By on September 24, 2019

Herbert Diess Jetta 2017

Methodical German prosecutors have finally made their way to the top of Volkswagen’s executive ranks, charging CEO Herbert Diess and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch with stock market manipulation.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig indicted Diess, Pötsch, and former CEO Martin Winterkorn, accusing the men of withholding information of a looming emissions scandal from investors. Winterkorn, already indicted by U.S. authorities and slapped with a fraud charge in Germany, stepped down shortly after the scandal broke in September 2015.

Diess vows to stay on as VW’s boss as the charges play out. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2019

The UAW news is pouring in on two fronts these days. For one, there’s the looming bargaining talks between the United Autoworkers Union and Detroit Three automakers, with General Motors leading the way. Then there’s the ongoing federal investigation into bribery and kickbacks at the highest levels of the UAW.

Just as GM is the initial focus of the contract negotiations, the union department tasked with dealing with the automaker is also the main focus of the FBI probe. On Wednesday, the most recently indicted former UAW official pleaded guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. For his crimes, Mike Grimes, a former bargaining team member and administrative assistant to UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada who left the union in 2018, will have to forfeit $1.5 million in bribes. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2019

The long-running federal probe into dirty dealings between domestic automakers and the United Auto Workers cranked up a few notches on Wednesday, with federal agents reportedly raiding the home of UAW President Gary Jones and ex-UAW boss Dennis Williams.

Sources told The Detroit News that raids were carried out in three states as investigators attempt to uncover just how high in the organization the corruption went. The move comes less than three weeks before UAW-Detroit Three contracts expire. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

There are so many accused and convicted players in the United Auto Workers corruption scandal, it would make for confusing viewing were it made into a film. Already, federal prosecutors have fingered or convicted numerous high-ranking UAW officials tied to the Fiat Chrysler file. Now, investigators are moving on to General Motors.

Apparently, not many stones needed turning before investigators uncovered rot underneath. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

We’re not singling out the good people of Erie, Pennsylvania, but it’s possible some General Motors dealers in that city may feel a pressing need for extra cash. On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted the owner of Lakeside Chevrolet-Buick and a former finance manager on charges of fraud.

You’ll recall a few years ago when another GM dealer in the city saw its owner and general manager indicted in a phony loan scheme. In the most recent case, the owner formerly held the title of president of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, and the indictments flowed following accusations of phoney sales reports and unpaid floorplan loans. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2019

A Canadian man was arrested in Vancouver’s West End over the weekend after trying to usurp someone else’s Corvette. The owner had reportedly left the vehicle’s top off in a public lot and a passerby, assuming the car was a free agent, climbed inside. By the time the Vette’s owner returned, the man had settled in and was refusing to leave.

This wasn’t officially a theft, mind you, just a case of some weirdo declining to get out of a Corvette on the grounds that simply occupying the driver’s seat magically made it his. As you have correctly assumed, the situation escalated once authorities arrived.  (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

FCA

There’s drama in Auburn Hills tonight. And, by the sounds of it, for many days leading up to this point. Reid Bigland, Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales boss and the appropriately imposing head of the cash-cow Ram brand, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his employer.

Bigland, who joined Chrysler in 2006 and soon found himself heading up Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge, plus serving as CEO of FCA Canada (a role he maintains), claims the company’s HQ is awash in bad blood. The exec says he’s being punished for not taking the fall in a federal investigation into FCA’s sales reporting. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2019

Last week, San Jose became subject to borderline draconian street-racing laws after city council (unanimously) voted to pass legislation effectively making it illegal to even watch impromptu automotive exhibitions. However, “spectating” is loosely defined in the new law, as parties don’t have to know a race is going on to get into trouble.

Even milling around a car show before shenanigans break out is enough to earn someone a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

The new laws give police plenty of power to break up late-night car events, plus the ability  to arrest whomever they want — creating a pretty good incentive to just stay home, rather than risk getting into trouble. It also feels like overkill, and it sets an ugly precedent for punishing Californians who aren’t actively contributing to a crime.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2019

Over $120,000 in tires and wheels were stolen off vehicles parked at Matt Bowers Chevrolet in Slidell, Louisiana, on Saturday night — an impressive feat, you have to admit. According to various local reports, surveillance footage shows two subjects walking across the parking lot in order to cut the locks to a side entrance, where they brought in a U-Haul. Roughly 40 minutes later, the truck exited the lot onto a service road with more than 124 stolen rounds.

Based on the quick turnaround, authorities believe the suspects must have snuck onto the lot several hours earlier to prep the tires for transport. They’re operating under the impression that the individuals are likely from out of state and part of a ring that conducted similar crimes in Texas and Oklahoma.  (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Image: GM

A Chevrolet dealer in Chattanooga has a PR problem on its hands, and an FBI task force has a case to get to the bottom of.

Mountain View Chevrolet finds itself at the center of a bizarre story in which a disabled customer claims a salesman kidnapped him and threatened to kill him and his family if he didn’t withdraw large sums of cash from local banks. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

This seems like a silly public service announcement to have to make, but it’s imprudent to post videos of yourself breaking traffic laws. Beau Alan Rogel of Rankin County, Mississippi found that out the hard way after live streaming his attempt to break 180 mph in his wife’s 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

In the midst of his feat, a viewer decided to contact police and notify them that Rogel was traveling at excessive speeds, helpfully mentioning where he could be found. The video, which he reposted on YouTube, includes the moment where he is pulled over and (understandably) denies everything he had just been explaining to his audience. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office had a run-in with a drunk driver over the weekend. While there’s typically nothing funny about catching someone driving under the influence, fate saw fit to throw us a bone in this instance, as the encounter led to comical shenanigans involving Axe body spray.

Apparently, the driver decided to fill his mouth with the substance in an attempt to fool an approaching deputy. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2019

Tell the truth — when driving by a police office operating a speed trap at the side of the road, have you ever been tempted to make a rude gesture? You know the one I’m talking about: the single digit, middle finger salute. A United States Court of Appeals has now confirmed judicially that it’s your right to do so, if you choose.

When Debra Cruise-Gulyas was pulled over for speeding in Taylor, Michigan by Officer Matthew Minard in 2017, she gave in to that very temptation. Well, not right away. After he stopped her, Officer Minard had apparently gave Cruise-Gulyas a bit of a break, citing her for a non-moving violation instead of speeding. Not mollified by the break she got, following the stop, as she drove away, Cruise decided to make a crude gesture directed at the police officer. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2019

(One of the above items is not like the other…)

Sometimes the most innocent actions can get you in trouble with the law, like the Maryland mother accused of using opiates because she ate a poppy seed bagel the morning she gave birth. A Connecticut man is challenging his conviction on a charge of distracted driving, claiming he was eating a McDonalds hash brown, not talking on his cellphone. No, this isn’t anything like Dan White’s supposed Twinkie Defense — the guy sounds like he has a legitimate case.

On April 11, 2018, Jason Stiber was pulled over in Westport. Westport PD Corporal Shawn Wong alleged that Stiber was talking on his cellphone while driving. Wong later told a magistrate that Stiber was holding a phone near his face and that his lips were moving. Stiber said the officer mistook his food for a phone. The magistrate apparently believed that Wong was right (sorry, I had to), and convicted Stiber of distracted driving, fining him $300. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2019


Depending who you ask, the November arrest of disgraced auto executive Carlos Ghosn was either swift justice or a coup d’etat — with some help from the Japanese government. Re-arrested in December and held ever since without bail, Ghosn faces breach of trust charges alleging the exec covered losses incurred through foreign exchanges with Nissan’s funds between 2008 and 2012. Those losses add up to $16.6 million, according to the prosecution. He’s also cited for misrepresenting his income.

However, Ghosn doesn’t see things that way. On Wednesday, he told the Nikkei business daily that he believed the charges against him were motivated by Nissan executives opposed to further integration with its French alliance partner, Renault SA. “All the evidence is with Nissan and Nissan forbids all employees to talk to me,” he elaborated. (Read More…)

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