Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘vw diesel scandal’

Judge Approves $2.8 bil VW Criminal Penalty

Largest criminal fine in U.S. history.

by on Apr.21, 2017

"A very serious and troubling case involving an iconic automobile company," said Judge Sean Cox.

A federal judge in Detroit Friday signed off on what could be one of the last big developments in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, ordering the German maker to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty negotiated as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department last January.

The ruling now brings to around $30 billion the costs VW will incur after being caught rigging two of its diesel engines to illegal pass U.S. emissions tests – a figure that includes the price of buying back almost 500,000 vehicles sold in the country. Meanwhile, seven current and former Volkswagen employees have been charged with crimes connected to the scandal, while an investigation continues in Germany.

Subscribe Now!

“I just can’t believe that VW is in this situation that it finds itself in today,” said Judge Sean Cox, calling it a “very serious and troubling case involving an iconic automobile company.”

(more…)

German Prosecutors Raid VW, Audi Offices

Probe expands as Audi and VW execs come under closer scrutiny.

by on Mar.15, 2017

German prosecutors raided Volkswagen and Audi offices recently as part of an ongoing investigation into the diesel-rigging scandal.

Even as the criminal and civil cases against Volkswagen over its rigging of diesel engines wind down in the U.S., German prosecutors are ramping up their own probe – which could lead to additional criminal charges against current and former VW officials, including one-time CEO Martin Winterkorn.

The latest twist comes as the embattled automaker confirms that prosecutors had launched raids at VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, as well as the offices of its semi-independent Audi subsidiary near Munich.

Subscribe & Stay on Top!

“The execution of the search warrants is meant to clarify which persons were involved in the use of the relevant technology and, where applicable, were involved in providing inaccurate information to third parties,” said Munich prosecutor Ken Heidenreich, in a statement announcing the move against Audi’s offices. (more…)

VW Brand Profit Slammed by Diesel Emissions Scandal Costs

U.S. remains "core market," says CEO Mueller.

by on Mar.14, 2017

VW CEO Matthias Mueller holds the wireless fob for the Sedric robotic car at the Geneva Motor Show.

Volkswagen revealed a classic good news/bad news scenario on Tuesday morning. After reporting record group profits last month for 2016, the automaker now says operating earnings at the flagship VW brand took a sharp hit as a result of the maker’s diesel emissions scandal.

The automaker has so far agreed to spend nearly $25 billion on fines and settlements in the U.S. alone as a result of the scandal, and that doesn’t include a hefty increase in marketing costs since the diesel engine rigging was revealed in September 2015.

Subscribe Now!

Nonetheless, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller put a positive outlook on the maker’s current situation, insisting it was “back on track” after one of the worst crises in its eight-decade history. Mueller himself took home 7.8 million euros, or $8.5 million, in pay and other forms of compensation for 2016.

(more…)

Volkswagen Pleads Guilty to Three Felony Counts in Diesel Scandal

Judge agrees to consider motion from owners.

by on Mar.10, 2017

Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to three felony counts in U.S. District Court in Detroit today.

This story has been updated with new information.

Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to three felony counts in U.S. District court in Detroit as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice.

The guilty pleas were a first for VW, which had never pleaded guilty to any criminal charges before — ever, according to VW officials.

News Now!

“Your honor, VW AG is pleading guilty to all three counts because it is guilty on all three counts,” said VW general counsel Manfred Doess while entering plea on the company’s behalf. He flew from Germany to Detroit for the trial. (more…)

VW Set to Plead Guilty as Buyback Accelerates

Court move would lock down $4.3b criminal settlement.

by on Mar.10, 2017

A new VW Arteon prototype makes its debut at this week's Geneva Motor Show.

Volkswagen is expected to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit today, wrapping up a settlement with the federal government for cheating on diesel emissions tests.

The move follows a series of civil settlements, and will cost the automaker $4.3 billion, the figure announced in January at a news conference by government regulators just days before the end of the Obama Administration. Seven current and former Volkswagen employees have faced criminal charges for their role in the diesel rigging, though one has already pleads guilty. Only one of the others is currently in custody.

Beyond the Headlines!

All told, the German automaker has so far agreed to spend more than $20 billion in civil and criminal fines and other costs. It is currently ramping up the buyback of around 475,000 2.0-liter diesels equipped with so-called a “defeat device” meant to reduce emissions during emissions testing. A separate deal covers more than 40,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter turbodiesels, though VW believes it can repair some of those.

(more…)

Volkswagen Manager Arraigned on Diesel Charges in Detroit

Schmidt one of six managers being investigated.

by on Feb.23, 2017

Another former Volkswagen executive was arraigned in court: one of six under investigation.

One of the six Volkswagen executives at the center of the automaker’s diesel emmissions scandal, Oliver Schmidt, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Detroit today.

Schmidt, 48, who was arrested in Miami while traveling from Cuba to Germany, is accused of being part of a collaborative effort to intentionally develop a device that could cheat on U.S. emissions test.

Subscribe Now!

The “cheat devices” allowed VW’s diesels to pass emissions tests in a lab, but then would shut off when the vehicles weren’t in “test mode.” This allowed for better fuel economy results, but the emissions levels could be as high as 40 times what’s allowable by law. (more…)

Who Knew What and When: Top VW Managers Turn on One Another

Former Chairman Piech accuses company of cover-up.

by on Feb.09, 2017

Ferdinand Piech, grandson of the company's founder, resigned as chairman due to a dispute with his successor, Martin Winterkorn.

Volkswagen is forcefully denying claims by its former chairman that other top company managers covered up its diesel emissions scandal.

Questioned during an internal investigation of the affair – which centers around VW’s admission it rigged two high-volume diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests – former Chairman Ferdinand Piech reportedly told authorities he had advised board members about the subterfuge long before it was publicly revealed. In particular, Piech’s testimony appears to focus on Martin Winterkorn, the CEO forced out of the company in September 2015.

Global News!

VW, which has long insisted the scandal was the work of a “handful” of lower-level engineers, said in a statement that it has “unequivocally and emphatically rejected all assertions made by Ferdinand Piech as untrue.”

(more…)

Latest VW Diesel Deal Could Be Even More Costly

German maker could pay $4b, triple initial pricetag, if it can’t fix 3-liter engine.

by on Feb.01, 2017

A line-up of Audi TDI models. The automaker may have to boost its reserve to cover the diesel scandal.

The settlement covering a rigged, 3.0-liter turbodiesel could cost Volkswagen as much as $4 billion if it cannot come up with the necessary fix for nearly 60,000 vehicles whose engines were rigged to illegally pass U.S. emissions tests – at least three times more than the initial settlement calls for.

The impact of the scandal – which previously saw VW agree to pay out $14.7 billion to cover nearly 500,000 vehicles using a smaller diesel engine – continues to grow, and to spread. German mega-supplier Robert Bosch GmbH now has negotiated its own settlement, which will require it to pay $327.5 million to American owners of VW diesels.

Subscribe Now!

Meanwhile, VW’s Audi division is now examining whether it has set aside enough money to cover its share of the burden. It has already set the figure at 980 million euros, or $1.06 billion at the current exchange rate. Audi sold a number of different models in the U.S. using both the 2.0- and 3.0-liter turbodiesels.

(more…)

Former VW CEO Under Increasing Scrutiny

Prosecutors asking what Winterkorn knew and when.

by on Jan.27, 2017

Ousted VW CEO Martin Winterkorn during a presentation at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, ousted following the revelation of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions rigging, may have known about the subterfuge far earlier than he has so far acknowledged, according to German prosecutors.

If that proves true, the life-long VW executive could face potential criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic. After announcing a $4.3 billion settlement of a criminal investigation of the automaker earlier this month – a deal that was accompanied by six criminal indictments — U.S. Justice Department officials said they might yet bring charges against other VW employees.

In the Know!

The German investigation further challenges claims by the automaker that only a “handful” of low-level engineers knew about the plan to use rigged software to help VW’s diesel engines pass tight U.S. emissions standards.

(more…)

VW’s Ex-CEO Winterkorn Under the Microscope

Denies hiding diesel scandal from investors.

by on Jan.19, 2017

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn remains a target of investigators in Germany.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn testified that he had no advance warning of the company’s diesel emissions cheating despite some concerns he intentionally misled VW investors before the scandal broke wide open in September 2015.

Winterkorn has been under a cloud of suspicion in recent months as prosecutors in both Germany and the U.S. have dug ever deeper into VW’s rigging of diesel emissions tests. As part of a $4.3 billion settlement between the company and the U.S. Justice Department announced last week, six VW employees were indicted for their alleged role in coming up with the so-called “defeat devices” used in the automaker’s 2.0- and 3.0-liter engines. Now, the focus turns to whether top management tried to conceal what they knew.

Subscribe Now!

“As CEO I took political responsibility,” the 69-year-old Winterkorn said during a German parliamentary inquiry on Thursday, adding that, “this step was the most difficult of my life.”

(more…)