Category: People

By on October 16, 2015

Dr. Christine Hohmann-DennhardtVolkswagen announced Friday that Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt would join the embattled automaker from a similar post at Daimler after receiving approval from that automaker’s board of directors.

The Daimler board member and former judge will join Volkswagen on its Board for Integrity and Legal Affairs to help the automaker clean up its severely tarnished image after it admitted it had cheated emissions tests on more than 11 million cars worldwide. From Daimler:

In the interests of the Good Corporate Governance of the German automotive industry, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG has agreed to this request after consultation with the Presidential Committee of the Supervisory Board, after Compliance is anchored firmly at Daimler and its corporate culture.

(Emphasis mine on the sick, corporate burn.)

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By on October 14, 2015

2014-vahlandChairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tapped to lead a new North American Volkswagen region, will be leaving the Volkswagen Group, it was announced Wednesday.

Vahland will not be taking the N.A. role which would have given him the responsibility of overseeing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets.

“Differing views on the organisation of the new Group region have led to this decision,” Škoda said in a release on Wednesday, though the automaker was careful to point out that “this decision is expressly not related to current events on the issue of diesel engines.”

A replacement for Vahland in North America has not yet been announced.

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By on October 13, 2015

Marchionne - Picture courtesy

Like Al Pacino in “The Godfather 2,” Sergio Marchionne’s move to insulate himself further and tap future successors has claimed another victim. On Monday, former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich resigned from the automaker, days after he was replaced as head of Fiat by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.

Stoicevich was a longtime FCA employee, heading up the automaker’s California sales office and former head of Jeep operations before that.

His departure is the latest in a company-wide shakeup to consolidate most North American brands between fewer brand chiefs.

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By on October 12, 2015

Paul Willis

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 UK managing director 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 and 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 — 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 >

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