By on January 22, 2020

Earlier this month, two GM engineers were arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky for illegally street racing the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette. Three Stingrays were present, but only two of the men were caught breaking the law. Kentucky State Police stopped Alexander Thim and Mark Derkatz on January 8th, on Lovers Lane in Bowling Green, for exceeding the road’s 45-mph speed limit.

Thim was busted doing 120 mph while Derkatz settled on a nice, round 100 mph, according to local outlet WNKY. However, even 26 mph over the limit would be enough to haul them into custody and set court dates that could end in a suspended license. It seems the two men were also fired from General Motors for hooning the mid-engined C8 before the general public was provided the opportunity. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2020

Carlos Ghosn‘s daring escape from the physical boundaries of the Japanese legal system has already been entered into the annals of automotive history and filed under “legendary” status. Guilty or not, the former Nissan executive outdid most Hollywood heist movies by sneaking out of the country while still under government supervision. Nobody in the media can help themselves from discussing it, not even this outlet.

However, he’s far from being free. He’s still wanted in Japan for alleged financial misconduct and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has issued a Red Notice — which is a global bulletin for authorities to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Hopefully he’s famous enough for cops to identify from memory, as Interpol neglected to issue an accompanying photograph of the man(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…)

By on January 7, 2020

Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole on Tuesday for allegedly lying during testimony. While Japanese authorities have also speculated that she may have helped orchestrate the movie-like escape of her husband from the island nation, something Mr. Ghosn proactively denied, she’s only officially charged with perjury.

The warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of having falsely denied knowing or meeting individuals tied to the company who received payments from Nissan Motor before funneling a portion of those funds to a firm owned by her husband — which is one of the reasons why he was arrested in the first place(Read More…)

By on December 27, 2019

BMW Group revealed this week that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission following a report of a probe related to the company’s sales practices. A spokesperson for the automaker confirmed the situation on Thursday, saying BMW was in full cooperation with authorities and their investigation.

The probe was reported on earlier in the week by The Wall Street Journal, which had insider sources alleging the company had manipulated sales figures. The SEC is specifically worried that BMW had been engaging in “sales punching” by allowing dealers to register cars moved onto lots as sold to artificially boost sales figures.  (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2019

While Europe appears infinitely suspicious of German automakers, it hasn’t been nearly as eager to cuff suspects and cart them off to the slammer. Considering how unappealing Japan’s treatment of a former Nissan employee happened to be with the general public (regardless of his guilt/innocence), that’s probably wise. Slow and sure is the ideal strategy for tackling corporate corruption — it just has the unfortunate consequence of dragging everything out.

In 2018, BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen Group became the focus of an investigation aimed at uncovering illegal cooperation. Allegations going back to 2017 stipulated the three had coordinated on the rollout of clean emissions technology (specifically AdBlue); at the same time, Germany was under heavy scrutiny for the leeway it was giving automakers after VW’s diesel emission scandal. Before long, claims arose that Germany’s manufacturers had been effectively running an automotive cartel for decades, with supporting evidence slowly mounting.  (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

Volkswagen Group can’t seem to escape the rippling effects of its 2015 emissions cheating scandal. It wasn’t long ago that the automaker was subjected to surprise raids from German prosecutors, still investigating its regulatory malfeasance. On Monday, Canada threw its hat into the ring — charging the company with importing roughly 128,000 vehicles into the country in direct violation of its environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced VW is facing 60 counts of breaching the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by selling automobiles that fell outside the prescribed emission standards. Broken down, that includes 58 counts of contravening the law between 2008 and 2015 with two counts of providing misleading information.  (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

Image: UAW

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Matthew Schneider, has said new details about the ever expanding UAW corruption probe have been trickling in. But he’s also criticizing the union for not providing adequate cooperation throughout the multi-year investigative process. Schneider indicated there was new evidence included additional details of malfeasance from former UAW President Gary Jones shared by the union in November. While the prosecutor did not offer details, he said it was the type of information that should have been reported to his office, not publicly.

Automotive News surmised he was likely referencing details released late last month by the union’s executive board in an effort to remove Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson. That report included allegations that Jones let his daughter use a UAW-rented townhouse in Palm Springs, California. Sources familiar with the situation have confirmed that the union publicly released information against the two at roughly the same time it was handed it over to the U.S. attorney’s office.  (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

German prosecutors raided Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters on Tuesday, continuing their prolonged quest to bust the automaker over a diesel emission scandal that has been more or less settled in the United States since 2017.

Germany must want to do an incredibly thorough job of investigating the automaker — it’s difficult to imagine raiding the same offices over and over being all that fun, especially after VW formally confessed its malfeasance in other parts of the world. However, according to Reuters, prosecutors might be looking for something different this time around. Volkswagen has said it is still cooperating with authorities, but described its latest surprise encounter with them as unfounded.  (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2019

While the automotive industry continues cleaning itself up via electrification and moral corporate messaging, most aspects of doing business have remained decently dirty. For all this striving for a utopian society, businesses still don’t like losing money and will go to great lengths to screw over the competition.

South Korean battery suppliers SK Innovation and LG Chem are currently clawing at each other like a couple of mad tigers. SK managed to secure a contract to supply Volkswagen Group with EV batteries, leading to the construction of a $1.7 billion factory in Georgia. LG did not, leading to a lawsuit. Both automakers and analysts are worried the litigation is spinning out of control, and could effectively obliterate their ability to do business in the United States. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, has been allowed to see his wife Carole for the first time in seven months. Fortunately for Ghosn, the pair actually wanted to speak and had been complaining about this throughout their time apart. Indicted on various charges we’ve covered to death, Japanese courts decided last April that it was too big of a risk to let the couple interact. The fear was that the duo would somehow conspire or possibly tamper with evidence.

The suspension of their separation appears to be limited event, however. The Tokyo District Court only agreed to allow a single meeting after Ghosn’s legal council began pushing for softer bail conditions over the summer.  (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has decided to give General Motors a pass on the punitive damages associated with its faulty ignition switches. If you don’t recall the issue, it’s hardly your fault. The cars were manufactured prior to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy declaration and encompassed models from brands that no longer exist.

That timing was everything, too. Apparently the affected Saturn, Pontiac, and Chevrolet vehicles are part of the “Old GM” that died during the Great Recession. Most of the automaker’s former assets and liabilities were transferred to the “Motors Liquidation Company,” so that the General could be reborn fresh and untainted, like a baby phoenix.  (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2019

You’re likely familiar with the concept of “ICEing,” even if the term itself leaves you scratching that little dry spot on the top of your head. It’s when a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) is intentionally parked at an EV charging space it cannot use in order to make a statement.

Presumably, that statement is little more than “I don’t like electric cars,” though there may be a more complicated dogma afoot — perhaps involving the role EVs play within society and the issue of the environment. We don’t really know, since there’s not a designated ICEing spokesperson to ask.

However, there’s no real need of an official mouthpiece to tell us that the movement has maintained its momentum. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2019

Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW Group and Volkswagen AG announced a voluntary deal with California in July — drawing a line in the sand for who they’ll be supporting in the fueling fracas taking place between the Golden State and White House. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s rollback proposal — which intends on freezing automotive emission standards at 2020 levels through 2026 — saw no such support. But the cavalry seems to have finally arrived after sitting on the sidelines during the battle’s opening maneuvers.

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Kia, and Subaru all sided against California in a filing with a U.S. appeals court from Monday night. While they’re not setting any economy targets, they are collectively firm on the issue of the state’s ability to self regulate. A large portion of the industry wants a single national standard, not individual states setting their own benchmarks while they attempt to catch up with product.  (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2019

Legal representatives for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn are requesting Japanese courts dismiss all charges against him on the grounds that prosecutors violated his rights. The filings were submitted ahead of Thursday’s pre-trial hearing before the Tokyo District Court and represent the first real look we’ve had at Ghosn’s defense — which, until now, has just involved him repeatedly professing his innocence.

The core issues focus on accusations of illegal evidence collection and a Nissan-led conspiracy to place him behind bars. But Ghosn’s legal team has also established rebuttals to the charges leveled against him. While those will only come into play if the trial moves forward, we’re skeptical that the case will be dissolved. But let’s begin a little closer to the beginning.  (Read More…)

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