Tag: Volkswagen

By on January 9, 2017

Volkswagen TDI

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…)

By on January 6, 2017

tdiengine

Assuming owners of 2.0-liter diesel Volkswagens aren’t so pissed at the company that thoughts of cash extraction and corporate punishment fill their every waking hour, up to 70,000 of the little polluters could be spared.

After failing multiple times to whip up a fix for the emissions-rigged engines, VW has made a breakthrough with the U.S. government. That means owners of certain VW and Audi vehicles have a choice to make. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2017

lawsuit

The first person sentenced in the sprawling Volkswagen emissions scandal is headed to jail in South Korea, but the man who helped design the defeat smog-spewing engines will have to wait for his punishment.

Reuters reports an executive of VW’s South Korean division was handed a sentence of one year, six months today for his side-role in the diesel deception. Meanwhile, a German engineer who was the first employee charged in the scandal will cool his heels a little while longer.

It seems he’s just too useful. (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

Matthias Müller

Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, Matthias Müller, will be taking a pass on the North American International Auto Show this year. VW still needs to settle things with the U.S. Department of Justice, and is desperate to reach a criminal settlement before the Obama administration is replaced by Trump.

Of course, there is also the matter of public embarrassment. At the 2016 NAIAS Müller took some serious heat for telling National Public Radio that Volkswagen did not lie when initially questioned about its emission-cheating diesel vehicles. The CEO may indeed be busy overseeing the criminal settlement with the DOJ, but there has to be a little leftover humiliation from last year’s awkwardness.  (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

1998 Subaru Impreza WRC; Image: Prodrive

The name Prodrive isn’t one you’ll stumble across every day, and sounds a bit like a company that might offer teen driving courses. However, it’s one of the world’s most successful race car shops, and bests many individual manufacturer efforts.

How successful?

How does six World Rally Championships, four Le Mans wins, five World Endurance Championships, and four British Touring Car Championships victories sound for a start?

But while “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” is the parable that motivates many marques in motorsport, Prodrive sells no road cars.

How does a small, generally unheard of firm compete against the likes of Porsche, Honda, and Ford? Simple — those companies hire Prodrive to run their race programs. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

Volkswagen Golf family

A lawsuit has been filed in Germany against Volkswagen in the hopes of forcing the automaker to buy back emission-cheating cars in Europe in the same manner it was ordered to in the United States.

The suit, filed today by a solitary vehicle owner, will become the test case for thousands of other European claimants and aims to put pressure on VW to compensate continental customers for the ongoing emissions scandal. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen front quarter, Image: © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars

I’ve no idea how, as I’ve lived in the same Ohio county for all of my 30-plus years (sounds better than nearly 40) on this earth, but I stumbled upon an unfamiliar rural road not far from home last week while testing the new 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. New roads are naturally meant to be explored, so I flicked the signal lever and looked for adventure.

The weather was typical for late December: brisk, with frost in spots making the fallen leaves a bit slick. My first instinct was to drive cautiously, but I realized that I never get opportunities like this. A few hours alone behind the wheel, in daylight, with nowhere to be. The 4Motion all-wheel drive should save me if things get hairy, right?

(Read More…)

By on December 29, 2016

1995 Ford Transit Supervan 3, Image: Ford

There comes a dreaded moment in many automobile enthusiasts’ lives when the reality of having a family and the need for practicality outweighs all other considerations.

Enter that dreaded “V” word.

Getting a van — especially a minivan — is for many the automotive equivalent of getting neutered. You’ve given up, capitulated. Your desires to apex corners and outrace sports cars are now parked firmly in the third-row tier of importance, and haulin’ ass has been replaced by just hauling asses.

But getting a people-hauler doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are quite a few vans people claim are “good to drive.” While I’ll take their word on such things for the time being and soldier on with my wagon addiction, let’s take a look at some more inspired options for heavy-duty hauling that made the prospect of a van actually seem quite cool.

(Read More…)

By on December 27, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

If you were considering stripping your Volkswagen diesel prior to returning it, hit the brakes on that project immediately. VW’s nonspecific wording in the buyback terms created a gray area of legality that a few emissions scandal-affected owners decided to test, removing unessential portions of their 2.0-liter TDI-equipped models.

However, after a particularly thorough set of peelings, a federal judge warned opportunistic owners not to strip parts out of their vehicles before attempting to sell them back to Volkswagen through the company’s emissions settlement. (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2016

volkswagen_microbus

For a solid 15 years — longer than the combined duration of World War I, II, and Korea — Volkswagen has made a habit of teasing consumers with boxy concepts that draw inspiration from the company’s far-out Microbus of yesteryear.

It doesn’t matter whether the automaker is flying high, like it was at the turn of the century (and decade), or digging itself out of a scandal, like it is now. There’s always a piece of flower power vaporware lurking nearby, ready to trigger increasingly distant memories of a free-wheeling, free-love past.

We’ve been tentatively promised some sort of modern-day Microbus since the New Beetle still seemed somewhat new, but to no avail. Well, times are changing, and along with it, technology. But VW’s tactics aren’t. (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack – Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

If only I’d thought ahead.

If only a day earlier I had instructed the Department of Transportation to position cameras across the length and breadth of Nova Scotia and installed a few in-car GoPros, I could have sold footage from our first full day in the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack to Volkswagen for the prototypical all-wheel-drive commercial.

Bitterly cold temperatures had made the snow-clearing efforts from the Friday before a hit and miss affair. Our 150-minute drive from the Atlantic coast, in Eastern Passage, to the Fundy coast, in Cornwallis, turned into a 200-minute drive because of messy roads throughout the Annapolis Valley.

That was only the beginning. The next low began to pass through just after the noon hour, and by the time our 4 p.m. departure time rolled around, we knew we were in for a long drive home. With the confidence inspiring, brand-new Continental WinterContacts at all four driven wheels, we steeled ourselves for what would become a 270-minute drive home.

Four Cains, fast-falling snow, freakishly heavy traffic: this calls for extra ride height. Just a very little bit of extra ride height. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2016

2014 audi a6 tdi engine

After a seemingly endless legal drama, Volkswagen AG has reached an agreement with the U.S. owners of roughly 83,000 emissions-cheating VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

Like the earlier settlement for 2.0-liter defeat device-equipped models, this agreement includes a combination of buybacks, fixes and cash payments. Owners of 2.0-liter models have long since counted their “we’re sorry” money, but these buyers will have to wait just a bit longer before finding out what payment to expect for their premium ride.

It’s not a small sum, apparently. (Read More…)

By on December 19, 2016

Passat TDI engine, Picture Courtesy of Volkswagen

Half a year after an embattled Volkswagen agreed to pay nearly $15 billion in compensation to U.S. diesel owners and regulators, it’s Canada’s turn to dip into the automaker’s sooty wallet.

The company reached a deal today with the 2.0-liter diesel vehicle owners behind a class-action lawsuit. When finalized, the settlement means up to 105,000 bought-back vehicles and more cash added to the company’s penalty pile. $2.1 billion, to be exact, assuming everyone applies for a piece of the pie.

While the cash compensation has the same floor as in the U.S., the payout’s ceiling is lower. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2016

VW LOGO Ice

Volkswagen Group has agreed to shell out $200 million into a reserve created to reduce diesel pollution, a stipulation in the pending agreements made over the 3.0-liter diesels that polluted well over the United State’s legal limit.

The finalized agreement between VW and U.S. lawmakers is expected to come by Monday, pending the company’s decision on what to do about the 80,000 Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche vehicles with emissions-cheating diesel engines still on the road. Legal representatives for the carmaker, affected consumers, and the Justice Department have indicated that negotiations are still progressing, however VW may still have to go to trial if a final agreement isn’t reached soon.  (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2016

vw-tiguan

Volkswagen will showcase its extended-wheelbase, seven-seat Tiguan Allspace at next month’s North American International Auto Show — hoping to use the crossover to curry favor with the United States in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal.

The 2018 Tiguan Allspace should serve as a cheaper alternative to larger three-row SUVs, similar to Nissan’s Rogue with its optional family package. It should also serve as a way to coax crossover-crazy Americans back into VW’s warm embrace.  (Read More…)

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