Volkswagen CEO Michael Horn announced Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that 265,000 TDI owners have opted to take advantage of the company’s Goodwill Package.
The package, which includes a $500 gift card and $500 Volkswagen dealer card, has also been extended to owners of Touareg TDI models.
Volkswagen unveiled a new plug-in hybrid concept for the Tiguan, featuring more aggressive styling than the standard model launched in Frankfurt. Interestingly, Volkswagen has positioned the gas-electric CUV as a more fun-to-drive truck than the standard vehicle.
In other words, it’s a Tiguan Trailhawk.
Engineers at Volkswagen have proposed fitting a catalytic converter to more than 400,000 cars in the U.S. to comply with emissions, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday ( via Reuters).
The costly and lengthy fix could bring into compliance cars that Volkswagen admitted cheated diesel emissions test through an illegal “defeat device” that reduced nitrogen oxides by up to 40 times during test cycles.
Officials at Volkswagen didn’t comment on the report.
The New York Times says U.S. states attorneys general are accusing Volkswagen from withholding critical documents from their investigations into the automaker’s admission that more than 500,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. were illegally polluting.
The report says that Volkswagen is citing a notoriously strict German law that protects data and documents from investigations overseas, and that their own investigations have stalled — similar to what federal regulators said when they filed a lawsuit against the automaker on Monday seeking billions.
Volkswagen didn’t comment on the report.
That would mean about 115,000 cars — likely older models that would need significant work to bring emissions into compliance — could be taken off the road in an historic buyback. According to the report, the cars would be bought back by the automaker for their purchase price or by significantly discounting a new model for those owners.
UPDATE: Volkswagen says the range is 233 miles on the EPA cycle, 373 miles on the New European Driving Cycle.
Volkswagen unleashed its futuristic Microbus concept car in Las Vegas on Tuesday, complete with expressive face, connectedness to the “Internet of Things,” and gesture control everywhere, but only its bare bones are rooted in any real future for the automaker.
The 2016 Microbus, which is “dubbed BUDD-e,” is the latest and perhaps most significant iteration of the Microbus because of its timing. This week, the U.S. Justice Department announced it filed a $40 billion lawsuit against the automaker for cheating emissions tests.
In Las Vegas, Volkswagen showed off its modular electric powertrain architecture underpinning the Microbus that’ll almost certainly make it to production in one, or several cars — just probably not this one.
(UPDATE: Updates the story throughout, including penalty figures. Volkswagen comment.)
The Justice Department on Monday filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Volkswagen for illegally selling emissions-cheating cars in the U.S. from 2009 until last year and said the automaker withheld information about its 3-liter diesel engine’s “defeat device” after investigators uncovered the scandal.
The lawsuit, filed in eastern Michigan court, seeks more than $40 billion in damages from the automaker.
In announcing the lawsuit, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency signaled that regulators and officials may be at a standstill with Volkswagen regarding how it intends to fix its cars in the U.S.
“So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward. These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at EPA, said in a statement.
Volkswagen’s emissions cheating program closely follows a set of parameters that are very similar to those defined by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), an engineer said this week.
The cheat exists in the ECU’s “main mode,” said Felix Domke, and triggers a normal dosage of urea and other exhaust controls to bring NOx emissions to within acceptable levels.
Domke presented his findings of an unpacked Volkswagen ECU to the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress in Germany.
His findings are mostly in line with what the automaker has already admitted: its 11 million cars worldwide cheated emissions tests by using two different modes for operation, and that its cars could pollute up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides when running normally.
But Domke, who said he owns a Volkswagen Sharan equipped with a 2-liter diesel engine, said his own observations showed a severe change in the ECU’s behavior when it exceeded the bounds of what it considered was an emissions test — more than what’s been reported so far.
Volkswagen diesel owners can register their cars via Volkswagen Canada’s diesel emissions site.
Fifteen leaders of environmental and health groups signed off on a letter sent to environmental regulators Dec. 18 asking officials to fully punish Volkswagen in response to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and others asking authorities to push for electric vehicles instead.
The letter, which was signed by the policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air and the director of the Sierra Club California, among others, calls for “vigorous enforcement of both criminal and civil laws” to deter actions like Volkswagen’s cheating of diesel emissions tests.
The California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed in September that Volkswagen admitted to fitting nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. with an illegal “defeat device” designed to cheat emissions tests. In November, the agencies said an additional 85,000 cars with 3-liter diesel engines were cheating too.
Volkswagen executives may rotate in and out of key positions with the company to increase oversight and possibly reduce the chance for another massive cheating scandal that has engulfed the automaker, Reuters reported (via Welt am Sonntag).
Supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told the German newspaper that the automaker would consider steps such as rotating engineers on a regular basis and developing key components with multiple layers of oversight would help change a corporate culture that pressured workers into cheating emissions standards.
“We need a culture throughout the Group, which not only tolerates different opinions, but permits errors. It is important that mistakes are made only once,” Pötsch told Welt am Sonntag.
The California Air Resources Board told Volkswagen on Friday that it would take three more weeks to review the automaker’s proposed fix for its 2-liter diesel engines after the automaker added “significant” information to its plan, according to a letter sent by regulators.
The letter indicated that Volkswagen had submitted “additional significant information” to the board Dec. 14-16 regarding its proposed fixes for its illegally polluting cars and that the board would take until Jan. 14 to review that additional data. On Nov. 20, Volkswagen submitted its plan to CARB to fix more than 482,000 cars in the U.S., which could have been approved as early as Dec. 22.
It’s unclear from the letter what the additional information from Volkswagen may be. The automaker didn’t immediately comment on the letter.
Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer who handled claims against General Motors for its faulty ignition switches that killed 124 people, will handle claims against Volkswagen stemming from its cheating diesel engines, the automaker announced Thursday.
“His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” Michael Horn, president of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement.
In addition to Feinberg’s experience with GM, his office also handled claims against BP for its Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Volkswagen will suspend production at its small, flagship facility in Dresden that produces the Phaeton for at least a year, Reuters reported ( via Automotive News).
The small, boutique plant will be shuttered to help cut costs for the automaker, which announced it would scale back some projects to help it pay for its massive diesel scandal. According to the report, development of the Phaeton cost roughly $1.1 billion and the sedan hasn’t met sales targets since it was introduced 2002.
Reuters reported that the plant would be shuttered for about a year, beginning in March, and would be retooled to build an all-electric Phaeton by about 2019.
Five new chiefs for research, sales and production will lead Volkswagen, the automaker announced Thursday, including a new engineering chief to replace Ulrich Hackenberg, the longtime boss at the center of the diesel cheating scandal.
The automaker also announced a smaller, more linear organization for its chiefs. Volkswagen cut in half the number of managers who report directly to new CEO Matthias Müller, according to the automaker, which could help end the cutthroat corporate culture that contributed to the pressure to appease former CEO Martin Winterkorn.
“These structural changes speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity and increase efficiency,” Müller said in a statement.
The European Union’s anti-fraud office is investigating Volkswagen for misusing publicly funded loans to develop illegally cheating software in its cars, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Volkswagen was provided the low-interest loans by the European Investment Bank to develop engines that were more fuel-efficient and produce less carbon dioxide, according to the report. In September, the automaker admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide polluted more than advertised and used an illegal “defeat device” to fool emissions tests.
The automaker’s woes compounded Wednesday: A European bank — partly funded by the U.S. — announced it would suspend a $327 million loan to Volkswagen that would have been used to build a $1.2 billion factory in Poland. That factory was slated to build commercial vehicles.
German transportation authorities approved Wednesday Volkswagen’s fix for 8.5 million illegally polluting cars in Europe, according to the automaker.
Fixes for the automaker’s 1.2-, 1.6- and 2-liter diesel engines include software updates and, for Volkswagen’s 1.6-liter models, a mesh air pipe that calms air ahead of its intake mass air sensor.
The fixes are approved for Europe only.
Last month, Volkswagen officials submitted its proposed fix for North American cars to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Those fixes have not yet been approved by those agencies.
Auto supply giant Bosch is being investigated for its part in the widespread emissions cheating scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen, Bloomberg reported ( via Automotive News).
Prosecutors in Stuttgart say that they’ve contacted the company, which supplied Volkswagen with engine control modules that helped the cars illegally pass emissions tests, about their role in engineering the illegal devices.
A spokeswoman for Bosch said it would comply with requests from authorities.
Some Volkswagen diesel owners say the goodwill compensation packages they elected to receive four weeks ago, as part of the automaker’s apology to North American consumers, still haven’t arrived in the mail.
According to several owners who wrote on VWVortex, gift cards have taken longer than four weeks — the timeline promised by the automaker — to arrive, if they’ve even arrived at all.
Most of the owners who posted on the forum said that they registered for VW’s goodwill program around Nov. 9, when registrations were initially open.
Volkswagen announced Friday it would show off “developments in electromobility as well as the next generation of connectivity” at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas.
“For instance, Volkswagen will give quite a clear glimpse of the latest developments in in-car infotainment that are on the verge of being launched onto the market. This will see innovations such as the Golf R Touch concept car finding their way into Volkswagen’s broad product portfolio,” the automaker said in a statement.
That’s [s]probably[/s] possibly what we’re looking at here in a B-roll video made by the automaker obtained by TTAC through less-than-official channels.
Volkswagen announced Thursday that the automaker’s investigation had identified institutional breakdowns and individual misconduct that led to the installation of more than 11 million “defeat devices” aimed at cheating emissions tests in its diesel cars.
Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told journalists and investors that some parts of the company “tolerated breaches of rules” while it developed the illegal devices, according to Automotive News.
Thursday’s announcement was an interim report on the internal investigation by Volkswagen that has already resulted in nine suspended employees, including a high-ranking engineer who was with the automaker for 30 years. Pötsch said the external investigation, which will be conducted by U.S. firm Jones Day, will continue well into 2016.
My German begins and ends with “nein” but I don’t need to know much to see what’s going on in this video.
According to the New York Times, sentiment in Germany is starting to build that American regulators are being unfairly harsh with Volkswagen in an effort to bolster domestic manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors and Ram.
The Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen in September that its cars used an illegal “defeat device” to skirt emissions laws. Since then, the automaker has been caught up in an international scandal that has cost the automaker billions and damaged the reputation for Germany’s largest exporter.
Skilled trades workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee voted Friday overwhelmingly to join the United Auto Workers union, the first UAW victory at an automotive plant in the South, Reuters reported.
The union vote was the first victory for the UAW, who tried unsuccessfully in February to unionize the entire plant, which included nearly 1,500 production workers. In August, the union filed to open voting only to maintenance workers and ballots were cast Friday.
Friday’s victory for the UAW only incorporated just over 10 percent of the overall workforce. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, 152 skilled trades workers voted in Friday’s ballot question.
Ulrich Hackenberg, who was Audi’s chief engineer and among the first to be rumored to catch heat for Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, resigned Thursday according to the automaker.
Audi’s new chairman of its supervisory board, Matthias Müller, said Hackenberg was responsible for implementing designs such as the automaker’s current MQB global architecture and cars such as the A3, A4, A6, A8 and TT.
“Above all, the modular toolkit system is inseparably connected with the name of Ulrich Hackenberg. He had that idea already in the early nineties at Audi. Today, the entire Group profits from it,” Müller said in a statement.
Analysts are estimating that more than 400 lawsuits (for now) pending against Volkswagen for fraudulent “clean diesel” claims could cost the automaker billions in court — if they even go that far.
Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News) that as lawyers for owners and Volkswagen wrangle over where to eventually hold a consolidated trial against the automaker, many analysts believe Volkswagen — who has already admitted to committing fraud — may end up paying at least $1.5 billion to customers, before damages or a potential buy back. That figure could rise to $8.9 billion if Volkswagen has to buy back their cars, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brandon Barnes.
(Presumably, those billions would be spent outside of a single wrench being turned on one of its illegally polluting cars.)
Volkswagen will have to recall hundreds of thousands of cars in India for cheating emissions standards, adding to Volkswagen’s worldwide woes that the automaker illegally sold with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emissions tests, Reuters reported.
More than 323,000 Audi-, Volkswagen- and Skoda-branded cars with the automaker’s EA 189 diesel engine will need to be fixed after authorities discovered in November that those cars were illegally polluting. The revelations follow similar charges made by U.S. authorities two months ago that Volkswagen and Audi cars were polluting up to 25 times more nitrogen oxide than allowed by law.
Volkswagen officials in India said cars would be recalled immediately.
Volkswagen has recently [s]confessed[/s] admitted to a steep decline in sales this past November thanks to a 25-percent decline for the Volkswagen brand and a mind bending, 60-percent cliff dive for the soon-to-be replaced Volkswagen Passat.
Apparently, there are still plenty of 2015 Passats and Jettas available to loyal would-be owners along with a variety of other weird birds, such as the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Convertible and whatever dark backlot corner is still molderizing the aptly named Final Edition Volkswagen Eos.
All this corporate bloodletting brings on an interesting distinction for the Passat. You can now buy the very last, brand-new mid-sized sedan in America that is less than $15,000: a 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S with a 5-speed manual.
Deciding that the company’s annual pre-Christmas party wasn’t a great time to be Wetblanket Wildes, the Porsche-Piech clan affirmed that it would be committed to Volkswagen amid its emissions crises (pl.) and said the company that the family-owned company would “master the situation,” according to Reuters.
The Porsche-Piech family, who owns a majority stake in Volkswagen’s parent company, told the automaker’s board and the town of Wolfsburg that the family has no intention of pulling the plug.
“I am firmly convinced that the city of Wolfsburg together with Volkswagen will master the situation and gain further strength,” Wolfgang Porsche said in a statement, according to Reuters. “The Porsche and Piech families stand behind Volkswagen and Wolfsburg as its headquarters.”
Volkswagen announced a fix for some of its diesel engines in Europe last week that included fitting a “flow straightener” device to their 1.6-liter engines. The device provides something tangible for Volkswagen to trot out, but has been criticized for being a low-tech distraction from the actual fix.
The “flow transformer” serves a purpose to provide a more accurate reading by the mass air flow sensor, but its initial exclusion may point to how far the cheating reached. To understand the implications of installing such a device, we need to take a look at the role of the mass air flow sensor on fuel and emissions mapping.
Volkswagen will officially recall all of its illegally polluting diesel engines in Germany, German newspaper Die Welt reported Monday (via Reuters), the first step in a wave of recalls to fix 11 million cars worldwide.
Roughly 2.5 million cars in Germany will be recalled — 1.5 million Volkswagens, 500,000 Audi and 500,000 Skoda- and Seat-branded cars — with work beginning in January. Last week, t he German transportation authority approved Volkswagen’s fix for 1.6-liter cars, which included an “air calming” pipe ahead of the intake’s air sensor. The company’s 1.2- and 2-liter cars may only need software fixes.
Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board will review Volkswagen’s proposal submitted earlier this month for fixing 482,000 cars in the U.S. It’s unclear what those fixes may be. During congressional testimony in October, Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn said it would be a combination of hardware and software fixes.
German newspaper Bild Am Sonntag (via Reuters) reported Sunday that engineers within Volkswagen knew more than one year ago that its cars didn’t meet reported fuel consumption and even pulled a model from sale because of the deception.
Volkswagen admitted in October that 800,000 cars sold in Europe didn’t meet advertised fuel economy and that the company would pay more than $2.1 billion for the scandal.
According to Reuters, Volkswagen didn’t comment on the claim that executives knew about the cheating crisis before October, and said that the slow-selling Polo BlueMotion was pulled due to poor sales.
It’s hard not to look at the newly announced Volkswagen Beetle Dune and hear at the same time that Volkswagen will be saving $2 billion by cutting unnecessary trims and variants from their lineup.
I mean, it’s like they’re not even giving the little guy a chance.
Nonetheless, Bloomberg ( via Automotive News) reported Friday that Volkswagen will axe trims and variants of its cars to reduce complexity and cost from its lineup to help pay for the company’s massive emissions scandal. Bernd Osterloh, Volkswagen’s labor chief, told journalists Friday that the company has needed to trim some of its fat for a while, apparently.
Volkswagen in Germany announced Wednesday its fix for millions of its 1.6- and 2-liter diesel engines in Europe that are illegally spewing nitrogen oxides and have cost the company billions in a massive worldwide scandal.
According to the automaker, a small “flow transformer” would be fitted in front of the air mass sensor in 1.6-liter, EA189 engines. The small transformer will calm air leaving the air filter before reaching the sensor. Volkswagen says the calmer air will allow the sensor to more accurately measure airflow for combustion. The fix would take less than an hour. For 2-liter engines, the proposed fix would be a software update and would take 30 minutes. Both plans have been approved by the German transportation authority.
Both fixes may be headed to cars in the U.S. However, the announced plan was in Germany for engines only on sale in most of Europe. Volkswagen submitted its U.S. plan last week to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, but details of that plan haven’t been released.
German investigators are looking into whether Volkswagen executives or engineers broke laws by lying about carbon dioxide emissions in 800,000 cars sold in Europe, the New York Times reported.
Authorities near the automaker’s headquarters in Wolfsburg say they are focused on five Volkswagen employees, but wouldn’t identify those employees. Investigators are determining if Volkswagen employees knowingly provided false information to authorities about those cars and their emissions to qualify those cars for lower tax rates. In admitting that it lied about its emissions levels this month, Volkswagen said it would repay governments for back tax revenue lost because of the bogus claims.
This month, Volkswagen admitted it underestimated carbon dioxide output from 800,000 cars sold in Europe and said the scandal could cost the company more than $2.1 billion. According to the New York Times report, Volkswagen’s admission included a promise to repay taxes owed on owners’ cars it sold with bogus carbon dioxide numbers.
Audi, a brand within Volkswagen Group that markets the majority of 3-liter diesel engines sold by the group in the United States, released a statement Monday detailing how it plans to fix vehicles that use a defeat device. The automaker also stated that three separate Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices — not just one — are used in 2009 and later 3-liter diesels used by Audi, Volkswagen (Touareg) and Porsche (Cayenne).
AECDs for those engines will “be revised, documented and submitted for approval,” Audi said in the statement.
Of the three AECDs, the EPA questioned the legality of a temperature conditioning procedure of the exhaust-gas cleaning system.
“One of (the AECDs) is regarded as a defeat device according to applicable US law. Specifically, this is the software for the temperature conditioning of the exhaust-gas cleaning system,” Audi said in a statement.
On Friday, Volkswagen of America detailed its plan to fix nearly 500,000 illegally polluting diesels in the United States to officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, the government body announced in a statement late Friday. The automaker was required to detail the fix no later than Friday.
The EPA, along with the California Air Resources Board, will review the proposal, said the statement. However, the EPA did not detail the proposal to the media or public and did not give a timeframe on when to expect the proposal to be detailed publicly.
The proposal only addresses issues detailed by the EPA in its September 18 Notice of Violation that applies to Volkswagen’s 2-liter diesel engines and not the 3-liter diesels which may also be cheating emissions tests.
During a meeting Thursday between the Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen and Audi, officials from the automakers told the regulator an emissions program for 3-liter turbodiesel engines is also used on 2009 through 2016 model year vehicles, the EPA said in a statement today.
An earlier statement from the EPA on November 2 pointed the finger at a limited number of models and model years equipped with the 3-liter diesels, even though other model years of those same vehicles are virtually identical with regards to their emissions systems.
In the latest statement, the EPA is still calling the emissions program a defeat device, though Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have yet to recant their claim that the emissions program is legal and doesn’t violate emissions laws.
Volkswagen will have to submit Friday its plans to the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency to fix hundreds of thousands of illegally polluting cars in the U.S., Reuters reported ( via Automotive News). Although a fix is due today, testing that fix could take months before it would be installed in cars.
The deadline for the automaker comes after it announced it would ask Michael Steiner, head of Porsche development and quality, to oversee Volkswagen’s compliance with officials worldwide to fix up to 11 million cars. In Europe, Volkswagen demonstrated a fix for its 1.6-liter diesel engine that included an air sensor and software update that cost around $10.68, according to German outlet Wirtschaftswoche.
Volkswagen has said that its newer cars would likely only need a software update to be compliant. Older cars that are equipped with EA189 2-liter diesel engines may need more costly fixes.
Volkswagen announced Tuesday, one day before the opening of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, that it will sell two new special editions of the Beetle that harken back to previous specials offered up by the automaker.
The Beetle Dune is as close as you can get to a Murano CC without getting all-wheel drive or a Land Rover Evoque. The jacked-up Beetle will wear unique body cladding and Dune stickers that are in no way a nod to the Frank Herbert novels of yesteryear.
Dear Sanjeev, [Oh, come on!!! —SM]
I have a ’03 Jetta 1.9-liter TDI. Do you know if the emission controls were tampered with on these models? If they are not part of the recall, am I to assume everything is as it should be? Resale value has dropped noticeably.
Officials from Volkswagen will meet with U.S. environmental regulators this week to discuss how it plans to fix nearly 500,000 illegally polluting cars, according to Reuters. Officials from Audi will meet with regulators separately.
According to the report, Friedrich Eichler, VW’s powertrain development chief, will meet with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board to discuss proposed fixes for its cars ahead of its Nov. 20 deadline.
This month, a source indicated to TTAC that Volkswagen would start fixing its cars in February, pending approval from the EPA and CARB.
Volkswagen’s automotive group had $29.6 billion in net liquidity at the the end of the third fiscal quarter of this year. About $10.8 billion is allocated to protect the company’s credit ratings. That leaves about $19 billion in cash for the company to work with.
There are fines that will be paid in a number of countries, along with goodwill gestures to owners of affected VW vehicles and incentives needed to sell cars from a tainted brand. Then there will the cost of litigation and any judgments or settlements that come out of those lawsuits.
About the same time as Barclays’ announcement, Automotive News and Bloomberg reported Volkswagen AG will be meeting in Wolfsburg this week with representatives of about a dozen banks to secure as much as $21.5 billion in loans by the end of this year. Those meetings aim to shore up the company’s financing and show the credit markets that VW has enough liquid assets to cover emissions-related costs.
Update: A spokesman for Volkswagen of America said U.S. cars aren’t affected.
Volkswagen announced Friday that more than 400,000 of its cars with “irregularities” in reported carbon dioxide emissions were new cars, which could shed new light on how many more cars the beleaguered automaker would have to pay for.
This month, Volkswagen announced 800,000 cars emitted more carbon dioxide than reported to regulators. Of those cars, Volkswagen announced Friday that 430,000 were 2016 models across many of the automaker’s brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat. It’s unclear how many older models may be added to the list of cars that emit more carbon dioxide.
How many among Volkswagen’s ranks were involved in the automaker’s ongoing diesel scandal? Works council boss Bernd Osterloh says it’s anyone’s guess.
In a joint interview with VW brand CEO Herbert Diess, Osterloh told Reuters the scandal could involve 10, 50, or 100 people, if not more. He added those involved would still “remain a limited group” out of a global workforce of 600,000.
Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced Wednesday that he would resign his position as chairman of Audi’s supervisory board following revelations two months ago that those cars may have been illegally polluting, which threw the automaker into a tailspin.
Winterkorn stepped down from his role as chairman from Volkswagen in September after the scandal broke and resigned his position at Porsche Automobil Holding SE, VW’s largest shareholder, in October. Winterkorn may have stepped down from his position at Audi because what took him so long?
The New York Times is reporting that a loophole in emissions regulations for European cars could keep Volkswagen from paying billions to governments for illegally polluting cars. Regulators considered closing the loophole in 2011, but ultimately failed to do so, which could leave the escape hatch ever-so cracked for Volkswagen to run through.
According to the report, which cites internal meeting notes of European regulators in Geneva, automakers can send through testing cars programmed for special circumstances that daily drivers can’t access.
“A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving,” British regulators warned in 2011, according to the New York Times.
Volkswagen will announce Thursday a deadline for whistleblowers to come forward with information related to the ongoing diesel scandal without reprisal.
According to the CBC, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday the automaker is working to gather as much information on the scandal as possible by applying more pressure to employees who may have known anything about what happened regarding the rigging of diesel emissions through software.
Volkswagen’s Goodwill Program in the U.S., which may cost the company nearly half a billion dollars all told, may be a form of corporate apology that could insulate the automaker from further lawsuits.
Michael Siebecker, a professor of law at the University of Denver, says the company’s gift cards could be a form of “corporate apology” that studies have shown help shield some doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.
“I believe that this is a type of watered-down apology. They may be saying ‘You must be hurting, here’s a little something to get by.’ I don’t know what exactly they think consumers need right now,” Siebecker said.
Babies are tough. Bosses can be tougher. But the indisputable boot camp of bare knuckled stress inducers has to be a young dog that hasn’t been given the care, love, and discipline it needs and deserves.
Not even the Volkswagen Passat W8 I bought last year can compare to the ball busting doled out by an 8-month-old female boxer named Luna, a hyper-cute animal that ruthlessly channeled all of my inner Cesar Millan this past weekend, and defecated it right on the carpet.
As Volkswagen works to make amends with customers and the public, TDI owners ready to give up their illegally polluting cars are hearing conflicting messages from some Volkswagen dealers who are either unwilling to or begrudgingly taking in those cars on trade.
A TDI owner said when he took his car into Flow Motors Volkswagen in North Carolina last month the dealership told him it wouldn’t initially accept his vehicle for trade. The dealer originally had asked if the owner had found a willing dealership to take his car.
“ … Let me know as I have a couple of other diesel owners I will send if things worked out for you,” the dealer wrote in an email after they turned down the man’s diesel car.
“To say I’m irritated is an understatement,” the TDI owner wrote.
Analysts have questioned whether newly hired Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller will effectively navigate the automaker through a deepening scandal as more vehicles and more cheating is uncovered, Automotive News reported.
Müller, who took over as Volkswagen AG CEO from the top spot at Porsche, has yet to instill confidence in investors, according to analysts.
“It’s a like a virus that’s spreading,” Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific, told Automotive News. “With every new bit of information that’s uncovered, it digs the knife in a little deeper and produces more doubt and skepticism that they have an understanding of how deep this crisis is.”
UPDATE: There is a clause in the ‘Program Rules’ that could allow Volkswagen to change the terms of the agreement after the fact. We’ve added statements from Volkswagen, a law firm representing TDI owners and a law professor so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to register for the Goodwill Package.
Owners who signed up for Volkswagen’s “Goodwill Program” to receive $1,000 will still be able to take the automaker to court, according to documents posted by Volkswagen on Monday.
The program outlines specific steps owners would need to take to receive the benefits offered. Including taking ownership of the 2-liter diesel cars before Nov. 9, owners would need to take their cars to Volkswagen dealers to have their gift cards activated, an action Volkswagen deems necessary to curb fraud. Cards will also be printed with the name of the goodwill package recipient.
Volkswagen said it would send one $500 black prepaid Visa card that could be used anywhere, and another $500 white prepaid card that could be redeemed at Volkswagen dealerships only.
The automaker also offered three years of roadside assistance in addition to the gift cards.
At least one dealer group is planning to use the activation procedure to its advantage, telling employees that dealer management hopes customers will spend both prepaid cards at its Volkswagen store.
Volkswagen’s “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, expected to be announced sometime today, will include three years of 24-hour Roadside Assistance in addition to two prepaid cards. Those cards will be valued at $500 each — one that can be spent anywhere and the other that can only be used at a Volkswagen dealer.
Whether you must waive certain rights or not as part of signing up to receive the package is still unknown. Volkswagen has not yet posted additional program details.
Update: Information about retracted article below with links to published documents.
On Sunday, Volkswagen of America launched signups for its “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, which is fully expected to provide prepaid debit cards to owners of the 500,000 affected diesel vehicles that pollute up to 40 times the amount allowed by law.
However, if you are one of those TDI owners, it might be best to wait a day or two before signing up as Volkswagen has not yet published the terms of accepting the goodwill package.
UPDATE: Another TTAC reader is seeing different prompts without the Goodwill Package offer.
The Volkswagen Diesel Information website is now listing the “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package” and requesting vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for registration in the program. However, it does not seem to be working for all website visitors.
The signup form asks owners for a physical address, email address and vehicle mileage before asking for permission to use the information to contact the owner regarding future diesel emissions related updates.
TTAC was able to obtain a VIN for one of the affected vehicles with an owner’s permission to complete the sign up process.
Government agencies from the United States, Canada and Germany will be testing diesel vehicles from automakers other than Volkswagen to check their compliance with emission laws.
According to The New York Times, regulators in North America “are significantly expanding their on-the-road emissions tests to cover all makes and models of diesel cars.” The same on-road tests found 3-liter V-6 diesel engines to emit more NOx than they did in EPA testing.
The EPA had already notified General Motors that its new Colorado and Canyon diesel pickups would undergo increased scrutiny.
A number of Volkswagen engineers cheated on tests used to determine carbon dioxide emissions because goals set by former group CEO Martin Winterkorn were too demanding and difficult to achieve, reported German outlet Bild am Sonntag.
The report was “broadly confirmed” by Volkswagen, stated The New York Times. It’s believed goals set by Winterkorn, which would have made Volkswagen vehicles cleaner than required by European regulations, pressured the engineers to manipulate the tests as they were afraid to admit they could not meet those goals.
The engineers pumped up tire pressures to reduce rolling resistance and put diesel in motor oil to make the vehicles more fuel efficient, thus producing less carbon dioxide. The practice “began in 2013 and carried on until the spring of this year,” reported Automotive News.