Tag: VW

By on July 17, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI - Image: Volkswagen

As Volkswagen progresses toward electrification and bolsters is court-mandated greener image, concerns arose that enthusiasts might be left to fend for themselves.

Those fears appear to have been entirely unnecessary. With Ford upping the ante with its hot-hatch Focus variants and newcomers like Hyundai’s attractive i30 N planning to enter the market with a minimum of 246 horsepower, VW knew it had to bring more to the table with its Golf. News from Germany indicates Volkswagen’s world-famous hatchback will lose some weight for its eighth generation and gain beefed-up powertrains. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2017

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

Throughout the entirety of Volkswagen’s diesel emission scandal, the automaker has changed its tune on several occasions. After evading scrutiny from regulators for years, it finally admitted to installing illegal defeat devices designed to fool U.S. emission testing in late 2015. However, it assured the public that no high-ranking executive had complete knowledge of the misdeed until news of the scandal broke to outraged consumers.

Obviously, that was a lie. But no damning evidence came out indicating anyone above mid-level management had prior knowledge of the devices or any idea they would be so harmful to the company. But now a Volkswagen manager arrested earlier this year claims the automaker’s former chief executive and other top managers had been told the carmaker’s diesel emissions violations could cost up to $18.5 billion, well before the September 2015 announcement.  (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2017

2014 audi a6 tdi engine

American investigators, hot on the trail of Volkswagen Group executives and managers with dirty hands, haven’t had the easiest time bringing suspected emissions scandal conspirators to trial. Germany doesn’t extradite citizens facing charges in other countries, making justice a tricky pursuit for U.S. authorities.

So far, only two players in the diesel deception find themselves in the arms of U.S. law enforcement— James Liang, a former executive who worked in California (and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges), and Oliver Schmidt, a former U.S. environmental liaison who previously worked out of VW’s Michigan emissions office. Federal agents nabbed him during a Miami layover as the German national returned home from a tropical vacation in January. Six others remain safely in Germany after a U.S. indictment.

Well, expect another trial now. Earlier this week, Munich police arrested an Italian national, Zaccheo Giovanni Pamio, the former head of thermodynamics at Audi’s engine development division. It’s the first diesel-related arrest in Germany and Pamio’s citizenship means he’s a candidate for extradition to the United States.

Now charged in connection to the scandal, American authorities hope Pamio squeals on his bosses at Audi. As for his involvement, the federal government alleges Pamio and others decided a premium sound system was a better use of vehicle space than a proper emission control system. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017 Volkswagen PAssat R-Line – Image: VW

There’s nothing like the antics automakers get up to when fierce rivalry or falling sales forces an emergency pressing of the desperation button. Just last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles found itself in quite a bit of hot water after its long-running sales-recording practices came under the federal microscope. Mounting pressure eventually forced the company to dial back its monthly figures, shattering some advertisement-friendly sales streaks.

Across the pond, Volkswagen now finds itself with egg (quiche?) on its face following a report by its internal auditors. According to German publication Der Spiegel, the automaker plumped up its French sales tallies for years — to the tune of at least 800,000 vehicles.

The details of this latest case of sales fudging, which apparently went undiscovered for seven years, seem particularly brazen. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2017

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group is continuing to clean house and has made plans to eliminate a significant number of its management staff using the same “early retirement” tactics offered to its longstanding labor force. It’s another obvious attempt on VW’s part to remake itself into a younger, forward-thinking automaker following the diesel emissions scandal — and save itself some money in the process.

While the layoffs aren’t explicitly targeted at Germany, the majority of outgoing managers will certainly come from its European workforce. Volkswagen has declined to comment on the exact number of hangers-on potentially affected by the plan.  (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2017

VW Microbus I.D. Buzz Concept

After countless false starts and endless teasing, Volkswagen seems prepared to deliver on a modern-day microbus. While VW’s T platform is still in existence, the Type 2 that we all know and love died in the late 1970s — though society since developed a deep-seated nostalgia as we collectively forgot how disgusting and impractical real-world hippie culture actually was.

The world has asked for a throwback model for quite some time, something Volkswagen appeased with a 15-year stretch of concept cars, culminating in the 2017 I.D. Buzz revealed in Detroit in January. Then, earlier this year, gossip circulated indicating the Buzz might actually enter production, using the company’s MEB modular electric-vehicle architecture. But those were just rumors, right?

Apparently not. Volkswagen’s brand head, Herbert Diess, confirmed production for the electrified box last week using some definitive language.   (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2017

2017 Audi Q7 blue front

Audi’s European introduction of the beastly SQ7 SUV caused no shortage of speculation last year. Even as Volkswagen Group’s emissions scandal raged, many hoped the raw power of the SQ7’s cutting-edge diesel engine would be enough to compel Audi to bring the model stateside.

Waiting followed. Then, even more waiting. Audi told excited journos it hadn’t greenlit the model for a U.S. launch, despite its very marketable 435 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque — power made possible by 4.0 liters of displacement, two turbochargers and a lightning-quick electric supercharger.

Late last year, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess put the chill on expectations, telling everyone it wasn’t likely they’d ever see a new diesel Volkswagen product in the United States. This, despite current advancements in diesel technology. It now seems any hesitation the automaker might have felt about that proclamation has evaporated.

Diesels? Dream on. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2017

Ferdinand Piech, Image: Volkswagen AG

Porsche Automobil Holding SE has denied it intentionally misled investors over the severity of the VW emissions cheating crisis in 2015. With Volkswagen AG’s Chief Executive Officer Matthias Müller now personally caught up in the growing market manipulation investigation, it was only a matter of time before Porsche Automobil Holding released a statement to assure investors the board had done its job appropriately.

Müller’s joining of former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, supervisory board chair Hans Dieter Poetsch, and board member Herbert Diess as the focus of government probes has made the situation appear fishier than a trawler’s top deck. However, at this week’s annual shareholders meeting, Poetsch said he is convinced none of the board members are guilty of any wrongdoing — presumably, he included himself in the statement.

“We perceive all legal claims against Porsche SE relating to the diesel issue as unfounded,” he explained.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

Matthias Müller, Image: Volkswagen AG/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

German prosecutors verified the launch of a formal investigation involving Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller and chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch due to suspected market manipulation.

While we reported on the probe last week, Müller’s inclusion was highly unexpected. It was unclear what, if anything, officials had on the CEO and why they waited until now to add him to the growing number of upper-level executives under examination.

The Stuttgart prosecutor’s office stated on Wednesday the investigation was prompted by a request from market regulator BaFin in the summer of 2016. After spending some time gathering evidence, investigators began to believe executives deliberately postponed releasing information to investors about the scale of the scandal and didn’t adequately disclose its financial consequences.

VW Group maintains the leadership had complied with disclosure rules and executives were unaware of the scope of the emissions cheating scandal when it kicked-off.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

VW logo

The National Labor Relations Board has again accused Volkswagen of unfair labor practices, stating the automaker increased health insurance premiums and altered working hours of employees who voted for union representation at its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory.

The facility — VW’s only U.S. assembly plant — produces the Passat and new Atlas SUV. A small portion of skilled-trade employees voted in 2015 to be represented by the United Auto Workers, but VW is claiming they shouldn’t speak for the entire workforce.

However, the NLRB says the UAW’s collective-bargaining rights for the select workers who maintain the plant’s automated machinery can’t be superseded by the federal appeals court case.

“Wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment of the Unit … are mandatory subjects for the purposes of collective bargaining,” reads the complaint. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Volkswagen AG announced at its annual shareholders meeting this week that it will not be publishing the findings of an external investigation into its diesel emissions scandal conducted by the Jones Day law firm. The reason for VW’s secrecy is due to an underlying fear among management that the information held in the report would lead to further lawsuits and fines.

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch addressed the thousands of shareholders by first thanking the U.S. legal team for its hard work and then explaining there was no way in hell anyone outside of the company would benefit from its findings — tossing any promised transparency out the window. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2017

[Image: Volkswagen/YouTube]

Lost amid the automaker’s newfound focus on bringing as many utility vehicles to global customers as possible, Volkswagen’s stalwart Jetta soldiers on without a diesel option, wearing more or less the same duds it donned for 2011. A mild — some would say unnoticeable — refresh came in 2016, but the Jetta’s U.S. sales have continued to slide at a remarkably steady rate ever since the current generation’s debut.

Naturally, Volkswagen wants to arrest the plunge. As part of its newly crafted product strategy, the automaker plans to find time for a new Jetta among all the crossovers. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas, Image: Volkswagen

Three years ago, Volkswagen Group teased attendees at the Vienna Motor Symposium with juicy details of a transmission designed to take fuel efficiency to new heights among the automaker’s higher-torque models. A 10-speed dual-clutch transmission was in the works, it announced, promising mondo improvements in efficiency.

Between then and now, VW changed its mind. As it pursues a strategy of electric vehicles, wide-ranging productivity gains and, ironically, utility vehicles that could make use of it, the 10-speed has vanished from VW’s development portfolio.

The sole example of the multi-cog DCT? Destroyed, according to VW’s powertrain chief. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas yellow front quarter on road

Volkswagen Group’s core brand has targeted an end to profit losses in the North America by the end of the decade, setting its break-even point for 2020. Central themes of the plan are dependent on cost cutting measures and higher-margin SUV models it believes will bring it back from emissions scandal purgatory. In its most recent announcement, VW continued to tout electric vehicles as an inevitable key focus by 2025, but hasn’t lifted the veil on all that entails.

In the short term, however, Volkswagen is promising the “biggest product offensive in its history,” with ten new models coming this year alone. In actuality the number is half that, as five of those vehicles are updated versions of existing models. The real number could be even smaller if VW is counting the Atlas/Teramont as separate vehicles; the same goes for the two wheelbases of the Tiguan. And, based on the information it provided us, that does appear to be the case.  (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

Despite having the worst public image since the Ford Pinto or Chevrolet Vega, Volkswagen’s sidelined 2015 2.0-liter diesel models flew off lots after being approved for sale in mid-April.

A crop of about 11,000 unsold TDIs loitered on dealer lots around the U.S. after being banned from sale by the Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015. In a weak month that saw numerous automakers sink on the sales charts, Volkswagen was a bright light, posting a 1.6-percent increase over April 2016. Much of that success came from still-polluting diesels.

So much for stigma. (Read More…)

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