On her weekly podcast, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel said Volkswagen’s scandal hasn’t harmed the German automobile industry’s image, but that the automaker would need to conduct its investigation with transparency to restore faith in the country’s industry.
Separately, sources told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (via Reuters) that the automaker, under pressure from investigators, is offering amnesty to employees who reveal what they knew about its cheating devices. Amnesty won’t apply to top-level managers, according to the report.
Investigators at Volkswagen are not only looking for the culprits who installed illegal emissions cheating software into their cars, but they’re also looking for managers who didn’t immediately report the devices as well, the New York Times reported.
The claim would somewhat refute to what Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn testified in front of a congressional subcommittee last week when he told representatives that “a couple of software engineers” at Volkswagen in Germany were responsible for the the scandal that has cost the company billions of dollars.
Volkswagen hired U.S. firm Jones Day to conduct an external investigation while the company inquires internally how engineers installed software on 11 million diesel cars that would cheat emissions tests.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in Ontario, Canada, has launched an official investigation into Volkswagen Canada and Audi Canada regarding their roles in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal that affects some 35,000 vehicles in the province, the ministry announced Wednesday.
The investigation is related to possible violations under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act that prohibits the sale of vehicles that do not meet emissions standards.
(But, why is there a picture of a Chevrolet Silverado painted in army green at the top? Hold on. We’ll get there.)
Volkswagen offices and private residences were raided Thursday morning in Wolfsburg as part of the ongoing investigation into the company’s emission scheme that saw “defeat devices” used in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, reports German media outlet HAZ.
A team of approximately 50 task force personnel from the Lower Saxony’s office of criminal investigation raided multiple locations to gather evidence on those involved in the scandal.
Until now, the EPA’s investigation into NOx emissions has centered around Volkswagen’s four-cylinder diesel engines equipped in the Jetta, Golf, Golf/Jetta SportWagen, Beetle Coupe/Convertible, Passat and Audi A3. The EPA is now investigating the larger 3.0-liter diesel, used by Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche, to see if it is compliant or affected by the same “defeat device”, says David Shepardson of the Detroit News.
The larger diesel mill is used in the Touareg, Audi A6/A7/A8/Q7, and Porsche Cayenne.
With NHTSA opening a formal defect investigation into the Chevy Volt, GM is moving to defend its rolling lightning rod (no pun intended) and allay consumer fears about its safety. Yesterday I briefly appeared on Fox Business’s Your World With Neil Cavuto show to talk about what the intro to my segment referred to as “the hybrid from hell” and the “killer in your garage.” I tried to explain that the danger to consumers was basically nil, and that the real concern is for rescue, towing and salvage workers. And I would have explained why NHTSA’s tests still leave some serious questions open, but my “fair and balanced” approach meant that my segment ended up being extremely short. So let’s take the opportunity now to look past the hysteria and pinpoint the real issues with NHTSA’s investigation into the Volt.
When former auto task force boss Steve Rattner’s former firm Quadrangle recently settled a “pay-to-play” corruption investigation, it threw Rattner under the bus, saying:
We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner, who hired the New York State Comptroller’s political consultant, Hank Morris, to arrange an investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. It is our understanding that Mr. Rattner also arranged a DVD distribution deal for a movie produced by the Chief Investment Officer’s brother in the middle of the investment decision-making process. That conduct was inappropriate, wrong, and unethical. Mr. Rattner is no longer with the firm and is not a part of today’s settlement. Quadrangle will fully cooperate in the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation of Mr. Rattner and others.
According to the DetN, that stinging indictment by Rattner’s former firm has inspired House Republicans to call for an investigation into whether Rattner was behind a deal in which some Delphi retirees lost their pensions while others didn’t. (Read More…)
Cash for Clunkers was set up very quickly, and there hasn’t been an accounting of the administrative costs of the program. There also hasn’t been publicly available information about how contractors were picked to process the thousands of transactions that the program generated… My concern is the waste, fraud and abuse that may have resulted from the vulnerabilities that can come with such a quick start.
Senator Chuck Grassley sticks it to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a letter requesting a full accounting of the cash for clunker program. The DOT was all over fraudulent commercial practices during C4C, but this is the first investigation into possible fraud or overruns on the administration side. Why Grassley waited until now to look into this doesn’t exactly compute, but it will still be interesting to see the results of the audit. After all, could it even be possible that the government spent $3b in a matter of weeks on a consumer incentive without fraud of some kind taking place?