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    William Maley


    It seems Volkswagen is going forward with sending the I.D. Buzz concept into production.
    "Emotional cars are very important for the brand. We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build," said Herbert Diess, head of Volkswagen to Auto Express.
    It confirms a report back in February where a source revealed that the I.D. Buzz would go into production in 2022. Diess was a big fan of the concept in part due to the design being similar to the Microbus. As we reported, the I.D. Buzz "is a feel-good throwback to the days when VW stood for flower power, not toxic pollutants."
    Diess did not say when the production version of the I.D. Buzz would go into production.
    Source: Auto Express

    William Maley

    Took long enough for you to work on a new one!

    You might think the vehicle caught by a spy photographer is a Volkswagen Tiguan mule. But you would be incorrect. What you're looking at is the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg.
    While Volkswagen has been clever with applying camouflage strategic points, the longer length and taller body give away its true identity. Is it expected that the Touareg will be similar in design to the Tiguan. Car and Driver reports the next Touareg will transition to the MLB Evo platform that currently underpins the Audi Q7. Unlike the Q7, the Touareg will cut a few inches out of the wheelbase as it will only come with two rows of seating.
    V6 power is expected, though it is unclear whether it will be the 3.6L VR6 found in the Atlas or Audi's 3.0L supercharged V6. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive will come standard. Expect a plug-in hybrid down the road.
    Expect to see the Touareg to debut sometime later this year in Europe, followed by the U.S. next year. 
    Source: Car and Driver

    William Maley

    Volkswagen: Yeah, we're not publishing the final report on the diesel emission scandal investigation

    Volkswagen was planning to publish the final report on the external investigation done by U.S. law firm Jones Day. But in a move that surprised no one, Volkswagen has decided not to publish it.
    "I’m aware that some of you wish for greater transparency. Often the publishing of a full report is demanded. To be clear: there is no written final report from Jones Day, nor will there be. I ask for your understanding that for legal reasons Volkswagen is prevented from publishing any such report," said VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch at the company's annual general meeting.
    Poetsch said Volkswagen would risk “massive fines" if the report was published. While Volkswagen has settled with the U.S. over the scandal, there are a number of civil cases against the company and other investigations ongoing.
    It should be noted Volkswagen used this same excuse last April when it announced that it would not publish the preliminary findings of its internal investigation.
    Unsurprisingly, this move has gotten a lot of heat from investors and government officials. 
    Christian Strenger, a shareholder rights advocate, and German corporate governance expert said Volkswagen's management and directors need to "put all their cards on the table," as there is a legal back door that allows the company to publish new information.
    "Under the plea agreement, the U.S. has a right to see any findings and agree to them in advance," said Strenger.
    "Your reference to the statement of facts agreed in the U.S. is completely insufficient and almost insulting to all those who are interested in complete clarification of responsibilities."
    Louise Ellman, who led the UK Transport Select Committee in the investigation of the diesel emission scandal called Poetsch's comments "not credible".
    “We were told very clearly by VW  that the report would be published in due course. Saying there is no report is not credible, it stretches the imagination too far and lets down consumers,” said Ellman to British paper, The Telegraph.
    But there might be more to Volkswagen's decision as to not wanting to publish this report. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Poetsch and Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller are under investigation by Stuttgart prosecutors for market manipulation relating to the diesel emission mess. Then today, a source revealed to Bloomberg that Müller is under investigation for possibly withholding information about the scandal to Porsche SE shareholders. German weekly WirtschaftsWoche says the investigation stems from a complaint filed last July by BaFin, Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority that linked several Porsche SE executives to possible market manipulation. 
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Telegraph, Bloomberg, WirtschaftsWoche

    William Maley

    It was a good month for Volkswagen's TDI vehicles (the first in a long time)

    You would think the stigma of the diesel emission scandal would keep people away from picking up a fixed Volkswagen TDI model, but you would be wrong.
    Reuters notes that in April, 12 percent of Volkswagen's sales were for TDI models (about 3,196 vehicles). This is quite impressive when you take into consideration that Volkswagen was only given the go-ahead to sell TDI models with the fix back in mid-April.
    But we have to wonder if this percentage would be the same if Volkswagen didn't put some enticing incentives on TDI vehicles. As we reported last month, Volkswagen is offering either 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy or an $8,500 cash bonus if you lease. 
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    One of Volkswagen's employees brought to light the illegal software being used on TDI models

    One question that we have found ourselves wondering is who blew the whistle on the software cheat Volkswagen was using on their TDI models. A new book says it was someone at Volkswagen of America.
    Automotive News got their hands on Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal by New York Times reporter Jack Ewing. In the book, Ewing reveals that the head of VW’s Engineering and Environmental Office in the U.S., Stuart Johnson revealed the existence of the cheat to federal authorities. Johnson was the primary contact for the various regulation agencies in the U.S. and would be one of the people on the front lines when the scandal unfolded.
    In the book, CARB deputy executive director Alberto Ayala named Johnson as the person who revealed the existence of Volkswagen's illegal software. This revelation took place prior to a key meeting between CARB and Volkswagen on August 19, 2015. By revealing this information, Johnson was violating orders given by VW's higher ups. This meeting is mentioned in the federal indictment of Oliver Schmidt, a former VW executive who is facing 11 federal charges dealing with the scandal. Johnson is mentioned in the indictment as “Cooperating Witness 1.”
    The indictment also states the witness “has agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation in exchange for an agreement that the government will not prosecute CW1 in the United States.”
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Want a brand new 2015 Volkswagen TDI?

    If the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hasn't swayed you from wanting one, then you'll be happy to hear Volkswagen will once again be able to sell brand-new 2015 model year TDI models. Green Car Reports says near 11,000 TDI models will soon be back up for sale once they are updated with new software, making them legal.
    Volkswagen does caution those interested in picking up a new TDI to call their nearest dealership to see if they have any in stock.
    But that's not all. Volkswagen is offering some massive discounts on these models. CarsDirect reports that Volkswagen is offering 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy. Interested in leasing one? Volkswagen will offer a cash bonus of $8,500. 
    There are a couple of caveats to this offer. First, you need to have an excellent credit history to qualify for either offer. Second is that Volkswagen isn't advertising this offer.
    "We will not be advertising the available incentives from our financing arm as they [sic] vehicle availability will vary per dealership," said Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
    Source: Green Car Reports, CarsDirect

    William Maley

    Why you'll find two Volkswagen Tiguans at your dealer very soon

    The new Volkswagen Tiguan looks to solve some of the pressing issues of the current model such as its size that puts it between subcompact and compact crossovers. But that doesn't mean the current Tiguan is leaving anytime soon.
    Hendrik Muth, VW’s senior vice president for product marketing tells Car and Driver that the current Tiguan will stick around for 2018 and 2019, wearing the Tiguan Limited nameplate. Muth explained this model will be aimed at more budget-minded buyers and those who don't want the bigger footprint of the new Tiguan. Another reason mentioned in Car and Driver's story is the current Tiguan saw its best sales in 2015 and 2016.
    One item that could put some people off from buying the Tiguan Limited is will not get the  6-year/72,000-mile warranty announced for the 2018 Atlas and Tiguan crossovers. Expect pricing to be announced sometime in the fall.
    Source: Car and Driver
    Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

    William Maley

    How much will the new Volkswagen Atlas set you back?

    Volkswagen dropped the pricing information for the 2018 Atlas crossover arriving at dealers next month and it is right on the nose of the automaker's promise of starting somewhere around $30,000.
    The entry-level Atlas S kicks off at $30,500 and comes with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. A 3.6L VR6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque adds $1,400 to the price. If you want AWD, be prepared to pony up $33,700 as it is only available with the V6.
    Here is how the rest of the Atlas lineup is comprised,
    Atlas S Launch: $33,500 for VR6 FWD, $35,300 for VR6 AWD - Available for a limited time, the S Launch adds a panoramic sunroof, Homelink garage opener, 8-inch infotainment system, and a three-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Atlas SE: $33,590 for 2.0T FWD, $34,990 for VR6 FWD, $36,790 for VR6 AWD - Adds automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, 10-way power driver's seat, and eight-speaker audio system. Atlas SE with Technology: $35,690 for 2.0T FWD, $37,090 for VR6 FWD, $38,890 for VR6 AWD - Adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, three-zone climate control, power liftgate, and remote start. Atlas SEL: $39,160 for 2.0T FWD, $40,890 for VR6 FWD, $42,690 for VR6 AWD - Adds Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat, memory function for driver's seat, Park Distance Control, and an 115V power outlet for second-row passengers. Atlas SEL Premium: $48,490 for VR6 AWD - Adds 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED taillights, power folding mirrors, 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit system, navigation, Fender Premium audio system, 360-degree camera system, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. Source: Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2

    The thoughtfully-designed Atlas packs a great value, offering generous space, sophisticated driving dynamics and a host of available driver assistance and technology features Pricing starts at $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability) Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eight-speed automatic transmissions Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on V6 models Comfortable seating for up to seven adults, with innovative access system for the third row Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation Only vehicle in its class to offer Automatic Post-Collision Braking System HERNDON, VA (April 3, 2017) — Volkswagen of America, Inc., today announced pricing of the all-new, seven-passenger 2018 Atlas. With a starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbo 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability), and $31,900 for the 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model, the Chattanooga-built SUV is loaded with standard equipment and available technology features. For maximum utility and comfort, the Atlas offers a spacious interior, with innovative access to the third row.
    Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas is also fun-to-drive, a signature of Volkswagen vehicles. Atlas models will be available with two engine options, both with an eight-speed automatic transmission: the four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine, which produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (achieved using premium fuel), and the 3.6-liter VR6® engine, which makes 276-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. An optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system is available on VR6 models.
    The 2018 Atlas is scheduled to arrive in dealerships in May, and will be available in five trim levels to meet the diverse needs and tastes of U.S. customers.
    Atlas S (Late availability)
    The Atlas TSI S starts at $30,500 and features a standard four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI engine. Standard exterior features include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; stainless-steel roof rails; LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL); and a rearview camera. Inside, standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch Composition Color touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices, USB port, Car-Net® App-Connect for compatible devices, enabling seamless integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®; 6 speakers; cruise control; and privacy glass. A 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model is available for $31,900. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $33,700.
    Atlas S Launch (Limited availability)
    Available at launch, and only with the 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas S Launch model is available as a frontwheel-drive model for $33,500, and with all-wheel drive for $35,300. This model adds the following features to the S trim offerings: panoramic sunroof; Homelink® garage door opener; footwell lighting; 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system; and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with a three-month trial subscription.
    Atlas SE
    Starting at $33,590, the Atlas SE builds off of the S trim. Features include heated door mirrors; automatic headlights; rain-sensing windshield wipers; Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Traffic Alert; foglights; KESSY® keyless access w/push-button start; multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel; V-Tex leatherette seating surface; heated front seats; rear sunshades; and 10-way power driver seats. The SE trim also features the 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio; 8 speakers; and 3 additional USB ports. A 3.6-liter V6 SE FWD model is available for $34,990. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $36,790.
    Atlas SE with Technology
    The Atlas SE with Technology model starts at $35,690, and includes a slate of modern convenience and advanced connectivity and driver assistance features, including: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist); Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane if the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, or the vehicle crosses a lane marking without use of a turn signal; power liftgate; remote start; Climatronic® 3-zone automatic air conditioning; and an autodimming rearview mirror. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology FWD model is available for $37,090. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology AWD model is available for $38,890.
    Atlas SEL
    The Atlas SEL builds on the specifications of the SE with Technology model. For a starting price of $39,160, customers can enjoy even more upscale features: a panoramic sunroof; Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat; memory function for driver’s seat and exterior mirrors; front and rear Park Distance Control and a convenient 115v power outlet in the second row (rear of the center console). VR6 models are equipped with a factory-installed tow hitch. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL FWD model is available for $40,890. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL AWD model is available for $42,690.
    Atlas SEL Premium
    Available only with 4Motion AWD system and 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas SEL Premium starts at $48,490. This top-of-the-line model increases the luxury quotient with: the sophisticated 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, allowing drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information; 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; navigation; LED taillights; power-folding door mirrors; door mirrors with puddle lights; leather seating surfaces; ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; automatic High Beam Control (Light Assist); and ambient lighting. The Atlas SEL Premium also adds the following driver assistance and infotainment features: Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); Area View camera; and the Fender® Premium Audio System, with a 12-channel, 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
    Option Packages
    Captain’s Chairs. Replacing a second-row bench seat, for a total seating capacity of six, Captain’s Chairs will be available in the SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL and SEL Premium models for $625. (Late availability)
    R-Line. A performance-inspired R-Line package will be available on Atlas SE and SEL trims for $1,960, and augments the SUV with exterior and interior design elements that give it an even sportier appearance. (Late availability)
    Black Wheels. Black 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are available on the SEL model for $995 and on the SEL Premium model for $235.

    William Maley

    Can Volkswagen interest you in a fixed TDI?

    More good news for Volkswagen as the EPA has finally given the ok for the company to start selling repaired TDI vehicles. Bloomberg has learned from Volkswagen Group of America spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan that dealers can sell TDI models from the 2015 model year once they have been updated with new software. The fix will also include new hardware for the diesel engine, but dealers don't have to wait for the parts to come in early next year.
    "We are still finalizing the details of this program and will provide more information on its implementation at the appropriate time,” said Ginivan.
    It should be noted this is only a symbolic step as only 67,000 vehicles are eligible for this - 12,000 of which are currently sitting on dealer lots. The big question is whether or not anyone is interested in buying a Volkswagen TDI vehicle considering all of the trouble it has brought.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    One of Volkswagen's storage facilities for TDIs buybacks is in a bit of legal trouble

    With Volkswagen buying back a large chunk of the 2.0L TDIs involved the diesel emission scandal, the question arises of where to store them. The answer according to the German automaker is they are storing them at "regional facilities." One of those regional facilities is the parking lot of the Pontiac Silverdome - former home to the Detroit Lions - in Pontiac, MI. However, the vehicles stored there find themselves in a bit of legal trouble.
    The Oakland Press reports that the City of Pontiac has filed a lawsuit against the owners of Silverdome, the Triple Investment Group for numerous violations in zoning, safety, and a municipal code dealing with the storage of vehicles; "a special exemption permit is needed for parking and exterior storage of vehicles." A hearing was planned last week, but was adjourned.
    “Our client is actively engaged and working with the city. We hope to resolve our differences with the city and we believe we are making good progress and working together. We are still waiting on a schedule for (the hearing) but we are hopeful that we will resolve the differences in the meantime and further hearings won’t be necessary,” said J. Patrick Lennon, a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, the lawfirm representing Triple Investment Group.
    A Volkswagen spokeswoman told Automotive News the company is talking with their “service provider” to see if all of the permits that allow vehicles to be stored at the Silverdome are up to date.
    Source: The Oakland Press, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Pic Credit: WXYZ

    William Maley

    Another crossover joins Volkswagen's U.S. lineup

    Last week, we reported on comments made by Volkswagen NA CEO Hinrich Woebcken on wanting to expand the number of crossovers in their lineup. It seems there is another crossover possible destined for the U.S.
    According to a source, Volkswagen is planning to launch the T-Roc compact crossover for the U.S. beginning in 2019. First shown as a concept back at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the production model will launch this summer in Europe. The decision was made by Volkswagen once dealers in the U.S. gave a firm commitment to the company they would be able to sell enough T-Rocs to make a profit. It also appears this decision was made only last week judging from a comment made by VW brand chief Herbert Diess.
    "It was only yesterday that we decided on an additional SUV for 2019," Diess told reporters when asked about product strategy for the U.S.
    There are still a number of items up in the air, however. For one, Volkswagen needs to decide where it will build the T-Roc. It could import the model from Volkswagen's Portugal plant, build it in Puebla, Mexico, or have it in the same assembly plant as the Atlas in Chattanooga, TN.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Pic Credit: Newspress

    William Maley

    Expect more crossovers at your local Volkswagen dealer

    Volkswagen sees crossovers as its savior in the U.S. marketplace. Speaking with Wards Auto, Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said their model mix would change from 10 to 12 percent crossovers to 40 percent in the next few years. 
    “We are shifting the brand into a position where we will enjoy more business volume because we were not present in those segments. We’re currently at 12% and the industry is nearly 60% light trucks and SUVs, so we are severely underrepresented,” said Woebcken.
    To accomplish this, Volkswagen will be launching the brand-new Altas and redesign Tiguan later this year. Interestingly, Volkswagen will keep the current Tiguan for a bit to act as an entry-level model for the crossover lineup. Down the road, Volkswagen will introduce an all-new Touraeg and is considering doing another crossover using the Atlas' platform.
    One vehicle that is still off the table is a truck. Rumors have been flying around about Volkswagen doing a car-based pickup (i.e. Honda Ridgeline). Woebcken said there is little interest for this at Volkswagen's HQ due to how small the segment is. 
    Source: Wards Auto

    William Maley

    Change of heart?

    It was only a week ago that Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller rebuffed FCA's CEO Sergio Marchionne'sidea of having talks between Volkswagen and FCA.
    “We are not ready for talks about anything. I haven’t seen Marchionne for months,” said Müller.
    “We have other problems.”
    This week, Müller seems to have changed his tune. Speaking with reporters at the company's annual press conference, he said that he was open to talks with FCA.
    "I am not ruling out a conversation," Müller told reporters. “It would be very helpful if Mr. Marchionne were to communicate his considerations to me.”

    What changed? There are two possibilities. First is the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group, which makes them the second-largest automaker in Europe. Volkswagen could see this as a threat and might consider teaming up with another automaker as an additional layer of protection. The other comes from the massive costs as a result of the diesel emission mess. Volkswagen has so far agreed to pay $25 billion in fines and buyback programs.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    The curtain begins to fall on Volkswagen's diesel emission scandal

    Today at U.S. District Court in Detroit, Volkswagen pleaded guilty on three felony charges relating to the diesel emission scandal as part of a plea agreement. The three felonies are conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and introducing imported merchandise into the United States by means of false statements.
    "Your honor, VW AG is pleading guilty to all three counts because it is guilty on all three counts," said Volkswagen general counsel Manfred Doess at the hearing.
    As part of the plea deal, Volkswagen will pay $4.3 billion in penalties and have an independent monitor to oversee U.S. operations over the next three years. The deal also requires Volkswagen to continue cooperating with federal and state investigators.
    A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 21st. 
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters

    William Maley

    The blame game at Volkswagen continues

    The blame game over the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal continues with the former chairman Ferdinand Piëch saying that Volkswagen's top brass knew about the cheating months before it came to light.
    German newspaper Bild reported yesterday that Piëch told prosecutors that he informed Martin Winterkorn and four other members of Volkswagen's supervisory board about the possible cheating with their diesel engines. The other members include,
    Stephan Weil, prime minister of the German state of Lower Saxony Bernd Osterloh, works council chief Berthold Huber, former IG Metall union head Wolfgang Porsche These members have "unequivocally and emphatically" reject the allegations laid forth by Piëch. Volkswagen is none to happy about these accusations either and is considering possible legal options. 
    "The Board of Management will carefully weigh the possibility of measures and claims against Mr. Piëch," the company said in a statement. 
    A spokeswoman for Braunschweig prosecutors declined to comment when asked by Reuters about this story.
    It should be noted there is a bit of bad blood between Piëch and Volkswagen. In April 2015, Piëch was ousted as chairman for Volkswagen after a power struggle between him and Winterkorn. This might be Piëch wanting to settle some old scores and cause more problems for the company he once led.
    Source: Bild via Bloomberg, Reuters

    William Maley

    Volkswagen's Chairman sees the downsizing trend coming to an end

    Automakers have been downsizing their engines and adding turbochargers to improve fuel economy while retaining power from larger displacement engines. But is there a point where this trend doesn't make sense anymore? Volkswagen believes that time is coming very soon.
    "The trend of downsizing is over," said Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's chairman.
    "Emissions tend to go up as engines get smaller."
    This is due to smaller engines needing to work much harder to produce the power figures of higher displacement engines, which in turns causes more fuel to be used. Currently, small displacement engines do very well in the European fuel economy and emission tests. But the test results have come under intense scrutiny as they don't match up to real-world tests. In a few years, the European Union will introduce new procedures that include tests in the lab and real-world. The new tests could put this trend at a standstill.
    Diess said they would continue to offer the turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder and 1.6L turbodiesel, but wouldn't go any smaller in the future.
    Source: The Telegraph

    William Maley

    Volkswagen finally talks about the proposed settlement for the 3.0L TDI V6

    Volkswagen is making progress with moving on from the diesel emission scandal as they have announced a proposed agreement for the 3.0L TDI V6. Filed in federal court last night, the agreement totals $1.2 billion and hopes to resolve civil claims for 78,000 vehicles. The settlement includes,
    Buy back or terminate the lease of approximately 20,000 eligible 2009-2012 Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 TDI models (dubbed the Generation 1 models). There is also the possibility of Volkswagen offering owners of these models a fix if approved by the U.S. Government. Repair the approximately 58,000 Generation 2 models (2013-2016 Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Audi Q7; 2014-2016 Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7). Offer compensation payments as much as $16,114 for all owners of 3.0L TDI V6 models The agreement needs the approval of a federal judge. A hearing on this will take place a couple weeks from now. 
    “With the Court-approved 2.0L TDI program well under way and now this proposed 3.0L TDI program, all of our customers with affected vehicles in the United States will have a resolution available to them. We will continue to work to earn back the trust of all our stakeholders and thank our customers and dealers for their continued patience as this process moves forward,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc in a statement.
    Source: Bloomberg, Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Program, if approved, would include provisions to recall and repair most affected vehicles. Options for older affected vehicles include buybacks or trade-in credits, or lease termination. All eligible owners and lessees of affected vehicles will receive cash payments. Herndon, VA (February 1, 2017) – Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (together, Volkswagen) announced today that they have reached proposed agreements to resolve outstanding civil claims regarding approximately 78,000 affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles in the United States.
    Two agreements have been submitted to the Court for approval: (1) a proposed class settlement with private plaintiffs represented by a Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) on behalf of a nationwide class of current and certain former owners and lessees of eligible 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles; and (2) a proposed Consent Order submitted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
    “With the Court-approved 2.0L TDI program well under way and now this proposed 3.0L TDI program, all of our customers with affected vehicles in the United States will have a resolution available to them. We will continue to work to earn back the trust of all our stakeholders and thank our customers and dealers for their continued patience as this process moves forward,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
    Proposed 3.0L TDI Settlement Program
    Under the 3.0L TDI settlement program, Volkswagen has agreed, among other terms, to provide cash payments to all eligible members of the class, and take the following specific actions:
    Recall and repair, free of charge to the customer, approximately 58,000 affected 2013-2016 Model Year Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles (so-called Generation 2 vehicles) to bring them into compliance with the emissions standards to which they were originally certified, if an appropriate Emissions Compliant Repair is approved by U.S. regulators. Buy back or offer trade-in credit of equal value for, or terminate the leases of, approximately 20,000 eligible 2009-2012 Model Year Volkswagen and Audi 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles (so-called Generation 1 vehicles) or, if approved by U.S. regulators, modify the vehicles to substantially reduce their nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions so as to allow eligible owners and lessees to keep them. Volkswagen has agreed to pay up to approximately $1.2 billion in benefits for the 3.0L TDI settlement program, assuming 100% participation in the program, a 100% buyback of all eligible Generation 1 vehicles and availability of an Emissions Compliant Repair for Generation 2 vehicles. Volkswagen expects to be able to bring affected Generation 2 vehicles to the same emissions standards to which the vehicles were originally certified.
    Volkswagen will begin the 3.0L TDI settlement program as soon as the Court grants final approval to the settlement agreements. At the earliest, approval will occur in May 2017. 
    Potential claimants under the class settlement do not need to take any action at this time. Individual class members will receive extensive notification of their rights and options (including the option to “opt out” of the settlement agreement) if the Court grants preliminary approval of the proposed class settlement at a hearing scheduled to take place on February 14, 2017. More information about the proposed 3.0L TDI settlement program can be found at www.VWCourtSettlement.com.
    Notes to Editors
    The proposed settlement applies to all 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles that Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche marketed or sold in the United States for Model Years 2009 through 2016. The vehicles are divided into two generations, as follows:
    Generation 1 Vehicles
    Volkswagen Touareg: 2009-2012 Audi Q7: 2009-2012 Generation 2 Vehicles
    Volkswagen Touareg: 2013-2016 Audi Q7: 2013-2015 Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5: 2014-2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel: 2013-2016

    William Maley

    Hybrid could be coming to the next-gen Golf GTI

    Even though Volkswagen revealed the updated Golf only a couple months ago, rumors are beginning to fly on the next-generation.
    Case in point is a report from Autocar which say the next-generation Golf GTI could be boasting a mild-hybrid system to provide a boost both in power and fuel economy. A new 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor will allow Volkswagen to make some significant changes to the 2.0L four-cylinder. One change could be swapping the turbocharger for an electric compressor to allow for better low-end response and torque being available across a wider rpm spread.
    Reportedly, Volkswagen's goal for the new powertrain is 261 horsepower - the same in the limited-run GTI Clubsport for Europe. An overboost function could bump horsepower to 290. At the moment, the only transmission being talked about is a seven-speed DSG. An updated version of the MQB platform will help cut 110 pounds.
    The next-generation GTI is expected to arrive in 2020.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    Martin Winterkorn finds himself under investigation again

    Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is already being investigated by German prosecutors over market manipulation because of the diesel emission scandal. But now, he finds himself under a new investigation by prosecutors on the suspicion of fraud. 
    Reuters reports that prosecutors in Braunschweig believe Winterkorn knew about the cheat used on the 2.0L TDI well before the timeframe he has admittedly publicly. This suspicion comes as the result of numerous interviews with witnesses and suspects, along with raids on 28 houses and offices this week.
    "Sufficient indications have resulted from the investigation, particularly the questioning of witnesses and suspects as well as the analysis of seized data, that the accused (Winterkorn) may have known about the manipulating software and its effects sooner than he has said publicly," prosecutors said in a statement.
    At a hearing last week in Berlin, Winterkorn declined to say when he first learned about the cheat, citing the investigation being done by prosecutors.
    "For now, Dr. Winterkorn is sticking with the statement he made before a German parliamentary committee of inquiry (into the scandal) on Jan. 19," said Felix Doerr, a lawyer representing Winterkorn in an email to Reuters.
    Prosecutors also revealed that the number of people possibly involved in the scandal has risen from 21 to 37, including Winterkorn.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Volkswagen's former CEO enters the spotlight again

    Ever since Martin Winterkorn resigned from his post as Volkswagen Group CEO due to diesel emission scandal sixteen months ago, he has been out of the spotlight. However, Winterkorn made his first public appearance today at a parliamentary committee in Berlin investigating the emission irregularities of automobiles. At the hearing, Winterkorn maintained his innocence, saying he had no part in the cheating, nor knew anything about it.
    “It’s incomprehensible why I wasn’t informed early and clearly. I would have prevented any type of deception or misleading of authorities,” said Winterkorn.
    Winterkorn declined to answer questions dealing with when he was informed about the scandal, saying prosecutors are still investigating.
    The defense that Winterkorn is using (not having any knowledge about the scandal until the news broke) is very much at odds with his reputation of being a detail-obsessed executive.
    “It remains difficult to believe that such a dedicated engineer like Winterkorn wasn’t aware what was going on. And if he wasn’t, he neglected his duties as supervisor,” said Stefan Bratzel, an auto industry researcher at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany to Bloomberg.
    There is also a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that shows Winterkorn knew about this. A year before the scandal broke, Winterkorn was alleged to get a memo talking about the investigation into the EA128 2.0L TDI engine. He claims that he never saw that memo. There is also the allegation that Winterkorn sat in a meeting discussing the investigation.
    Before leaving the hearing, Winterkorn apologized once again.
    “What happened makes people furious -- me too. I’m deeply upset that we disappointed millions of our customers,” said Winterkorn.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    It seems Volkswagen could make a Microbus concept a reality

    Volkswagen has been teasing us for a number of years with Microbus concepts that never seem to go anywhere. The latest one is the I.D. Buzz that debuted earlier this month at the Detroit Auto Show. But an insider says this concept will go into production.
    Automotive News Europe spoke to a source at Volkswagen who said, "I know what you're going to ask and the answer is 2022. Diess wants it."
    The second sentence in that quote is important. Diess refers to Herbert Diess, the brand chief for Volkswagen. According ANE, Diess is a big fan of the I.D. Buzz concept in part as the original bus "is a feel-good throwback to the days when VW stood for flower power, not toxic pollutants."
    According to other sources, the production variant of the I.D Buzz will be very close to the concept, minus the retractable steering wheel.
    Whether it actually goes into production or not remains to be seen.
    Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
    Pic Credit: NewspressUSA

    William Maley

    Another one of those 'what if' questions, one that could have prevented the mess Volkswagen finds itself in

    In 2005, Volkswagen was in dire straights. The company was going through a painful restructure and was looking into various ways to get itself back into shape. One of those ways was a possible deal with Daimler on possibly using their diesel technologies. But Volkswagen canceled the talks later that year and worked on their own diesel engines, which led to the cheating software and the mess it finds itself today.
    Bloomberg has learned from sources about a top-secret plan known as 'Project Tabletop'. The plan, spearheaded by then VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder, involved Volkswagen and Daimler possibly collaborating on projects and a possible deal where Volkswagen would get access to Diamler's BlueTec technologies for cleaning up diesel emissions by using urea injection. However, the talks were called off before an important meeting in August 2005. Sources claim that Volkswagen balked at cost of adding BlueTec to their vehicles -  about 1,000 euros per car. Plus, VW couldn't lower production costs to compensate for.
    Instead, Volkswagen would go on its own and continue working on their TDI engines. This got strong internal support from then chairman Ferdinand Piech. But it also brought a fair amount on controversy to Volkswagen's top management. Some believed that Volkswagen wouldn't be able to meet the stringent U.S. standards for diesel vehicles without the BlueTec technologies.
    Sure enough, in 2006, Volkswagen would begin developing the software cheat that would reduce emissions when it detected specific conditions to know it was being tested. It is unclear if there is a link between the deal falling through and development of the cheat.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    Volkswagen will be cutting another big check over the diesel emission mess

    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.

    William Maley

    Finally, the next-generation Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in the U.S.

    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

    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.  

    William Maley

    We have finally have a fix for the Volkswagen 2.0L TDI, at least for 70,000 of them

    Some good news for Volkswagen as the Environmental Protection Agency has approved a fix for a select number of vehicles equipped with the 2.0L TDI. Reuters reports that the fix available for 70,000 vehicles will come in two phases. Right now, vehicles eligible for the fix will get a software update. The following year, Volkswagen will install more software, diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst, and NOx catalyst.
    Now for the bad news, this fix is only available on the 2015 Audi A3, Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, and Passat. Volkswagen is still waiting on approval for fixes on the remaining 400,000 vehicles.
    "With today's approval, VW can offer vehicle owners the choice to keep and fix their car, or to have it bought back," the EPA said in a statement. The agency also noted the fix would "not affect vehicle fuel economy, reliability, or durability."
    We have to wonder how many owners will take Volkswagen up on the fix. The buyback option has proven to be very popular - getting the value of the vehicle before the scandal was brought to light.
    If there is one silver lining, Volkswagen will be able to sell the 2015 model year diesel vehicles once fixed.
    Source: Reuters

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