While shopping for splash guards for my 2017 Alltrack, I was rooting around the Web site of my local VW dealer where I bought my Alltrack almost a month ago, and ran across this.
Not a huge mistake…
Actually, it’s not a mistake at all. VW has been cleared by the EPA to sell 2015 TDI models they’ve fixed. Before research, I thought that page had slipped through Emich VW’s staff, a relic from two years ago.
Here is background on VW’s diesel catastrophe which forced them to stop selling diesels in the US in 2016.
The LA Times reports the VW executive in charge of US emissions was arrested two days ago in Florida.
This is the second arrest of a VW employee as part of the fallout from Dieselgate – VW’s attempt to hide poor emissions while their cars are tested.
Oliver Schmidt, who was general manager of the engineering and environmental office for VW of America, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and wire fraud.
Schmidt is the second VW employee to be arrested as part of an ongoing federal investigation into the German automaker, which has admitted that it programmed diesel-powered vehicles to turn pollution controls on during tests and to turn them off in real-world driving. The scandal has cost VW sales and has tarnished its brand worldwide.
As of this writing, he is still in jail in Florida.
VW is in the middle of a Dieselgate agreement reached in 2016 with the US government: vehicle buybacks.
Well it’s not much news, but it is a bit telling of the situation at hand. News emerged that indicated Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller had a two minute conversation with United State President Barack Obama this week and during that quick conversation, he apologized for the dieselgate scandal.
“I took the opportunity to apologize to him personally for this matter” and “I also expressed my thanks for the constructive cooperation with his authorities and naturally expressed the hope that I can continue to fulfill my responsibilities for 600,000 workers, their families, the suppliers, the dealers.”
It was a nice token of gratitude in a regretful situation. It is also not something that is likely to rattle investors any as it is clear that the company needs to be in good graces with some of the leaders of the biggest markets in the world. There are other ramifications beyond gratitude and public displays of cooperation. It is still possible that the company may see massive fines that have yet to be determined. The environment and emissions standards that come along with that subject has been a principal subject of choice for the President’s administration. This kind of outreach may serve to show that Mueller and his company have turned a new leaf and will continue to keep good relations wherever possible. Whether that influences the regulatory agencies involved in the forthcoming fines is another matter that remains to be seen.
Mueller also pledged to continue the company’s push towards electric vehicles.
Most of the American public has heard about the Dieselgate scandal. To be totally honest, it is very difficult to avoid the news anywhere you look. Recent news showed how the auto manufacturer Mitsubishi admitted that it has ‘cheated’ fuel economy tests for the last 25 years. While hardly an epidemic, we now have two international car companies that have been found with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. It begs the question – are emissions regulations too restrictive?
Mitsubishi knowingly committed these acts over a twenty-five year span and about 625,000 vehicles are under this scope of improper testing. The numbers could sway wildly in the days and weeks to come, but Wall St. had no problems reacting to the news. The company’s value took a major hit, losing about $3.9 billion to date since the news first broke. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also ordered the company to retest its vehicles.
Mitsubishi vehicles underwent a variety of tests that toyed with standards set in Japan starting in 1991. Adding the spectre of egregiousness, Mitsubishi reports having discovered the fault in 2001, but they refused to update testing methodologies. The company thus far reports that four models were part of the manipulated data. They include:
the eK Wagon and eK Space, which are manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the Dayz and Dayz Roox which is anufactured by Mitsubishi and supplied to Nissan Motor Company.
The question remains. Are these companies cheating to gain profitability? How could it have gone on for so long? Are worldwide regulatory agencies creating a tough situation where companies are choosing this self-destructive path?
General details were announced today about a plan from car manufacturing giant Volkswagen to car buyers in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen vehicles were affected by the scandal, more than 480,000 in all. Owners will have the option of having the automaker buy the vehicles back or have them fixed by Volkswagen. Senior United States District Judge Charles Breyer did not provide an actual cash amount, but he added that the deal would include “substantial compensation.”
Apparently, many details are still being worked out. This leaves many wondering what is going to happen next in terms of repair, in terms of compensation, and in terms of timing. What this announcement does say is that the general terms have been arrived at.
According to the reports, Volkswagen will be called on to set aside funds for green automotive technologies in addition to a fund designated for corrective efforts to address the pollution that never should have been emitted.
Some $1 billion dollars will be set aside for the owners and the repair tasks. If you’re curious about the Volkswagen deal and you have one of the 482,000 Volkswagens affected by the deal, here is your easy cheesy guide to determine if your vehicle is one of the targets. All 2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine vehicle owners can choose repairs or buybacks, including those with leased vehicles. The models include the VW Jetta, Golf and Passat models dating to the 2009 model year.
However, there is still no agreement regarding the 90,000 vehicles or so belonging to Audi and Porsche owners also affected. Those 3-liter, six-cylinder motors also were part of this chicanery, but those owners will just have to wait.
At the end of the day, Volkswagen must be relieved to be able to move on as soon as possible, although the damages have been estimated by some to be over 30 Billion dollars.
The word is that the day may finally be upon us where Volkswagen announces it has made a deal in the ongoing diesel debacle. The deal is expected to cover all elements that it is going to take for Volkswagen to make things right by the EPA, Volkswagen owners, and the public at large. The final cost is expected to be in the billions.
While many are expecting the forthcoming announcement to be very bad news, there are plenty of opinions that say the company just wants this all to be over with, thus the deal is a positive. Insiders have reported the negotiations have been delicate and complex, and it covers penalties, repairs, recalls, and the future for Volkswagen in America.
The deal announcement comes on the mandate of San Francisco-based United States District Court Judge Charles Breyer who ipmposed a Thursday deadline for a settlement with the federal government and with vehicle owners in the United States.
As far as possibilities go, the regulatory fines alone could reach $18 billion. However, the actual amount imposed is expected to be much less than that. As far as the 600,000 or so cars that are affected by the modifications, it is tough to put an exact number prediction on that. Some reports are saying the company will buy back half a million cars. Who knows, but it looks like we are going to find out what happens very soon.
It seems that more and more parties are lining up for a piece of Volkswagen, they are not after a literal share of the company, rather there are lawsuits piling up related to the diesel cheating scam that was disclosed in 2015. The latest to present their case is the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is suing the company for putting up false advertising in regards to the company’s diesel emmissions. In fact, the suit specifically points to the advertising from the company that said the vehicles retained a high resale value, had low emissions, and were environmentally friendly. The suit is alleging that because none of those three things are true, the company has engaged in unfair and deceptive practices.
Contained in the suit is a long list of advertising materials, in print, in magazines, in press releases, in mailing materials, and much more. Noted in the suit are the window stickers that were placed on the vehicles stating the same claims.
As far as the impact on Volkswagen itself, the suit is not seeking monetary damages. Instead, the FTC is asking that the court ensure that affected consumers are adequately compensated. It appears that this act is one of solidarity against the company and more specifically, a motion to ensure that consumers are not forgotten in the fallout that is sure to follow in the months ahead.
The saying goes – something, something – basically, don’t talk about what happens in Vegas. Except that Volkswagen wants this particular piece of news to get around. At an annual Las Vegas conference, the company reached out to the numerous dealerships from around the country that have been affected by the diesel emissions scandal.
Dealers have voiced their displeasure with the message shared with them, or rather, what was missing from the company. The way the discussion went down took place over 90 minutes. The basics of what Herbert Diess, head of the Volkswagen passenger-car brand had to say was that Volkswagen aims to be a mass-market player in the U.S. market. Moreover, the company will be going for volume at the expense of exclusivity.
Touting a redefinition and relaunch of the brand, the executive shared how the company was preparing to make this business move. Increased production, new model development, and a dedicated focus were promised.
Dealers that were looking for specifics of the impact and costs of the various recalls, lawsuits, and legal costs were left still wanting at the end of the day.
As if Volkswagen needed more challenges, a major recall threatens to impact its ambitions to bring electric cars to the US. The announcement was made that the company will be recalling all of the electric Golf vehicles in the wake of a discovery from the National Highway Safety Administration that found a fault which makes the vehicles stall.
The company launched the recall back in mid-March. Initially, the reason was to look for what they called “oversensitive diagnostics” in the high-voltage battery management systems. The diagnostics fault could result in the electric drive motor shutting down during operation.
Thankfully, there have been no major incidents reported as a result of the fault thus far. The recall affects approximately 5,561 vehicles across the country. VW might be considering recall in other countries as the cars were sold worldwide.
The cars were picking up momentum, with sales numbers increasing exponentially year to year. Volkswagen has promised an extensive all-electric vehicle lineup will be rolling out by the year 2020. The company competes with the likes of several companies that wish to go all electric, but the king of the mountain is the car company Tesla.
Reuters is reporting that Volkswagen and a number of agencies have been granted more time to work on their ultimate settlement in the matter of the diesel emissions cheating scandal. Close to a month of extension time was granted by a federal judge and the deadline date has pushed out from March 24th to April 21st.
With this new announcement, the US Department of Justice, the California Air Resources Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Volkswagen will have time to work their differences out and negotiate their arrangements out to a satisfactory end for all sides. In the weeks leading up to the date change, there were reports that despite progress, significant issues still remained and needed working out, which prompted the judge to make the arrangement.
The saga continues, and it will be months, if not years before we find out where everything settles out. The total costs, impact, and long term ramifications of the incident remains to be seen and there is no changing that pace, despite a ~30 day delay.