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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 >
Volkswagen may issue preferred shares to help raise money to deal with its growing diesel scandal, Reuters reported.
The German automaker may cut costs and boost cash flow before resorting to offering parts of the company to outside investors. According to the report, VW may find some willing investors to help bail the company out of its dire straights thanks to its healthy balance sheet and assets. However, if no one is willing to take the bait, the company may resort to more extreme cash-raising strategies that include selling ordinary stock, or even perhaps selling off some of its brands.
Reuters reported that sources said Volkswagen wasn’t considering selling any of its brands now. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spun off luxury carmaker Ferrari this year, in part, to raise capital for other investments at the global automaker.
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Volkswagen suspended hiring at its finance arm and cut a shift at its Salzgitter engine factory to prepare its business for fallout from the largest business crisis that company has faced.
According to Reuters (via Automotive News), senior officials at Volkswagen will review Thursday findings from an internal investigation into the scandal that the automaker installed illegal emissions “defeat devices” on 11 million cars. The finance division said it would implement a hiring freeze through the end of this year.
“We are reacting to the current situation. It is a purely precautionary measure,” a spokesman told Reuters. Read More >
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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Porsche announced Wednesday that Oliver Blume would succeed Matthias Müller as CEO of Porsche, after Müller left to
save head Volkswagen last week.
Blume, who is 47 years old, has been the head of Production and Logistics for Porsche since 2013, and was head of production and planning for Volkswagen before that. Blume was responsible for planning at Seat in Barcelona from 2004 to 2009, and worked on the Audi A3 before his tenure in Spain. According to Porsche, Blume has worked under the Volkswagen umbrella for more than 20 years.
Blume’s challenges at Porsche won’t be as extensive as Müller’s, but will be substantial. As CEO of Porsche, Blume will oversee the iconic 911’s shift to turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the next generation of Panameras and whatever comes of the Mission E electric car concept.
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Speaking to Auto Express ahead of Tesla’s first European factory opening, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said internal combustion engines have hit their physical limit for efficiency and that Volkswagen engineers may have resorted to lying out of necessity.
“There must have been lots of VW engineers under pressure — they’ve run into a physical wall of what might be possible so trickery was the only option,” he told the publication. Read More >
Officials in New South Wales, Australia are banning UberX cars from their roads for three months after failing to prosecute their drivers, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Authorities charged 24 drivers with violating the state’s taxi laws, saying the UberX car-sharing service couldn’t properly monitor and vet its 4,000 drivers in Sydney. Those charges were dropped due to “evidentiary issues” and the drivers avoided fines up to $70,000.
Now the state says it’ll ban private UberX cars from the road instead. Read More >
New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told about 1,000 high-level managers Monday that the company had a “comprehensive” fix for its cars, and that the solution would be forthcoming.
“We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work,” Müller said, according to Reuters.”We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks.”
Müller said the company would ask consumers “in the next few days” to bring their cars in to be refitted. It’s unclear if the recall program would be a software or ECU fix, or if it would include a selective catalytic reduction system (urea or AdBlue) to bring the diesel Volkswagens down to a legal emissions level. Read More >
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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Audi said that 2.1 million of its cars worldwide have been fitted with illegal software to help it cheat emissions tests, Reuters reported.
The automaker announced that multiple models including the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 were affected by the “defeat device” uncovered by researchers, which is grinding Volkswagen to an unimaginable halt.
Roughly three-quarters of the affected Audis were sold in Western Europe, including 577,000 in Germany alone, according to the report. Read More >