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Audi Developed Diesel Cheat Software in 1999, Reports German Paper

“Defeat Device” went unused until adopted by parent VW.

by on Apr.20, 2016

VW officials have been apologizing profusely about the diesel scandal, but it appears it was Audi engineers that actually developed, but never used, the device.

The so-called “defeat device” used to help millions of Volkswagen diesel vehicles illegally pass emissions tests was first developed in 1999 by the maker’s luxury arm Audi, according to a report published today by the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

The technology, which could detect when a vehicle is undergoing emissions tests and then modify certain engine functions to clean up the exhaust, was not put into use by Audi, however. It was instead adopted six years later by the Volkswagen brand when it was unable to meet toughened U.S. clean air standards.

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That decision came back to haunt the German giant. Last September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused VW of rigging more than 400,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. – the maker subsequently confirming it used the illegal software on 11 million vehicles sold worldwide. It is now facing a raft of lawsuits in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world and may eventually pay billions of dollars in fines and legal settlements. (more…)

Audi Earns Top Marks for “Best Brand” Report Card

Consumer Reports methodology puts Audi ahead of Subaru and Lexus.

by on Apr.11, 2016

Despite the diesel problems, Audi took the top spot on Consumer Reports recent best brand report card.

Its around this time each year that school children of all ages find how they did in their last card marking: yup, it’s report card time!

The same happens for the automakers, if your Consumer Reports, which provides a Report Card for auto brands in the U.S. and the results, like those for some children, may be a bit of a surprise.

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The brands that earned top marks? Audi and Subaru. (more…)

Diesel Scandal Continues to Hammer VW

March sales plunge, but sibling Audi, Porsche brands largely unscathed.

by on Apr.01, 2016

VW's big incentives haven't been able to overcome the loss of its TDI models.

The ongoing crisis triggered by Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal continued to take a toll on the automaker last month.

The VW brand reported a 10.6% sales slide last month, making it one of the few brands to see a dip at a time when the American car market is running red hot. The downturn came despite a sharp increase in VW incentives in recent months.

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The news wasn’t all bad, however. VW did see a strong upturn in demand for its newly updated Tiguan sport-utility vehicle, and sibling brands Audi and Porsche scored big sales gain in March, despite also being tainted by the diesel scandal.


Mazda Claims Double Win at World Car Awards

by on Mar.24, 2016

Mazda NA CEO Masahiro Moro and WCoTY organizer Peter Lyons with the MX-5 Miata.

For such a little car, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was the big winner at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday morning, collecting not only the trophy for World Car of the Year, but also being honored as the globe’s top automotive design.

The twin win came hours before the first formal unveiling of a special auto show unveiling of the Miata RF. The retractable fastback version of the two-seat roadster generated rave reviews when it was shown to a smaller group of journalists on Tuesday night.

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“What a day for Mazda,” blurted out Masahiro Moro, who recently took over as CEO of Mazda’s North American operations. “This is a brand icon,” he declared, hoisting the hefty World Car of the Year trophy and inviting key members of the development team to join him on stage.


Audi Puts “Old Luxury on Notice” with New R8 Spyder

Ragtop can hit “nearly 200 mph,” even with the top down.

by on Mar.24, 2016

The Audi R8 Spyder rolls into the NY Auto Show.

There are plenty of folks who love the Audi R8, and that includes Scott Keogh, the brand’s U.S. CEO. Audi was little more than an asterisk on the sales charts. Today, it’s a force to be reckoned with, sales growing 250% since the launch of the sports car nearly a decade ago.

While it might target a small niche, “The R8 put Audi on the map,” says industry veteran Keogh, helping the brand “put old luxury on notice.”

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Audi has three versions of the R8 on its stand at the New York International Auto Show this week, including the daunting, 610-horsepower Audi R8 V10 Plus, as well as the R8 LMS race car. There’s also the brand-new member of the family, the 2017 Audi R8 Spyder.


VW CEO Alerted, Failed to React to Diesel Crisis

German maker thought impact of scandal would be marginal; Audi earnings now take hit.

by on Mar.03, 2016

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn shown at the maker's 2015 annual meeting.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was advised of the maker’s cheating on diesel emissions tests at least 16 months ahead of when the scandal became public, the automaker confirmed.

Separately, VW has issued an advisory to its shareholders revealing it did not expect the subterfuge to erupt into what is arguably the biggest crisis in its post-War history. The company said it anticipated a quick resolution with U.S. authorities and that the cost of resolving the issue would likely be “not especially high.”

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With more than 500 lawsuits facing it, including one filed by the U.S. Justice Department, the costs appear to be mounting – as became clear Thursday when VW’s luxury subsidiary Audi reported a sharp, 6.1% decline in 2015 earnings. Audi shares several of the diesel engines involved in the emissions scandal.


Audi RS Q3 Performance Amps Up SUV Competition

Luxury performance SUV segment getting a new entrant.

by on Mar.02, 2016

The Audi RS Q3 Performance boasts a 367 horsepower five-cylinder engine and will do zero-to-62 in 4.4 seconds.

Audi is one of many automakers looking to up its game in the luxury performance SUV segment and the new RS Q3 Performance appears to be ready for the challenge.

Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, the new compact sport-ute is just another component in Audi’s plans to continue its current growth curve. Like it’s competition, it’s certainly nice on the inside and pleasing to the eye on the outside, but its what’s under the hood that is often the differentiator.

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The German brand beefed up the 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine by 27 hp so it now puts out 367 horsepower and 343 ft-lb of torque. With a top speed of 167.8 mph, it’ll sprint from stop to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds. The engine is tied to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic and gets 27.4 mpg combined. (more…)

New Audi Q2 – Big Things in a Small Package

Audi takes on the hot-selling Mercedes-Benz GLA.

by on Mar.01, 2016

Audi is ready to take on Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other players in the compact utility segment with the new Q2.

Here’s a riddle: how do you get bigger and smaller at the same time? Hint: it doesn’t involve any of the pills Alice took in Wonderland. The secret? Just ask Audi which is expanding its line of SUVs with the addition of its smallest model yet, the new Q2 making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Audi still has a long way to go to catch up with either Mercedes-Benz or BMW, two German rivals that have yet larger fleets of SUV models, but the arrival of the Q2 plants the Audi flag in the middle of one of the global luxury markets fastest-growing segments, small crossovers. The Audi Q2 will take direct aim at the Mercedes-Benz GLA, one of that maker’s most successful products in recent years.

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The Audi Q2 is the first major product to come to market that was helmed by Marc Lichte, the design chief brought onboard in 2013. But according to one report, the Q2 came about almost by accident, a very early sketch by a junior designer just happening to catch the eye of an Audi board member who quickly convinced the rest of his colleagues that it had to be a part of the brand’s line-up. (more…)

Federal Judge Demands Fix for VW Diesel Problem

Deadline set for March 24.

by on Feb.26, 2016

Judge Charles Breyer want VW to speed up diesel repairs, settlements with owners.

A federal judge in San Francisco is giving Volkswagen a month to come up with an acceptable fix that would bring 600,000 polluting diesel vehicles into compliance with U.S. emissions laws.

The announcement by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer comes as the maker begins repairs of more than 10 million other diesel vehicles it sold outside of the United States. But so far, the German maker hasn’t been able to come up with a solution that will satisfy the Environmental Protection Agency, which first revealed last September that VW had cheated on diesel emissions tests.

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“Six months is long enough” to come up with a solution, said Judge Breyer, who will oversee hundreds of lawsuits filed against the German maker that were recently consolidated before his court. “This is an ongoing problem.”


Big Changes Coming for Lamborghini – Including New CEO

Domenicalli comes in as Winkelmann moves to Audi.

by on Feb.23, 2016

Stephan Winkelmann saw Lamborghini sales double and revenues triple during his tenure.

There are some big changes coming at Automobili Lamborghini, both on the product and the personnel side.

The Italian supercar maker, a unit of Germany’s Volkswagen AG, will be getting a new CEO, to start with, former Ferrari Formula One team boss Stefano Domenicali taking the place, next month, of long-time Lambo Chief Executive Stephan Winkelmann.

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But a series of changes Winkelmann has set in motion will continue to move forward, notably including the planned 2018 launch of a new model series, the Urus sport-utility vehicle. That project is expected to double the Italian brand’s total volume in the years ahead.