Volkswagen


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Volkswagen ‘misused me’

Volkswagen AG executive, Oliver Schmidt, who is due to be sentenced this week in connection with the emissions scandal, has written to the judge to say he feels “misused” by VW.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve U.S. charges it installed secret software in vehicles to evade emissions tests.

Schmidt has pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court to wrongdoing associated with the emission scandal that has cost the German car maker around $30 billion. 

After being informed of the existence of the emissions software in the summer of 2015, according to his guilty plea, Schmidt conspired with other executives to avoid disclosing “intentional cheating” by the automaker in a bid to seek regulatory approval for its model 2016 VW 2 liter diesels.

The letter, originally published by German newspaper Bild am Sonnstag, Schmidt says “I must say that I feel misused by my own company in the diesel scandal or ‘Dieselgate’.”

Schmidt faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000 after admitting to conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violating clean air laws.

He is due to be sentence on December 6 2017.

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Volkswagen to spend big to meet EV quota

Yesterday the Volkswagen Group announced that it plans to spend 10 billion euros by 2025 in order to develop and build all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as it seeks to comply with upcoming stringent rules in China.

The group, which includes Volkswagen AG and Audi AG, intends to launch 15 of the new energy vehicles (NEV) models over the next two to three years, with an additional 25 after 2025.

China’s NEV production and sales quotas, which must be met by 2019, have prompted an increase in electric car partnerships and deals as automakers in China race to ensure they do not fall short.

China chief, Jochem Heizmann, speaking ahead of the Guangzhou auto show, added that the group is aiming to sell 400,000 new energy vehicles per year in China by 2020 and 1.5 million per year by 2025.

The Volkswagen Group is also confident that its group companies and their local China joint venture partners will be able to generate enough NEV sales volume to account for NEV quotas by 2019, Heizmann said, adding that there will be no need to buy credits.

The Guangzhou auto show starts on Friday.

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Volkswagen continues its upward trend

At 550,900 vehicles, worldwide deliveries by the Volkswagen brand in October 2017 were 7.7 per cent higher than the previous year.

 In total, the Volkswagen brand has delivered 5.04 million vehicles to customers worldwide so far this year. As a result, deliveries from January to October were 3.2 percent higher than the previous year.

“This has been the most successful October of all time for Volkswagen. A special boost came from the market in China, where there was an increase of some 26,000 vehicles compared with the same month last year. We are seeing positive momentum in many regions and are delighted with the continued strong demand for our vehicles,” said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales.

The Volkswagen brand continued is positive trajectory in the largest market, Asia-Pacific. In the month of October 317,100 vehicles were handed over, corresponding to an increase of 8.6 per cent compared to last October. The Tiguan was highly sought after, with 31,100 units delivered in October, an incredible increase of 37.2 per cent. 

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One third of VW vehicles still affected

A third of the 1.2 million cars manufactured by Volkswagen with devices to cheat emissions tests remain unfixed, two years after the scandal erupted.

VW admitted back in September 2015 that they had been using software to cheat diesel emission tests in the United States and has since paid out compensation to U.S. motorists but has refused to do so in Europe.

The British parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee said that Volkswagen had slowed the pace of its work in recent months and called on the transport ministry to take action.

“It is over two years since the VW emissions scandal was discovered, a third of vehicles have yet to be fixed and rates have slowed considerably,” said committee Chairwoman Mary Creagh, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party.

“The campaign will remain open for the foreseeable future but the 100 percent point can never be reached for the following reasons: Some vehicles will have been scrapped, some written off, some exported and some owners decline or never respond,” a spokesman said.

 

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Meet the all-new Polo

With more than 14 million models sold to date worldwide, the Polo is one of the world’s most successful compact cars. 

The sixth generation polo has been designed to meet the challenges of the modern world, equipped with a multitude of driver assistance systems that were previously reserved for the Golf and Passat class.

The new Polo is now much more spacious than its predecessor, even more spacious than a Golf in 1997. This has resulted in a significantly increased boot volume, which has grown by 25%, from 280 to 351 litres.

It is also the first Volkswagen model to feature a new generation of the optional Active Info Display. At the same time, it has been given the latest generation of infotainment systems which includes an impressive 8.0-inch glass covered touchscreen.

The highly equipped all-new Polo looks out for drivers on the road with a host of state-of-the-art driver assistance and comfort systems. These include Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Pedestrian monitoring and Blind spot monitoring detection.

Tom Ruddenklau, General Manager of Volkswagen New Zealand, says, “The new Polo personifies what Volkswagen is all about; world class engineering and technology that is accessible to the people. The New Polo is a technological marvel and benefits from the significant R&D investments Volkswagen has placed into its older siblings the Golf, Tiguan, Passat and Touareg.”

“It possesses world class features and safety normally found in cars twice its price. We are fortunate to have many thousand existing customers, many of whom are on their 2nd or 3rd Polo and it is great to be able to offer these loyal customers something quite special with the new sixth Generation Polo”.

The new Polo will arrive in New Zealand in February 2018. More information on specifications and pricing will be released soon. 

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Cartel inquiry widens

The investigation widens over whether several German carmakers have conspired to fix prices in diesel and other technologies over several decades.  (more…)

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VW’s emissions scandal bill hits $30bn

Amid arrests, falling share prices and continued uncertainty, Volkswagen’s bill from the ongoing emissions scandal has reached USD$30 Billion.

Reuters reports that on Thursday, German prosecutors arrested Wolfgang Hatz, the first top executive within the group to be detained amid a widening probe into cheating at VW’s Audi brand.

Wolfgang Hatz, arrested on Thursday by German prosecutors for his senior level role in VW’s emissions cheating scandal.

VW’s growing financial woes and Hatz’s arrest were also discussed on Friday at a regular meeting of the carmaker’s supervisory board, one person familiar with the matter said.

VW shares fell as much as 3 per cent on Friday, as traders and analysts reacted to the continuing fallout from the scandal.

VW, Europe’s biggest automaker, admitted in September 2015 that it had used illegal software to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, sparking the biggest business crisis in its 80-year history. Before Friday, it had set aside 22.6 billion euros ($26.7 billion) to cover costs such as fines and vehicle refits.

Last year, VW agreed with U.S. authorities to spend up to $15.3 billion to buy back or fix up to 475,000 2.0-litre polluting diesel cars.

On Friday, VW said it was extending the timeline and setting aside an additional 2.5 billion euros (USD$3.0 billion) as hardware. VW says the complications will amount to 5,200 euros per car.

“We have to do more with the hardware,” a VW spokesman said.

In Europe, where only a software update is required for the 8.5 million affected cars, plus a minor component integration for about 3.7 million 1.6-litre vehicles included in that number, fixes are running smoothly, the spokesman added.

The additional provision will be reflected in third-quarter results due on October 27, VW said.

 

 

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VW electric camper gets go-ahead

An all-electric camper concept from Volkswagen has been given the go ahead to begin production, Reuters reports.

The Volkswagen Bulli premiered at the Detroit Automotive show in January as a concept, and in the time since, Volkswagen has been considering whether or not to bring the vehicle to market. Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess says feedback he has received suggests now is the time.

The VW ID Buzz.

“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car’,” Diess said in a statement.

The van is a modification of Volkswagen’s well known Microbus camper van, and will be one of the 30 electric models the company plans to have in production by 2025. The electric van will go on sale in 2022 under the name ID Buzz, and VW said it will target customers in North America, Europe and China.

The company also plans to build a cargo version of the van. The New Zealand government is encouraging the adoption of fully electric vehicles with RUC exemptions and other incentives. While private ownership of EVs in New Zealand is higher than that of commercial ownership, commercial ownership is growing.

At present there is only one EV van on the New Zealand market available new, the Nissan E-NV200.

 

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German car makers in emissions deal

Emissions have reached toxic levels in many parts of Germany

Politicians and car makers in Germany have agreed to completely overhaul engine software on 5.3 million diesel vehicles in a bid to cut pollution, avoid a ban on diesels and repair the industry’s reputation in Europe.

Justice Minister Heiko Mass told the German newspaper Bild that the agreement was only the first step in an ongoing process, and bans on diesel vehicles in the future would not be ruled out.

“The legal requirements for clean air remain in effect,” he told journalists.

Air pollution has significantly decreased over the past decade, but is still breaching current standards.

In February, the EU Commission found limits for the deadly nitrogen dioxide pollution were exceeded 28 areas of Germany, and was responsible for 10,610 premature German deaths in 2013.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has come under increasing pressure for not doing enough to crack down on vehicle pollution, with Merkel’s close relationship to auto executives heavily criticised.  

However, ministers have been cautious about disrupting the auto industry, which provides 800,000 jobs, and is Germany’s biggest exporter.

“We expect a new culture of responsibility from carmakers,” Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, from the centre-left Social Democrats, said at a news conference.

“There is much to make good – to the environment, to people in cities, car owners and not least to the security of the car industry in Germany and its hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said the software updates would cut nitrous oxide emissions by 25-30 per cent for the 5.3 million affected cars.

The software update is expected to cost Volkwagen, Daimler and BMW a combined $800 million.

The popularity of diesel vehicles in the EU’s largest market is falling as a result of the ongoing emissions scandal. German diesel car sales fell 12 per cent in July, and diesel now makes up 40.5 per cent of new car sales, down from 46 per cent in 2016.

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Audi to cut $15b to fund EVs

Audi has pledged to cut costs by over $15 billion by 2022 to help fund its shift to electric cars, Reuters reports.

The highly profitable division of Volkswagen plans to bring five new pure-electric vehicles to market, starting with an e-tron SUV, which will be produced from next year.

Last year, an all-electric Audi R8 e-tron had a brief production run of 100 vehicles, and retailed for over $1.5 million before it was pulled in October.

Reuters says that the bulk of the $15 billion cuts will come from Audi’s research and development budget.

A spokesperson for Audi declined to comment.

More plans for Audi’s development were revealed to the news outlet. The car maker plans to develop a new production platform in conjunction with Porsche, meaning both Volkswagen brands can save money by sharing components and modules.

Audi is one of European brands embroiled in ongoing allegations of widespread cheating of emissions tests, and several top executives have been investigated recently. Last month, the German transport ministry ordered a recall of around 24,000 A7 and A8 SUVs for exceeding current emissions standards.

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Volkswagen recall

Volkswagen is recalling 385,000 cars in Germany.

The information which comes in from news agency, DPA, states that the manufacturer will update the software on the cars’ anti-lock brake systems.

The vehicles affected by the recall include the VW, Audi and Skoda brands. According to the news agency, the braking control system may not function properly in certain driving conditions – including when the driver over-steers, under-steers or slams on the brakes.

In January, the automotive giant recalled over 600,000 Audis in the US over defects that could lead to fires or airbag malfunctions.

In the same month, Volkswagen recalled almost 50,000 vehicles in China due to brake problems when using cruise control.

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