It seems that even Volkswagen executives realize you can’t keep showing off different variants of the same concept before the public grows weary of the tease.
At the North American International Auto Show this week, visitors to Detroit feasted their eyes on the eleventy billionth latter-day VW Microbus concept, this time called the I.D. Buzz. Okay, maybe that number is a bit high, but the folks from Wolfsburg have kept up a steady trickle of retro Microbus concepts for 16 years. This time, it’s fully electric. No wheezy four-cylinder (or raucous five) in sight.
Naturally, the automaker hopes this latest concept’s name doesn’t prove a lie, but this latest offering — and the atmosphere around it — feels different. The mood implies it’s now or never for the concept — not just this one-off vehicle, but the concept of a reborn Microbus altogether. (Read More…)
After a Volkswagen official was collared in Miami while on vacation, other top company officials have been warned to stay close to home.
Oliver Schmidt, who allegedly lied to environmental regulators to cover up VW’s emissions cheating, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday while returning home from a Cuban holiday. According to Reuters, Schmidt, one of six former or current VW managers indicted on multiple charges this week, could face up to 169 years in a U.S. prison if found guilty.
After the FBI’s lucky airport break, a new report suggests top brass in Wolfsburg are feeling penned in. Kiss that winter vacay goodbye. (Read More…)
The United States has now laid charges against six former or current Volkswagen officials for their role in the diesel emissions scandal.
A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today, fingering the execs for playing key roles in a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the U.S. government and public. While five of the men live in Germany, one man — Oliver Schmidt, former head of VW’s regulatory compliance department — was nabbed by the FBI in a Miami airport on Saturday while attempting to return to Germany.
As the charges were handed down, the embattled automaker pleaded guilty to three criminal federal counts and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. (Read More…)
In terms of pounds per dollar, the Volkswagen Atlas could end up as one of the better automotive bargains available in the United States. VW has confirmed that base trims of the Atlas will begin right around $30,000. That’s Ford Flex territory, which is unexpectedly reasonable considering this is a midsize SUV from Germany.
With the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, and Mazda CX-9 all starting between $29,995 an $32,420, Volkswagen couldn’t let the valuation stray too far. An automotive paragon like the Golf can start a few grand above the competition, but an unknown entity like the Atlas cannot. (Read More…)
Volkswagen showcased its second-generation Tiguan at the 2016 Frankfurt Auto Show, so it is a little underwhelming to see another one at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. However, the Frankfurt debut was the Euro-spec model. A modestly sized SUV simply won’t do for a nation that has experienced decades of drive-through grease burgers, cross-country camping excursions, and massive expanses of multi-lane highways. America has bigger people, bigger roads, and more junk to haul around.
A perfectly adequate-sized vehicle in Europe is a tiny baby’s toy in the United States — and we all know which country Volkswagen is eager to please right now. With this in mind, the German automaker delivered a stretched version of the Tiguan crossover specifically for North American consumers. (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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
TTAC regular David Holzman writes:
My brother and several of my friends are wondering what to do about their TDIs. There are probably hundreds of thousands more like them! Some issues with keeping them:
- Will they actually be forced to clean up the emissions? (I think this may depend on which state they’re in, but I’m not sure.)
- How much will the fix affect gas mileage and performance?
- Will the fix be a PITA after it’s installed? If so, how so?
- After all the above is considered, what’s the cost/benefit of keeping the TDI vs taking the money and getting a new car?
- Is there any reason not to simply wait and see how the fix works out and not rushing to take the buy out?
For my brother, sportiness is not a priority, but having a wagon is. As is reliability and having a very similar car so that his wife, who does not adapt easily to different cars and drives the TDI exclusively, will be happy. But I think VW has discontinued Jetta wagons, and the latest generation of Golf (which has a wagon) gets lousy marks for reliability from CR. In particular, they consider some fuel system problems to be “fairly serious.”
All the best,
There’s no doubt Volkswagen needs its new midsize Atlas to be a home run (or, at least, a ground rule double) to keep its American dealers appeased following the now-year-long diesel emissions scandal. Even before the scandal, Volkswagen USA could neither create a product mix befitting American sensibilities nor price its ill-marketed product at price points palatable to the American public.
Yet, Atlas — Volkswagen’s crossover slotting between the compact Tiguan and upmarket Touareg — wears sheetmetal penned by Ativan-popping designers, and one of Volkswagen’s design employees agrees.