Damages From VW? German Diesel Drivers Face Uphill Battle in Court

While Volkswagen Group’s diesel lawsuits are more or less settled in the United States, 470,000 diesel owners in Germany are still fighting to see their payday. Unfortunately, the courts aren’t certain they’re deserving.

The court hasn’t settled on anything, but Monday’s introductory hearing concluded with presiding Judge Michael Neef wondering what customers actually lost by having their vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating software. The court claims its primary goal is to assess whether or not any loss in value can be attributed to vehicle bans that came years after VW’s diesel scandal broke. It’s concerned that drivers’ ability to continue using the automobiles doesn’t warrant awarding owners damages.

“It doesn’t make sense to us that drivers should be granted the right to use cars for free,” Neef said on behalf of the three judges hearing the case, according to Bloomberg. “Otherwise, we would have to grant punitive damages that do not exist under German law.”

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Daimler Takes a Billion-dollar Hit for Diesel Violations

There’s a whiff of diesel in the air this morning, as all the news out of Europe seems to stem from compression-ignition trickery by German automakers. Hot on the heels of the indictment of Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess and his company’s chairman, Daimler finds itself on the hook for nearly $1 billion in fines in the same country.

The penalty comes by way of Germany prosecutors who claim some 684,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles came equipped with rigged exhaust gas after-treatment systems.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The $13,000 Sporty Car Question of 1988

In the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

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Thousands of Mercedes-Benz GLEs Mysteriously Chilling on North German Runway

Daimler has been forced to store thousands of vehicles at a former military airport in northern Germany, the result of supplier issues that are stalling deliveries of the updated GLE-Class. While keeping cars on ice until they can be shipped is totally normal, it’s odd to see them lined up on a runway. It makes it look like they’re all about to take to the sky or engage in the most congested drag race in history.

Assembled in Alabama, these SUVs are being held up by unknown supply chain problems. Mercedes-Benz suggested there may be also be problems stemming from the multi-market launch of the updated GLE and a surge in output from the U.S. factory.

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Rare Rides: The 1978 Ford Fiesta, a German Car

Ford has executed an on-then-off strategy with regard to its Fiesta offering in the North American market. Currently in off mode, your local Ford dealer encourages you to look at the sporty and capable [s]first-ever third-world offering[/s] EcoSport instead.

But today we’re stepping back in time to 1978 to take a look at the genesis of Fiesta. The Fiestasis, if you will.

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The Hits Keep Coming: Daimler Looking at $1 Billion Diesel Fine, Report Claims

Suspected emissions manipulation could net Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, a steep fine, but it seems the automaker already anticipates the expenditure. According to a report out of Germany, the auto giant stands to face a fine potentially topping $1 billion, which is a relative bargain compared to the bill handed to rival Volkswagen Group over its widespread emissions cheating.

It’s bad news Daimler doesn’t need in these turbulent times.

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QOTD: Graceful Nineties Aging From Places European?

In a QOTD post last week, we walked down Nineties memory lane. The topics of discussion were the vehicle designs we still found stylish in The Current Year. In that post, conversation was restricted to domestic brand offerings.

Today, we go foreign.

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The Heat Is … Off? Porsche Pays Up to Distance Itself From Diesel Scandal

Porsche, builder of SUVs (but also some sports cars), wasn’t eager to draw out the nearly four-year-long diesel emissions scandal any longer. The automaker has agreed to fork over a third bundle of cash to rid itself of the scandal foisted on the brand by its Volkswagen AG parent company.

Well, that’s not entirely correct. German prosecutors are still probing VW Group brass, both current and former, but the mechanical and regulatory side of Porsche’s involvement will pass into history after it pays $599 million.

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Germany's Transition to EV-Land Sounds Slightly Unpleasant

Yesterday, we discussed Volkswagen trouble in finding the perfect recipe for affordable electric cars. Today, its BMW’s turn, and a broader look at how electrification is affecting Germany on the whole.

Reducing auto emissions has become immeasurably stylish in countries across the globe, with Europe doing some of the heaviest lifting via stringent regulatory measures. As a result, Germany’s automotive sector intends to go green and push EVs to the forefront. While BMW may not have committed itself to electrification quite so thoroughly as Volkswagen, the company isn’t sitting around while the competition does everything. The company is making concerted efforts of its own. Still, there are drawbacks to upending established supply chains and dumping a fortune into developing an entirely different type of car.

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The Cost of Future-proofing: German Auto Industry to Invest $68 Billion Into EVs, Mobility, Data Over Next Three Years

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.

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Rare Rides: The Mercedes-Benz SEC AMG of 1986

What happens when a tuning company takes an already luxurious coupe and adds more of everything? The answer is this Mercedes-Benz SEC AMG from 1986.

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QOTD: Manufacturer Cooperation - Cash Saver, or Corrosive Cancer?

Cooperation and borrowing between auto manufacturers is nothing new, and it isn’t always a bad thing. For example, look what happened in the 1980s when Lincoln borrowed a BMW inline-six turbodiesel for its Continental Mark VII luxury coupe. Oh, maybe that’s not the best example. But two events this week have led to a couple of new examples for us to ponder.

How do you think these cooperative automotive projects will fare?

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Super Expensive Convertibles From 2001

The Buy/Drive/Burn series has been all about convertibles lately. We started with some $40,000 luxury entries from 2010, then upped the dollar figure with three more from 2009 that asked over $90,000 for the pleasure of their company.

Today we step back in time to the year 2001, and spend even more money. The cheapest drop-top here is over $120,000. Let’s go.

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Rare Rides: Take Note of a 1960 Opel Rekord

Long before Opel became a donor for the badge-engineered Cadillac Catera and Buick Regal, the then GM-owned company shifted its own cars on North American soil. Today’s Rare Ride is a very early example of such a North American offering: It’s a two-door Rekord sedan from 1960.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Luxury Convertibles From 2010

Three luxurious convertibles of six-cylinder and rear-drive persuasion. Which one is worth over 40,000 of your hard-earned dollars?

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  • Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
  • ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
  • ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
  • ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.