Category: People

By on October 12, 2015


Volkswagen’s chief in the United Kingdom told representatives Monday that cars in that country likely wouldn’t need expensive urea tanks retrofitted to those cars to comply with emissions standards, AutoCar reported.

Volkswagen’s managing director in the UK Paul Willis told members of parliament that most of the 1.2 million cars in that country fitted with illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests would only need a software fix — not an additional urea tank that is widely believed to be needed in U.S. cars. About 400,000 cars would need a fuel injector replacement instead of the costly tank.

It’s likely that many of the cheating Volkswagens in the U.S. would need all or a combination of  three fixes — software update, fuel injectors and a urea tank — would be needed to bring those cars into compliance.

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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 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


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 6, 2015


“I’m fine. Annabelle’s fine. Tails might be a goner.”

Those of you who have been around this site for more than a calendar year or so no doubt remember our former contributor, Caroline Ellis. Caroline has the good fortune of living in the Palmetto State of South Carolina, which is normally a good thing. This week, however, she isn’t so fortunate. When I saw the news images of floods throughout the State, I texted Caroline to see if all was okay. You can see the text I got back at the top of this post. Annabelle is Caroline’s black lab. Tails is her 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ hatchback.

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By on October 2, 2015

Aaron Cole Judge LeMons

In honor of Miller Motorsports Park’s glorious sale back to the people, fellow auto scribe and LeMons chief judge Murilee Martin, Cheat Sheet Managing Editor Andrew Ganz and I made the people’s journey Thursday across the wasteland wonderful state of Wyoming to judge the proletariat’s race. (I’ll have a story on that later.)

The annual Return of the LeMonites will have a decidedly “red” feel this year, thanks to Murilee’s savvy Alibaba skills and dirt-cheap shipping costs from China.

This isn’t my first rodeo as LeMons judge — but it is my first tour for the best race series on the planet back in the Beehive State. I went to school at the University of Utah (AP No. 10, Coaches No. 12, ESPN No. 9) and Utah is my second home for many reasons. Basically, I’m saying I’m comfortable enough here to make terrible drivers go get me Beto’s if they drive like assholes.  Read More >

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


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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By on September 29, 2015


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 >

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