Extensive Probing Continues In Germany

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
extensive probing continues in germany

While companies are often found guilty of sketchy and illicit behavior, it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to feel some measure of sympathy for German automakers. The same goes for the government officials whose job it is to repeatedly raid the homes and offices of people employed by those manufacturers. Once gain, German prosecutors have searched both Volkswagen and BMW over diesel-related shenanigans.

Volkswagen saw 13 of its offices raided in Wolfsburg throughout the month of March. Braunschweig-based authorities seized physical and digital files in the hopes of catching the automaker in a lie from 2015. At the time, VW claimed an in-house investigation found it had understated fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on no more than 36,000 vehicles. Considering the diesel emissions scandal affected far more vehicle than this, as well as the company’s much higher earlier estimate, prosecutors hope to catch the company out.

Meanwhile, BMW saw its facilities searched over suspicions that it employed a defeat device to circumvent diesel emission testing. The automaker said authorities were looking into “erroneously allocated” software on the BMW 750d and BMW M550d.

At this point, these types of investigations have been commonplace for German automakers for a couple of years. However, the raids don’t appear to be getting the kind of results one might expect. In the United States, Volkswagen was convicted of criminal wrongdoing less than three years after the California Air Resources Board received a study published by the International Council on Clean Transportation that raised flags about the possibility of a software manipulation. Germany had reason to be suspect for at least as long, yet its investigative paths are much slower (and often meandering).

Whether German investigators are looking in the wrong places or there is simply nothing there to find is unknown. But the round-robin searches often have very different goals, even while possessing a similar theme. According to Reuters, the March searches at Volkswagen’s headquarters specifically related to the possibility of unlawful alterations to testing data. Federal prosecutors said on Tuesday they were investigating unknown individuals over suspicions of market manipulation.

Meanwhile, the Braunschweig investigative team admits to targeting VW’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn, former finance chief and current chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, and current VW brand CEO Herbert Diess over possible market manipulation related to the dieselgate scandal. VW denies any such market manipulations, though it confirms the earlier searches.

Manfred Doess, head of legal affairs at VW’s majority stakeholder Porsche SE, said he doesn’t expect much to come of the investigation. “In my judgement, nothing will come out of this,” he said during the holding firm’s earnings press conference on Tuesday.

As for BMW, German state prosecutors announced they had searched corporate facilities in Germany and Austria, investigating suspected emissions-cheating defeat devices. Automotive News reports that roughly 100 police and law enforcement officials raided the automaker’s Munich headquarters, along with research facilities and an engine plant in Steyr, Austria.

“There is an early suspicion that BMW has used a test bench-related defeat device,” prosecutors said in a statement.

BMW recently recalled 11,700 cars to fix engine management software it said was programmed incorrectly. But denies all accusations of targeted emissions manipulation.

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Mar 21, 2018

    Wow, that's a loaded headline.

  • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Mar 22, 2018

    Anybody else having flashbacks to the Romans repeatedly searching the People's Front of Judea safe-house? Not to say there's no reason to question... "BMW recently recalled 11,700 cars to fix engine management software it said was programmed incorrectly. But denies all accusations of targeted emissions manipulation."

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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