015


Volkswagen lobbied hard in 2011 to receive the same — or higher — clean vehicle credits as electric cars, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

“They wanted a special deal for diesel cars that we now know weren’t even meeting the standard,” Margo Oge, a former director of the E.P.A. Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told the New York Times.

The LA Times reported that roughly $51 million in credits was paid by taxpayers in 2009 for diesel cars that lied about mileage and emissions — essentially a cheap bar trick.

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By on October 7, 2015


Volkswagen’s supervisory board confirmed its appointment of Hans Dieter Pötsch to its top seat during a scandal rocking the 78-year-old automaker, the company announced Wednesday.

Pötsch said he would continue the investigation as chairman:

I will do my utmost to uncover the full truth of what happened. I am firmly resolved to make my contribution so that Volkswagen can win back the trust of customers, the public, investors and business partners. And I believe my central task is to play my part in guiding Volkswagen towards a successful future.

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By on October 7, 2015


Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told German authorities that the company would begin recalling cars in Europe in January and that fixes those cars take roughly one year to complete, Automotive News reported.

Müller told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the company found 9.5 million affected cars, not 11 million, that would need to be fixed. Müller didn’t specify what the fixes for cars would be, but said that the company was preparing “thousands” of solutions for its cars that cheated emission tests. Müller said the company would replace cars in certain circumstances.

It’s unclear when recalls for the 482,000 cars in the U.S. would start.

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By on October 6, 2015

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0051

A Volkswagen of America spokesman said Tuesday that electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars would be a “key part” of the automaker’s research and development strategy after CEO Matthias Müller told 20,000 workers in Wolfsburg that it would postpone or cancel other projects that weren’t critical to sales.

“Electrification, whether full EV, PHEV, or HEV, is a key part of our strategy long term in order to meet worldwide (greenhouse gas) targets,” a Volkswagen spokesman told TTAC on Tuesday.

In 2014, Volkswagen spent $13.5 billion on research and development — more than any other company in all sectors. However, that budget could be severely restricted as the automaker prepares to pay billions for software that cheated emissions tests.

Volkswagen could be looking for ways to not repeat history, when a 1960s lawsuit from Tatra crippled development well into the 1980s.

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By on October 6, 2015


Speaking to roughly 20,000 employees in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller outlined the big-picture view for the weeks, months and years ahead. (It’s not good, if you’re wondering.)

Anything that is not absolutely necessary will be cancelled or postponed. And it is why we will be intensifying the efficiency program. To be perfectly frank: this will not be a painless process.

The automaker plans “massive cutbacks” according to Reuters, but Müller stopped short of outlining specifics to slow production or lay off workers. The 62-year-old CEO told workers that the company hasn’t calculated the final toll lying about pollution levels in 11 million cars would take on the company.

… while the technical solutions to these problems are imminent, it is not possible to quantify the commercial and financial implications at present.

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By on October 5, 2015

01 Volkswagen Jetta

According to Reuters, Volkswagen may have suspended engineers — including top engineers for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche — without any evidence.

According to the report, more than 10 engineers were suspended in the fallout after it became clear the automaker cheated its way through emissions tests in the U.S. and Europe. It’s not clear if the suspended engineers would be reinstated at the company.

Reuters reported that VW’s internal investigation revealed that the illegal “defeat devices” began appearing in cars around 2008 after engineers discovered that their engine, which was costly to produce, wouldn’t pass emissions tests.

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By on October 2, 2015

German transportation authorities said Friday that Volkswagen can’t phone a friend for help, they’re on their own.

“At this point we have no indication of other manufacturers being involved,” a government spokesman, said according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe).

Being the only automaker embroiled in the scandal — for now — means that Volkswagen will have to face alone the wrath from governments tripping over themselves to charge the automaker with just about anything they want. In the U.S., Volkswagen faces a pending congressional inquiry; in France, prosecutors have opened an investigation for “aggravated deception;” in Italy, the government’s antitrust authority has begun an investigation; in Switzerland — you get the idea.

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By on October 2, 2015


Audi in Germany on Friday added information to its main website so customers can determine if their car is affected by an illegal “defeat device” included in 11 million Volkswagen Group cars.

Audi owners can identify if their cars will be part of the unprecedented recall by entering the car’s VIN into the website. Audi said it would roll out a similar service in separate, worldwide markets in coming days. Audi owners can also go to dealerships to see if their cars will require recall work.

Volkswagen created a website in the U.S. this week to answer preliminary questions for its owners, including a video message by Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn.  Read More >

By on October 1, 2015


A meeting of Volkswagen executives revealed Thursday that the internal investigation into how the company produced 11 million cars with illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests will take several months, Reuters (via Automotive News) reported.

The supervisory board said in light of the ongoing investigation, the automaker would push back its scheduled meeting in November, where it was expected to name Hans Dieter Pötsch as chairman.

“In view of the time available and the matters to be considered, it would not be realistic to provide well-founded answers which would fulfill the shareholder’s justified expectations,” it said according to Reuters, adding a court would appoint Poetsch to the board, after which he would be elected chairman. Read More >

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