Winterkorn Resigns Post At Audi … Wait, He Still Had A Job At Audi?
Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced Wednesday that he would resign his position as chairman of Audi’s supervisory board following revelations two months ago that those cars may have been illegally polluting, which threw the automaker into a tailspin.
Winterkorn stepped down from his role as chairman from Volkswagen in September after the scandal broke and resigned his position at Porsche Automobil Holding SE, VW’s largest shareholder, in October. Winterkorn may have stepped down from his position at Audi because what took him so long?
Could Volkswagen Skate On A Technicality in Europe?
The New York Times is reporting that a loophole in emissions regulations for European cars could keep Volkswagen from paying billions to governments for illegally polluting cars. Regulators considered closing the loophole in 2011, but ultimately failed to do so, which could leave the escape hatch ever-so cracked for Volkswagen to run through.
According to the report, which cites internal meeting notes of European regulators in Geneva, automakers can send through testing cars programmed for special circumstances that daily drivers can’t access.
“A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving,” British regulators warned in 2011, according to the New York Times.
Volkswagen to Announce Whistleblower Amnesty Deadline
Volkswagen will announce Thursday a deadline for whistleblowers to come forward with information related to the ongoing diesel scandal without reprisal.
According to the CBC, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday the automaker is working to gather as much information on the scandal as possible by applying more pressure to employees who may have known anything about what happened regarding the rigging of diesel emissions through software.
Volkswagen Halts 2016 Passat Diesel Production in Tennessee
Volkswagen has halted production of the Passat TDI at its Tennessee plant, because if you can’t sell ’em you may as well stop building ’em.
The stop-order comes as the automaker is ramping-up production of the new Passat in Chattanooga for sales set to begin later this month or in early December, according to Automotive News, and is yet another result of the ongoing diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen's Apology and How It Might Save Millions
Volkswagen’s Goodwill Program in the U.S., which may cost the company nearly half a billion dollars all told, may be a form of corporate apology that could insulate the automaker from further lawsuits.
Michael Siebecker, a professor of law at the University of Denver, says the company’s gift cards could be a form of “corporate apology” that studies have shown help shield some doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.
“I believe that this is a type of watered-down apology. They may be saying ‘You must be hurting, here’s a little something to get by.’ I don’t know what exactly they think consumers need right now,” Siebecker said.
For Some TDI Owners, Conflicting Messages on Trade-in
As Volkswagen works to make amends with customers and the public, TDI owners ready to give up their illegally polluting cars are hearing conflicting messages from some Volkswagen dealers who are either unwilling to or begrudgingly taking in those cars on trade.
A TDI owner said when he took his car into Flow Motors Volkswagen in North Carolina last month the dealership told him it wouldn’t initially accept his vehicle for trade. The dealer originally had asked if the owner had found a willing dealership to take his car.
“ … Let me know as I have a couple of other diesel owners I will send if things worked out for you,” the dealer wrote in an email after they turned down the man’s diesel car.
“To say I’m irritated is an understatement,” the TDI owner wrote.
Report: Volkswagen Alone in Cheating So Far, Testing Shows
Increased scrutiny on diesel-powered cars’ emissions hasn’t revealed any other cheating cars beyond Volkswagen’s models, German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported ( via Reuters).
In an interview with California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, the German outlet reported that Nichols said Volkswagen appeared to be alone in cheating so far.
“Up until now we have found no fraudulent defeat device in vehicles of other brands,” she told the magazine. “There is nothing that comes close to the magnitude of the excess in VW vehicles. “
UPDATE: Volkswagen Posts 'Goodwill Program' Details, Catch-All Causes Confusion
UPDATE: There is a clause in the ‘Program Rules’ that could allow Volkswagen to change the terms of the agreement after the fact. We’ve added statements from Volkswagen, a law firm representing TDI owners and a law professor so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to register for the Goodwill Package.
Owners who signed up for Volkswagen’s “Goodwill Program” to receive $1,000 will still be able to take the automaker to court, according to documents posted by Volkswagen on Monday.
The program outlines specific steps owners would need to take to receive the benefits offered. Including taking ownership of the 2-liter diesel cars before Nov. 9, owners would need to take their cars to Volkswagen dealers to have their gift cards activated, an action Volkswagen deems necessary to curb fraud. Cards will also be printed with the name of the goodwill package recipient.
Volkswagen said it would send one $500 black prepaid Visa card that could be used anywhere, and another $500 white prepaid card that could be redeemed at Volkswagen dealerships only.
The automaker also offered three years of roadside assistance in addition to the gift cards.
At least one dealer group is planning to use the activation procedure to its advantage, telling employees that dealer management hopes customers will spend both prepaid cards at its Volkswagen store.
UPDATE: Don't Signup for Volkswagen's "2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package" Just Yet
Update: Information about retracted article below with links to published documents.
On Sunday, Volkswagen of America launched signups for its “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, which is fully expected to provide prepaid debit cards to owners of the 500,000 affected diesel vehicles that pollute up to 40 times the amount allowed by law.
However, if you are one of those TDI owners, it might be best to wait a day or two before signing up as Volkswagen has not yet published the terms of accepting the goodwill package.
OFFICIAL: Volkswagen TDI Goodwill Package Includes $1,000, Roadside Assistance
Volkswagen’s “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, expected to be announced sometime today, will include three years of 24-hour Roadside Assistance in addition to two prepaid cards. Those cards will be valued at $500 each — one that can be spent anywhere and the other that can only be used at a Volkswagen dealer.
Whether you must waive certain rights or not as part of signing up to receive the package is still unknown. Volkswagen has not yet posted additional program details.
UPDATE: Volkswagen Launches "2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package" Signup, TTAC Registers an Affected TDI
UPDATE: Another TTAC reader is seeing different prompts without the Goodwill Package offer.
The Volkswagen Diesel Information website is now listing the “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package” and requesting vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for registration in the program. However, it does not seem to be working for all website visitors.
The signup form asks owners for a physical address, email address and vehicle mileage before asking for permission to use the information to contact the owner regarding future diesel emissions related updates.
TTAC was able to obtain a VIN for one of the affected vehicles with an owner’s permission to complete the sign up process.
US, Canada, Germany to Expand Testing for All Diesel Vehicles, Not Just Volkswagen
Government agencies from the United States, Canada and Germany will be testing diesel vehicles from automakers other than Volkswagen to check their compliance with emission laws.
According to The New York Times, regulators in North America “are significantly expanding their on-the-road emissions tests to cover all makes and models of diesel cars.” The same on-road tests found 3-liter V-6 diesel engines to emit more NOx than they did in EPA testing.
The EPA had already notified General Motors that its new Colorado and Canyon diesel pickups would undergo increased scrutiny.
Volkswagen Engineers Blow Whistle, Admit to CO2 Cheating
A number of Volkswagen engineers cheated on tests used to determine carbon dioxide emissions because goals set by former group CEO Martin Winterkorn were too demanding and difficult to achieve, reported German outlet Bild am Sonntag.
The report was “broadly confirmed” by Volkswagen, stated The New York Times. It’s believed goals set by Winterkorn, which would have made Volkswagen vehicles cleaner than required by European regulations, pressured the engineers to manipulate the tests as they were afraid to admit they could not meet those goals.
The engineers pumped up tire pressures to reduce rolling resistance and put diesel in motor oil to make the vehicles more fuel efficient, thus producing less carbon dioxide. The practice “began in 2013 and carried on until the spring of this year,” reported Automotive News.
Are US Investigators Confiscating Passports of German Volkswagen Engineers?
Volkswagen engineers in Germany are afraid to do business trips to the U.S. because one employee had his passport confiscated by U.S. investigators, reported Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest subscription daily newspaper, on Saturday.
The paper goes on to explain Volkswagen believes U.S. authorities want to question certain engineers and are preventing their exit from the country, and evasion of questioning, by confiscating their passports.
EXCLUSIVE: Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fixes to Begin in US in February
According to the same source who revealed to TTAC that Volkswagen will announce next week its “TDI Goodwill Program”, the automaker will also begin to roll out fixes for affected diesel emissions cars in the U.S. in February.
The fix, which was mentioned to dealers and communicated to dealer staff, will comprise of an ECU flash. The details of the ECU flash itself and the specific vehicles to which it will apply were not provided.
It was reported previously that different generations of the affected EA189 diesel engine could receive varying levels of correction, from ECU flashes to the installation of full urea-fed SCR systems. This ECU flash could be just one of two or three fixes for Volkswagen’s dirty diesels.
Volkswagen has supposedly earmarked $4 billion to fix their diesel cars and public reputation in the U.S., which includes money the automaker will use to fund the “TDI Goodwill Program”, said the source.