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    Geneva Motor Show: Volkswagen Sport Coupé Concept GTE


    • Another GTE Concept from Volkswagen, This Time In A Four-Door Coupe Guise


    Volkswagen comes to Geneva with a concept that not only slips in between the Passat and Phaeton, but one that gives a sneak peek into a future design language.

    The Sport Coupé Concept GTE is larger than the current CC in every dimension except in height. The front end has a new grille design and headlights with LEDs. Around back is styling similar to the Audi A7 with a liftback and low stance. Inside is seating for four passengers, along with large display screens for front and rear seat passengers.

    Power comes from plug-in hybrid powertrain that pairs a turbocharged 3.0L V6 and two electric motors to produce a total output of 374 horsepower. Volkswagen says the powertrain can hit 60 MPH in 5 seconds and return 118 MPG on the European cycle.

    Source: Volkswagen

    Press Release is on Page 2


    SPORT COUPÉ CONCEPT GTE MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT THE GENEVA AUTO SHOW

    • Four-door coupé marks beginning of a new design era at Volkswagen

    Wolfsburg/Geneva, March 2015 —Volkswagen will debut the Sport Coupé Concept GTE at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, heralding a new and progressive Volkswagen design language. “Evolution and revolution come together in the Sport Coupé Concept GTE. This concept is based on Volkswagen design DNA, which has been visibly sharpened even more. It shows how the highest-volume brand of our Group is shaping the immediate future,” says Walter de Silva, Head of Design of Volkswagen AG.

    Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Development, elaborates: “This breathtakingly dynamic coupé is unlike any other to appear in this class. The design of the Sport Coupé Concept GTE is an impressive alternative to the classic sedans of the B and C segments—it has the style of a sport coupé that is enriched by the functionality of a large hatchback and the interior space of a sedan.” Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen Brand, adds: “The Sport Coupé Concept GTE is another milestone of expressive design. With this concept car, Volkswagen is not only showing a new model’s design, but also initial glimpses of a new design era.”

    The interior of the Sport Coupé Concept GTE is as innovative as its exterior. It features extremely clean design, matchless ergonomics and new interactive interfaces between human and machine—including the use of the driver's bio-metric data and a new Active Info Display that has a 3D appearance. The upshot is an avant-garde interior ambiance that is in complete harmony with its expressive exterior design.

    Under the skin, the car is also very innovative. The GTE designation promises a plug-in hybrid drive system and that’s what this concept delivers. Volkswagen’s regular GTE models can be driven approximately 32 miles in all-electric mode and yet they can cover very long distances with confidence. GTE versions are conceivable in all vehicle classes, as demonstrated with the Cross Coupe GTE SUV concept vehicle that was shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

    The Sport Coupé Concept GTE adds a new facet to its GTE philosophy. The 374-horsepower (279 kW) GTE fastback delivers the long-distance properties of a Gran Turismo while simultaneously enabling zero-emission driving, thanks to its two electric motors and externally chargeable battery. The concept car has a top speed of 155 mph and has an impressive EC average combined fuel consumption of 118 mpg.

    Volkswagen differentiates between the B, C and D segments in the mid-size and premium classes. The latest Passat, for example, is setting standards in the high-volume section of the B segment; the Volkswagen CC is positioned in the upper B segment; and the Phaeton, as a premium sedan, is in the D segment. The Sport Coupé Concept is breaking out of its current segment and into the C segment. Klaus Bischoff: “Internally, the Sport Coupé Concept GTE is a car that we position above today's Volkswagen CC. We are enriching this segment with a premium design which is as exclusive as it is dynamic, and which casts the term avant-garde in a new light.”

    Exterior design.

    The concept car is underpinned again by Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB), which allows for great packaging and proportions. The most important dimension for the design of a car is the ratio of the exterior length to the wheelbase. The concept car is 191.7 inches long with an incredibly long wheelbase of 118.9 inches, creating an interior that is 73.7 inches long, as well as short body overhangs: 35.8 inches at the front and 44.1 inches at the back. Its low height (55.4 inches), impressive width (73.4 inches) and large 21-inch wheels give the car a spectacular stance. Yet, because of the MQB packaging, the Sport Coupé Concept GTE also offers excellent front and rear headroom and a 17.0 cubic foot trunk.

    Front end. The radiator grille, headlights and VW badge merge into a completely new interpretation of the Volkswagen front end. The designers specifically emphasized three-dimensionality. Towards its outer edges, the radiator grille borders the LED dual headlights that are framed by an aluminum radiator grille crosspiece, whose ends take an upward turn, like the winglets of a modern jet airplane. This shape is repeated on the exterior and in the interior, running as a common thread throughout the vehicle's design.

    The uppermost radiator grille crosspiece frames the inner LED modules (high beams and Daytime Running Lights); the second crosspiece wraps around the outer LED modules (low beams and DRLs). The winglets also function as DRLs thanks to integrated bands of LEDs and as turn signals by alternating the LED color at the top ends of the bands. The Sport Coupé Concept GTE‘s DRL signature is completed by the C-shaped LEDs arranged around the lower air intakes (an identifying characteristic of electric and plug-in hybrid mo­dels from Volkswagen).

    Beneath the two upper radiator grille crosspieces, there are four additional bars. Each trim piece is narrower than the one above it, and together they form a wide "V" that is framed by body-colored area of the bumper.

    Silhouette. The Sport Coupé Concept GTE is a coupé with four doors and a hatchback. This approach led to a design that emphasises long, extended lines, a low overall height and an athletic body form. The car's silhouette is uncompromised: the roofline assumes the shape of a flattened curve extending from the A-pillar—set far back for a long hood—to the rear body. The extremely low-set C-pillar, which develops seamlessly from the roofline, dominates the back end of the car. Air vents in the front fenders and hood have chrome elements that mimic the stylistic theme of the winglets around the headlights.

    The precision of the car’s design is illustrated by two elements of the car's silhouette. First, the lower window line, which looks as though it were carved into the body, is continued as a sharp edge into the front fenders. Second, the character line that runs below the window sill is the most important line on the vehicle. At the rear, it is designed as what is known as an undercut. Here, the character line is drawn slightly outward to emphasize the strong shoulder section and generate a light-refracting edge. This undercut reduces gradually as it runs towards the front of the car, where the character line extends into the front wheelarch.

    Rear section. The roofline, including the C-pillars, transitions directly into the vertical surface of the rear section, just like a classical sports car’s. The rear spoiler visually lengthens the car; laterally, the spoiler’s lower edge is continued above the taillights and directly into the character line. The roof section has a lot of tumblehome from front to rear, creating space for a muscular shoulder section, which in turn transitions into the powerfully flared wheelarches.

    Like the headlights, the LED taillights are designed to have a 3D appearance, with a light signature that apes the winglets at the front. On each side of the vehicle, the basic lighting unit consists of two glossy black elements, in which the brake light, turn signal, and rear light LEDs have been integrated. At night, the black background surfaces are not visible, which makes the illuminated LED elements appear to hover, creating an unmistakable light signature.

    Interior design

    The new interfaces in the Sport Coupé Concept GTE are appealing to the eye as well as being a high-tech tour de force. The instrument cluster is a prototype of a newly conceptualised Active Info Display with 3D graphics. The display has a 12.3-inch diagonal and was designed in such a way that the virtual space blends into the real border of the instrument cluster, via a patented ambient light effect, thus creating a free-form surface. In its basic configuration, the digital display depicts two round instruments; a power meter on the left and a speedometer on the right with a field between them for all sorts of information. The new free-form surface makes the round instruments appear to hover in virtual space. The graphics of the displays change according to the driving mode (E-mode or GTE mode).

    The central infotainment system’s touchscreen has a 10.1 inch diagonal; the area alongside this screen also features touch-sensitive slider controls for the HVAC. The rear seating area has a 12.3-inch touchscreen that serves as the media control module and is integrated between the individual seats. It can be used to operate functions that include the media library, telephone and navigation. Rear passengers can also control the two 10.1-inch screens embedded in the backrests of the front seats via this media control unit. In addition, the slider controls integrated alongside the 12.3-inch display can be used to operate the automatic climate control system, for a four-zone system.

    For the first time, Volkswagen is interfacing the car's electronics directly with the driver. Based on the driver's biometric data, the Sport Coupé Concept GTE determines, via a smartwatch or armband for measuring the driver's vital functions, whether to select a route that includes an exciting country road or a gentle route instead.

    Monitoring of biometric data begins as soon as the driver inputs the destination by voice or on the touchscreen—but only if the driver wants the data stored in the device to be used as input for the navigation system. Time and distance are secondary factors here. In this navigation mode, which is individually tailored to the driver, the sole purpose is to experience maximum driving enjoyment.

    The navigation system recommends routes that are displayed in lists or via Cover Flow; in this case, apps such as Instagram are used to show additional information and images of the individual routes. The driver can view the selected route in the infotainment system before heading out. Simultaneously, the driver gets detailed information on the type of route and on the traffic, weather and road conditions along the route.

    To get the most precise real-time information, the system evaluates car-to-car data from other vehicles that are already driving the same route ahead of the Sport Coupé Concept GTE. At the same time, the system compares route conditions to the vehicle’s status, such as remaining battery charge.

    Ambience. One unique feature inside the car is the way the line from the dash panel and door shoulders appears to wrap around the four passengers like a cocoon. The dash panel, designed with horizontal elements and leather-trimmed at the top, uniformly transitions into the front door trim panels and then into the rear doors. The dash panel itself is designed to be straightforward, clean and minimalistic. In the upper area, three slender and elegant aluminum slots function as vents, with a slender piano-black accent and another aluminum vent beneath them that spans the entire width of the dash panel.

    The center console rises towards the dash panel where it meets the infotainment system, just like a sports car. Here too, elegant gloss-black and thin aluminum surrounds are dominant styling elements. Forming a contrast to this, beneath the "hovering" design of the console, there’s a layer that looks like natural wood. The same material is found on the door panels and on the steering wheel. Among the practical details are cupholders that can warm or cool the drinks placed in them. The 6-speed DSG has shift-by-wire logic and stays in a central position, like a joystick. The R, N and D selections are activated by a flick of the wrist, while P is set by pushing a separate button that is integrated in the shift lever.

    Drive system

    The Sport Coupé Concept GTE is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system that is both economical and sporty. The concept car uses a turbocharged 3.0-litre TSI V6 direct-injection engine that produces 295 horsepower (220 kW) and maximum torque of 369 pound feet. The electrical components consist of a lithium-ion battery that’s housed in the center tunnel and two electric motors. The 54-hp (40 kW0 front motor is integrated in the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and the rear electric motor develops 114 hp (85 kW). The total available system power is 374 hp (279 kW).

    If necessary, the system’s power can be distributed to all four wheels thanks to the rear electric motor and an "electric driveshaft". In the sporty GTE mode, the 155 mph coupé accelerates from zero to 62 mph in just 5.0 seconds. Despite this dynamic performance, the concept car has an EC combined fuel consumption of 118 mpg. In addition, the Sport Coupé Concept GTE can be driven all-electrically, with zero emissions, for a distance of at least 32 miles. The total driving range on one tank of gasoline is more than 745 miles.

    Hybrid. The concept car starts in Hybrid Mode by default. The Sport Coupé Concept GTE is then a classical full hybrid that charges the battery via regenerative braking and automatically uses the V6 engine and/or the electric motor depending on the drive situation. In this mode, the battery state of charge is kept constant; the driver can actively influence this by using the battery hold function.

    • Coasting: As soon as the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator and the battery is sufficiently charged, the gasoline engine and electric motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain.
    • Recuperation Mode: If the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator or brakes when the battery is not sufficiently charged, both electric motors work as generators and feed the energy generated during braking to the lithium-ion battery. In this case, too, the V6 engine is shut down and disengaged.
    • Driving with the V6 engine: When the gasoline engine alone is powering the vehicle, the concept car is purely front-wheel drive to achieve excellent fuel economy.

    "E-Mode". In E-mode, which the driver activates by button push, only the 114-hp electric motor at the rear axle provides propulsive power. In all-electric driving, the V6 TSI is decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch, and it is shut off. As soon as the six-cylinder engine needs to be used again—due to the battery's charge state or other parameters—it is coupled to the drivetrain again within fractions of a second without any jolts. The lithium-ion battery, which has a capacity of 10.7 kWh, is responsible for supplying energy to the electric motors.

    GTE. The driver uses the GTE button to switch to the most dynamic side of the vehicle. This makes the throttle, transmission and steering characteristics even sportier. In addition, the V6 engine and the electric motors work together to deliver the full system output and the maximum system torque.

    Battery Charge/Battery Hold. The dual-mode Battery Hold (energy content of the battery stays constant) and Battery Charge (battery is charged whilst driving) is activated via a sub-menu in the infotainment system. It serves to hold the vehicle in E-Mode, for example, when the driver knows they are about to enter an urban area.

    “Electric driveshaft” all-wheel-drive system. All four wheels are powered as soon as the system detects it is needed. In this case (and when the battery charge is low), the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator that is driven by the gasoline engine in order to provide the power for its counterpart at the rear axle. As the power to drive the rear axle flows electronically, the all-wheel-drive system is referred to as an “electric driveshaft”. Since the V6 engine drives the rear electric motor via the front motor, all-wheel drive is available even when the battery has a low state of charge and the car is running as a plug-in-hybrid.

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    I have to honestly say this is the best I have seen from VW and for once a car I actually like in style on the outside and inside from them. I am even happy with the way they have done the big mouth bass front grill.

     

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    Interior I hope makes it to production as I like what they have done. I will say the instrument cluster is a bit sparse but being digital, I hope I can customize it to my liking.

     

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    I love these images of their Hybrid PowerTrain. Clearly taking a page from GM VOLT design with the battery in the middle. :D

     

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    Agreed but at their glacial pace when will we see it is the biggest question followed by how fast! They are looking more and more like the GM of pre-Bankruptcy.

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    I think it looks good, one of their best looking concepts in a long time.  Perhaps the future CC will look like this.  The grille is a bit over the top, but overall, this is a sweet looking car.

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      VW engineers working under Dorenkamp and Hadler designed and implemented a software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or it was being driven on the road under normal driving conditions. The software accomplished this by recognizing the standard published drive cycles. Based on these inputs, if the vehicle’s software detected that it was being tested, the vehicle performed in one mode, which satisfied U.S. NOx emissions standards. If the software detected that the vehicle was not being tested, it operated in a different mode, in which the vehicle’s emissions control systems were reduced substantially, causing the vehicle to emit NOx up to 40 times higher than U.S. standards.
      Disagreements over the direction of the project were articulated at a meeting over which Hadler presided, and which Dorenkamp attended. Hadler authorized Dorenkamp to proceed with the project knowing that only the use of the defeat device software would enable VW diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emissions tests. Starting with the first model year 2009 of VW’s new “clean diesel” engine through model year 2016, Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler and their co-conspirators installed, or caused to be installed, the defeat device software into the vehicles imported and sold in the United States. In order to sell their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States, the co-conspirators lied to the EPA about the existence of their test-cheating software, hiding it from the EPA, CARB, VW customers and the U.S. public. Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators then marketed, and caused to be marketed, VW diesel vehicles to the U.S. public as “clean diesel” and environmentally-friendly.
      Around 2012, hardware failures developed in certain of the diesel vehicles. VW engineers believed the increased stress on the exhaust system from being driven in the “dyno mode” could be the cause of the hardware failures. In July 2012, VW engineers met with Neusser and Gottweis to explain what they believed to be the cause of the hardware failures and explained the defeat device. Gottweis and Neusser each encouraged further concealment of the software. In 2014, the co-conspirators perfected their cheating software by starting the vehicle in “street mode,” and, when the defeat device realized the vehicle was being tested, switching to the “dyno mode.” To increase the ability of the vehicle’s software to recognize that it was being tested on the dynamometer, the VW engineers activated a “steering wheel angle recognition feature.” With these alterations, it was believed the stress on the exhaust system would be reduced because the engine would not be operating for as long in “dyno mode.” The new function was installed in existing vehicles through software updates. The defendants and other co-conspirators falsely represented, and caused to be represented, to U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and others that the software update was intended to improve durability and emissions issues in the vehicles when, in fact, they knew it was used to more quickly deactivate emission control systems when the vehicle was not undergoing emissions tests.
      After years of VW selling their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States that had the cheating software, in March 2014, West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions published the results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The ICCT study identified substantial discrepancies in the NOx emissions from certain VW vehicles when tested on the road compared to when these vehicles were undergoing EPA and CARB standard drive cycle tests on a dynamometer. Rather than tell the truth, VW employees, including Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter, pursued a strategy to disclose as little as possible – to continue to hide the existence of the software from U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and the U.S. public.
      Following the ICCT study, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, attempted to work with VW to determine the cause for the higher NOx emissions in VW diesel vehicles when being driven on the road as opposed to on the dynamometer undergoing standard emissions test cycles. To do this, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, repeatedly asked VW questions that became increasingly more specific and detailed, and tested the vehicles themselves. In implementing their strategy of disclosing as little as possible, Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators provided EPA and CARB with testing results, data, presentations and statements in an attempt to make it appear that there were innocent mechanical and technological problems to blame, while secretly knowing that the primary reason for the discrepancy was their cheating software that was installed in every VW diesel vehicle sold in the United States. The co-conspirators continued this back-and-forth with the EPA and CARB for over 18 months, obstructing the regulators’ attempts to uncover the truth.
      The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
      The case was investigated by the FBI and EPA-CID. The prosecution and corporate investigation are being handled by Securities and Financial Fraud Unit Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys David Fuhr, Alison Anderson, Christopher Fenton and Gary Winters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section; Trial Attorney Jennifer Blackwell of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Criminal Division Chief Mark Chutkow and White Collar Crime Unit Chief John K. Neal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Wyse. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also assisted in the case. The Justice Department also extends its thanks to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Braunschweig, Germany.
      The Civil Resolutions:
      The first civil settlement resolves EPA’s remaining claims against six VW-related entities (including Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Porsche AG) currently pending in the multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California. EPA’s complaint alleges that VW violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 cars that the United States alleges are equipped with defeat devices and, during normal operation and use, emit pollution significantly in excess of EPA-compliant levels. VW has agreed to pay $1.45 billion to resolve EPA’s civil penalty claims, as well as the civil penalty claim of CBP described below. The consent decree resolving the Clean Air Act claims also resolves EPA’s remaining claim in the complaint for injunctive relief to prevent future violations by requiring VW to undertake a number of corporate governance reforms and perform in-use testing of its vehicles using a portable emissions measurement system of the same type used to catch VW’s cheating in the first place. Today’s settlement is in addition the historic $14.7 billion settlement that addressed the 2.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in June 2016, and $1 billion settlement that addressed the 3.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in December 2016, which together included nearly $3 billion for environmental mitigation projects.
      A second civil settlement resolves civil fraud claims asserted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) against VW entities. VW entities violated criminal and civil customs laws by knowingly submitting to CBP material false statements and omitting material information, over multiple years, with the intent of deceiving or misleading CBP concerning the admissibility of vehicles into the United States. CBP enforces U.S. customs laws as well as numerous laws on behalf of other governmental agencies related to health, safety, and border security. At the time of importation, VW falsely represented to CBP that each of the nearly 590,000 imported vehicles complied with all applicable environmental laws, knowing those representations to be untrue. CBP’s relationship with the importing community is one based on trust, and this resolution demonstrates that CBP will not tolerate abrogation of importer responsibilities and schemes to defraud the revenue of the United States. The $1.45 billion paid under the EPA settlement also resolves CBP’s claims.
      In a third settlement, VW has agreed to pay $50 million in civil penalties for alleged violations of FIRREA. The Justice Department alleged that a VW entity supported the sales and leasing of certain VW vehicles, including the defeat-device vehicles, by offering competitive financing terms by purchasing from dealers certain automobile retail installment contracts (i.e. loans) and leases entered into by customers that purchased or leased certain VW vehicles, as well as dealer floorplan loans. These financing arrangements were primarily collateralized by the vehicles underlying the loan and lease transactions. The department alleged that certain of these loans, leases and floorplan financings were pooled together to create asset-backed securities and that federally insured financial institutions purchased certain notes in these securities. Today’s FIRREA resolution is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to deter wrongdoers from using the financial markets to facilitate their fraud and to ensure the stability of the nation’s financial system.
      Except where based on admissions by VW, the claims resolved by the civil agreements are allegations only.
      The civil settlements were handled by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with assistance from the EPA; the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch; and CBP.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen will be cutting another big check. Today, the company announced that it had reached a settlement with Department of Justice over the criminal case on the diesel emission scandal. Volkswagen will plead guilty to three criminal felony charges and will pay $4.3 billion - $2.8 billion for the fine and $1.5 billion to settle civil cases. The settlement also requires an independent monitor to watch over the company for the next years. 
      Volkswagen's board still needs to approve this settlement, but the company says the approval could happen today or tomorrow. If they waited, the parties would have to do it all over again with new people coming as part of President-elect Trump's team.
      “Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to defending consumers, protecting our environment and our financial system and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing. In the days ahead, we will continue to examine Volkswagen’s attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government. And we will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement.
      In addition, six Volkswagen executives and employees have been charged with their involvement in the scandal. They include, 
      Richard Dorenkamp - In charge of Volkswagen’s Engine Development After-Treatment Department from 2003 to 2013. This department is where the cheat was developed. Bernd Gottweis - Volkswagen's supervisor responsible for Quality Management and Product Safety between 2007 to October 2014. Jens Hadler - Head of powertrain development from 2007 to 2011. Heinz-Jakob Neusser - Head of powertrain development from 2011 to 2013, suspended by Volkswagen back in 2015. Jürgen Peter - Worked in Volkswagen's Quality Management and Product Safety Group from 1990 to now. For a few months in 2015, he was a liaison for various regulatory agencies. Oliver Schmidt - Volkswagen's liaison with U.S. environmental regulators. He was arrested on Sunday in Miami as he was returning to Germany. Source: Department of Justice, Bloomberg, Reuters
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Volkswagen AG Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Billion in Criminal and Civil Penalties; Six Volkswagen Executives and Employees are Indicted in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests
      VW to Pay $2.8 Billion Criminal Fine in Guilty Plea and $1.5 Billion Settlement of Civil Environmental, Customs and Financial Violations; Monitor to Be Appointed to Oversee the Parent Company Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty as a result of the company’s long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme, the Justice Department announced today.
      In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay $1.5 billion. This includes EPA’s claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims for customs fraud. In addition, the EPA agreement requires injunctive relief to prevent future violations. The agreements also resolve alleged violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).
      The Criminal Case:
      VW is charged with and has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and VW’s U.S. customers and to violate the Clean Air Act by lying and misleading the EPA and U.S. customers about whether certain VW, Audi and Porsche branded diesel vehicles complied with U.S. emissions standards, using cheating software to circumvent the U.S. testing process and concealing material facts about its cheating from U.S. regulators. VW is also charged with obstruction of justice for destroying documents related to the scheme, and with a separate crime of importing these cars into the U.S. by means of false statements about the vehicles’ compliance with emissions limits. Under the terms of the plea agreement, which must be accepted by the court, VW will plead guilty to all these crimes, will be on probation for three years, will be under an independent corporate compliance monitor who will oversee the company for at least three years, and agrees to fully cooperate in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for these crimes.
      In addition, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today charging six VW executives and employees for their roles in the nearly 10-year conspiracy. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, 56; Jens Hadler, 50; Richard Dorenkamp, 68; Bernd Gottweis, 69; Oliver Schmidt, 48; and Jürgen Peter, 59, all of Germany, are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, defraud VW’s U.S. customers and violate the Clean Air Act by making false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with U.S. emissions requirements. The indictment also charges Dorenkamp, Neusser, Schmidt and Peter with Clean Air Act violations and charges Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter with wire fraud counts. This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox of the Eastern District of Michigan.
      Schmidt was arrested on Jan. 7, 2017, in Miami during a visit to the United States and appeared in federal court there on Monday. The other defendants are believed to presently reside in Germany.
      Today’s announcement was made by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Acting Deputy Secretary Russell C. Deyo for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
      “Volkswagen’s attempts to dodge emissions standards and import falsely certified vehicles into the country represent an egregious violation of our nation’s environmental, consumer protection and financial laws,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to defending consumers, protecting our environment and our financial system and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing. In the days ahead, we will continue to examine Volkswagen’s attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government. And we will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy.”
      “When Volkswagen broke the law, EPA stepped in to hold them accountable and address the pollution they caused,” said EPA Administrator McCarthy. “EPA’s fundamental and indispensable role becomes all too clear when companies evade laws that protect our health. The American public depends on a strong and active EPA to deliver clean air protections, and that is exactly what we have done.”
      “This wasn’t simply the action of some faceless, multinational corporation,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates. “This conspiracy involved flesh-and-blood individuals who used their positions within Volkswagen to deceive both regulators and consumers. From the start of this investigation, we’ve been committed to ensuring that those responsible for criminal activity are held accountable. We’ve followed the evidence—from the showroom to the boardroom—and it brought us to the people whose indictments we’re announcing today.”
      “Americans expect corporations to operate honestly and provide accurate information,” said Deputy Director McCabe. “Volkswagen’s data deception defrauded the U.S. government, violated the Clean Air Act and eroded consumer trust. This case sends a clear message to corporations, no matter how big or small, that if you lie and disregard rules that protect consumers and the environment, you will be caught and held accountable.”
      “Blatant violations of U.S. customs and environmental laws will not be tolerated, and this case reinforces that,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Deyo. “These actions put our economy, consumers and citizens at risk, and the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to take every step necessary to protect the American people.”
      According to the indictment, the individuals occupied the following positions within the company:
      Heinz-Jakob Neusser: from July 2013 until September 2015, Neusser worked for VW as head of Development for VW Brand and was also on the management board for VW Brand. From October 2011 until July 2013, Neusser served as the head of Engine Development for VW. Jens Hadler: from May 2007 until March 2011, Hadler worked for VW as head of Engine Development for VW. Richard Dorenkamp: from 2003 until December 2013, Dorenkamp worked for VW as the head of VW’s Engine Development After-Treatment Department in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 2006 until 2013, Dorenkamp led a team of engineers that developed the first diesel engine that was designed to meet the new, tougher emissions standards in the United States. Bernd Gottweis: from 2007 until October 2014, Gottweis worked for VW as a supervisor with responsibility for Quality Management and Product Safety. Oliver Schmidt: from 2012 through February 2015, Schmidt was the General Manager in charge of the Environment and Engineering Office, located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. From February 2015 through September 2015, Schmidt returned to VW headquarters to work directly for Neusser, including on emissions issues. Jürgen Peter: Peter worked in the VW Quality Management and Product Safety Group from 1990 until the present. From March 2015 until July 2015, Peter was one of the VW liaisons between the regulatory agencies and VW. According to the charging documents and statement of facts filed with the court, in 2006, VW engineers began to design a new diesel engine to meet stricter U.S. emissions standards that would take effect by model year 2007. This new engine would be the cornerstone of a new project to sell diesel vehicles in the United States that would be marketed to buyers as “clean diesel,” a project that was an important strategic goal for VW’s management. When the co-conspirators realized that they could not design a diesel engine that would both meet the stricter NOx emissions standards and attract sufficient customer demand in the U.S. market, they decided they would use a software function to cheat standard U.S. emissions tests.
      VW engineers working under Dorenkamp and Hadler designed and implemented a software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or it was being driven on the road under normal driving conditions. The software accomplished this by recognizing the standard published drive cycles. Based on these inputs, if the vehicle’s software detected that it was being tested, the vehicle performed in one mode, which satisfied U.S. NOx emissions standards. If the software detected that the vehicle was not being tested, it operated in a different mode, in which the vehicle’s emissions control systems were reduced substantially, causing the vehicle to emit NOx up to 40 times higher than U.S. standards.
      Disagreements over the direction of the project were articulated at a meeting over which Hadler presided, and which Dorenkamp attended. Hadler authorized Dorenkamp to proceed with the project knowing that only the use of the defeat device software would enable VW diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emissions tests. Starting with the first model year 2009 of VW’s new “clean diesel” engine through model year 2016, Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler and their co-conspirators installed, or caused to be installed, the defeat device software into the vehicles imported and sold in the United States. In order to sell their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States, the co-conspirators lied to the EPA about the existence of their test-cheating software, hiding it from the EPA, CARB, VW customers and the U.S. public. Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators then marketed, and caused to be marketed, VW diesel vehicles to the U.S. public as “clean diesel” and environmentally-friendly.
      Around 2012, hardware failures developed in certain of the diesel vehicles. VW engineers believed the increased stress on the exhaust system from being driven in the “dyno mode” could be the cause of the hardware failures. In July 2012, VW engineers met with Neusser and Gottweis to explain what they believed to be the cause of the hardware failures and explained the defeat device. Gottweis and Neusser each encouraged further concealment of the software. In 2014, the co-conspirators perfected their cheating software by starting the vehicle in “street mode,” and, when the defeat device realized the vehicle was being tested, switching to the “dyno mode.” To increase the ability of the vehicle’s software to recognize that it was being tested on the dynamometer, the VW engineers activated a “steering wheel angle recognition feature.” With these alterations, it was believed the stress on the exhaust system would be reduced because the engine would not be operating for as long in “dyno mode.” The new function was installed in existing vehicles through software updates. The defendants and other co-conspirators falsely represented, and caused to be represented, to U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and others that the software update was intended to improve durability and emissions issues in the vehicles when, in fact, they knew it was used to more quickly deactivate emission control systems when the vehicle was not undergoing emissions tests.
      After years of VW selling their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States that had the cheating software, in March 2014, West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions published the results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The ICCT study identified substantial discrepancies in the NOx emissions from certain VW vehicles when tested on the road compared to when these vehicles were undergoing EPA and CARB standard drive cycle tests on a dynamometer. Rather than tell the truth, VW employees, including Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter, pursued a strategy to disclose as little as possible – to continue to hide the existence of the software from U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and the U.S. public.
      Following the ICCT study, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, attempted to work with VW to determine the cause for the higher NOx emissions in VW diesel vehicles when being driven on the road as opposed to on the dynamometer undergoing standard emissions test cycles. To do this, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, repeatedly asked VW questions that became increasingly more specific and detailed, and tested the vehicles themselves. In implementing their strategy of disclosing as little as possible, Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators provided EPA and CARB with testing results, data, presentations and statements in an attempt to make it appear that there were innocent mechanical and technological problems to blame, while secretly knowing that the primary reason for the discrepancy was their cheating software that was installed in every VW diesel vehicle sold in the United States. The co-conspirators continued this back-and-forth with the EPA and CARB for over 18 months, obstructing the regulators’ attempts to uncover the truth.
      The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
      The case was investigated by the FBI and EPA-CID. The prosecution and corporate investigation are being handled by Securities and Financial Fraud Unit Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys David Fuhr, Alison Anderson, Christopher Fenton and Gary Winters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section; Trial Attorney Jennifer Blackwell of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Criminal Division Chief Mark Chutkow and White Collar Crime Unit Chief John K. Neal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Wyse. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also assisted in the case. The Justice Department also extends its thanks to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Braunschweig, Germany.
      The Civil Resolutions:
      The first civil settlement resolves EPA’s remaining claims against six VW-related entities (including Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Porsche AG) currently pending in the multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California. EPA’s complaint alleges that VW violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 cars that the United States alleges are equipped with defeat devices and, during normal operation and use, emit pollution significantly in excess of EPA-compliant levels. VW has agreed to pay $1.45 billion to resolve EPA’s civil penalty claims, as well as the civil penalty claim of CBP described below. The consent decree resolving the Clean Air Act claims also resolves EPA’s remaining claim in the complaint for injunctive relief to prevent future violations by requiring VW to undertake a number of corporate governance reforms and perform in-use testing of its vehicles using a portable emissions measurement system of the same type used to catch VW’s cheating in the first place. Today’s settlement is in addition the historic $14.7 billion settlement that addressed the 2.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in June 2016, and $1 billion settlement that addressed the 3.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in December 2016, which together included nearly $3 billion for environmental mitigation projects.
      A second civil settlement resolves civil fraud claims asserted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) against VW entities. VW entities violated criminal and civil customs laws by knowingly submitting to CBP material false statements and omitting material information, over multiple years, with the intent of deceiving or misleading CBP concerning the admissibility of vehicles into the United States. CBP enforces U.S. customs laws as well as numerous laws on behalf of other governmental agencies related to health, safety, and border security. At the time of importation, VW falsely represented to CBP that each of the nearly 590,000 imported vehicles complied with all applicable environmental laws, knowing those representations to be untrue. CBP’s relationship with the importing community is one based on trust, and this resolution demonstrates that CBP will not tolerate abrogation of importer responsibilities and schemes to defraud the revenue of the United States. The $1.45 billion paid under the EPA settlement also resolves CBP’s claims.
      In a third settlement, VW has agreed to pay $50 million in civil penalties for alleged violations of FIRREA. The Justice Department alleged that a VW entity supported the sales and leasing of certain VW vehicles, including the defeat-device vehicles, by offering competitive financing terms by purchasing from dealers certain automobile retail installment contracts (i.e. loans) and leases entered into by customers that purchased or leased certain VW vehicles, as well as dealer floorplan loans. These financing arrangements were primarily collateralized by the vehicles underlying the loan and lease transactions. The department alleged that certain of these loans, leases and floorplan financings were pooled together to create asset-backed securities and that federally insured financial institutions purchased certain notes in these securities. Today’s FIRREA resolution is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to deter wrongdoers from using the financial markets to facilitate their fraud and to ensure the stability of the nation’s financial system.
      Except where based on admissions by VW, the claims resolved by the civil agreements are allegations only.
      The civil settlements were handled by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with assistance from the EPA; the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch; and CBP.
    • By William Maley
      While Europe has been enjoying the new Volkswagen Tiguan for a few months, North America has had to wait a bit longer for it. Tonight, Volkswagen has unveiled our version of Tiguan.
      Why has it taken so long? That's because our Tiguan is a bit different as we get the long-wheelbase variant. Compared to the European-spec model, the North American Tiguan is 10.7 inches longer and rides on a 4.4-inch longer wheelbase. The longer wheelbase allows Volkswagen to shoehorn in a third-row into the vehicle - a plus point for crossover buyers.
      If you have spent any time in a Golf, then you'll feel at home in the Tiguan as the layout is similar. Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit - a 12.3-inch screen with reconfigurable gauges - will be optional. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a backup camera will come standard. It should be noted the third-row comes standard on front-wheel drive models, while 4Motion all-wheel drive models get it as an option.
      Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic.
      No mention of when the Tiguan would go on sale.
      Source: Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2


      VOLKSWAGEN REVEALS THE ALL-NEW 2018 LONG-WHEELBASE TIGUAN AT THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
      Jan 8, 2017
      Debut of the long-wheelbase Tiguan, based off the award-winning MQB architecture Longer by 10.7 inches than current model, with an increase in cargo space up to 57 percent Flexible seating for five with sliding second row Third-row seating standard on certain trims and optional across lineup Available driver assistance technology includes: ACC, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Lane Assist Available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit allows drivers to reconfigure instrument panel Optional 4Motion® with Active Control all-wheel-drive system features four selectable modes Available panoramic sunroof and power tailgate lead long list of available features Detroit, Mich. – The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show kicks off a big year for the Volkswagen brand in America. Engineered specifically to meet the needs of American customers, the all-new Tiguan builds on the current vehicle’s fun to drive character and adds a more sophisticated and spacious interior, flexible seating and high-tech infotainment and driver assistance features.
      “The new Tiguan demonstrates how we plan to give American customers the usability and versatility they demand without sacrificing style or Volkswagen’s trademark driving dynamics,“ said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “Every detail of the Tiguan has been thoughtfully engineered for our U.S. customers to maximize space and convenience, while retaining its performance, agility, and value. We plan to price Tiguan very competitively with other compact SUVs. With the brand-new Tiguan and the all-new Atlas, 2017 is the year of #SUVW.”
      As with the Atlas, the Tiguan is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture. Compared with the current model, the new Tiguan has far more interior space; at 185.2 inches long, the 2018 model is a stunning 10.7 inches longer than the current version and has up to 57 percent more cargo capacity. The 109.9-inch wheelbase—4.4 inches longer than the new Tiguan sold in Europe—provides both sliding second-row seats and an optional third row.
      On the outside, the all-new Tiguan adopts Volkswagen’s clean and timeless design DNA. The MQB platform allows for a wider, lower stance, while the exterior design of sharper, stronger character lines, and LED lighting has already garnered several European design awards. The exterior design also enhances the Tiguan’s utility, from a 26-degree approach angle for off-roading to a lower lift-in height for the tailgate.
      The Tiguan’s interior has been rethought and refreshed; even the cloth seats of entry models now feature a rhombus pattern that offers a premium look. The Tiguan now features the optional Volkswagen Digital Cockpit display, offering drivers a reconfigurable display of key data and the ability to position navigation data front and center for easy viewing. The available Volkswagen Car-Net® system provides a suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technology that offers compatible smartphone integration with the three major platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®.  The new Tiguan also offers an available Fender® Premium Audio System.
      To meet the demands of American SUV drivers, the Tiguan now offers a comprehensive suite of driver assistance technology. A rearview camera comes standard and available features include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), upgraded for use in stop and go traffic; Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist) with Pedestrian Monitoring; Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; and Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane should the vehicle start drifting into another lane without using the turn signal.
      In addition, the 2018 Tiguan offers a combination of both passive and active safety systems that are engineered to meet or exceed current crash regulations. These systems include the class exclusive Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.
      A new palate of exterior and interior colors combine with key available comfort options such as eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The second-row bench can slide seven inches fore and aft and be split 40:20:40. The third-row seats will come standard on front-wheel-drive models and be optional on all-wheel-drive versions. An available panoramic sunroof lightens the entire interior space, while the foot-activated power liftgate makes the cargo space more accessible than ever.
      The new Tiguan will be powered by an updated version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injection TSI® engine, making 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, driving the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Optional 4Motion with Active Control all-wheel-drive offers four driver selectable modes to maximize driving enjoyment and grip, on pavement or off.  

      View full article
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