Remember when recycling was new and sexy and every 1980s sitcom included it as a subplot in at least one cringe-inducing episode? It was around the time that McDonald’s took away that convenient styrofoam container — you know, the one that stored a Big Mac on one side and a delicious pile of fries on the other.
Times change. Recycling is mundane, but it’s bigger than ever — and there’s no doubt about the environmental benefits. Unfortunately, there can also be unforeseen financial benefits for less-than-honest operators, especially if a program’s creator doesn’t keep watch on who’s minding the till.
If that creator is the government, things can get messy. Consider this cautionary tale of a massive program that went rotten so badly that it had to be scrapped. (Read More…)
Faraday Future’s preeminence in bad publicity has been unsurpassed as of late. It has amassed legal disputes almost as fast as I can report them, so another lawsuit might seem par for the course — until you realize it’s for an almost trifling amount over a mismanaged squabble surrounding the company’s domain name.
A complaint was filed against the automotive startup in San Francisco County Superior Court on November 18th of last year by a business acting as a broker for obtaining the company’s current domain name. The document outlines a $210,000 claim against Faraday for neglecting to remunerate Domains Cable for services that resulted in the acquisition of FF.com. (Read More…)
An unnamed State Department employee and the manager of a northern Virginia repair shop appropriated and sold government vehicles for profit, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed Thursday.
The kickback scheme, detailed in a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, saw over a dozen State Department motor pool SUVs and a truckload of tires and wheels sold through a collision repair shop in Springfield, Virginia. The shop, Car Collision Center, is the go-to repair facility for various government departments.
It also has a license to sell vehicles. (Read More…)
A Volkswagen executive who allegedly spent more than a year throwing up smoke screens around the emissions-cheating automaker has been arrested in sunny Florida.
Oliver Schmidt, a former top emissions compliance manager assigned to the U.S., ran defense for the company in the long run-up to the diesel revelations. As allegations mounted and regulators began asking questions, Schmidt and other company officials blamed phony technical problems for the sky-high emissions levels seen during real-world testing.
According to the New York Times, Schmidt, a German national, was nabbed on Saturday and charged by the FBI with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. (Read More…)
The California regulator that played an important part in uncovering Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating plot detailed a list of options on how the automaker will be required to spend the $800 million penance by advancing green tech and nonpolluting cars.
Some of the choices the California Air Resources Board came up with are truly terrible. (Read More…)
Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, 39, allegedly faked his own kidnapping during a Thanksgiving weekend bender in order to get ransom money to pay for the drug binge. Elkann, the grandson of the late Fiat Automobiles patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was taken into custody by the NYPD and charged for falsely reporting the incident. (Read More…)
How much can we chop away while keeping the body alive?
The U.S. Justice Department’s plans for Volkswagen’s criminal fine is like a horror movie, only with corporate finances playing the role of a writhing human subject.
According to two sources close to the negotiations, the DOJ wants to extract as much monetary lifeblood from the automaker as possible, while keeping the company afloat, Bloomberg reports. (Read More…)
There’s money to be made when automakers screw up.
Sometimes, being part of a class-action lawsuit isn’t enough, and you’ve got to wage a Charles Bronson-like battle for personal justice. That’s what newly unemployed actor Thomas Gibson is doing. His target? The maker of his Audi SUV. (Read More…)
When the new Kia factory in Nuevo León, Mexico reaches full capacity, 300,000 vehicles will leave the plant each year. At the same time, a jail cell door could slam on the government officials who brought it there.
The former governor of the Mexican state will stand trial on corruption charges linked to the tax deal behind the $1 billion assembly plant, Reuters reports. Prosecutors accuse Rodrigo Medina, along with 30 officials, friends and family members, of draining $196 million from public coffers. (Read More…)
Consider it a low point in German-Korean relations.
Thanks to the diesel emissions scandal, South Korea just decertified about 68 percent of all Volkswagen, Bentley and Audi vehicles sold in that country over the past decade, Reuters reports. The country also revoked the certification of 80 model variants and leveled a large fine, meaning VW’s one-time Asian market breakthrough is truly busted. (Read More…)
Volkswagen’s multi-billion-dollar make-nice deal with U.S. regulators and owners was given a tentative green light today, after a federal judge gave the settlement his preliminary approval.
The San Francisco hearing is the first of two, and approval of the $14.7 billion buyback and compensation plan could get a full go-ahead on August 25. The hearing shed light on what owners of defeat device-equipped diesels can expect in the coming months. (Read More…)
I hate it when people get ripped off. And judging by your reaction to Bark’s piece last week about a dealer in Florida, you hate it too.
The latest con job to be posted to the Interwebs involves someone who’s no stranger to crime: John Hennessey. The Texas-based tuner of extraordinary supercars, Hennessey Performance Engineering, might not be building cars as exclusive as it purports — that is if it builds them at all, reports Jalopnik.
A crime that ends with no one being harmed is a good thing, but a Detroit family spent several agonizing hours waiting to find that out.
Three-month-old Dakota Grimes is back at home after the 2006 Chevrolet Impala she was riding in was stolen from the parking lot of a eastside Detroit convenience store just before 1 a.m. this morning, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Kenneth Feinberg, the man behind Volkswagen’s claims fund, stated American VW TDI customers should expect an offer that will make them very happy in an interview published this weekend.
When asked by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (via Reuters) what he will offer the more than 500,000 Americans who own dirty diesels, he replied, “I can promise that there will be a generous solution.”
What that solution will be is anyone’s guess, including Feinberg’s.
“The jury is still out, and at the moment all options are up for debate: cash payments, buybacks, repairs, replacements with new cars,” he said.
According to Germany’s Bild tabloid, the next Volkswagen personnel to be shown the door could be three people integral to powertrain development during the time when vehicles were fitted with “defeat devices”.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development; Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Board of Management; and Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group are rumored to be the next executives and managers to be fired, though a final decision won’t be made until Friday.