VW Exodus: Suspended Tuch Quits, Hands Quality Keys Back to Rothenpieler
Like rats abandoning a sinking ship, Volkswagen managers see the writing on the wall in Wolfsburg. Whether or not their particular jobs are in jeopardy, from their own actions or those of others, the road ahead is long, rough, and filled with busy days and sleepless nights.
The latest to jump ship is Frank Tuch (right), who has led Group Quality Assurance at Volkswagen Group AG since 2010. He will be replaced effective February 15, 2016 by Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler (left), who joined Volkswagen in 1986 and previously held the same role.
Feinberg: Volkswagen Will Offer 'Generous Solution' to U.S. Customers
Kenneth Feinberg, the man behind Volkswagen’s claims fund, stated American VW TDI customers should expect an offer that will make them very happy in an interview published this weekend.
When asked by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (via Reuters) what he will offer the more than 500,000 Americans who own dirty diesels, he replied, “I can promise that there will be a generous solution.”
What that solution will be is anyone’s guess, including Feinberg’s.
“The jury is still out, and at the moment all options are up for debate: cash payments, buybacks, repairs, replacements with new cars,” he said.
You Still Want to Buy a Volkswagen TDI? Sign Here
The fuel cost savings of a diesel vehicle can be huge for those who eat up highway miles. However, with Volkswagen’s voluntary stop sale of those vehicles implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, you may think you can’t buy one from a Volkswagen dealer.
You’d be wrong.
According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, Volkswagen dealers are still able to sell an affected diesel vehicle should it meet certain conditions: that it not be a “certified pre-owned” (CPO) or new vehicle, and that the buyer signs a disclaimer stating they understand the vehicle being purchased pollutes more than government compliance tests initially indicated.
Volkswagen is Buying Back Dirty Diesels, But Not From Owners
Volkswagen Group of America has begun the process of buying back cars affected by the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, but you shouldn’t expect to receive a letter or phone call with a buyback offer anytime soon.
VW is going ahead with a buyback program that will see the automaker acquire affected vehicles from dealers’ certified pre-owned (CPO) inventories, a source familiar with the plan told TTAC.
Time's Up: Volkswagen Must Submit 3-liter TDI Fix for Approval by Today
Volkswagen Group has until the end of the day Tuesday to submit its final plan to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its illegally polluting 3-liter TDI engines, primarily used in Audi vehicles, reported Automotive News on Monday.
The deadline comes after an earlier proposal to fix 2-liter TDI vehicles was rejected by the regulatory agency and before Audi takes to the airwaves during Super Bowl 50 where we hope it’ll use the opportunity to tell us something more than just “buy this new, fancy, non-diesel car.”
Audi Wants To Say Something, And Will Spend $10M To Do It
Football fans are finalizing their Super Bowl 50 party plans, which will undoubtedly include copious amounts of heart-clogging edibles and liquids that might be confused for beer.
At the same time, Audi is tapping its foot in anticipation. The automaker will air a 60-second Super Bowl spot in an effort to get the attention of those cod-lager-swilling football fans watching the game next weekend. The price of that 60 seconds of airtime: approximately 10 million bucks.
Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi has escaped the diesel emissions PR backlash relatively unscathed — and has also been conspicuously quiet as of late. A little too quiet. That will change during the Super Bowl — and the automaker better have something good to say.
Volkswagen Lawyer: Automaker May Buy Back Unfixable Cars
A lawyer for Volkswagen said in court that the automaker would buy back cars that it can’t fix in time, the first admission from the company that some of its cars may not be fixable, according to the New York Times.
Volkswagen lawyer Robert Giuffra told a court last week during hearings related to the class-action lawsuits facing the automaker that the company hadn’t determined how many cars would be affected.
“We might have to do a buyback or some sort of a solution like that for some subset of the vehicles, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Giuffra said according to the report.
Volkswagen Execs Have Lost the Plot
Refuting a report that many Volkswagen managers were involved with a widespread cheating scandal involving 11 million cars worldwide, at least three different regional offices and hundreds of employees, the automaker’s top brass has other ideas.
“No one has spoken with me,” Volkswagen’s CEO Matthis Müller told reporters on Thursday according to Reuters. “You got the information from some sources who have no idea about the whole matter.”
Set us straight then, Müller. Tell us how hundreds of confiscated hard drives and terabytes of data from multiple offices — those are VW’s figures, not ours — and more than 380 interviewed employees contradict a report that a department was scared shitless to raise their hands and admit failure to higher ups? Because that case is shaping up quite nicely.
TTAC News Round-up: Green and Mean for '16, EU Wants to Inspect ECUs, and Opel is Anti-rear-ending (In The Worst Way)
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its Greenest and Meanest cars for 2016 — and it’s bookended by vehicles from Daimler.
That, Europe wants to open up ECU code, Bosch says “You wouldn’t understand, so why bother?” and GayWheels takes aim at a possibly tasteless German Opel advert about, erm, rear-ending … after the break!
Volkswagen Still Talking Technicalities in Definition of 'Cheat'
Last we heard, Volkswagen’s small loophole that it could technically skate through on the definition of “cheating” in Europe was fairly well closed.
Last week, Volkswagen’s chief in the UK asserted in a letter to British Parliament that the company may not have have technically cheated in Europe.
“Volkswagen accepts that a defeat device was used in the USA in certain models, in the context of the very different regulatory framework and factual circumstances there,” Paul Willis wrote in a December letter ( via New York Times). “However we do not think that it is possible to make the same definitive legal determination in relation to the software that was fitted to those differently configured vehicles in the UK and EU.” (Emphasis ours.)
Holy shit. Really?
Feeling Pressure, Volkswagen Bumps Up Exec Meetings
Volkswagen’s top-level executives will meet again next week, the third meeting for the supervisory group in as many weeks, for an unusual crisis-planning cram session, according to Reuters.
“In this special situation it would not be enough for the executive committee to only meet ahead of a supervisory board meeting, or every six to eight weeks,” according to one of the sources.
The call for the emergency meeting comes shortly after one of the supervisory members, Stephan Weil, who is Lower Saxony’s prime minister, called for the automaker to come clean within three months. Volkswagen’s regularly scheduled shareholder meeting will be at the end of April.
TTAC News Round-up: Ford Leaving Japan, Indonesia; Detroit's Big Show; Kia Rio GT Coming?
The big Blue Oval is setting in the Land of the Rising Sun.
That, Volkswagen’s labor boss doesn’t like what he hears, Detroit’s big show and Kia’s big plans for the Rio … after the break!
Report: Many Volkswagen Managers Knew About 'Defeat Device'
Many staffers and managers within Volkswagen’s engine-development department knew about Volkswagen’s illegal emissions-cheating “defeat device,” including a whistleblower who told other executives, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported ( via Reuters).
The report said that there was a “desperation” among engineers tasked with creating a U.S.-emissions compliant diesel engine. Rather than going to the executive board with a failed engine, workers developed the cheat system to avoid repercussions from higher-ups.
The report also indicates that Volkswagen alone — not alongside auto supplier Bosch — created the defeat device.
No, Florida's Lemon Law Ruling Probably Won't Be a Big Deal
A Florida Lemon Law board ruled this week that Volkswagen would have to pay an 86-year-old man $15,000 for his illegally polluting diesel, WPTV reported.
The man’s Volkswagen — which VW lawyers unsuccessfully argued wasn’t a lemon because it still ran and drove — could prompt others to file similar lemon law claims against the automaker, but may fall short of sparking a grassroots buy-back campaign in other states.
“A Florida Court order isn’t binding on any other state but can be ‘persuasive authority,’” Colorado Lemon Law attorney Rick Wynkoop said. Florida’s Lemon Law process is pretty unique because it requires an arbiter’s ruling first, but can be appealed in court.
“An arbiter’s order has next-to-zero weight. I’m not joking when I tell you that arbiters are not required to follow the law,” Wynkoop added.
TTAC News Round-up: Don't Leave Europe Out of the Party, Bizarre End To GM Lawsuit, and 2015's Recall-mania
Volkswagen to European diesel owners: “Why you mad?”
That, the mailman can’t deliver on the first lawsuit against GM, Caddies built in China and 51.3 million cars were recalled in 2015 … after the break!