Volkswagen Cutting $2B By Eliminating Trims, Editions and Probably This Too
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.
Audi Suspends Two Engineers Over 3-liter Diesel Scandal; Still Has No Idea How This Happened
Here Is The Fix For Volkswagens In Europe: A Mesh Air Pipe and Software
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.
Audi Offers Its Own Goodwill Program To A3 TDI Owners
Audi announced last week that owners of its A3 TDI model would be offered the same goodwill program available to Volkswagen TDI owners.
The program, which started Nov. 20, offers owners the same $500 prepaid Visa card that can be used anywhere and a $500 dealership gift card that can be used at Audi dealerships. Three years of roadside assistance also will be included in the goodwill program.
According to Audi’s diesel information site, accepting the goodwill package doesn’t preclude owners from suing Audi in the future.
German Environmental Group Claims Renault Van Pollutes Up To 25 Times Euro Limit
A German environmental group said Tuesday that its testing has revealed Renault’s Espace, when equipped with a 1.6-liter diesel engine, could emit up to 25 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxides with a warm engine running on roads — or you know, the real world.
According to the New York Times, the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) didn’t directly accuse Renault of including cheating software in its cars — a la Volkswagen — but said the van polluted significantly less when the engine was cold. The results could show the schism between European testing standards — where tires can be over-inflated, doors taped up, batteries disconnected, seats removed — and real-world conditions.
Renault said in a statement Tuesday that its van complied with regulations and that tests done by researchers at the University of Bern “are not all compliant with European regulations.”
Volkswagen Workers Under Criminal Investigation for Breaking Tax Laws in Germany
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.
BREAKING: Audi Admits to Defeat Device, Details Fix For 3-liter Diesel Engines
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.
Volkswagen Beats EPA Buzzer, Details Fix to US Officials
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.
What We Missed in the News, Post-LA Auto Show Edition
While we were hanging outside the Staples Center begging passersby for photos, information and leftover shrimp from the Los Angeles Auto Show to share with you all (well, maybe not the shrimp), there was still news happening that we didn’t get the chance to cover.
So, here it is in condensed form.
More Volkswagen, Audi Vehicles Included in EPA's 3-liter Diesel Notice of Violation
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.
Fix Due Friday For Volkswagen's Dirty Diesels
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, Audi Meeting With US Officials To Talk Fix
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.
Will Volkswagen Hock Its Roundel for $21.5 Billion in Loans?
On Friday, Barclays Plc announced it estimates the near-term costs of Volkswagen’s seemingly ever expanding emissions scandal will be about $27 billion USD (25 billion Euros).
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.
Volkswagen Says 430,000 New Cars Cheated CO2 Levels
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.
Osterloh: Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Scandal Could Involve 100 Employees
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.