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EU Sues 4 Member States Over VW Diesel Scam

Union regulators want penalties for emissions cheating.

by on Dec.08, 2016

The European Union demands four member states - including Germany - impose fines on VW.

Volkswagen may be facing significantly new penalties for cheating on diesel emissions – at least if European Union regulators have their way.

The EU has launched legal proceedings against four member states – Britain, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain – demanding that they impose fines against VW for using illegal “defeat device” software to rig diesel emissions tests. The European Commission also claims those four countries “broke the law” by refusing to provide EU regulators “all the technical information” they have gathered on VW’s scam.

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If the Brussels-based EU is successful, it could lead to hefty new penalties against the German automaker which has already shelled out billions of dollars in fines and settlements linked to the diesel scandal. That includes a $14.7 billion deal it reached last spring with U.S. and California regulators, most of that going to buy back vehicles equipped with a flawed 2.0-liter turbodiesel.


Major Automakers Team Up on Ultra-Fast EV Charging Project

System could deliver 300+ miles range in 10 minutes.

by on Dec.01, 2016

A Level 4 charger could give a long-range vehicle a "fill-up" in 10 minutes or less.

Another barrier to electrification is about to fall, thanks to a new coalition pairing BMW, Daimler, Ford and the various Volkswagen AG brands.

The automakers have signed a preliminary agreement that would begin rolling out a network of ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations across Europe – setting the stage for the adoption of similar Level 4 technology in the U.S., as well. The chargers will deliver 350 kilowatts of direct current, or roughly 2.5 times the jolt of the Superchargers Tesla is deploying across much of North America.

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The new system would leapfrog other Level 3 chargers just beginning to come online in many parts of the world. More importantly, they would allow a vehicle like the new, 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt (or the European version sold through Opel) to get a full charge in 10 minutes or less.


Porsche Aiming to Sell 20,000 Mission E Battery Sports Cars

Volkswagen AG brands battle it out for control of company’s EV efforts.

by on Nov.29, 2016

Workers at Porsche's Zuffhausen plant in Germany agreed to wage cuts in order to get the job of building the new Mission E.

Porsche is aiming for annual sales of about 20,000 Mission E battery-electric vehicles, according to the sports car brand’s chief executive officer.

That would make it one of the more important products in the company’s line-up and more than double the numbers needed to turn a profit, according to another company official.

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The launch of the Mission E in 2019 is part of an aggressive transformation planned by the Volkswagen Group, currently the world’s largest automaker by sales volume. But news reports from Germany suggest that there is an internal battle brewing between various VWAG brands as they position themselves to take the lead in battery-electric vehicle development.


VW Teases New Premium Fastback for U.S., Global Markets

Due for Geneva debut, four-door could fill niche left open by Phaeton.

by on Nov.28, 2016

VW plans to top its sedan line-up with the new Arteon fastback due to market for 2018.

Determined to rebuild in the wake of its costly diesel emissions scandal – especially in the critical U.S. market – Volkswagen is offering a teaser image of the “premium fastback” model it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show three months from now.

To be called the Volkswagen Arteon, it will be “positioned above” the brand’s largest current model, the Passat, and potentially fill an upscale niche abandoned when the VW Phaeton was pulled from production. But the Arteon is not expected to go quite as far upmarket as that big sedan, which made pretenses of targeting the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and even sibling brand Audi’s A8.

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The Arteon “emphasizes emotionality in the upper mid-class,” says a statement from VW accompanying the teaser image. “The four-door fastback impresses both through revolutionary design and great practical value in use.” The statement concludes that “This combination is unique.”


Is VW Putting the Nail in the Coffin for U.S. Diesels?

Embattled automaker won’t offer new oil-burners in the future.

by on Nov.23, 2016

VW will no longer sell diesels in the U.S., even if it can resolve its TDI emissions problem.

They once accounted for nearly a quarter of the German automaker’s U.S. sales, but going forward, Volkswagen will no longer offer diesels in the U.S. market, according to brand chief Herbert Diess.

As the largest retailer of diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the U.S., VW helped spur a surge of offerings by competitors such as General Motors and Nissan, as well as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But with diesel sales already on the decline, some analysts question whether VW’s decision will spur other automakers to abandon their “oil-burners,” as well.

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“At the moment we assume that we will offer no new diesel vehicles in the U.S,” Diess told the German  business daily Handelsblatt in an interview following the Tuesday announcement of the maker’s global turnaround plan.


VW Says US Market Essential for Global Turnaround

Brand boss Diess wants to "fundamentally change Volkswagen."

by on Nov.22, 2016

VW boss Herbert Diess unveiled Transform 2025, the maker's plans to regain trust and sales momentum in the U.S.

Regaining trust and momentum in the U.S. market will be critical, the head of the Volkswagen brand said Tuesday, Herbert Diess revealing an ambitious plan, dubbed Transform 2025, that he said would “fundamentally change Volkswagen” in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal.

The announcement comes just days after the VW brand announced it would cut 30,000 jobs, most in traditional manufacturing operations in Germany, while creating 9,000 new ones in areas such as the development of electric vehicles.

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The Transform 2025 plan sees significant shifts, among other things, away from the diesels that have long been a Volkswagen mainstay to hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles. There will also be a push to develop new in-vehicle software, and to take a lead in the emerging fields of ride- and car-sharing. (more…)

VW Cutting 30,000 Jobs Worldwide in Wake of Diesel Emissions Scandal

Move is part of broader changes to shift product plans, improve efficiency.

by on Nov.18, 2016

VW CEO Matthias Mueller wants to double the carmaker's profit margin and shift its product mix.

Volkswagen AG will eliminate about 30,000 jobs, the majority of them in Germany, as it struggles to cut costs in the wake of a diesel emissions scandal that some analysts estimate will eventually cost it as much as $30 billion or more.

The cuts are expected to save the embattled automaker about 3.7 billion Euros, or nearly $4 billion annually, according to VW CEO Matthias Mueller. However, the move is meant to do more than simply help cover the costs of the diesel scandal.

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The job cuts are part of “the biggest modernization program in the history of the group’s core brand,” Mueller told reporters during a news conference at VW’s corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.  “The VW brand needs a real shake-up,” he added, “and that is exactly what the future pact has turned out to be.”


VW Stretches the Range of its e-Golf

Battery hatchback to get gesture control.

by on Nov.17, 2016

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf gets a 50% bigger battery pack, pushing its range to 134 miles on a charge.

Volkswagen is hoping to get more buyers to plug into the all-electric version of its compact Golf line and is betting a longer-range version could give the 2017 VW e-Golf more momentum.

Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the battery-electric vehicle gets a 50% bigger battery pack for 2017 that also let it travel nearly 50% further on each charge. That will make it one of the longest-range models on the market, though the e-Golf will get barely half the range of the new Chevrolet Bolt when it hits showrooms in the coming weeks.

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The debut of the updated e-Golf serves as a signal that Volkswagen is committed to battery power. Phasing back on its once-popular diesels in the week of a global emissions test cheating scandal, VW now says it will have as many as 30 different pure battery-electric models in its line-up within a decade, including a production version of the little I.D. model that was unveiled at the recent Paris Motor Show. (more…)

VW Puts Passat on Steroids with GT Concept

Concept aimed at enhancing appeal of staid sedan.

by on Nov.16, 2016

Volkswagen is looking to amp up the appeal of its best-selling sedan with the Passat GT Concept.

It’s roomy and reasonably well-equipped, but for a brand that normally likes to play to the passions of its buyers, the Volkswagen Passat can best be described as staid.

Not so the Volkswagen Passat GT Concept making its debut at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show media preview. Designed and developed at VW’s Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the show car offers an assortment of tweaks and upgrades, both visual and functional, that could be thought of as an automotive steroid shot.

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From a first glance, you’ll know this isn’t your boring uncle’s VW Passat. The suspension, for one thing, has been lowered by 0.6 inches, giving the midsize sedan a more solid and planted feel. Now add an assortment of sportier upgrades that clearly were inspired by the German maker’s Golf GTI. (more…)

VW Pushing Tech Edge With Updated ’18 Golf

Euro-spec mid-cycle refresh to include gesture control.

by on Nov.11, 2016

The Eurospec version of the 2018 VW Golf will be in showrooms in a matter of weeks.

It will take little more than a wave of the hand to see some big things have been added to the 2018 Volkswagen Golf – starting with a new gesture control system that will control the compact mainstay’s infotainment system.

The model Volkswagen is showing off is the first big update of the Euro-spec Golf since it was introduced for the 2012 model-year. We’ll likely see the American version rolled out at the New York Auto Show next April, but many of the key features, like gesture control and, possibly the new 1.5-liter turbo-four engine, should make it to the Stateside model.

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VW is also phasing in a more advanced, 7-speed DSG gearbox, as well as a variety of new safety, infotainment and convenience features, including Active Traffic Jam Assist and a larger touchscreen.