Koda CEO Tipped to Take Over Volkswagen US, Horn Out
The Chairman of the Board of Management for Škoda, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, is expected to replace Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen of America, reports Automotive News.
The news is just the latest in a number of rumors regarding a massive executive shuffle following the departure of Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday.
During the U.S. launch of a refreshed 2016 Passat in New York on Monday, Horn said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. And in my German words: We have totally screwed up.”
Feds Say They'll Tighten Emissions Tests to Catch Cheaters
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Wall Street Journal forum Tuesday that the agency would be “upping its game” to stop automakers like Volkswagen from creating two dramatically different emissions cycles for its cars — a cleaner “testing mode” and a dirtier real-world mode. The agency said it would also crack down on automakers who lie about real-world fuel economy.
“Writing regulations takes time,” EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Chris Grundler told the Detroit News. “When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”
Lawyers Quicker Off The Line To Sue Volkswagen Than Broken TDIs
Only hours after Friday’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars were illegally polluting, David Fiol, a personal injury attorney in San Francisco, had filed a class-action lawsuit through a Seattle law firm in federal court.
He wasn’t alone either. Reuters reported that at least 25 class-action lawsuits were filed within hours of the EPA’s announcement as lawyers line up to take the lead on what could be one of the largest lawsuits against an automaker in history. Being the lead firm could be lucrative for the lead attorneys: A $2.65 billion 2006 judgement against AOL Time Warner on behalf of shareholders netted the lead firm’s owners $70 million in fees.
And according to the report, law firms don’t have to look far for clients. Many attorneys are VW TDI owners — a clear downside for having an highly educated customer base.
Volkswagen Powertrain, Technical Development Personnel Next To Get The Axe?
According to Germany’s Bild tabloid, the next Volkswagen personnel to be shown the door could be three people integral to powertrain development during the time when vehicles were fitted with “defeat devices”.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development; Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Board of Management; and Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group are rumored to be the next executives and managers to be fired, though a final decision won’t be made until Friday.
After the NOx Particulates Settle, Everyone Loses
Volkswagen broke the law.
Scratch that. Volkswagen knowingly went out of their way to break the law, did as much as they could to cover up that fact, and only admitted to wrongdoing when the evidence was so heavy that the German giant couldn’t stand under the weight of its own conspiracy.
Nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide — of which 482,000 made their way to the United States — were fitted with a “defeat device” which used a different engine map when being tested for emissions. That device allowed the Volkswagen TDIs to pass sniffer tests on a dyno, but on-road evaluations by the International Council on Clean Transportation showed the four-cylinder diesels were emitting up to 40 times the allowable nitrogen oxides in the real world.
A few things are going to happen. None of it will be pretty. Nobody is going to walk away from this without oily blowback on their faces.
VW Supervisory Board: Heads Will Continue to Roll
As part of now-former CEO Martin Winterkorn’s resignation, the Executive Committee of Volkswagen AG’s Supervisory Board has also issued a statement.
Cliff’s Notes: If you helped engineer the “defeat device,” you might want to polish your LinkedIn profile.
BREAKING: VW Chief Winterkorn Resigns After Emissions Scandal
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation after an emergency meeting held Wednesday. Five supervisory board members met with Winterkorn on Wednesday ahead of a regularly scheduled meeting Friday.
Winterkorn resigned five days after it was announced that 482,000 Volkswagens in the U.S. had illegal “defeat devices” that allowed them to cheat through emissions tests. It later came out that 11 million cars worldwide had the programming, and the company set aside more than $7 billion to pay for the ongoing scandal.
As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.
Volkswagen Of America Was In Very Rough Shape Before The Emissions Scandal
The year was 2012, and everything was going according to plan at Volkswagen of America.
After years of languishing as an also-ran in the midsize car category, U.S. sales of the Volkswagen Passat rose to their highest level ever. After generating just 8 percent of VW USA’s volume between 2008 and 2011, the Passat was responsible for more than one quarter of Volkswagen’s volume in 2012.
Volkswagen Board Holding Emergency Meeting Ahead of Planned Friday Conference
Five senior members of Volkswagen’s supervisory board are meeting Wednesday to discuss the future for the automaker after stock prices have plummeted and the company has publicly acknowledged it cheated worldwide emissions tests, the BBC reported.
The smaller Wednesday meeting is ahead of a regularly scheduled full board meeting Friday, where members are expected to discuss the contract extension to 2018 for CEO Martin Winterkorn. According to reports, Winterkorn’s future may be decided before Friday’s meeting.
Winterkorn issued a video statement in German on Tuesday apologizing for the scandal, but stopped short from resigning from the top VW post. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Winterkorn would be replaced this week.
NHTSA Chief: VW's Cheating Hurts 'Public Confidence' in Industry
Speaking at an event in suburban Detroit, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind said Volkswagen’s admission that they lied about emissions in their diesel cars erodes confidence in automakers.
“They tell you one thing, you question it,” Rosekind said to reporters, according to Automotive News. “You just have to question every assumption when information is provided.”
Recent scandals including VW, hackable cars and airbag defects erode consumer confidence and that more must be done by automakers before cars go on sale, he said.
“Accountability in leadership is literally at the top of the list, and we’ve just got to be out front, acting, talking and doing everything we can to demonstrate that it should be in their genes,” Rosekind said, according to Automotive News.
Volkswagen Will Offer More Cash to Dealers as It Skids Completely Out of Control
Amid slumping sales and a snowballing diesel-emissions crisis, Volkswagen announced Monday a plan to offer more money to dealers for cars that they can sell.
Over the weekend, Volkswagen issued a stop-sale for cars equipped with their 2-liter diesel engine after admitting the those cars cheated to pass emissions test. According to Automotive News, a Sept. 21 letter from Volkswagen to its dealers offered $300 bonus cash for every new car sold and $600 for every Passat sold. (The Passat is the already second-best deal in America right now, according to Kelley Blue Book.)
In addition to the bonus cash, dealers will also receive a bonus totaling 1 percent of sticker from each new vehicle sold in the third and fourth quarters.
“In light of recent events, we are committed to taking actions which will stabilize your profitability in the near-term,” Volkswagen U.S. chief Michael Horn said in the memo, according to Automotive News. “We understand the pressure these recent events have put your business under and we are committed to providing you support.”
Volkswagen Pulled Cheap $51.35 Million Bar Trick in 2009 Based on False Emissions Data
According to the LA Times, Volkswagen’s falsified emissions data made certain 2009 model year vehicles eligible for a $1,300 green car subsidy. That subsidy, applicable to 39,500 Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen units sold, equated to a total of $51.35 million available to buyers from the government.
The LA Times used Internal Revenue Service data and Motor Intelligence, an automotive industry research body, to calculate the numbers.
The $51 million in total tax credits is just another case of automakers leveraging dumb government money to incentivize consumers to buy their vehicles.
Volkswagen Emissions Fix May Not Last Long Thanks to Aftermarket Tuners
Many in the Volkswagen diesel community are fanatical about their fuel economy and are understandably angry that a fix for the current emissions scanda l may see them lose fuel economy in order to lower NOx output. The aftermarket community has provided modifications for the DPF and Adblue systems in the past, meaning there’s good chance they’ll provide parts and tuning to revert any changes Volkswagen may implement on the affected models.
Here's What It Might Cost To Fix Each 2.0 TDI Volkswagen
In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.
The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.
The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.