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Archive for the ‘Volkswagen’ Category

SEC Suing VW, former CEO, for ”Massive Fraud” in Emissions Cheating Scandal

Lawsuit "legally and factually flawed," the automaker responds.

by on Mar.15, 2019

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn faces legal problems in Germany, as well as the U.S.

Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to end a scandal triggered by its cheating on diesel emissions testing just took a turn for the worse, the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing both the automaker and former CEO Martin Winterkorn of committing a “massive fraud” on U.S. investors.

The automaker has acknowledged it used “defeat devices” to rig its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests and has so far laid out over $30 billion in fines and settlements. It is still facing other legal headaches, including a separate lawsuit by investors and ongoing investigations in Europe, one resulting in the arrest and jailing of the former CEO of its Audi subsidiary. But it responded to the latest challenge by declaring the SEC lawsuit “legally and factually flawed.”

Breaking News!

The SEC lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, claims the automaker and former CEO Winterkorn concealed the depth of the scandal – and the potential penalties – from both investors and federal regulators. The Thursday complaint noted that in the year before the cheating was discovered and publicized by the EPA Volkswagen issued $13 billion in bonds and securities in the U.S. Those value of those financial devices were directly impacted once the carmaker’s subterfuge was revealed.

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As Tesla Model Y Debuts, Musk Asks: Do You Think We’re “S3XY”?

New Model Y to be offered in four distinct versions – but economy buyers will have to wait.

by on Mar.15, 2019

The Tesla Model Y is likely to look quite familiar to fans of the earlier Model 3 sedan.

The long-awaited Tesla Model Y made its formal debut on Thursday night, with CEO Elon Musk declaring it takes an already attractive line-up and makes it “S3XY.” The inside joke adds the new electric SUV to the automaker’s existing line-up of Models S, 3 and X.

But there’s a serious side to the launch. Tesla continues to struggle to right its balance sheet, plunging back into the red this quarter after earning money during the second half of 2018. The Model Y is expected to become Tesla’s best-seller, Musk declared, telling his audience “we’ll do more Model Ys than S, X and 3 combined.” And that includes not just the U.S. but also China, where Tesla is struggling to get a foothold in the world’s largest market for battery-electric vehicles.

Breaking Product News!

The Model Y will be one of the vehicles Tesla plans to produce once it opens up a new plant in Shanghai later this year. That will give it a way to hold costs down and also to sidestep any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

(Here’s our Model Y preview. Click Here to see how close we came.)

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Audi Planning Dozens of EV Concepts, Production Models

But shift threatens familiar models, like the TT.

by on Mar.14, 2019

The Q4 e-tron appears to be about the same size as the current Q3, and is expected to hit the road in 2021.

Few automakers have decided to plug into electrification like Audi, the luxury arm of Volkswagen AG showing off an assortment of concepts and production models over the last year. Now, the automaker says, its push is ramping up, with as many as three dozen battery-electric products in the pipeline.

Audi is echoing the direction being blazed by its parent, VWAG CEO Herbert Diess yesterday announcing the company’s dozen passenger brands expect to sell a collective 22 million battery-electric vehicles by 2029, a 50% increase from its previous forecast.

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But the transition to electric won’t come cheap. The billions of euros Audi and its parent are investing in electrification will drop the luxury brand’s own operating return on sales to between 7 and 8.5%, officials said during a meeting at brand headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, compared to a long-term Audi goal of between 9 and 11%. (more…)

VW Drafts Plan to Cut 7,000 Workers in Europe

Automaker looking to offset rising EV development costs.

by on Mar.14, 2019

Volkswagen AG COO Ralf Brandstaetter said the company will be cutting thousands of jobs in Europe.

Following in the footsteps of some American automakers, Volkswagen AG is preparing to trim costs by eliminating thousands of jobs in face of a slowing European economy, and profits across the industry begin to slip while the high cost of shifting to electric vehicles and self-driving cars adds up.

The German carmaker said Wednesday it will eliminate as many as 7,000 positions – with measures including early retirement and not filling vacant positions – to achieve an annual profit gain of 5.9 billion euros $6.7 billion starting in 2023.

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GM recently cut 4,000 white-collar job and plans to close five plants while Ford is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan that will include cutting a slew of salaried personnel, plus the announced closure of its plant in Brazil, resulting 2,700 losing their jobs. (more…)

VW Expects to Sell 22 Million EVs Over Next Decade

CEO’s new target marks a 50% jump.

by on Mar.12, 2019

VW CEO Herbert Diess is shown here with the I.D. Crozz and Buzz concept vehicles.

Germany’s Volkswagen AG expects to sell 22 million battery-electric vehicles over the next decade, CEO Herbert Diess said during the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

The carmaker has been on an aggressive push into electrification and has outlined projects expected to cost it close to $100 billion by 2025 alone. But, until today, Diess had set a target of selling just 15 million battery-cars. Either figure would mark a massive increase considering VW sold just 50,000 all-electric vehicles last year.

Electrification News!

“The supertanker is picking up speed,” Diess said Tuesday in a speech to shareholders gathered in Frankfurt. “We are aligning Volkswagen with e-mobility like no other company in our industry.”

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Taking it to the Street: VW Reveals Two e-Scooter Concepts in Geneva

German automaker is the latest to explore “micromobility.”

by on Mar.05, 2019

The VW Streetmate concept features a fold-out seat for longer rides.

The automobile has, for the past century, been the symbol of personal mobility, but that is rapidly changing as other options become more widely available. And Volkswagen is showing the ideas it has in mind at the Geneva Motor Show.

The automaker’s Streetmate and Cityskater are two different takes on the concept of electric scooters, and while they’re just for show, at the moment, few would be surprised to see them go into production, especially as competitors such as General Motors make similar moves.

Mobilty News!

“With mobile solutions such as Streetmate and Cityskater, visitors and residents in cities around the world will soon be able to leave their cars at home, opting instead for smaller zero-emission vehicles to get around,” the automaker explained, ahead of the Geneva debut of the two e-scooters.

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Bugging Out: VW Brings ID Buggy Concept to Geneva Motor Show

Could the electric dune buggy offer a hint of what’s to come?

by on Mar.04, 2019

The VW I.D. Buggy Concept is a two-seater but could be configured as a 2+2.

Where are the Beach Boys when you need them? That classic California surf rock band would seem to be able to provide the perfect soundtrack for the latest all-electric show car from Volkswagen, the I.D. Buggy.

Drawing inspiration from the once popular sand-crawlers of the 1960s and 1970s, this retro-futuristic concept vehicle gives another look at the flexibility of VW’s new, battery-electric MEB architecture, a platform that will used for the majority of the more than 50 all-electric vehicles the German automaker plans to launch by 2025.

Auto Show News!

The original Beetle was the starting point for most of those dune buggies, raising the question of whether the I.D. Buggy might hint at the revival of the Bug in all-electric form. (more…)

German Automakers Placing Big Bet on Electric Vehicles

Group putting $68 billion into EV development.

by on Mar.04, 2019

The next-generation Macan will feature an all-electric model, according to Porsche.

Germany’s car industry is tracking to invest more than $68 billion in new technology for next three years on electric cars and automated driving, the head of the VDA, the association that represents German carmakers.

“We will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility during the next three years, and another 18 billion euros will be invested in digitization and connected and automated driving,” VDA president Bernhard Mattes said in a statement on Saturday.

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The investment, however, also entails considerable risk. (more…)

Ford Investigates Potential Errant Fuel Economy, Emissions Testing

Automaker hires outside law firm to lead query.

by on Feb.22, 2019

Ford employees began questioning the results of fuel economy and emissions testing on the 2019 Ranger.

Ford Motor Co. may be suffering from déjà vu, the automaker announcing it is in the midst of self-imposed investigation of its fuel economy and testing procedures that may have produced incorrect mileage and emissions data.

The query has been going on since last fall and began when several employees voiced concerns about the process and the resulting data. The automaker is quick to point out that these potential problems do not involve cheat devices like those used by Volkswagen AG or other automakers.

News You Can Trust!

Kimberly Pittel, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Reuters the investigation began with the test results for the 2019 Ford Ranger. The company is evaluation alterations made to the testing process and calculations used to determine fuel economy and emissions results submitted to federal regulatory agencies. (more…)

Ford Cutting Operations in Brazil, Closes Oldest Plant

Automaker not waiting on tie-up with VW to improve business.

by on Feb.19, 2019

São Bernardo do Campo is Ford's oldest plant in Brazil. It makes the Fiesta and will be closed later this year.

When Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG announced they were talking about potential partnerships in the near future, one area many believed they would discuss was their businesses in South America.

The South American market has been tough sledding for much of the last decade and the two sides had linked up before with AutoLatina, which ceased operations in 1995.

Global News!

However, Ford isn’t waiting on a tie-up with VW to make moves down there, saying today it plans to close its oldest plant in Brazil resulting in 2,700 layoffs as it exits the commercial truck business in South America. (more…)