Volkswagen CEO Mller Tells Employees That Future Won't Be 'Painless'

Speaking to roughly 20,000 employees in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller outlined the big-picture view for the weeks, months and years ahead. (It’s not good, if you’re wondering.)

Anything that is not absolutely necessary will be cancelled or postponed. And it is why we will be intensifying the efficiency program. To be perfectly frank: this will not be a painless process.

The automaker plans “massive cutbacks” according to Reuters, but Müller stopped short of outlining specifics to slow production or lay off workers. The 62-year-old CEO told workers that the company hasn’t calculated the final toll lying about pollution levels in 11 million cars would take on the company.

… while the technical solutions to these problems are imminent, it is not possible to quantify the commercial and financial implications at present.

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Volkswagen Hasn't Found Their Fall Guys (or Gals) Yet

According to Reuters, Volkswagen may have suspended engineers — including top engineers for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche — without any evidence.

According to the report, more than 10 engineers were suspended in the fallout after it became clear the automaker cheated its way through emissions tests in the U.S. and Europe. It’s not clear if the suspended engineers would be reinstated at the company.

Reuters reported that VW’s internal investigation revealed that the illegal “defeat devices” began appearing in cars around 2008 after engineers discovered that their engine, which was costly to produce, wouldn’t pass emissions tests.

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Volkswagen May Cut R&D Budget to Fend Off "Existence-Threatening Crisis"

Volkswagen has a very steep, very tough hill to climb, and Volkswagen’s incoming chairman said the emissions scandal that affects 11 million cars is “a threat to the firm’s viability albeit a surmountable one,” reports Reuters.

Dieter Pötsch, who will soon take the chairman spot at Volkswagen Group AG, described the challenges ahead as an “existence-threatening crisis for the company” during a corporate meeting with employees in Wolfsburg, Germany’s Welt am Sonntag reported.

In order to take on those challenges, Volkswagen needs to fund the repairs of some 11 million vehicles, meaning cuts may be made to the company’s 100 billion euro R&D investment budget that was expected to last until 2018.

A cut in R&D spending is seen as a way to avoid a downgrade of the company’s credit ratings, a source close to the company’s board told Reuters.

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TFLCar's Jetta Dyno Test Doesn't Show Us "Test Mode"

Volkswagen is working on a fix to bring their “defeat device” equipped cars back into EPA compliance. The SCR upgrade option is very costly and another possibility is a software fix. The latter option would likely come in the form of an ECM calibration that would work similar to “test mode” at all times, possibly robbing power and fuel economy.

The crew over at TFLCar attempted to emulate this test mode on a dyno but fell short of collecting reliable results.

While I applaud the idea of finding an affected car and trying to generate real-world test results, the tests and analysis in the video do not correlate to an actual EPA test.

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Volkswagen Canada Offering $2,000 Discount to TDI Owners to Buy Literally Any VW [Update]

Update: We finally heard back from Volkswagen Canada (though, as you can imagine, their media relations department is probably a tad bit busier than usual).

The $2,000 amount is being offered as a “loyalty discount” for current TDI owners, regardless of size or type of diesel engine, for any new Volkswagen, regardless of engine and fuel type (except for stop-sale models, obviously). TDI owners do not need to trade-in their EA 189-equipped cars to qualify.

We attempted as best we could to confirm the ‘discount-on-trade-in’ story and we were given evidence to support the original story in La Presse. However, the truth was to the contrary. We apologize for the error.

The article now reflects the update.

Volkswagen Canada is offering a $2,000 incentive for current TDI owners, regardless of the age of the car or type of TDI engine, toward any other new Volkswagen model.

La Presse spoke to a dealer in Montreal who stated that they are taking affected TDI models in on trade and offering the discount. However, the discount is being offered as a “loyalty discount” to all TDI owners, and a trade-in is not required.

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Report: Volkswagen Investigation May Take Months

A meeting of Volkswagen executives revealed Thursday that the internal investigation into how the company produced 11 million cars with illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests will take several months, Reuters (via Automotive News) reported.

The supervisory board said in light of the ongoing investigation, the automaker would push back its scheduled meeting in November, where it was expected to name Hans Dieter Pötsch as chairman.

“In view of the time available and the matters to be considered, it would not be realistic to provide well-founded answers which would fulfill the shareholder’s justified expectations,” it said according to Reuters, adding a court would appoint Poetsch to the board, after which he would be elected chairman.

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FCA Wins, Volkswagen Loses in Average New Car Price During September

The average transaction price for a new car edged up slightly August to September from $33,563 to $33,730, researchers at Kelley Blue Book said Thursday.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted the largest gain over the same month last year, as the automaker increased its average transaction price 4.1 percent to $34,809. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen was the only major automaker to post a loss in the report, losing 1.6 percent from August to September this year, and 0.1 percent from September 2014.

Ford, General Motors and Kia/Hyundai all posted gains over 3 percent, year-over-year. Overall, the industry average for new car transaction prices rose 2 percent from September 2014 to September 2015. Toyota was the other automaker to fall below the industry average for gains. Its average transaction price increased by only 0.6 percent.

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Volkswagen Planning Capital Push to Raise Money For Scandal

Volkswagen may issue preferred shares to help raise money to deal with its growing diesel scandal, Reuters reported.

The German automaker may cut costs and boost cash flow before resorting to offering parts of the company to outside investors. According to the report, VW may find some willing investors to help bail the company out of its dire straights thanks to its healthy balance sheet and assets. However, if no one is willing to take the bait, the company may resort to more extreme cash-raising strategies that include selling ordinary stock, or even perhaps selling off some of its brands.

Reuters reported that sources said Volkswagen wasn’t considering selling any of its brands now. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spun off luxury carmaker Ferrari this year, in part, to raise capital for other investments at the global automaker.

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Volkswagen Finds Hatches, Battens Them, and Braces for Massive Business Storm

Volkswagen suspended hiring at its finance arm and cut a shift at its Salzgitter engine factory to prepare its business for fallout from the largest business crisis that company has faced.

According to Reuters (via Automotive News), senior officials at Volkswagen will review Thursday findings from an internal investigation into the scandal that the automaker installed illegal emissions “defeat devices” on 11 million cars. The finance division said it would implement a hiring freeze through the end of this year.

“We are reacting to the current situation. It is a purely precautionary measure,” a spokesman told Reuters.

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German Prosecutors Backtrack on Winterkorn Focus for Investigation

German prosecutors on Thursday said they focused too quickly on former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and removed a statement from earlier this week that they were investigating the former executive for the scandal that has engulfed the German carmaker.

In a statement by the Lower Saxony prosecutor’s office obtained by Automotive News Europe on Thursday, the office said there must be “concrete facts” before officially investigating Winterkorn. So far, no specific individuals have been named in the office’s investigation.

The stakes are high for whomever may be responsible for the 11 million cars that illegally cheated emissions tests. Volkswagen supervisory board member Olaf Lies told The Local in Germany that “those people who allowed this to happen, or who made the decision to install this software — they acted criminally. They must take personal responsibility.”

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2015 Volkswagen Golf R Review - Let's Get Serious

2015 Volkswagen Golf R

2-liter DOHC I-4, turbocharged, variable intake and exhaust timing, variable
exhaust-valve lift (292 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm; 280 pounds-feet of torque @ 1,800 rpm)

6-speed DSG automatic transmission

23 city/30 highway/26 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

24 mpg on the 60/40 city/hwy, 45 percent boot-full of throttle everywhere (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Reflex Silver Metallic paint, Titan Black Leather interior; 6-speed DSG automatic transmission.

Base Price (Golf R):
$37,415*
As Tested Price:
$37,415*

* All prices include $820 destination fee.

Like walking in on your parents on a Saturday night, let’s take a minute to get this situation up to comfortable.

Volkswagen is in dire straits; there are no other words for it. For abusing consumer confidence and lying to the federal government, the German automaker will have to pay billions — and lose tens of billions more in repairs, buybacks, lawsuit payouts and expensive public mea culpas — before they can sniff legitimacy.

For lying and cheating their way through emissions standards with their diesel cars, anyone who has gone for a run in a metro area north of the Mason Dixon line in December for the last 10 years has a legitimate gripe against Volkswagen.

I won’t bury the lede here either: The 2015 Golf R isn’t the type of car that could forgive and forget all indiscretions, either. It’s too hard, too narrow and too expensive to be fit for mass-market consumption. It’s not the car that VW can ride through the rough stuff, mostly because it feels on the inside like it’s riding in a paint shaker.

But every atomic cloud has a silver lining.

For all that we’ve heard and read about Volkswagen over the last week, the larger picture remains: 4 out of 5 Volkswagen cars sold aren’t diesels, and as the world’s second-largest automaker (for now) there are a lot of cars that Volkswagen could talk about.

And we’re talking about the Golf R, and talk we shall.

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Green Car Journal Strips Volkswagen, Audi of Awards

Green Car Journal announced Wednesday that they would take back two awards given to vehicles that are now part of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions debacle. The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI were bestowed Green Car of the Year awards by the publication.

“Rescinding the Green Car of the Year awards for the VW Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI is unfortunate but appropriate,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal.

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Portlandian Plants "Nazi" Note On Dirty Diesel VW

It is no surprise that environmental activists are staging protests in reaction to the Volkswagen emission scandal. Members of Greenpeace marched last week outside the VW plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. Somewhere in America, we are sure someone will print off one of those red and white pro-union banners saying “Shame on XYZ Volkswagen” and plant themselves in front of a VW dealership.

But to shame a TDI owner who is possibly already miffed knowing his car may be dropping in value — and possibly gas mileage and torque after the emission fix?

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Report: VW's Dirty Diesels May Have Caused Up to 100 Deaths

A report by the New York Times estimates that Volkswagen cars that illegally polluted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides may have contributed to more than 100 premature deaths in the U.S., nearly equal to the faulty GM ignition switch that has been linked to 124 deaths.

The researchers calculated the effects of the increased nitrogen oxides by using numbers derived from U.S. counties where power plant emissions had been reduced. Those counties removed 350 tons of nitrogen dioxides per year and had 5 fewer deaths per 100,000 people. Calculating the number of VW diesels and their average emissions at 39 times the legal limit, the writers concluded that the cars could be responsible for 106 premature deaths nationwide.

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Volkswagen Will Recall, 'Refit' 11 Million Cars in Coming Days

New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told about 1,000 high-level managers Monday that the company had a “comprehensive” fix for its cars, and that the solution would be forthcoming.

“We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work,” Müller said, according to Reuters.”We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks.”

Müller said the company would ask consumers “in the next few days” to bring their cars in to be refitted. It’s unclear if the recall program would be a software or ECU fix, or if it would include a selective catalytic reduction system (urea or AdBlue) to bring the diesel Volkswagens down to a legal emissions level.

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Report: Supplier Warned VW About Illegal Device in 2007

According to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bosch engineers told Volkswagen in 2007 that software the supplier had offered for the cars in testing, which made it into road cars, was illegal and should not be used.

The newspaper, which did not cite any sources in the story, said a spokesperson for Bosch did not comment on the report.

If true, the report shows a quick push from the supplier — who admitted it supplied Volkswagen with the parts used to circumvent emissions standards — to isolate the automaker’s responsibility for the scandal. Bosch issued a statement last week saying as much (emphasis mine):

As is usual in the automotive supply industry, Bosch supplies these components to the automaker’s specifications. How these components are calibrated and integrated into complete vehicle systems is the responsibility of each automaker.

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German Prosecutors Investigating VW's Former Chief Winterkorn

A criminal complaint in Germany (that could have been filed by anyone) has prompted an investigation into whether former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn knew the automaker was selling cars with an illegal “defeat device” to fool emissions test, Reuters reported.

Several complaints have been filed with German prosecutors, including one from within Volkswagen, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Winterkorn’s investigation may take months — or even years — as German authorities look into how widespread cheating and lying was at the automaker.

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Report: Taxpayers Paid $20.7 Million For 'Clunker' Volkswagen Diesels

Justin Hyde at Yahoo Autos has fine, fine reporting that U.S. taxpayers paid more than $20 million in incentives for Volkswagen diesel models under the “Cash for Clunkers” program.

According to the report, 4,599 VW Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen diesel cars qualified for the maximum $4,500 incentive under the program. Those cars were equipped with a 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that the Environmental Protection Agency said used an illegal defeat device to cheat emissions.

The Yahoo report follows a report by the L.A. Times that shows that more than $51 million was paid to Volkswagen by the U.S. for now-bogus “green” claims.

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Matthias Mller Will Take Over At Volkswagen, Vahland Becomes Horn's Boss

Making official Friday what we’ve heard for a while ( Der Tagesspiegel reported on Monday), Porsche CEO Matthias Müller will take the reigns at Volkswagen.

Müller replaces Martin Winterkorn, who resigned after the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that 482,000 cars in the U.S. used an illegal “defeat device” to cheat emissions.

In a statement Müller said that restoring trust in the automaker would be his first priority:

My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation.

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Used Car Dealers Line Up Against Volkswagen

Used car dealerships have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Volkswagen over cars they say they can’t sell and are seeking the same compensation the German automaker is offering its new car dealers, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

According to the attorney representing the dealers, selling the cars could put the businesses at risk of lawsuits from their customers. If the used dealers can’t sell their in-stock Volkswagen diesels, the businesses would shoulder the losses, the lawsuit alleges.

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This is Why Volkswagen Won't Pay $18 Billion

It’s entirely possible that the Environmental Protection Agency could levy the largest ever civil penalty for Clean Air Act violations against Volkswagen after the automaker lied about emissions from their diesel engines.

In 2014, the government agency fined Hyundai and Kia $100 million for spewing 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases above what they reported for 1.1 million cars.

For Volkswagen, using the EPA’s own penalty worksheet (which is apparently a thing), the fine may be substantially more than that levied against the Korean automakers — about $3.15 billion more.

Here’s how we got that number.

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Don't Cry For Winterkorn Just Yet; Former CEO Could Get $67M Handshake

Ousted Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn could receive up to $67 million after leaving the automaker on Wednesday, depending on how his exit pay is calculated.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Winterkorn had amassed at least $34 million in his pension by 2014 ( was stock included?) and his exit pay would be roughly two years of his [s]current[/s] former $17 million annual compensation.

He’d also be entitled to a company car. There are plenty he could choose from right now.

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Koda CEO Tipped to Take Over Volkswagen US, Horn Out

The Chairman of the Board of Management for Škoda, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, is expected to replace Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen of America, reports Automotive News.

The news is just the latest in a number of rumors regarding a massive executive shuffle following the departure of Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday.

During the U.S. launch of a refreshed 2016 Passat in New York on Monday, Horn said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. And in my German words: We have totally screwed up.”

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Feds Say They'll Tighten Emissions Tests to Catch Cheaters

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Wall Street Journal forum Tuesday that the agency would be “upping its game” to stop automakers like Volkswagen from creating two dramatically different emissions cycles for its cars — a cleaner “testing mode” and a dirtier real-world mode. The agency said it would also crack down on automakers who lie about real-world fuel economy.

“Writing regulations takes time,” EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Chris Grundler told the Detroit News. “When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”

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Lawyers Quicker Off The Line To Sue Volkswagen Than Broken TDIs

Only hours after Friday’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars were illegally polluting, David Fiol, a personal injury attorney in San Francisco, had filed a class-action lawsuit through a Seattle law firm in federal court.

He wasn’t alone either. Reuters reported that at least 25 class-action lawsuits were filed within hours of the EPA’s announcement as lawyers line up to take the lead on what could be one of the largest lawsuits against an automaker in history. Being the lead firm could be lucrative for the lead attorneys: A $2.65 billion 2006 judgement against AOL Time Warner on behalf of shareholders netted the lead firm’s owners $70 million in fees.

And according to the report, law firms don’t have to look far for clients. Many attorneys are VW TDI owners — a clear downside for having an highly educated customer base.

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Volkswagen Powertrain, Technical Development Personnel Next To Get The Axe?

According to Germany’s Bild tabloid, the next Volkswagen personnel to be shown the door could be three people integral to powertrain development during the time when vehicles were fitted with “defeat devices”.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development; Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Board of Management; and Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group are rumored to be the next executives and managers to be fired, though a final decision won’t be made until Friday.

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VW Supervisory Board: Heads Will Continue to Roll

As part of now-former CEO Martin Winterkorn’s resignation, the Executive Committee of Volkswagen AG’s Supervisory Board has also issued a statement.

Cliff’s Notes: If you helped engineer the “defeat device,” you might want to polish your LinkedIn profile.

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BREAKING: VW Chief Winterkorn Resigns After Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation after an emergency meeting held Wednesday. Five supervisory board members met with Winterkorn on Wednesday ahead of a regularly scheduled meeting Friday.

Winterkorn resigned five days after it was announced that 482,000 Volkswagens in the U.S. had illegal “defeat devices” that allowed them to cheat through emissions tests. It later came out that 11 million cars worldwide had the programming, and the company set aside more than $7 billion to pay for the ongoing scandal.

As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.

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Volkswagen Board Holding Emergency Meeting Ahead of Planned Friday Conference

Five senior members of Volkswagen’s supervisory board are meeting Wednesday to discuss the future for the automaker after stock prices have plummeted and the company has publicly acknowledged it cheated worldwide emissions tests, the BBC reported.

The smaller Wednesday meeting is ahead of a regularly scheduled full board meeting Friday, where members are expected to discuss the contract extension to 2018 for CEO Martin Winterkorn. According to reports, Winterkorn’s future may be decided before Friday’s meeting.

Winterkorn issued a video statement in German on Tuesday apologizing for the scandal, but stopped short from resigning from the top VW post. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Winterkorn would be replaced this week.

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After the NOx Particulates Settle, Everyone Loses

Volkswagen broke the law.

Scratch that. Volkswagen knowingly went out of their way to break the law, did as much as they could to cover up that fact, and only admitted to wrongdoing when the evidence was so heavy that the German giant couldn’t stand under the weight of its own conspiracy.

Nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide — of which 482,000 made their way to the United States — were fitted with a “defeat device” which used a different engine map when being tested for emissions. That device allowed the Volkswagen TDIs to pass sniffer tests on a dyno, but on-road evaluations by the International Council on Clean Transportation showed the four-cylinder diesels were emitting up to 40 times the allowable nitrogen oxides in the real world.

A few things are going to happen. None of it will be pretty. Nobody is going to walk away from this without oily blowback on their faces.

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Volkswagen Will Offer More Cash to Dealers as It Skids Completely Out of Control

Amid slumping sales and a snowballing diesel-emissions crisis, Volkswagen announced Monday a plan to offer more money to dealers for cars that they can sell.

Over the weekend, Volkswagen issued a stop-sale for cars equipped with their 2-liter diesel engine after admitting the those cars cheated to pass emissions test. According to Automotive News, a Sept. 21 letter from Volkswagen to its dealers offered $300 bonus cash for every new car sold and $600 for every Passat sold. (The Passat is the already second-best deal in America right now, according to Kelley Blue Book.)

In addition to the bonus cash, dealers will also receive a bonus totaling 1 percent of sticker from each new vehicle sold in the third and fourth quarters.

“In light of recent events, we are committed to taking actions which will stabilize your profitability in the near-term,” Volkswagen U.S. chief Michael Horn said in the memo, according to Automotive News. “We understand the pressure these recent events have put your business under and we are committed to providing you support.”

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Volkswagen Pulled Cheap $51.35 Million Bar Trick in 2009 Based on False Emissions Data

According to the LA Times, Volkswagen’s falsified emissions data made certain 2009 model year vehicles eligible for a $1,300 green car subsidy. That subsidy, applicable to 39,500 Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen units sold, equated to a total of $51.35 million available to buyers from the government.

The LA Times used Internal Revenue Service data and Motor Intelligence, an automotive industry research body, to calculate the numbers.

The $51 million in total tax credits is just another case of automakers leveraging dumb government money to incentivize consumers to buy their vehicles.

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Here's What It Might Cost To Fix Each 2.0 TDI Volkswagen

In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.

The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.

The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.

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Volkswagen Updates Passat With New Front, Rear Ends and Tech

Volkswagen rolled out its 2016 Passat on Tuesday in the thick of a growing scandal around the company’s admission that it cheated on emissions tests worldwide.

The new mid-size sedan sports a new front and rear end, updated instrument panel and infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (and USB connectivity!), and for the first time will boast an R-line model with 19-inch wheels.

Last year’s engines carry over: A base 1.8-liter turbocharged four and a 3.6-liter VR6 will power the Passat. According to VW, a 2-liter turbocharged diesel ( yes, that diesel engine) will be available in the Passat, but it’s unclear when Volkswagen may begin selling that engine option.

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VW US Chief: "We Have Totally Screwed Up"
BREAKING: Winterkorn To Be Replaced By Porsche CEO Matthias Mller on Friday (UPDATE 1)

After Volkswagen admitted to gaming emissions tests with software containing a “defeat device”, German publication Der Tagesspiegel (via Jalopnik) is reporting that Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn will be replaced at the end of the week by Porsche CEO Matthias Müller.

The German outlet — the name of which translates to “The Daily Mirror” — reportedly gained the information from “supervisory circles”.

Volkswagen has not yet confirmed the rumor.

Update 1: Reuters is reporting that a Volkswagen spokesman described the report as “ridiculous.” A spokesman for Porsche said Müller is at a Volkswagen board meeting today in Wolfsburg.

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Volkswagen Sets Aside 6.5 Billion to Cover 11 Million Vehicles With Cheating Emissions Software

Volkswagen announced Tuesday that it “plans to set aside a provision of some 6.5 billion EUR ($7.3 billion) recognized in the profit and loss statement in the third quarter of the current fiscal year,” but that the final number is subject to change as the emissions scandal unravels.

The automaker has also admitted that the software, which includes a “defeat device” to hide on-road NOx emissions, has been used on 11 million vehicles sold worldwide.

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Volkswagen Facing Criminal Charges in Emissions Probe

The investigation that Volkswagen installed illegal “defeat devices” on its cars to cheat emissions tests will reach the U.S. Department of Justice, Bloomberg (via Automotive News) reported.

Sources within the department said they would investigate the automaker, but no details were given.

The Justice Department recently suspended prosecution of General Motors for covering up a faulty ignition switch that was linked to 124 deaths. It’s unclear what, if any charges, could be brought against Volkswagen for the illegal emissions, however the Justice Department charged GM with wire fraud violations in conjunction with its ignition switch coverup.

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Billions Erased From Volkswagen's Value In Stock Slide

More than $17 billion has been erased Monday from Volkswagen’s value in shareholders’ eyes as the company awaits more fallout from news that the company cheated through emissions tests.

Volkswagen’s stock dropped more than 20 percent Monday after the German automaker announced it would stop sales of its diesel cars on Sunday. New CEO Martin Winterkorn issued a statement Sunday to apologize:

I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.

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Volkswagen's Diesel Cars Have Been Sitting At U.S. Ports For Months

Back in July, TTAC reader Stephen told us that his recently ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was sitting at port for an unknown reason and his dealer and Audi couldn’t give him much of a reason why.

“(The cars) are being held at the port as they have not been cleared by Quality and Logistics to be released for port processing yet,” a distribution advocate for Audi wrote in July.

As weeks wore on, Stephen alerted us to the varied responses he received from Audi, which ranged from “quality review” to “government certification.” We reached out to Audi on his behalf and heard from a spokesman that the cars were sitting at port awaiting a certificate of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, despite being identical to 2015 models that had already been certified.

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Suzuki Will Spend $3.9 Billion to Buy Itself Back From Volkswagen

Suzuki, while at Frankfurt showing off its new Baleno hatchback and next-generation Vitara, is dealing with a financial problem of sorts.

In order to buy itself back from Volkswagen, the Japanese automaker will have to shell out 471.74 billion yen — or $3.9 billion USD. Suzuki plans to purchase as many of those shares back as possible during off-hours trading, before the bell rings Thursday morning.

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Watch Volkswagen Group Night Live at 1:30 PM ET

Volkswagen, as usual before the Frankfurt Auto Show, will be showing all its wares live, Apple-style, the night before press days.

We’ve already seen the Tiguan, Bentley Bentayga and Audi A4, but could there be a surprise up Mr. Winterkorn’s sleeve?

We will keep track of the reveals after the jump.

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Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Is Here (And Probably Already Sold Out)

Volkswagen’s 40th anniversary model of its Golf GTI will be shown this year in Frankfu — and they’re probably already all gone.

The GTI Clubsport carries the same 2-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the current GTI, but increases its output to 261 horsepower (290 horsepower when overboosted). Power is shifted through a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic.

In addition to being a turbocharged manual hatchback, the GTI Clubsport hits the fanboy superfecta: It won’t go on sale in the U.S.

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Report: Piech Basically Still Running Volkswagen Anyway

Reports out of Germany indicate that ousted chairman and current majority owner of Volkswagen’s parent group, Ferdinand Piech, may have tampered with the board nomination to replace him.

Piech may have prevented current VW CEO Martin Winterkorn from becoming chairman after the two’s public feud ultimately resulted with Piech’s abrupt resignation in April, Reuters reported.

If true, the backroom dealings would indicate that while Piech may not be overseeing VW anymore, he still wields significant influence on its operations and leadership.

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Volkswagen's CFO Poetsch Will Likely Be Its Next Chairman

Porsche Automobil Holding SE announced Thursday that it would propose its CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch to succeed Berthold Huber as chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board. The proposal was supported by Volkswagen AG.

Huber was appointed interim chairman for the German automotive giant after Ferdinand Piech was ousted in a dustup among leadership.

The announcement comes only a few days after Volkswagen said it extended its contract with its current CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for two more years and effectively ending his bid to replace Piech. Winterkorn and Piech publicly feuded over VW’s direction, eventually leading to Piech’s surprise resignation as chairman in April.

As a member of the board of majority shareholder in VW’s parent company, Porsche SE, Piech voted alongside the rest of the board unanimously to approve Poetsch as proposed chairman.

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Volkswagen Planning Hot Tiguan R Coupe Because Why Not

Volkswagen may build a three-door version of its compact crossover to compete against the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 and Audi RS Q3 because hot hatches are now hot crossovers, Autocar (via AutoGuide) is reporting.

According to the report, the Tiguan R would be powered by the Golf R’s 300-horsepower turbocharged four. It could go on sale as early as 2018 in the UK. It’s unclear if it would go on sale in the U.S. around the same time.

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Volkswagen Selling E-Golf SE in August, Targets Nissan Leaf

A lower priced e-Golf will directly compete with the Nissan Leaf for sub-$30,000 electric car buyers, the automaker announced Wednesday.

The e-Golf SE will start at $29,815, before federal and any available state incentives, which is nearly the same price as a Leaf S, Autoblog correctly pointed out. The e-Golf has a range of around 83 miles.

The Leaf has sold nearly 11,000 copies since the beginning of 2015.

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Suzuki Wanted to Sell Re-badged Jetta Hybrid in the US

In a detailed report on the failed alliance between Suzuki and Volkswagen, Automotive News reports that the Japanese automaker wanted to re-badge and sell Volkswagen Jetta Hybrids in the U.S. before the company eventually decided to close up its local sales arm.

The report, which came out on Monday, is a play-by-play of what happened from the time Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki and Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn first shook hands in 2009, to when Suzuki announced it was cutting its losses, up to today as the automakers struggle over VW’s 19.9-percent ownership of the Japanese automaker.

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Goodbye, Volkswagen 2.Slow; Oh, Hello New 1.4T

Volkswagen just took the wrapper off its 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder that will replace the 2-liter naturally aspirated noise machine in most of its Jettas, the automaker announced today.

The engine will produce 150 horsepower (vs. 115 hp in the outgoing model) and will produce 184 pound-feet of torque (vs. 125 in the old engine) and highway fuel economy is expected to reach 39 mpg, the automaker said.

The engine uses a small, single-scroll compressor for its turbocharger and an integrated intercooler. The engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual (!) or six-speed automatic.

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Volkswagen Bringing Safety To The People For 2016

Volkswagen has announced sweeping changes to their suite of tech-driven safety features for the 2016 model year, making a vast array of options available on almost every model within its range.

The features, which are currently only available on the Touareg, will trickle down to a number of other models including the Beetle, CC, Jetta, Passat and Golf in all its flavors.

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Volkswagen Surpasses Toyota in Global Auto Sales

Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting.

Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for Toyota and VW respectively.

GM was the third-largest automaker with 4.86 million vehicles.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI Review - Hold Right There

Great. Another diesel Volkswagen. This time it’s the Golf SportWagen — a car every enthusiast said, “I’d buy that with real, non-Internet money.”

We all know exactly how this is going to go:

  • The Golf is better than the Jetta.
  • The Golf SportWagen is better than the 5-door Golf if you have two kids and a dog.
  • The 1.8 TSI is more fun than the 2.0 TDI.
  • The 2.0 TDI is more efficient than the 1.8 TSI, but not enough to justify the increased MSRP when fuel prices are low.
  • You should get the manual if you can.
  • Stop buying Tiguans and get the Golf SportWagen instead. (Never mind. Nobody’s buying Tiguans.)
  • You should also buy this if you care about manuals and wagons and diesels, especially as a package. (Brown is for Luddites.)

It’s with these points in mind I plunged into a week-long test of the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen — just a mere two weeks after driving the Jetta TDI.

And as much as I like it — really, really like it — the long-roof Golf is hard to justify for exactly two reasons.

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TSI SE Review
In the space of 48 hours last week, I saw a first-generation Jetta plying its rusty way down the middle lane of a freeway near Columbus, Ohio and I saw some spiky-haired hipster girl driving a fourth-gen Jolf on Interstate 75 north of Lexington, KY. It was a reminder of the Jetta’s uneasy position in the Volkswagen hierarchy. On one hand, it’s the uncoolest of the watercooled VWs, the American-market special loathed by the kind of Euro-fanatics who make up the vast majority of the company’s loyalists in the United States. They view the existence of the Jetta as an open expression of German contempt for Baconator-eating Americans, and the sharp divergence between Jetta and Golf that took place in the sixth generation hasn’t exactly poured oil on the waters.On the other hand… it’s been the best-selling VW in this country more often than it hasn’t. It’s the official VW of sorority girls, single moms, adventurous empty-nesters, and rental fleets. It’s the Volkswagen we deserve, because we sign on the dotted line for it more often than we do the Golf and the GTI and the Tiguan combined. As such, it deserves a full slate of TTAC reviews. Our Managing Editor, Mark Stevenson, had kind things to say about a %0Ahttp://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-volkswagen-jetta-tdi-review-the-loneliest-number/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">%0Ahttp://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-volkswagen-jetta-tdi-review-the-loneliest-number/">loaded-up Jetta TDI, and our good friend and itinerant contributor Blake Z. Rong was less complimentary about the GLI. Which leaves just the infamous “2.slow” 115-horsepower base model and the newly-remixed 1.8 TSI mid-ranger.I chose the latter for a cheerful little 514-mile jaunt the other night, from just south of Asheville, NC to just north of Columbus, OH. It rained for much of the drive. There was fog. I witnessed the aftermath of three massive accidents, including one semi-trailer that had skidded sideways across one of Interstate 40’s most treacherous segments then flopped over in the median. I had some nontrivial time pressure and I’d already been awake for fifteen hours when I got in the car to begin the trip. Lousy circumstances, to be certain. So how did the Jetta do?
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Volkswagen Wants to Combine Valet Parking and EV Charging [Video]

In its quest to take over the world, Volkswagen wants to automate parking and charging your electric vehicle at the mall and other public places where searching for a spot to put your car is an absolute pain.

Dubbed V-Charge, which is short for Valet Charge, it’s a collection of technologies — including your smartphone — that allows you to pull up to the door of your favorite shop, tell your car to go park itself and then have it retrieved automatically with a (nearly) full charge (depending on how many pairs of shoes the missus tries on).

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Hunt for New VW Chairman May Go Into 2016

The search to replace former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech may stretch into next year, Reuters is reporting.

Piech left Volkswagen in April after a showdown with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, who is still a candidate for the top position. Piech led VW for more than two decades and is the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche.

Interim chairman Berthold Huber is expected to remain in the position at least until the end of 2015.

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Volkswagen Builds Race Golf for Touring Car Customer Teams

Chances are you probably won’t see this Golf in the Volkswagen showroom anytime soon. Volkswagen Motorsport rolled out its race-tuned Golf on Thursday, built to compete in the Touringcar Racer International Series.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four, which has been tuned to 330 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and is front-wheel drive.

The huge rear wing, front air dam and side skirts obviously add 15 percent more go-fast.

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2015 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Review (With Video)

Once upon a time, Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle sold primarily on its low sticker price, durability reputation and ease of maintenance. VW’s new Bug, however, sells on retro style and a healthy dollop of nostalgia.

The Bug before us today is the second generation “New Beetle” first resurrected in Europe as a 1998 model based on VW’s Golf and A3 platform. It was then redesigned for 2012, sharing its bones with the MK5 Golf and Jetta.

Redesigning retro is always tricky. This explains why the original Bug barely changed over the years and why the other retro-flashbacks like the PT Cruiser and Chevy HHR turned into one-hit wonders. If you don’t change enough, shoppers won’t see a reason to trade Herbie in for a new time capsule. Change it too much and you’re left with a caricature. Either way you slice it, retro comes at a cost.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Review

Why yes, it has been only three weeks since our last Volkswagen Golf feature story. Why do you ask?

Maybe it’s because the little VW is on fire. The car is nearly single-handedly bringing back hatchback sales with the introduction last year of its 7th generation model. Winner of numerous national and international auto journo awards, MkVII Golf sales in the U.S. are up 230% through June over the same period last year, and are tracking towards a record-setting 84,000 sales for 2015.

There are two 2015 Golfs in my driveway this week: my own two-door GTI 6-speed and today’s tester, the above four-door TDI SEL with the DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. This is not a comparison test but the variation between the two cars’ equipment levels makes for some interesting perspectives.

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Review - The Loneliest Number

Diesel torque? Fuel efficiency? Compact three-box sheetmetal? You only have two non-premium choices in the U.S.: the Chevrolet Cruze and this, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

That’s a serious dearth of variety.

Even after expanding body style and size limitations to mid-size sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes, that still only includes two brands offering up all of the available diesel cars in the non-premium bracket. More importantly, Volkswagen has embedded itself into the collective diesel consciousness and Chevrolet isn’t even a blip on the radar. You need to actively think of today’s diesel options before you remember the Cruze even exists.

VW’s ingrained diesel association and the Jetta’s more affordable compression-ignition cost of entry compared to the Cruze shows in the sales numbers. The Jetta TDI outsells the Cruze 2.0TD by more than 5 to 1. In fact, GM sells so few Cruze diesels, a California DMV employee is more likely to register a new e-Golf – yes, the all-electric VW Golf that wasn’t even on sale last year – or the California compliance Fiat 500e than a Cruze diesel.

So, when it comes to arrive-and-drive-away compact diesel sedans, there’s only one real option. But, does that alone make the Jetta worth buying?

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2015 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Tester Update

The media is all abuzz about former Olympic decathlon gold-medalist Bruce Jenner transforming himself into a woman. The 2015 Volkswagen GTI could be considered the sporty car equivalent of a decathlete, excelling in a wide variety of automotive virtues.

I see a marketing opportunity here for VW: the decathlon champion meets the decathlon champion of cars. After all, Jenner is a GTI himself: a Gender Transformed Imbecile…Heyooo, I’ll be here all week! Tip your writers by clicking on the jump!

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  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.