Tag: Germany

By on July 1, 2020

German prosecutors have incorporated Continental into a probe aimed at determining whether Volkswagen Group cheated on emissions testing. While confessing to the crime in the United States years earlier is a fairly good indication of corporate guilt, Germany wants to make extra sure VW was in the wrong and has branched out its investigation to include suppliers that may have played a role.

On Wednesday, the automaker acknowledged it had been subjected to yet another probe after investigators arrived to comb through its offices. The same treatment was given to supplier Continental, which is suspected of having some sort of involvement in a scandal the automotive industry can’t quite seem to move on from.  (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2020

Image: Porsche AG

Germany isn’t fooling around anymore. Electric cars are going to become the norm, and that’s final.

After pledging last year to boost electric vehicle subsidies by 50 percent over the first half of the decade, Germany has doubled down on its EV efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re in the market for a gas-free car, expect the government to fill your pocket with cash. If you’re the buyer (or the maker) of a gas-guzzling SUV, look out. (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2020

Volkswagen’s emission-related malfeasance was promptly identified and dealt with in the United States. The company was accused of using suspect software to game testing scores on diesel-equipped models in 2015. By October of 2016, VW was on the hook for a $15.6 billion financial penalty, in addition to mandatory fixes or buybacks on affected vehicles.

Things progressed differently on the European front. Germany has subjected the manufacturer to numerous investigations, ultimately deciding to fine the firm $1.18 billion in 2018 and enact widespread recalls. Civil suits have largely focused on VW’s legal representatives denying the software had any ill intent, claiming it was simply code that mistakenly allowed the cars to become non-compliant with regulatory limits. This didn’t fly, however, with a gigantic UK lawsuit finding the automaker guilty of intentionally misleading customers in April.

This week, VW lost another important legal battle in Germany when the Bundesgerichtshof found it guilty of cheating on emissions testing years earlier. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe decided disenfranchised diesel van owner Herbert Gilbert was entitled to a €28,000 payday, setting a precedent for thousands of other claimants seeking revenge.  (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2020

Amid steep drops in operating profit and a dismal sales outlook, both Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler are appealing to the state in a bid to generate sales demand.

Both automakers appealed to the German government for assistance on Wednesday, Reuters reports, ahead of a meeting of auto industry leaders. With vehicle production making up a big part of Germany’s GDP, the shutdowns enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19 has left the sector hurting. That pain is expected to last through 2020. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

Rare Rides featured its first Bitter last year, when a golden SC coupe from 1984 graced these pages. In that article we mentioned we’d return when the company’s first model, the CD, turned up for sale somewhere.

And today’s the day! Let’s take a look at Bitter’s initial product offering.

(Read More…)

By on March 2, 2020

2019 BMW M2 Competition badge

Ahead of a product reveal that was pushed into the online realm after last Friday’s cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show, 150 German BMW employees were told to stay in their homes after an R&D employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employees work at the research and development center in BMW’s home base of Munich. As viral outbreaks grow in western Europe, spurred by a recent outbreak in northern Italy, this story will surely be repeated across the industry — and the globe. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2020

Tesla won its day in German court Thursday, with the Berlin-Brandenburg judiciary brushing aside an injunction that halted the clearing of 92 hectares (227 acres) of forest. The electric automaker needed those woods gone in order to build a new assembly plant serving European customers.

Unfortunately for Tesla, opposition came in the form of environmentalists who, for some reason, didn’t like the idea of paving paradise to build an electric car factory. While the logging can now continue, Tesla still doesn’t have the go-ahead to built the massive Gigafactory itself. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2020

Volkswagen has had to spend mountains of money since being caught using illegal software to hide excessive diesel pollution during regulatory testing five years ago. As if millions of vehicle buybacks and repairs weren’t costly enough, VW also had to contend with billions of dollars in regulatory fines and countless consumer lawsuits — and the hits keep on coming.

While the United States enacted swift justice upon VW, Europe has been slower to take action. That, in addition to EU laws making it much more difficult for class-action suits to get off the ground, meant Europeans received nothing as VW’s American customers saw checks cut to the tune of $20,000 apiece. Germany has only allowed class-action lawsuits since 2018, providing an opportunity for Volkswagen to continue playing legal hardball. But it’s been backpedaling all across Europe.

Citing a breakdown in negotiations with German consumer association VZBV, which was attempting to reach a settlement deal for German customers attached to its class-action suit, the automaker said Friday it is willing to offer €830 million (about $899 million).  (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is a coachbuilt one-of-one BMW. A rebodied conversion of the very luxurious 3200 sedan, it’s the only convertible BMW with four doors in existence.

(Read More…)

By on January 31, 2020

Tesla’s planned factory in Germany could face major delays if the manufacturer doesn’t start construction within the next two months. Brandenburg’s Economy Minister, Joerg Steinbach, recently told German outlet Handelsblatt that the 300-hectare area in Grünheide Tesla set aside is subject to environmental regulations that prohibit interfering with the local wildlife’s breeding habits.

These twitterpated critters are not to be interfered with if the company hasn’t started building by mid-March.

Until then, it’s fair game. Once crews finish clearing the land (and leftover ordnance from World War II), they can finish scaring away the animals. However, if Tesla can’t get all of that done in a couple of months and start construction on the factory, it will be forced to delay the entire project another nine months.  (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2020

The German equivalent of AAA, Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), has long been a proponent of a limitless Autobahn. However, the group recently walked back its zeal for the cause amid demands from environmental groups to enact speed limits in a bid to curb emissions.

While most of the Autobahn has the same posted limits you’d find on most North American highways, there are plenty of sections where people can drop the hammer and go as fast as conditions permit. Safety advocates have often raised an eyebrow, encouraging regulators to limit additional sections of the roadway, but universal limits have always been a bridge too far. Now that environmental groups have joined the fray, the issue has garnered a lot more attention.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2020

The catapulting of environmental issues to the forefront of public discourse has spawned many unlikely clashes between greens of different stripes. Climate protesters against CO2-free nuclear power generation, eco types versus high-speed electric rail, and now, angry Germans demanding Tesla stop stealing its water.

The electric automaker’s attempt to build a massive factory in the European country has hit a social roadblock. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

Mitsubishi is under investigation by German prosecutors for the suspected use of illegal defeat devices on diesel engines. As usual, the probe was kicked off by a series of raids — practically a cliche at this point.

Germany has certainly ran with the concept after U.S. regulators faulted Volkswagen for using illegal defeat devices to cheat diesel emission testing procedures in 2015. The reality is that regulators are cracking down the world over since the scandal, with Deutschland taking extra precautions to ensure other domestic brands don’t shame themselves like VW did.

Investigators are looking at 1.6-liter and 2.2-liter 4-cylinder Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines and asking individuals who own Mitsubishi models (built after 2014) with those units to contact the police.  (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2020

Passat TDI engine, Picture Courtesy of Volkswagen

The fallout from a scandal that broke in September 2015 after percolating for years has spilled over into the new decade. German prosecutors have laid charges against six Volkswagen employees whom they claim played a role in deceiving regulators and the public.

While the vehicles involved in the diesel emissions scandal have either been fixed or crushed, Germany’s still marching ahead with its investigation into the matter, seeking out those who helped fool the world into believing the brand’s “clean diesel” technology was legit. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2020

Over 200 investors are seeking 900 million euros in damages over claims that Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler failed to disclose the use of emissions cheating devices similar to those that got Volkswagen into trouble back in 2015. This isn’t the first time the issue has come up. German prosecutors claimed nearly 690,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles came equipped with rigged exhaust gas after-treatment systems and Daimler was slammed with a €870 million ($960 million) fine over the negligent violation of European clean air standards in the fall.

Those who invested into the firm are hoping to recoup losses from the scandal after the automaker’s share price shat the bed. Lawyers repressing the investors are seeking compensation after Daimler’s stock fell from €90 a share fall to approximately €60 in 2018, once German regulators began formally accusing the automaker of trying to circumvent emission rules.  (Read More…)

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