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Judge Approves $14.7B VW Settlement

German maker will begin making good on offers immediately.

by on Oct.26, 2016

A federal judge approved the long-awaited $14.7 billion settlement for Volkswagen's diesel scandal.

A federal judge signed off the proposed $14.7 billion settlement for owners of Volkswagen cars with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engines.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in his order approving the long-negotiated deal, said the settlement “in its current form is fair, adequate, and reasonable and is in the best interest of Class Members.”

Breyer noted in the order that the benefits under the order should be made immediately and the automaker committed to making that happen in a public statement about the newly approved agreement.

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“Final approval of the 2.0-liter TDI settlement is an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Are These VW’s Electric Cars of the Future?

Patent images suggest radical alternatives to conventional car design.

by on Oct.18, 2016

Patent images of VW's ID reveal just the start of what the maker promises to be an onslaught of 30 EVs.

When Volkswagen unveiled its ID battery-electric concept vehicle at the Paris Motor Show last month, company officials promised it would usher in a dramatic shift in the automaker’s future product plans.

Set to reach market no later than 2020, the VW ID will be the first of 30 battery-electric vehicles from the German maker as it shifts from its familiar, albeit tarnished, diesel line-up to a focus on zero-emission powertrain technologies.

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The ID concept adopts the skateboard-like platform already used by Tesla and that will be adopted by other makers, including General Motors and Faraday Future. The layout provides the opportunity to radically change the basic shape of tomorrow’s vehicles – especially if they also adopt autonomous and even driverless technologies. And some patent images attributed to VW suggest some of the things the maker might have in development. (more…)

VW Wants to Cut 25,000 Jobs in 10 Years

Most of the losses will come through attrition.

by on Oct.14, 2016

As VW moves to its goal of building 1 million goals annually, it hopes to cut 25,000 jobs in Europe.

Volkswagen AG is looking to eliminate some 25,000 jobs in Europe during the next 10 years as moves to reorganize and rebuild in the wake of the costly scandal created by the company’s decision to cheat on the emission tests.

So far, Volkswagen has already paid out close to $20 billion in fines and compensation to consumers and dealers. It also still faces potentially expensive lawsuits by shareholders about the lost value of the company’s stock as well as bond holders, who have claimed they were misled on the state of the VW’s financial health by the automaker’s top management.

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VW’s post-scandal strategy involves a sweeping reorganization of its production base in Europe and a focus on electric vehicles. The plan calls for producing 1 million electric vehicles a year – one quarter of its annual production – by 2025, VW executives have said. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Four-wheel-drive crossover good start for German maker's comeback.

by on Oct.07, 2016

The all-new 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack gives drivers the off-road capability they've been longing for in a small crossover.

The fallout from Volkswagen AG’s diesel test scandal has been blamed for the company’s woeful sales performance in the U.S. during the past year.

But while VW still can’t sell vehicles with diesel engines in the U.S., the VW brand also has been hurt by the huge shift that has moved more than 11 points of market share from the passenger car column of the sales ledger into the truck and utility vehicle column.

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It was as if Volkswagen’s product planners were preparing to play soccer when the game on tap was American-style football for which shoulder pads and helmets are required. (more…)

“Resounding” Majority of VW Diesel Owners Will Take Settlement Offer

VW’s U.S. dealers accept $1.2 bil compensation offer.

by on Oct.03, 2016

Volkswagen diesel owners appear ready to accept the maker's settlement offer to buy back their vehicles.

American diesel owners have soundly embraced the settlement offer that Volkswagen negotiated with federal and California regulators in June, a deal that could see the maker buy back the majority of about 475,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. with faulty diesel engines.

Meanwhile, the embattled automaker’s 652 U.S. dealers are asking a federal judge in California to approve their own settlement of $1.2 billion.

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“There is resounding support for this consumer class settlement and the substantial benefits it provides,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, a class-action attorney representing consumers who had purchased VW products equipped with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, in a statement. (more…)

Volkswagen Identifies a New Direction with I.D. Battery-Car

An “iconic design study with the potential to define history.”

by on Sep.29, 2016

The Volkswagen I.D. makes its Paris debut.

(This story has been updated from the official Paris Motor Show launch.)

Volkswagen appears to have clearly identified a problem – and come up with a solution. With its reputation for building clean, high-mileage diesels in tatters due to its emissions scandal – and with regulators around the world pushing for a shift to zero-emissions alternatives – it is planning a major push into battery-electric technology.

The German maker is offering up a look at the first at what it says will be 30 battery-based models scheduled to reach market during the next decade: the new Volkswagen I.D. This Golf-size EV will likely give some serious competition to the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt when it reaches market in 2020.

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The VW I.D. pushes the concept of long range to a new level, the maker suggesting it will run anywhere from 400 to 600 kilometers – 250 to 375 miles – per charge. That would mean even a motorist could travel even longer than with most of today’s gasoline vehicles on a full tank.

“The I.D. stands for a new era of electric cars,” declared VW brand chief Herbert Diess, during the Paris unveiling. (more…)

VW Investors Nervous as DOJ Ponders Criminal Case Fine

Maker says it is working with government to "resolve remaining matters."

by on Sep.27, 2016

Volkswagen's investors are nervous about reports regarding the possible amount of the fine the U.S. Department of Justice may levy.

Volkswagen AG investors are nervous about the pending fine the U.S. Department of Justice is soon to levy on the German automaker over the diesel scandal.

Reports suggest that officials are trying to figure out how large a fine they can slap on the company without sending it into bankruptcy. This speculation by investors has caused the maker’s stock price to dip. The automaker’s already incurred $14.7 billion in civil fines from the agency.

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Currently, the company has $32 billion in net liquidity, as well its existing revenue and profits it could use to pay in future. Also it has access to lines of credit with several banks.

Since the fines are typically paid back over a number of years – the company isn’t required to cut a check immediately – so as long as VW remains profitable, getting the money shouldn’t be a difficult prospect: as long as the company is still viable. (more…)

VW Hints at Design of Upcoming EV Ahead of Paris Debut

Long-range EV could pose challenge to Tesla, GM.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Volkswagen plans to take the covers of several electric vehicles at the Paris Motor Show next month, but released sketches hinting at what's to come.

Volkswagen will come charging into the City of Lights next week, lifting the covers on its newest battery-electric vehicles.

Expected to deliver perhaps 300 miles or more of range, the maker is offering a vague hint of what will be revealed at the biennial Paris Motor Show with a set of sketches. They suggest the unnamed EV will be about the size of a Volkswagen Golf and could be targeted at a variety of electric competitors, anything from the BMW i3 to the upcoming Tesla Model 3, as well as the Chevrolet Bolt set to go sale before the end of this year.

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The German maker has traditionally relied on diesels, but in the wake of its emissions scandal it has been rapidly shifting into electric propulsion, as much as a quarter of its sales expected to come from battery-based models a decade from now. The new concept, says the maker, will be “as revolutionary as the Beetle was seven decades ago.” (more…)

‘Anti-Union’ Out at VW’s Tennessee Plant

UAW represents about 55% of employees at Chattanooga plant.

by on Sep.22, 2016

Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is now a one-union facility as the automaker decertified the American Council of Employees.

The uncertainty surrounding the UAW’s status at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, just got a little clearer today.

The automaker decertified the competing union at the plant, the American Council of Employees, saying it no longer had enough members – 15% of the workforce – to qualify for recognition by the company.

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Volkswagen told workers the UAW was again verified as representing at least 45% of workers at the plant, qualifying the union for the top tier of the policy, which enables the UAW to interact regularly with management and have a meeting space within the plant. (more…)

VW Facing $9 Bil in Investor Claims Over Diesel Scandal

Shareholders lost billions once scam was revealed.

by on Sep.21, 2016

VW's costs continue to grow as a result of its diesel emissions scandal.

After already agreeing to claims and penalties worth nearly $20 billion, Volkswagen now faces more than 1,400 investor lawsuits that could cost it another $9 billion.

A flood of lawsuits have landed on the doorstep of the regional court in Braunschweig, Germany as a one-year deadline for filing claims approaches. It was on September 18, 2015 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused the automaker of rigging 475,000 vehicles equipped with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel to pass American emissions tests.

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The automaker quickly acknowledged the subterfuge – which involved a total of 11 million vehicles sold worldwide – and also admitted using a so-called “defeat device” on a higher-end 3.0-liter diesel sold by the Audi and Porsche brands, as well as through VW.