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VW Fix for Diesel Cheat May Take Longer to Reach U.S.

CEO promises plan “in the next few days” – but not for US owners.

by on Sep.29, 2015

About 11 million vehicles sold worldwide used the software cheat. Fixing those sold in the U.S. is likely to be the most difficult part.

(This story updates an early report on

Volkswagen’s promise to deliver a fix for its rigged diesel engine “in the next few days” refers to vehicles sold in Europe and other foreign markets, not the U.S., according to a company source.

The “retrofit” that VW expects will bring the vehicles into compliance with government pollution standards was announced Tuesday in Berlin by the company’s new CEO, Matthias Mueller, who said customers would be contacted “in the next few days” with details.

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But a company source, who spoke on condition of anonymity with later in the day, said the promise only refers to VW diesels sold in Europe and some other foreign markets, not the U.S., where the fix will be more complicated.


The Moment for Truth for Tesla as Model X Finally Debuts

Two years late, electric SUV the real test for CEO Elon Musk’s venture.

by on Sep.29, 2015

The new Tesla Model X could be outselling the Model S sedan by this time next year.

Has Tesla really sparked a revolution, or is it about to come unplugged? The world may get a better sense of the battery-electric automaker’s future later today when it finally pulls the covers off the new Model X.

The electric SUV will join the Model S as the second car in Tesla’s line-up, and once it reaches market, more than two years behind schedule, it could nearly double the California carmaker’s annual sales volume, at least if founder and CEO Elon Musk’s projections prove accurate.

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While Tesla’s transition into a truly mainstream manufacturer will have to wait a couple more years, with the planned addition of the more moderately priced Model III, the Model X – with its distinctive “falcon doors” — will give both consumers and investors a good sense of whether Tesla is more than just a one-shot wonder.


Is Your Diesel Dirty? And Other Key Questions About the VW Cheating Scandal

10 questions on the VW diesel crisis and auto industry cheating.

by on Sep.25, 2015

BMW disputes reports its X3 model -- shown here at its debut -- doesn't meet emissions rules.

Both BMW and Daimler AG, parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, have issued formal statements insisting they did not cheat on diesel emissions tests, unlike German rival Volkswagen and its Audi brand.

VW now has acknowledged that 11 million vehicles – including 482,000 sold in the U.S. – were secretly fitted with software designed to help them pass emissions tests. Otherwise, the vehicles delivered increased performance and better mileage but also produced up to 40 times the permissible level of noxious emissions.

In the Know!

Are other automakers cheating? And why would they? What about you, if you’re a diesel owner or still thinking about buying one? Here are some key questions and answers.


Porsche Boss Expected to Take Over as New VW CEO

US boss, global tech chiefs among those who may be ousted next.

by on Sep.24, 2015

Matthias Mueller, currently head of Porsche, is expected to be named the new VW CEO.

Volkswagen AG is expected to appoint Matthias Mueller, the head of its Porsche sports car division, as its new chief executive, replacing Martin Winterkorn, the executive ousted in the wake of a scandal over the rigging of U.S. diesel emissions tests.

The 62-year-old Mueller will be formally named tomorrow during a meeting of VW’s supervisory board, according to the Reuter’s news service. He will have to oversee what has become the biggest crisis in the history of what this year became the world’s largest automaker. Among other things, Mueller will face a company with a number of management vacancies, the scandal expected to trigger a cascade of firings as the VW board seeks to punish those responsible for the emissions test cheating.

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Longer-term, VW faces a variety of legal actions as regulators and other authorities dig into the scandal which was touched off by the recall of 482,000 vehicles in the U.S. but may eventually involve up to 11 million diesel-powered products sold worldwide.


VW Scandal a “Black Eye” for US Diesel Market

Sales likely to collapse; long-term revival uncertain.

by on Sep.24, 2015

The 2015 Golf TDI is one of the diesels VW has temporarily stopped selling in the US.

For motorists looking for sporty but environmentally friendly alternatives to sluggish hybrids, diesels like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI has been a welcome addition to the U.S. market. The ability to deliver real performance along with high mileage is one reason why diesel sales have continued to grow even as demand for gas-electric models has plunged in the face of cheap gas.

But that growth spurt is likely to sputter out, industry insiders warn, in the wake of the Volkswagen cheating scandal. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of 482,000 VW diesel models, revealing that the maker had used software to scam the government’s emissions tests.

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In real world situations, vehicles like the Jetta TDI actually produce up to 40 times the permissible level of noxious emissions.

“This is another black eye for diesels,” said Mike Jackson, CEO of Florida-based AutoNation, the country’s largest automotive retailer. “You now have a passionate constituency that feels betrayed.”


VW Setting Aside $7.3 Bil to Cover Cost of Diesel Scandal

Regulators in other markets question whether VW also rigged their emissions tests.

by on Sep.22, 2015

Whether VW has set aside enough money to cover the scandal's mounting costs is unclear.

Volkswagen is setting aside 6.5 billion Euros, or $7.3 billion, to cover the anticipated cost of resolving its diesel emissions cheating scandal, a figure that could nonetheless be eclipsed by potential penalties and lawsuits facing the German maker in the U.S.

The issue, meanwhile, now is spreading to other markets, VW confirming it used the same illicit software – dubbed a “defeat device” by U.S. regulators – on 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide. That has triggered calls for new investigations in markets from South Korea to the European Union.

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The money VW has aside is part of the company’s efforts to “win back the trust of our customers,” the maker said in a statement Tuesday. Meanwhile, it noted that it is “working intensely” to find a technical solution to removing the software without reducing the performance of affected VW products.


Diesel Recall Likely Only the Start of VW’s Problems

Caught cheating, German maker facing lawsuits, stock price plunge, possible criminal investigation and billions in fines.

by on Sep.21, 2015

The diesel scandal could cost billions - and set back VW's plans to become world's best-seller.

Accused of cheating on emissions standards, Volkswagen and its upscale Audi brand have been ordered to recall nearly 500,000 diesel cars sold in the U.S. – but that is likely to be only the start of the problems facing the German maker.

Within hours of the announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, several high-profile law firms had already weighed in, threatening potentially costly class action lawsuits. That’s on top of multi-billion dollar fines Volkswagen could be subject to. The maker may also be targeted by the U.S. Justice Department for creating a so-called “defeat device” to get around strict diesel emissions standards. The mounting list of challenges has already caused a massive sell-off of Volkswagen stock.

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“I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement issued over the weekend. “We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust,” he said, adding that the maker will work openly with authorities investigating the alleged scam.


Accused of Cheating on Emissions Standards, VW Ordered to Recall 500,000 Cars

Defeat device turns on only when vehicles tested for emissions.

by on Sep.18, 2015

The diesel version of the Audi A3 is one of the vehicles facing recall to fix a "defeat device" in its emissions control system.

Volkswagen will have to recall about 500,000 diesel-powered vehicles, the government has declared, because it surreptitiously equipped them with software designed to detect when they were undergoing emissions testing and later allow the vehicles to emit higher levels of pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a notice of violation alleging that VW created a “defeat device,” more accurately software that could detect when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing. In such a situation, the onboard pollution control system would operate more aggressively. Otherwise, the government alleges, those controls would be relaxed.

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“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, an assistant administrator with the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance.


Battery Prices Tumbling Rapidly

EVs, plug-ins set to become more competitive.

by on Sep.18, 2015

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

Automakers normally go to great pains to promote their latest models. But when the new Fiat 500e was launched a couple years ago, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne asked potential buyers to steer clear, admitting, “We will lose $10,000 per vehicle.”

The primary reason? The high cost of the batteries used to power the 500e, lithium-ion technology running as much as $1,000 per kilowatt-hour at the beginning of the decade. For most of the battery-cars now on the market their onboard power packs account for the overwhelming share of the vehicle’s price tag – sometimes even more than what customers have actually been paying.

Power Up!

But battery prices finally appear to be heading down. While industry officials are generally reluctant to discuss such a competitive detail, observers believe many manufacturers are now paying about $400 per kWh, and during a conversation at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, Audi’s R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg told that the maker expects that to dip to $200, perhaps closer to $100 by decade’s end.


Volkswagen, Audi Expect to “Electrify” Entire Line-Up

Conventional gas models could be dropped in favor of hybrids, plug-ins, battery-electric vehicles.

by on Sep.16, 2015

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

Long focused on high-mileage diesels, Volkswagen and its luxury arm Audi are suddenly getting charged up about battery power. So much so, in fact, that virtually all of the vehicles sold by both the mainstream VW and high-line Audi brands will offer some form of “electrified” options in the near future.

The German brands may even start dropping some conventional gas and diesel models in favor of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, officials noted during a series of interviews at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Even sibling brands Bentley and Porsche are getting into the battery act, the former planning a new plug-in SUV, and the sports carmaker coming to Frankfurt with a 600-horsepower performance model.

Plug In!

“Every car will be electrified,” said Ulrich Hackenberg, the board member overseeing technical development at Audi. And while new fuel economy and emissions mandates are factors driving the shift, he also believes that consumers will find the next generation of electrified vehicles attractive and compelling.