Category: Germany

By on March 4, 2019

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, known in its native tongue as Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), says its members have formally committed themselves to investing 60 billion euros (roughly $68 billion USD) into electrification and vehicular autonomy over the next three years.

The claim was made as part of a larger announcement serving as a rundown for what German automakers hope to achieve in a period where nothing seems certain.

The European Union, along with China and several other nations, have committed themselves to embracing electrification in a bid to lower emissions and modernize roadways. “In the next three years, we will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility, in addition to a further 18 billion euros for digitalization, and the development of networked or automated vehicles” said VDA President Bernhard Mattes, adding that German automakers anticipate 100 EV models on offer to the public by the end of that period.  Read More >

By on December 29, 2018

Image: VW Group

Concerned that customers won’t buy vehicles from its upcoming electric product tsunami for fear of missing their turn at the plug, Volkswagen is offering a fairly novel solution: mobile charging stations that also require recharging, presumably from a much larger charging station. A power station, for example.

The takeaway from Volkswagen’s lesson in energy packaging is “Buy an electric Volkswagen. You’ll be fine.” Read More >

By on November 9, 2018

Volkswagen doesn’t want competitors unsurping its electric car efforts, so there’s a plan afoot to give buyers what they want at a much lower price, sources claim. Two reports, citing those with knowledge of a strategy not yet approved by the automaker’s supervisory board, state the company plans to go cheaper than its upcoming line of I.D.-badged EVs.

How cheap, you ask? How about $21,000? Read More >

By on October 23, 2018

With governments everywhere attempting to reduce powerplant emissions while simultaneously moving the teeming masses out of ICE vehicles and into electric cars, an energy brick wall quickly approaches. You’re faced with a situation where more people are drawing more power from the grid, but — for environmental or financial reasons — generating more power is out of the question.

In Germany, one solution is to get those EV drivers to stop what they’re doing and plug back into the grid, allowing the contents of their just-filled batteries to flow back into the plug it came from. Goodbye, brownouts. Possibly. If the solution seems odd and potentially self-defeating, it is, but the country’s government just approved the Nissan Leaf for exactly this use. Read More >

By on October 16, 2018

The scandal has raged for over three years, and Audi clearly wants to be done with it. The company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that, like Volkswagen, it will not fight a fine handed down by German prosecutors over the selling of rigged diesel engines in that country.

Earlier this month, Audi said auf wiedersehen to jailed CEO Rupert Stadler, who’s accused of fraud in relation to the diesel emissions affair. Now, the automaker will hand over a towering pile of euros to finally close this messy chapter in its history. Read More >

By on October 11, 2018

With California and the Trump administration squabbling over vehicle emissions, it’s easy to assume that Europe’s green initiatives are progressing trouble free. In truth, things are a little more complicated. Europe has come together to endorse tougher emissions rules but one of its member states appears to be reaching its breaking point. Unsurprisingly, it’s the one that builds the most automobiles.

Earlier in the week, EU environment ministers announced a need for countries to decide on reduction targets for the foreseeable future. Germany has endorsed a proposed target for a 30-percent reduction by 2030, compared to 2021 levels. However, France and several other nations are pushing for a stricter 40-percent limit while Austria wants to see 35-percent reductions. Although, the most interesting thing about this is how closely Deutschland’s arguments for softer standards are to America’s.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2018

german flag and reichstag

Roughly one year ago, German automakers were confronted with a crisis. Following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions fiasco, European antitrust regulators became suspicious that BMW, Daimler, and VW Group were involved in a longstanding automotive cartel that cooperated on decisions regarding technical issues, development, supplier management, and illegal price fixing. Investigators were also concerned manufacturers worked together to standardize diesel treatment fluid (AdBlue) reservoirs to reduce exhaust emissions, then encouraged each other to cheat on emissions tests when they were deemed insufficient.

This resulted in a series of raids and then almost a full year of silence on the matter. However, if Volkswagen’s dieselgate has taught us anything, it’s that German authorities prefer a snail’s pace when pursuing a criminal probe.

Apparently unsatisfied with the initial findings, the European Commission opened an in-depth and official investigation on Tuesday against the “circle of five,” a group that includes Audi, VW, Porsche, Daimler, and BMW. The quintet is accused of holding meetings where they colluded to limit the development and application of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in Europe. There’s also an accusation of price fixing. Read More >

By on September 14, 2018

Image: Audi AG

Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet on Monday to map out the future of Rupert Stadler, the suspended chief executive of its Audi brand. German outlet Der Spiegel reported on Friday that VW intends to decide whether or not Stadler, who has been in police custody since mid-June as part of a broader probe into the company’s diesel cheating fiasco, should resign his post.

Officially, the automaker’s position on the matter is that the CEO is innocent until convicted of criminal wrongdoing. But having him in the crosshairs of the media and investigators isn’t great PR for the company.  Read More >

By on July 11, 2018

China and Germany signed a collection of commercial accords valued at $23.5 billion this week. Meanwhile, the nations’ leaders publicly affirmed their commitment to a multilateral global trade order, while the United States adopts a more protectionist policy.

“We both want to sustain the system of World Trade Organization rules,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a press conference. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, also present, agreed and stated protectionism must be prevented for the good of the global economy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has already pleaded for governments to maintain an open trading policy. “We reject selfish, shortsighted, closed, narrow policies, [we] uphold World Trade Organisation rules, support a multi-lateral trade system, and building an open world economy,” Xi said in an incredibly hypocritical speech from last month.  Read More >

By on May 19, 2018

1975 Mercedes-Benz 240D in California wrecking yard, RH view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It’s open season on compression ignition vehicles in the Fatherland. The birthplace of the diesel engine now says German cities can implement diesel driving bans whenever, and wherever, they want.

The Friday ruling by the country’s top court comes after a lawsuit against Germany and four other European Union member states by the EU, the result of higher-than-allowed air pollution levels in numerous urban areas.

“Thanks, dad,” the country’s auto industry must be thinking. Read More >

By on May 3, 2018

2017 Porsche Panamera 4 e-hybrid

The auto industry has become so unconventional, so bizarro world, that I became momentarily confused after reading a report that Porsche has a Panamera coupe in development.

Automakers don’t develop new coupes. They develop slightly more curvaceous versions of four-door crossovers and SUVs and call them coupes, but they’re certainly not coupes. Thus, I found myself picturing a curvaceous four-door liftback version of a curvaceous four-door liftback. Reality bent and flexed around me and the universe crumbled.

That’s apparently what Porsche is up to, though, and it’s looking like the two-door version of the Panamera — if built — will serve as a spiritual successor to the long departed 928. Read More >

By on April 20, 2018

Volkswagen TDI

Jörg Kerner, Porsche’s head of powertrain development, has reportedly been arrested by German authorities for playing an alleged role in Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

Kerner, who sources say is being held on remand due to the potential of being a flight risk, was appointed director of Porsche’s powertrain development division in October 2011. Before that, Kerner worked for supplier Robert Bosch GmbH from 1986 to 2004, after which he oversaw development of engine electronics and software for Audi.  Read More >

By on April 19, 2018

porsche logo emblem

The investigative parade continues in Germany. Prosecutors investigating Volkswagen Group’s diesel-emissions scandal have now turned their attention to Porsche. Roughly 10 facilities owned by the automaker in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg were searched by around 160 investigators.

Stuttgart-based prosecutors claimed to be interested in three specific individuals suspected of fraud and fraudulent advertising as it relates to the manipulated emissions-control systems of diesel passenger cars. The office clarified that Porsche CEO Oliver Blume was not among them, however.  Read More >

By on March 21, 2018

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

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.  Read More >

By on March 13, 2018

As sometimes happens, there’s a war brewing in the heart of Europe. This one isn’t like the others, though — instead of nation versus nation, it’s a case of lawmakers versus privately owned vehicles, primarily those of the diesel persuasion.

So eager are some city governments to ban the operation of diesel-powered cars and trucks in or near urban centers, BMW Group has taken the unusual step of issuing a promise. In a bid to allay fears of new (or newish) vehicles becoming useless to their owners, the automaker claims it will let German lessees return their diesel vehicles and switch to a gas-powered model.

Don’t worry about the government, BMW wants its customers to know. Just enjoy that compression ignition engine while you can. Read More >

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