Volkswagen CEO Muller Outlines Plan To Save Automaker From Scandal
Speaking for the first time as Volkswagen chief, newly hired CEO Matthias Müller outlined his plan for the automaker’s future in the wake of a growing scandal for its illegally polluting cars.
Müller’s five-point plan includes a significant overhaul of the automaker’s plan to be the world’s largest automaker by 2018. According to Volkswagen, its Strategy 2025 plan — which replaces the Strategy 2018 outline — will be unveiled next year. In its earlier plan, Volkswagen had prioritized 10 million sales by 2018, 8-percent profitability and to position the automaker as “a global economic and environmental leader,” according to the automaker’s plan.
Volkswagen Scrapping Plans For US Overhaul Until After Scandal
Volkswagen could significantly overhaul its U.S. operations — including not selling diesel models in the country — after it has dealt with federal and civil claims stemming from its massive diesel cheating scandal, Reuters reported.
The report, which quoted two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans, said replacing North American chief Winfried Vahland, who quit after three weeks, would happen after the automaker has reached an agreement over its illegally polluting cars.
Volkswagen To Post First Quarterly Loss in 15 Years
Volkswagen will post Wednesday its first quarterly loss in 15 years after the automaker was rocked this summer with a scandal that affected 11 million vehicles and cost the company tens of billions of dollars in lost value already.
Bloomberg (via Automotive News) reported that 10 analysts estimated that the company would post a $3.6 billion loss for the quarter ending Sept. 30.
Although the company said it reserved more than $7 billion to help pay for the scandal, many agree that the loss will be far greater — from $16 billion to $86 billion.
VW Investigators: 'If You Saw Something, And Didn't Say Something, You're Still in Trouble'
Investigators at Volkswagen are not only looking for the culprits who installed illegal emissions cheating software into their cars, but they’re also looking for managers who didn’t immediately report the devices as well, the New York Times reported.
Up to 10 managers and engineers could be suspended by the automaker for the scandal so far, including top-level executives.
According to the New York Times, investigators have been keen to learn who knew what within the automaker, and how quickly those findings were reported.
The investigation by U.S. firm Jones Day could take months, according to the report. A person who was briefed on the inquiry told the newspaper what investigators were looking for.
Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told congressional investigators he was made aware of a potential problem in the spring of 2014, but wasn’t aware of illegal software until Sept. 2015.
Volkswagen Discounting New Cars for Diesel Owners in Germany
Volkswagen may discount new car purchases for diesel car owners trading in their illegally polluting cars, German news agency DPA ( via Reuters) reported.
The discount would apply to older 1.6-liter models, according to the report, which would need more significant fixes than many other cars. According to Reuters, roughly 2.4 million cars in Germany are affected by the diesel scandal that has cost the automaker billions so far.
In America, more than 350,000 diesel cars would need significant fixes, according to Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn. In the States and Canada, Volkswagen offers a “loyalty discount” to returning Volkswagen buyers. So far, the diesel discount only applies to cars in Germany.
VW May Freeze Promotions, Cost Cut Next Golf Amid Scandal
German business magazine Manager Magazin reported Saturday (via Reuters) that managerial promotions may be frozen beginning next year as the company looks to save money wherever it can amid the diesel scandal.
The company may also re-use as many parts possible when developing the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf in order to cut costs.
Auction Prices for Volkswagen Diesels Are Dropping
According to Kelley Blue Book, auction prices for Volkswagen’s diesels cars are dropping faster than similar models that are powered by gasoline.
According to auction data gathered before and after news broke that Volkswagen had admitted to federal investigators that their cars illegally polluted, prices for Volkswagen diesel cars dropped 16 percent. Prices for Volkswagen gasoline cars only dipped 2.9 percent over the same period.
According to the car industry site, interest on the Volkswagen diesel models has only declined 2.4 percent.
Lawsuits Against Volkswagen Using Mob-inspired Law to Takedown Automaker
Complaints filed against Volkswagen of America are using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to allege that the automaker knowingly committed fraud across state lines, court documents show.
The law, which was created in the 1970s to take down the U.S. mafia, could have serious ramifications for Volkswagen, who admitted that its cars illegally polluted.
Accusing the automaker of violating RICO Act would mean that lawsuits against the automaker could be more lucrative and amplify damage to the automaker.
Volkswagen Has Brilliant Plan To Sell Cars During Crisis (Hint: It's By Giving You Money)
Volkswagen is offering up to double the average amount of incentives on some of its cars to help dealers during its diesel crisis, Bloomberg reported ( via Automotive News).
Dealers, who received no-strings-attached cash from Volkswagen at the beginning of this month, are offering up to 11 percent off their cars’ stickers to help weather the storm of its diesel cheating scandal. The industry average is roughly 6.2 percent according to TrueCar.
Volkswagen Says Newer Diesels May Have Illegal Defeat Device, Too
Volkswagen said Thursday that early versions of its EA 288 engines could have been equipped with the illegal emissions software at the heart of its diesel scandal, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).
The revelation would largely affect European cars, and could potentially expand the list of 11 million cars Volkswagen will be forced to recall this year.
U.S. cars using the “Generation 3” engine, which include 2015 models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Passat and Audi A3, were already included in the stop-sale and notification by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Report: Volkswagen Suspends Quality Chief For 'Incriminating' Letters
Volkswagen has suspended its chief of quality control for “incriminating correspondence” it found regarding its illegally polluting diesel cars, German newspaper Bild (via Automotive News) reported Wednesday. Tuch was suspended last week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Frank Tuch is the fifth high-ranking official suspended from Volkswagen because of the scandal. According to reports, Tuch wasn’t part of the company when it developed the EA 189 engines that have become the center of the cheating scandal. The former Lotus COO and Porsche quality control officer may have known about the illegal software after he joined the company in 2010.
Volkswagen Adds VIN Lookup to Diesel Information Site
Weeks after European Audi owners could look to see if their cars were affected by the Volkswagen cheating scandal, Volkswagen of America added a VIN lookup to its diesel scandal site (which is buried by Google) for U.S. owners, Auto Guide reported.
The service redirects to Volkswagen’s recall site, where owners can enter their vehicle’s VIN. During congressional testimony Oct. 8, VW of America chief Michael Horn admitted that the U.S. site didn’t include the VIN tool and agreed with representatives who said it would be a “good idea” to include that for American customers.
Police Raid Volkswagen France Headquarters
Investigators in France seized documents and office equipment from Volkswagen offices there in connection with its inquiry into the automaker’s admission that it cheated emissions tests.
The raid, which happened on Friday, wasn’t reported until Sunday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Investigators in Germany and Italy have already seized documents from Volkswagen’s respective headquarters in those countries relating to the scandal, which affects more than 11 million cars worldwide.
Report: Multiple Versions of Cheating Software Developed by Volkswagen
Reuters reported that sources within Volkswagen and its ongoing investigation have said the automaker created multiple versions of its “defeat device” to cheat emissions tests.
The news agency said a manager within Volkswagen and an official close to the external investigation ordered by the automaker have revealed the multiple programs, which were developed for four different engine types.
If true, the multiple emissions programs could indicate a widespread cheating program — stretching nearly a decade — that could have needed funding to continue, which would be in stark contrast to the “rogue engineer” explanation offered by executives so far.
The Volkswagen Diesel Saga So Far
On Friday, September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars violated clean air standards by incorporating a “defeat device” that used engine management controls to cheat emissions tests.
Since the EPA’s letter to VW, and subsequent order to recall nearly 482,000 Volkswagen cars, the scandal has deepened and developed with Volkswagen shedding billions in value in markets worldwide, halting sales of its cars in the U.S. and Canada, shuffling executives to other seats or out the door entirely, and other regulatory agencies jumping in to investigate.
Here’s a roundup of the stories so far.