Movin' Money: Ex-Volkswagen CEO's Transfers Raise Investigators' Eyebrows

Large money transfers initiated by former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn early last year have German investigators wondering if the executive may have believed a criminal charge was incoming.

Already indicted in the U.S. on fraud charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions scandal, Winterkorn (seen above with Yoko Ono) remains under a cloud of suspicion in his homeland. Though he’s claimed no early knowledge of the diesel engine manipulation, the former top boss remains under scrutiny from methodical German prosecutors who recently arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.

Recently, the probe’s focus turned to large sums of money leaving the country in the lead-up to the U.S. indictment.

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Justice Department Wants Refund From Sheriff Who Bought a Dodge Charger Hellcat

The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that Georgia Sheriff Butch Conway reimburse the government for his procurement of a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat, which it does not believe falls under the umbrella of reasonable purchases for a police department.

However, the DOJ isn’t questioning whether the department could make use of such a vehicle, as the federal government already approved its purchase. It just isn’t sure that Conway is being responsible with it, since it sounds like the Gwinnett Country Sheriff may be using it as his daily driver.

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Ex-Audi CEO Clams Up, Wants Out of the Clink

Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s “How I spent My Summer Vacation” story isn’t likely to make any of us jealous. The one-time top dog at the German luxury automaker has cooled his heels in a Bavarian jail ever since German authorities arrested him on suspicion of fraud back in June. Stadler’s arrest served as a shocking escalation in Germany’s investigation into Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

It seems like time behind bars is getting to Stadler. As the suspended executive attempts to gain his release from prison, new details have emerged over the reasons for his arrest.

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Musk's Latest Bozo Eruption Not As Financially Damaging As the Last (so Far, Anyway)

There’s a term in Canadian politics — “bozo eruption” — that, according to Wiktionary, refers to the moment when a politician or public figure says something “especially ill-considered and foolish, and which has negative repercussions for that individual and for his or her affiliated group.”

In Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s case, the eruptions seem to be ramping up. Each outburst — be it May’s dismissive earnings call, in which he called analysts’ queries “boring” before taking questions from a YouTuber, or this past weekend’s bizarre assertion that one of the Thailand cave rescuers (and Musk mini-sub disliker) is a pedophile — has a negative, if hazy, impact on the automaker’s stock price.

The most recent utterance didn’t disappoint, but it seems that pissing off Wall Street types is more consequential than accusing international heroes you’ve never met of sex crimes.

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Pesky Arrest Issue Has Audi Thinking America for New Car Launch

Audi had hoped to unveil a new challenger to Tesla’s electric throne at a Brussels marketing event, but the ill-timed arrest of its former CEO forced the automaker to shelve those plans. Rupert Stadler remains in custody, casting a dark cloud over the brand and the vehicle its engineers spent years developing.

What to do? Apparently, the solution involves bundling the car into a plane and sending it to America.

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Take Note, Hollywood: Germany Cancels Prestigious Auto Awards Due to Criminality, Awkwardness

The organizers of televised U.S. awards shows, who annually serve up a night of lectures, sermons, hypocrisy, and guilt for an increasingly small audience, should realize that the show doesn’t necessarily have to go on.

It’s certainly not going on in Germany. Axel Springer, a top publishing house for numerous German media sources, including AutoBild, has now wrestled the prestigious Golden Steering Wheel award out of everyone’s hands. There’ll be no thanking of grade school teachers by auto execs this year. Blame, well, the auto industry.

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Uber Driver May Have Been Watching TV Before Fatal Collision: Police

The mash-up of fledgling technology that requires human vigilance to ensure safety and our natural inclination to become distracted by mobile devices appears to be the cause of the fatal Tempe, Arizona Uber crash in March.

According to a lengthy police report obtained by Reuters, the driver of the autonomous Volvo XC90 operated by Uber Technologies may have been watching the TV show The Voice in the moments leading up to the collision. The impact killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the darkened street with her bicycle.

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Tesla's Employee Lawsuit Saga Grows Weirder by the Minute

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be on the hunt for potential saboteurs and thieves. However, as the company doubles down on Model 3 assembly both inside its Fremont, California plant and the tent erected outside, a murky sideshow has emerged.

On Sunday night, Musk emailed employees to alert them to the actions of a saboteur caught hacking the automaker’s manufacturing operating system (MOS), cautioning them to be on the lookout for other nefarious deeds. The automaker then filed a lawsuit against process technician Martin Tripp, who Tesla alleges stole several gigabytes worth of data from the MOS and funnelled the info, which included photos, to shadowy third parties. Incorrect statements were also made to the media by the disgruntled employee, Tesla claims, and it’s now seeking its pound of flesh (as well as its data, plus punitive damages) via the suit.

Tripp’s now telling his side of the story. Oh, and there’s a workplace shooting threat to toss into the mix, too.

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More Intrigue at Tesla As Automaker Sues Former Employee for Data Theft, Media Claims

Never far from (or out of) the headlines, Tesla has filed a lawsuit against a former employee, alleging the individual stole confidential data hacked from the automaker’s manufacturing operating system and sent it to third parties. He’s also alleged to have made false claims to the media.

The contents of the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Nevada against former process technician Martin Tripp, can be read here. In it, Tripp is alleged to have written computer code designed to funnel data from the company, installing it on several computers to keep the information flowing.

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Audi's Stadler Out as CEO, but Perhaps Only Temporarily

An emergency board meeting held in the wake of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s Monday arrest led to the chief executive’s suspension from the company. It was Stadler’s idea, apparently.

As the former CEO cools his heels in a Munich jail, held on suspicion of fraud and evidence suppression related to Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal, the automaker’s board named sales and marketing chief Abraham Schot as interim CEO. Whether or not Stadler returns to his former post depends on his innocence.

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Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested, Declared a Flight Risk

Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, was arrested in Munich Monday morning on suspicion of fraud, according to German prosecutors.

The CEO, who took the helm at Audi in 2007 after joining the company in 1990, was taken into custody following a years-long probe into Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating. While the automaker has already paid a steep price at home and abroad for its defeat device-equipped diesel engines, today marks the highest profile arrest so far in the ongoing investigations.

According to German media, prosecutors claim Stadler poses a flight risk, meaning he’ll remain in custody for the time being.

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Former Tesla Safety Director Sues Over Termination

An increasingly murky legal battle has pitted one-time Tesla safety director Carlos Ramirez against his former employer.

In his lawsuit against the automaker, Ramirez claims he was terminated after exposing improper logging of workplace injuries, lending weight to a report published by Reveal earlier this year. Tesla says Ramirez’s firing had nothing to do with his safety findings and everything to do with his behavior towards fellow employees.

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Here's What Utah Police Discovered About the Final Trip of That Tesla Model S

A few days after last Friday’s collision between an Autopilot-enabled Tesla Model S and a stopped fire department truck, police in South Jordan, Utah blew away the clouds of speculation by stating the Tesla driver was looking at her phone immediately prior to the collision. Witnesses claim the car, piloted by an on-board suite of semi-autonomous driving aids, didn’t brake as it approached the traffic signal (and the stopped truck).

Now we know the entirety of what occurred in the car in the minutes preceding the 60 mph impact.

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Opel Astra Driver 'Caught' By Speed Camera Traveling Over 400 MPH

You’ve probably received a speeding ticket in the mail before. Weeks after the incident, once you’ve forgotten all about it, you open a letter to read that you’ve been busted by a cleverly placed speed camera and have to pay a fine. Well, that’s what happened to a Belgian driver but he was fined approximately $7,800 for traveling 432 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Obviously, something went wrong. In addition to the 400-mph mark being well out of reach of his Opel Astra, the speed isn’t in the realm of possibilities for any production car currently in existence. Hell, Top Fuel dragsters don’t even reach those speeds on level pavement. In fact, you’d have to purchase a private jet or build a custom land speed car for Bonneville if you wanted that kind of velocity.

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VW's Diess Met With Department of Justice and FBI Last Week

Volkswagen’s new chief executive officer, Herbert Diess, is believed to have met with the United States’ Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation last week to discuss the manufacturer’s emissions scandal. Details on the matter are scare at present, but the meeting would explain why the U.S. was willing to provide the CEO with a safe-passage guarantee.

While VW has previously stated its cooperation in various investigations, it declined to comment on Diess’ alleged visit to federal authorities.

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