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  1. After ten months when news came to light that Volkswagen used illegal software to cheat emission tests in the U.S. the German automaker has agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement. This morning, the U.S. Justice Department filed details of the settlement in U.S. District Court in San Fransisco. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will offer owners of affected models the choice of either having their vehicle bought back or repaired if and when a repair is approved by the EPA and CARB. If you decide to have your vehicle bought back by Volkswagen, will be determined based on the 'Clean Trade-In Value' by the National Automobile Dealers Association, along with adjustments on mileage and options. If you have a loan through a third-party, Volkswagen would pay it off. Those leasing can terminate it with no penalties. Whichever option you decide to go for, Volkswagen will also provide a compensation payment ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Again, the amount will be determined by various factors such as the age of the vehicle. Owners will be notified this fall with buybacks expected to begin in October. Volkswagen will also pay $2.7 billion over the next three years to a fund to reduce the excess amount of NOx emissions that Volkswagen's diesel vehicles emitted, and an additional $2 billion to expand zero emission vehicle infrastructure, access and awareness initiatives. Now this settlement needs to be approved by Judge Charles Breyer. A hearing will be held today for this. While Volkswagen is still not out of the woods with this scandal (more penalties and deal still needed for the 3.0L TDI V6), it is good to see some movement is happening to help bring this mess to a close. Source: Volkswagen, EPA Press Release is on Page 2 VOLKSWAGEN REACHES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS WITH U.S. FEDERAL REGULATORS, PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS AND 44 U.S. STATES ON TDI DIESEL ENGINE VEHICLES Proposed settlement program includes vehicle buybacks and lease terminations, emissions modifications (if approved) and cash payments to affected customers for approximately 475,000 eligible 2.0L TDI vehicles Volkswagen agrees to $2.7 billion environmental remediation fund and to invest $2.0 billion in initiatives to promote the use of zero emissions vehicles in the U.S. Separate resolution with U.S. states settles consumer protection claims Herndon, Va. /Wolfsburg, Germany (June 28, 2016) – Volkswagen AG announced today that it has reached settlement agreements with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of California; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and private plaintiffs represented by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to resolve civil claims regarding eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI diesel engine vehicles in the United States. Of approximately 499,000 2.0L TDL vehicles that were produced for sale in the United States, approximately 460,000 Volkswagen and 15,000 Audi vehicles are currently in use and eligible for buybacks and lease terminations or emissions modifications, if approved by regulators. Volkswagen will establish a maximum funding pool for the 2.0L TDI settlement program of $10.033 billion. That amount assumes 100% participation and that 100% of eligible customers choose a buyback or lease termination. The agreements covering the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program are subject to the approval of Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who presides over the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) proceedings related to the diesel matter. Volkswagen also announced that it has agreed with the attorneys general of 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to resolve existing and potential state consumer protection claims related to the diesel matter for a total settlement amount of approximately $603 million. “We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward,” said Matthias Müller, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen AG. “We appreciate the constructive engagement of all the parties, and are very grateful to our customers for their continued patience as the settlement approval process moves ahead. We know that we still have a great deal of work to do to earn back the trust of the American people. We are focused on resolving the outstanding issues and building a better company that can shape the future of integrated, sustainable mobility for our customers.” Three agreements have been submitted to the Court for its approval with respect to the proposed 2.0L TDI settlement program: (1) a Consent Decree filed with the Court by the DOJ on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the State of California by and through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Attorney General; (2) a Consent Order submitted by the FTC; and (3) a proposed class settlement agreement with the PSC on behalf of a nationwide settlement class of current and certain former owners and lessees of eligible 2.0L TDI Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. The parties believe that the class settlement as presented to the Court will provide a fair and reasonable resolution for affected Volkswagen and Audi customers. Volkswagen continues to work expeditiously to reach an agreed resolution for affected vehicles with 3.0L TDI V-6 diesel engines. On April 22, 2016, Volkswagen recognized total exceptional charges of €16.2 billion in its financial statements for 2015 for worldwide provisions related to technical modifications and repurchases, legal risks and other items as a result of the diesel matter. As noted at that time, due to the complexities and legal uncertainties associated with resolving the diesel matter, a future assessment of the risks may be different. "Today’s announcement is within the scope of our provisions and other financial liabilities that we have already disclosed, and we are in a position to manage the consequences. It provides further clarity for our U.S. customers and dealers as well as for our shareholders. Settlements of this magnitude are clearly a very significant burden for our business. We will now focus on implementing our TOGETHER-Strategy 2025 and improving operational excellence across the Volkswagen Group,” said Frank Witter, Chief Financial Officer of Volkswagen AG. The agreements announced today are not an admission of liability by Volkswagen. By their terms, they are not intended to apply to or affect Volkswagen's obligations under the laws or regulations of any jurisdiction outside the United States. Regulations governing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits for vehicles in the United States are much stricter than those in other parts of the world and the engine variants also differ significantly. This makes the development of technical solutions in the United States more challenging than in Europe and other parts of the world, where implementation of an approved program to modify TDI vehicles to comply fully with UN/ECE and European emissions standards has already begun by agreement with the relevant authorities. Volkswagen to Spend Up to $14.7 Billion to Settle Allegations of Cheating Emissions Tests and Deceiving Customers on 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles Settlements Require VW to Spend up to $10 Billion to Buyback, Terminate Leases, or Modify Affected 2.0 Liter Vehicles and Compensate Consumers, and Spend $4.7 Billion to Mitigate Pollution and Make Investments that Support Zero-Emission Vehicle Technology WASHINGTON – In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. In addition, the companies will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology. The settlements partially resolve allegations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the California Attorney General’s Office and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) under the Clean Air Act, California Health and Safety Code, and California’s Unfair Competition Laws, relating to the vehicles’ use of “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests. The settlements also resolve claims by the FTC that Volkswagen violated the FTC Act through the deceptive and unfair advertising and sale of its “clean diesel” vehicles. The settlements do not resolve pending claims for civil penalties or any claims concerning 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. Nor do they address any potential criminal liability. The affected vehicles include 2009 through 2015 Volkswagen TDI diesel models of Jettas, Passats, Golfs and Beetles as well as the TDI Audi A3. “Today’s settlement restores clean air protections that Volkswagen so blatantly violated,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “And it secures billions of dollars in investments to make our air and our auto industry even cleaner for generations of Americans to come. This agreement shows that EPA is committed to upholding standards to protect public health, enforce the law, and to find innovative ways to protect clean air.” “By duping the regulators, Volkswagen turned nearly half a million American drivers into unwitting accomplices in an unprecedented assault on our atmosphere,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. “This partial settlement marks a significant first step towards holding Volkswagen accountable for what was a breach of its legal duties and a breach of the public’s trust. And while this announcement is an important step forward, let me be clear, it is by no means the last. We will continue to follow the facts wherever they go.” “Today’s announcement shows the high cost of violating our consumer protection and environmental laws,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Just as importantly, consumers who were cheated by Volkswagen’s deceptive advertising campaign will be able to get full and fair compensation, not only for the lost or diminished value of their car but also for the other harms that VW caused them.” According to the civil complaint against Volkswagen filed by the Justice Department on behalf of EPA on January 4, 2016, Volkswagen allegedly equipped its 2.0 liter diesel vehicles with illegal software that detects when the car is being tested for compliance with EPA or California emissions standards and turns on full emissions controls only during that testing process. During normal driving conditions, the software renders certain emission control systems inoperative, greatly increasing emissions. This is known as a “defeat device.” Use of the defeat device results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory, but emit harmful NOx at levels up to 40 times EPA-compliant levels during normal on-road driving conditions. The Clean Air Act requires manufacturers to certify to EPA that vehicles will meet federal emission standards. Vehicles with defeat devices cannot be certified. The FTC sued Volkswagen in March, charging that the company deceived consumers with the advertising campaign it used to promote its supposedly “clean diesel” VWs and Audis, which falsely claimed that the cars were low-emission, environmentally friendly, met emissions standards and would maintain a high resale value. The settlements use the authorities of both the EPA and the FTC as part of a coordinated plan that gets the high-polluting VW diesels off the road, makes the environment whole, and compensates consumers. The settlements require Volkswagen to offer owners of any affected vehicle the option to have the company buy back the car and to offer lessees a lease cancellation at no cost. Volkswagen may also propose an emissions modification plan to EPA and CARB, and if approved, may also offer owners and lessees the option of having their vehicles modified to substantially reduce emissions in lieu of a buyback. Under the U.S./California settlement, Volkswagen must achieve an overall recall rate of at least 85% of affected 2.0 liter vehicles under these programs or pay additional sums into the mitigation trust fund. The FTC order requires Volkswagen to compensate consumers who elect either of these options. Volkswagen must set aside and could spend up to $10.03 billion to pay consumers in connection with the buy back, lease termination, and emissions modification compensation program. The program has different potential options and provisions for affected Volkswagen diesel owners depending on their circumstances: Buyback option: Volkswagen must offer to buy back any affected 2.0 liter vehicle at their retail value as of September 2015 -- just prior to the public disclosure of the emissions issue. Consumers who choose the buyback option will receive between $12,500 and $44,000, depending on their car’s model, year, mileage, and trim of the car, as well as the region of the country where it was purchased. In addition, because a straight buyback will not fully compensate consumers who owe more than their car is worth due to rapid depreciation, the FTC order provides these consumers with an option to have their loans forgiven by Volkswagen. Consumers who have third party loans have the option of having Volkswagen pay off those loans, up to 130 percent of the amount a consumer would be entitled to under the buyback (e.g., if the consumer is entitled to a $20,000 buyback, VW would pay off his/her loans up to a cap of $26,000). EPA-approved modification to vehicle emissions system: The settlements also allow Volkswagen to apply to EPA and CARB for approval of an emissions modification on the affected vehicles, and, if approved, to offer consumers the option of keeping their cars and having them modified to comply with emissions standards. Under this option in accordance with the FTC order, consumers would also receive money from Volkswagen to redress the harm caused by VW’s deceptive advertising. Consumers who leased the affected cars will have the option of terminating their leases (with no termination fee) or having their vehicles modified if a modification becomes available. In either case, under the FTC order, these consumers also will receive additional compensation from Volkswagen for the harm caused by VW’s deceptive advertising. Consumers who sold their TDI vehicles after the VW defeat device issue became public may be eligible for partial compensation, which will be split between them and the consumers who purchased the cars from them as set forth in the FTC order. Eligible consumers will receive notice from VW after the orders are entered by the court this fall. Consumers will be able to see if they are eligible for compensation and if so, what options are available to them, at VWCourtSettlement.com and AudiCourtSettlement.com. They will also be able to use these websites to make claims, sign up for appointments at their local Volkswagen or Audi dealers and receive updates. Consumer payments will not be available until the settlements take effect if and when approved by the court, which may be as early as October 2016. Emissions Reduction Program: The settlement of the company’s Clean Air Act violations also requires Volkswagen to pay $2.7 billion to fund projects across the country that will reduce emissions of NOx where the 2.0 liter vehicles were, are or will be operated. Volkswagen will place the funds into a mitigation trust over three years, which will be administered by an independent trustee. Beneficiaries, which may include states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribes, may obtain funds for designated NOx reduction projects upon application to the Trustee. Funding for the designated projects is expected to fully mitigate the NOx these 2.0 liter vehicles have and will emit in excess of EPA and California standards. The emissions reduction program will help reduce NOx pollution that contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors (including outdoor workers), and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. NO2 formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children. Zero Emissions Technology Investments: The Clean Air Act settlement also requires VW to invest $2 billion toward improving infrastructure, access and education to support and advance zero emission vehicles. The investments will be made over 10 years, with $1.2 billion directed toward a national EPA-approved investment plan and $800 million directed toward a California-specific investment plan that will be approved by CARB. As part of developing the national plan, Volkswagen will solicit and consider input from interested states, cities, Indian tribes and federal agencies. This investment is intended to address the adverse environmental impacts from consumers’ purchases of the 2.0 liter vehicles, which the governments contend were purchased under the mistaken belief that they were lower emitting vehicles. FTC’s Injunctive Relief: The FTC settlement includes injunctive provisions to protect consumers from deceptive claims in the future. These provisions prohibit Volkswagen from making any misrepresentations that would deceive consumers about the environmental benefits or value of its vehicles or services, and the order specifically bans VW from employing any device that could be used to cheat on emissions tests. The provisions of the U.S./California settlement are contained in a proposed consent decree filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as part of the ongoing multi-district litigation, and will be subject to public comment period of 30 days, which will be announced in the Federal Register in the coming days. The provisions of the FTC settlement are contained in a proposed Stipulated Final Federal Court Order filed today in the same court. View full article
  2. Tomorrow, we find out the details of the settlement between Volkswagen and the U.S. Government over the diesel emission scandal. As we reported last week, sources told various news outlets that part of the settlement would include compensation payments from $1,000 to $7,000 to owners. A European Union commissioner believes that should be extended to those in Europe. EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska tells German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that Volkswagen should set up a similar compensation program for Europe. "Volkswagen should voluntarily pay European car owners compensation that is comparable with that which they will pay U.S. consumers," said Bienkowska. She said that it would be unfair for Volkswagen to treat European consumers differently than U.S. ones due to different legal systems. "But consumers in Europe should be treated differently than the US consumer is not a way to regain confidence." Source: Die Welt, Reuters
  3. Tomorrow, we find out the details of the settlement between Volkswagen and the U.S. Government over the diesel emission scandal. As we reported last week, sources told various news outlets that part of the settlement would include compensation payments from $1,000 to $7,000 to owners. A European Union commissioner believes that should be extended to those in Europe. EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska tells German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that Volkswagen should set up a similar compensation program for Europe. "Volkswagen should voluntarily pay European car owners compensation that is comparable with that which they will pay U.S. consumers," said Bienkowska. She said that it would be unfair for Volkswagen to treat European consumers differently than U.S. ones due to different legal systems. "But consumers in Europe should be treated differently than the US consumer is not a way to regain confidence." Source: Die Welt, Reuters View full article
  4. Volkswagen's recent shareholder meeting could be best described as discordant as many shareholders spewed venom at various Volkswagen executives - most being laid on Volkswagen AG Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch. Bloomberg reports that shareholders grilled various executives on the handling of the diesel emission scandal. Poetsch received the brunt of the criticism with many shareholders expressing concerns of him overseeing the internal investigation of a mess that began when he was the company's CFO. “You are a conflict of interest personified,” said Markus Dufner, managing director of the German Association of Ethical Shareholders meeting. The meeting also featured shouting, arguing, and shareholders trying to remove Poetsch as the chairman of the meeting (which didn't happen). To be fair to the shareholders, it hasn't been a good week for Volkswagen. On Monday, Reuters learned that German prosecutors were investigating former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and an unidentified executive on market manipulation before the scandal broke. It was revealed later in the week the unidentified executive was Volkswagen Brand Chief Herbert Diess. Yesterday it was revealed that German financial watchdog Bafin filed a complaint with German prosecutors saying the previous management board should be investigated for how long it took the company to disclose the scandal. So while the fires are dying down on one coast, they are only beginning to heat up on another. Source: Bloomberg, Reuters View full article
  5. Volkswagen's recent shareholder meeting could be best described as discordant as many shareholders spewed venom at various Volkswagen executives - most being laid on Volkswagen AG Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch. Bloomberg reports that shareholders grilled various executives on the handling of the diesel emission scandal. Poetsch received the brunt of the criticism with many shareholders expressing concerns of him overseeing the internal investigation of a mess that began when he was the company's CFO. “You are a conflict of interest personified,” said Markus Dufner, managing director of the German Association of Ethical Shareholders meeting. The meeting also featured shouting, arguing, and shareholders trying to remove Poetsch as the chairman of the meeting (which didn't happen). To be fair to the shareholders, it hasn't been a good week for Volkswagen. On Monday, Reuters learned that German prosecutors were investigating former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and an unidentified executive on market manipulation before the scandal broke. It was revealed later in the week the unidentified executive was Volkswagen Brand Chief Herbert Diess. Yesterday it was revealed that German financial watchdog Bafin filed a complaint with German prosecutors saying the previous management board should be investigated for how long it took the company to disclose the scandal. So while the fires are dying down on one coast, they are only beginning to heat up on another. Source: Bloomberg, Reuters
  6. While Volkswagen and the U.S. Government are finishing negotiating the final agreement over the diesel emission scandal, some interesting bits of the agreement have leaked out. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have learned from sources that Volkswagen will pay $10.2 billion as part of a settlement over the scandal. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will compensate owners of affected TDI models between $1,000 to $7,000. The payment amount will vary on a number of factors such as the age of the vehicle. Volkswagen will also offer owners the choice having their vehicles fixed for free or buying them back at the value before the scandal came to light (September 18, 2015). One item still up in the air is whether or not Volkswagen will be able to fix all of the TDI models to the EPA's satisfaction. A source tells the AP, "any fix likely would require a bigger catalytic converter or injection of the chemical urea into the exhaust to help neutralize the pollution." Along with the owner compensation, Volkswagen will use the $10.2 billion to pay various penalties and setting up a fund to clean up air pollution. The sources do stress that the terms of the settlement could change before being presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer next Tuesday. Also, this settlement is for the 2.0L TDI engine. The 3.0L TDI V6 is being dealt with separately. Source: Bloomberg, Associated Press View full article
  7. While Volkswagen and the U.S. Government are finishing negotiating the final agreement over the diesel emission scandal, some interesting bits of the agreement have leaked out. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have learned from sources that Volkswagen will pay $10.2 billion as part of a settlement over the scandal. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will compensate owners of affected TDI models between $1,000 to $7,000. The payment amount will vary on a number of factors such as the age of the vehicle. Volkswagen will also offer owners the choice having their vehicles fixed for free or buying them back at the value before the scandal came to light (September 18, 2015). One item still up in the air is whether or not Volkswagen will be able to fix all of the TDI models to the EPA's satisfaction. A source tells the AP, "any fix likely would require a bigger catalytic converter or injection of the chemical urea into the exhaust to help neutralize the pollution." Along with the owner compensation, Volkswagen will use the $10.2 billion to pay various penalties and setting up a fund to clean up air pollution. The sources do stress that the terms of the settlement could change before being presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer next Tuesday. Also, this settlement is for the 2.0L TDI engine. The 3.0L TDI V6 is being dealt with separately. Source: Bloomberg, Associated Press
  8. Next Tuesday was the deadline that Volkswagen and the U.S. Government would have to finish their discussions on finalizing an agreement over the 2.0L TDI scandal. But last night, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has given the two parties an extension to June 28th. Reuters reports that Breyers gave the extension after a request was made by the court appointment mediator, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller. In a written order, Bryer said "given the highly technical nature of the proposed settlements in these complex proceedings," an extension would be given. Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan confirmed to Reuters that the extension was asked by Muller. "We thank our customers for their continued patience as the process of finalizing agreements moves forward," said Ginivan. Two sources say the agreement is on track to be finalized. Source: Reuters View full article
  9. Next Tuesday was the deadline that Volkswagen and the U.S. Government would have to finish their discussions on finalizing an agreement over the 2.0L TDI scandal. But last night, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has given the two parties an extension to June 28th. Reuters reports that Breyers gave the extension after a request was made by the court appointment mediator, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller. In a written order, Bryer said "given the highly technical nature of the proposed settlements in these complex proceedings," an extension would be given. Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan confirmed to Reuters that the extension was asked by Muller. "We thank our customers for their continued patience as the process of finalizing agreements moves forward," said Ginivan. Two sources say the agreement is on track to be finalized. Source: Reuters
  10. Has it really been a month since Volkswagen and the U.S. Government announced they had reached an agreement over the 2.0L TDI emission scandal? Yes, it has and since then, the two have been hard at work with finalizing the agreement. This week, the two were in Federal Court in San Francisco to give an update. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at the brief hearing that the two parties have been making significant progress. The "parties ... have reported that in the month since we last met they have made substantial progress in intensive daily efforts to finalize the agreement, and most importantly are on track to meet the court's deadline," Breyer said. That deadline is June 21st. But there could be a possible roadblock for this agreement. Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen is arguing the fines being sought by the U.S. Government for emission cheating are excessive. The filing made on Tuesday said they were presenting this because the government probe is still ongoing. Source: Reuters, Bloomberg View full article
  11. Has it really been a month since Volkswagen and the U.S. Government announced they had reached an agreement over the 2.0L TDI emission scandal? Yes, it has and since then, the two have been hard at work with finalizing the agreement. This week, the two were in Federal Court in San Francisco to give an update. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at the brief hearing that the two parties have been making significant progress. The "parties ... have reported that in the month since we last met they have made substantial progress in intensive daily efforts to finalize the agreement, and most importantly are on track to meet the court's deadline," Breyer said. That deadline is June 21st. But there could be a possible roadblock for this agreement. Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen is arguing the fines being sought by the U.S. Government for emission cheating are excessive. The filing made on Tuesday said they were presenting this because the government probe is still ongoing. Source: Reuters, Bloomberg
  12. At last month's court hearing where Volkswagen announced a deal had been reached with the U.S. Government on the 2.0L TDI engine, we learned the two were still in negotiations over the 3.0L TDI V6. Now it seems that issue is coming to a close. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Volkswagen and U.S. Government are ironing out technical details and reviewing test results of a possible software fix for the engine. It is said that a new catalytic converter could be part of this as well. Sources go on to say a that the timing of a final agreement depends on a broader settlement of the diesel emission scandal. The 3.0L TDI is primarily used in a number of Audi products (A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7), along with the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. A court hearing will be held next week to get a status update on the talks. Source: Bloomberg
  13. At last month's court hearing where Volkswagen announced a deal had been reached with the U.S. Government on the 2.0L TDI engine, we learned the two were still in negotiations over the 3.0L TDI V6. Now it seems that issue is coming to a close. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Volkswagen and U.S. Government are ironing out technical details and reviewing test results of a possible software fix for the engine. It is said that a new catalytic converter could be part of this as well. Sources go on to say a that the timing of a final agreement depends on a broader settlement of the diesel emission scandal. The 3.0L TDI is primarily used in a number of Audi products (A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7), along with the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. A court hearing will be held next week to get a status update on the talks. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  14. As we reported yesterday, Volkswagen has decided against revealing the preliminary results of their internal investigation as it would bring “unacceptable risks” to the company. It might have been a good idea as a new wrinkle has appeared in the diesel emission scandal. The New York Times has learned from two sources that a top technology executive prepared a PowerPoint presentation showing the automaker could fool the EPA's emission testing. The presentation was only a few pages long and explained the process of how the EPA did it. The presentation also talked about how the test could be fooled by a piece of code in the engine management software, turning on equipment that would reduce the amount of emissions produced. The obvious question is why? Back in 2006, engineers at Volkswagen's r&d complex realized that the emission equipment in their new diesel engine would wear out faster if it was set up for the U.S. emission standards. This presentation provided a possible solution. It is unknown who and how many people saw this presentation. But it brings doubt into Volkswagen's claim that a small group of employees knew about the cheat. The Times also reports that Martin Winterkorn - the former chief executive for Volkswagen - rejected proposals from low-ranking employees. According to sources who attended meetings with the management board, the proposals were tossed out as it would increase the price of Volkswagen vehicles. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen declined to comment. Source: The New York Times
  15. As we reported yesterday, Volkswagen has decided against revealing the preliminary results of their internal investigation as it would bring “unacceptable risks” to the company. It might have been a good idea as a new wrinkle has appeared in the diesel emission scandal. The New York Times has learned from two sources that a top technology executive prepared a PowerPoint presentation showing the automaker could fool the EPA's emission testing. The presentation was only a few pages long and explained the process of how the EPA did it. The presentation also talked about how the test could be fooled by a piece of code in the engine management software, turning on equipment that would reduce the amount of emissions produced. The obvious question is why? Back in 2006, engineers at Volkswagen's r&d complex realized that the emission equipment in their new diesel engine would wear out faster if it was set up for the U.S. emission standards. This presentation provided a possible solution. It is unknown who and how many people saw this presentation. But it brings doubt into Volkswagen's claim that a small group of employees knew about the cheat. The Times also reports that Martin Winterkorn - the former chief executive for Volkswagen - rejected proposals from low-ranking employees. According to sources who attended meetings with the management board, the proposals were tossed out as it would increase the price of Volkswagen vehicles. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen declined to comment. Source: The New York Times View full article
  16. Volkswagen was planning to release the preliminary findings of its internal investigation into the diesel emission scandal this month. But now, the company has scrapped those plans. In a statement, the German automaker cites strong objections from their lawyers and “unacceptable risks” to the company. But there might be more this than what Volkswagen is saying. Last week, Volkswagen finally reached a deal with the U.S. Government over the emission mess. By releasing the results, it might put Volkswagen in a difficult sport. “Publishing such a preliminary report would not only endanger the complex and confidential settlement talks [with authorities and plaintiffs], it would also have a negative effect on ongoing investigations as individuals who have yet to be questioned could align their statements with the contents of the report. We must avoid this,” said Volkswagen board director Wolfgang Porsche to reporters in Wolfsburg. It isn't being helped that the investigation has hit a few bumps in the road. According to Automotive News, the Jones Day law firm - hired by Volkswagen to do the investigation - have so far failed define key points of the scandal. Bloomberg goes on to say that the firm has been confounded by engineers using code words to describe the illegal software and outdated computer systems. The final investigation report is not expected until the fourth quarter of the fourth year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Statement by Volkswagen AG regarding the status of the comprehensive investigation in connection with the diesel matter At the end of September 2015, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft assigned law firm Jones Day with a comprehensive investigation in connection with the diesel matter. This investigation is already far advanced and is being pursued intensely. For this purpose, approximately 65 million documents were submitted for electronic review, of which more than 10 million were forwarded for review by Volkswagen's lawyers. Around 450 interviews have also been conducted about the diesel matter; dozens of additional interviews are planned. Based on the current assessment, Jones Day expects the investigation to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2016. After a thorough examination of the legal situation, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of Volkswagen have nevertheless had to recognize that a disclosure of interim results of the investigation at this point in time would present unacceptable risks for Volkswagen and, therefore, cannot take place now. This decision is based on the assessment of the U.S. law firms retained by Volkswagen (Sullivan & Cromwell and Jones Day), which have both strongly advised against such a disclosure independently of each other. Volkswagen regrets that it has had to move away from the original plan to disclose interim results of the investigation by the end of April. The reasons lie in the following developments in proceedings involving Volkswagen in connection with the diesel matter in the United States: Volkswagen's complex negotiations with a large number of parties in the United States (including private plaintiffs and multiple U.S. regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorneys General of each of the 50 states, and, in particular, the U.S. Department of Justice) have entered a decisive phase sooner than anticipated and require Volkswagen to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality. The extensive and confidential nature of these negotiations and Volkswagen's cooperation with the Department of Justice restrict Volkswagen´s ability to comment further on necessarily tentative results of the continuing investigation. The further disclosure or characterization of interim results, which are currently available, would likely prejudice the rest of the investigation at this time, in particular because individuals who have yet to be questioned could align their statements with the contents of the interim report. In counsel's view, a disclosure would also significantly impair Volkswagen's cooperation with the Department of Justice and weaken Volkswagen's position in any remaining proceedings. In counsel's view, such disclosure could also jeopardize the credit that Volkswagen may expect to receive in the event of its full cooperation with the Department of Justice. According to Volkswagen's legal advisers, this could have very substantial negative financial consequences. lf a full settlement can be achieved with the Department of Justice, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board currently expect that a detailed statement of the facts of this matter will be made public in the U.S. at that time. This is because the settlement of a criminal investigation with the Department of Justice is customarily accompanied by a detailed statement of facts, agreed to by the parties. Volkswagen explicitly regrets that it is not able to publish interim results by the end of April as initially planned. However, due to the reasons outlined above, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board see themselves forced to refrain from a disclosure in the interest of the company.
  17. Volkswagen was planning to release the preliminary findings of its internal investigation into the diesel emission scandal this month. But now, the company has scrapped those plans. In a statement, the German automaker cites strong objections from their lawyers and “unacceptable risks” to the company. But there might be more this than what Volkswagen is saying. Last week, Volkswagen finally reached a deal with the U.S. Government over the emission mess. By releasing the results, it might put Volkswagen in a difficult sport. “Publishing such a preliminary report would not only endanger the complex and confidential settlement talks [with authorities and plaintiffs], it would also have a negative effect on ongoing investigations as individuals who have yet to be questioned could align their statements with the contents of the report. We must avoid this,” said Volkswagen board director Wolfgang Porsche to reporters in Wolfsburg. It isn't being helped that the investigation has hit a few bumps in the road. According to Automotive News, the Jones Day law firm - hired by Volkswagen to do the investigation - have so far failed define key points of the scandal. Bloomberg goes on to say that the firm has been confounded by engineers using code words to describe the illegal software and outdated computer systems. The final investigation report is not expected until the fourth quarter of the fourth year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Statement by Volkswagen AG regarding the status of the comprehensive investigation in connection with the diesel matter At the end of September 2015, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft assigned law firm Jones Day with a comprehensive investigation in connection with the diesel matter. This investigation is already far advanced and is being pursued intensely. For this purpose, approximately 65 million documents were submitted for electronic review, of which more than 10 million were forwarded for review by Volkswagen's lawyers. Around 450 interviews have also been conducted about the diesel matter; dozens of additional interviews are planned. Based on the current assessment, Jones Day expects the investigation to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2016. After a thorough examination of the legal situation, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of Volkswagen have nevertheless had to recognize that a disclosure of interim results of the investigation at this point in time would present unacceptable risks for Volkswagen and, therefore, cannot take place now. This decision is based on the assessment of the U.S. law firms retained by Volkswagen (Sullivan & Cromwell and Jones Day), which have both strongly advised against such a disclosure independently of each other. Volkswagen regrets that it has had to move away from the original plan to disclose interim results of the investigation by the end of April. The reasons lie in the following developments in proceedings involving Volkswagen in connection with the diesel matter in the United States: Volkswagen's complex negotiations with a large number of parties in the United States (including private plaintiffs and multiple U.S. regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorneys General of each of the 50 states, and, in particular, the U.S. Department of Justice) have entered a decisive phase sooner than anticipated and require Volkswagen to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality. The extensive and confidential nature of these negotiations and Volkswagen's cooperation with the Department of Justice restrict Volkswagen´s ability to comment further on necessarily tentative results of the continuing investigation. The further disclosure or characterization of interim results, which are currently available, would likely prejudice the rest of the investigation at this time, in particular because individuals who have yet to be questioned could align their statements with the contents of the interim report. In counsel's view, a disclosure would also significantly impair Volkswagen's cooperation with the Department of Justice and weaken Volkswagen's position in any remaining proceedings. In counsel's view, such disclosure could also jeopardize the credit that Volkswagen may expect to receive in the event of its full cooperation with the Department of Justice. According to Volkswagen's legal advisers, this could have very substantial negative financial consequences. lf a full settlement can be achieved with the Department of Justice, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board currently expect that a detailed statement of the facts of this matter will be made public in the U.S. at that time. This is because the settlement of a criminal investigation with the Department of Justice is customarily accompanied by a detailed statement of facts, agreed to by the parties. Volkswagen explicitly regrets that it is not able to publish interim results by the end of April as initially planned. However, due to the reasons outlined above, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board see themselves forced to refrain from a disclosure in the interest of the company. View full article
  18. It seemed like it would never happen. But today in a federal courtroom in Calfornia, Volkswagen and the U.S. Justice Department announced they have reached an agreement over the 570,000 2.0L diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that cheated EPA emission tests. The preliminary "agreement in principle" states the Volkswagen will give owners the option of selling their affected TDI vehicles back to VW or have the vehicle modified to meet U.S. emission standards. Those who are leasing a TDI model can cancel their lease agreement. The agreement also includes two different compensation funds. The first will be for owners that will give them a substantial amount of compensation - the amount is currently unknown. The second will be for “appropriate remediation efforts” against the excess NOx emissions the affected Volkswagen diesel models emitted. Volkswagen will also be required to promote "green automotive technology." One other detail revealed in the hearing is that Volkswagen will be settling all of the class-action lawsuits against it in the coming weeks. "Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America," said VW lawyer Robert Giuffra. The agreements are "an important step forward on the road to making things right," added Giuffra. The agreement must be finalized by June 21st. A court hearing will follow on July 26th discussing the full details. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has issued a gag order on the discussion of the agreement. As the for the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6, negotiations between Volkswagen and Justice Department are continuing. This agreement is the beginning for Volkswagen to begin closing this dark and devasting chapter. There are still fines that need to levy against the German automaker, along with various investigations that need to be finished up. But it seems the madness is starting to come to an end. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Bloomberg, Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle with the US authorities In connection with the diesel issue, Volkswagen AG confirms that an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been reached in the United States. This agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks. Furthermore, Volkswagen has reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks. The judge presiding over today's court hearing in San Francisco, Charles R. Breyer, expressly welcomed this development. The arrangements in the making in the United States will have no legal bearing on proceedings outside of the United States. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and the State Attorneys General are not prejudiced by these agreements in principle.
  19. It seemed like it would never happen. But today in a federal courtroom in Calfornia, Volkswagen and the U.S. Justice Department announced they have reached an agreement over the 570,000 2.0L diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that cheated EPA emission tests. The preliminary "agreement in principle" states the Volkswagen will give owners the option of selling their affected TDI vehicles back to VW or have the vehicle modified to meet U.S. emission standards. Those who are leasing a TDI model can cancel their lease agreement. The agreement also includes two different compensation funds. The first will be for owners that will give them a substantial amount of compensation - the amount is currently unknown. The second will be for “appropriate remediation efforts” against the excess NOx emissions the affected Volkswagen diesel models emitted. Volkswagen will also be required to promote "green automotive technology." One other detail revealed in the hearing is that Volkswagen will be settling all of the class-action lawsuits against it in the coming weeks. "Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America," said VW lawyer Robert Giuffra. The agreements are "an important step forward on the road to making things right," added Giuffra. The agreement must be finalized by June 21st. A court hearing will follow on July 26th discussing the full details. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has issued a gag order on the discussion of the agreement. As the for the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6, negotiations between Volkswagen and Justice Department are continuing. This agreement is the beginning for Volkswagen to begin closing this dark and devasting chapter. There are still fines that need to levy against the German automaker, along with various investigations that need to be finished up. But it seems the madness is starting to come to an end. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Bloomberg, Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle with the US authorities In connection with the diesel issue, Volkswagen AG confirms that an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been reached in the United States. This agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks. Furthermore, Volkswagen has reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks. The judge presiding over today's court hearing in San Francisco, Charles R. Breyer, expressly welcomed this development. The arrangements in the making in the United States will have no legal bearing on proceedings outside of the United States. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and the State Attorneys General are not prejudiced by these agreements in principle. View full article
  20. Finally, some good news in terms of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. According to German newspaper Die Welt, Volkswagen has reached a deal with U.S. authorities over its cheating of EPA emission tests. Not much is known about the deal, but sources tell Die Welt that key part of the deal will see Volkswagen paying owners in the U.S. $5,000 in compensation. This deal will be presented tomorrow to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer at a hearing. We'll likely learn more about the agreement and what else it entails. UPDATE: Reuters has learned from their sources that Volkswagen has agreed to buy back up to 500,000 2.0L diesel vehicles in the U.S. Volkswagen may also offer to repair the affected vehicles down the road if given the go-ahead by regulators. Stay tuned. Source: Die Welt, Reuters, (2) View full article
  21. Finally, some good news in terms of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. According to German newspaper Die Welt, Volkswagen has reached a deal with U.S. authorities over its cheating of EPA emission tests. Not much is known about the deal, but sources tell Die Welt that key part of the deal will see Volkswagen paying owners in the U.S. $5,000 in compensation. This deal will be presented tomorrow to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer at a hearing. We'll likely learn more about the agreement and what else it entails. UPDATE: Reuters has learned from their sources that Volkswagen has agreed to buy back up to 500,000 2.0L diesel vehicles in the U.S. Volkswagen may also offer to repair the affected vehicles down the road if given the go-ahead by regulators. Stay tuned. Source: Die Welt, Reuters, (2)
  22. A number of Volkswagen executives will not be seeing their full bonus for 2015. In a statement today, Volkswagen announced bonus payments for top executives will be cut "significantly." This announcement comes a week after it was revealed that Volkswagen Group Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch would be getting about 10 million euros (about $11.4 million) as compensation for stepping down as the company's CFO. News about this bonus angered Volkswagen's labor leaders and the state of Lower Saxony, Volkswagen's second-largest shareholder. They argued Volkswagen should just scrap the bonuses since Volkswagen could experience more financial pains due to the diesel emission scandal. "Supervisory Board and Management Board jointly agreed that – given the current situation of the company – a signal should also be sent with respect to the topic of the Management Board's remuneration," said Volkswagen in a statement. Volkswagen hasn't said how much the bonuses will be cut, but a source tells Reuters that it will be around 30 percent. Sources also reveal that further measures are being discussed to reduce variable pay even further, but that might be enough resolve the dispute with the union leaders and Lower Saxony. Volkswagen's supervisory board will make a decision on the cuts at its next meeting later this April. Source: Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen AG informs on Wednesday: "Supervisory Board and Management Board jointly agreed that – given the current situation of the company – a signal should also be sent with respect to the topic of the Management Board's remuneration. Different models which would constitute a reasonable and fair solution for all parties involved are currently discussed and coordinated. As a consequence, this would lead to a significant reduction of the variable remuneration. This would also subsequently apply to Mr. Poetsch at his own request. The individual compensation components will be adopted in the forthcoming Supervisory Board meeting and will be published in the annual report on 28 April."
  23. A number of Volkswagen executives will not be seeing their full bonus for 2015. In a statement today, Volkswagen announced bonus payments for top executives will be cut "significantly." This announcement comes a week after it was revealed that Volkswagen Group Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch would be getting about 10 million euros (about $11.4 million) as compensation for stepping down as the company's CFO. News about this bonus angered Volkswagen's labor leaders and the state of Lower Saxony, Volkswagen's second-largest shareholder. They argued Volkswagen should just scrap the bonuses since Volkswagen could experience more financial pains due to the diesel emission scandal. "Supervisory Board and Management Board jointly agreed that – given the current situation of the company – a signal should also be sent with respect to the topic of the Management Board's remuneration," said Volkswagen in a statement. Volkswagen hasn't said how much the bonuses will be cut, but a source tells Reuters that it will be around 30 percent. Sources also reveal that further measures are being discussed to reduce variable pay even further, but that might be enough resolve the dispute with the union leaders and Lower Saxony. Volkswagen's supervisory board will make a decision on the cuts at its next meeting later this April. Source: Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen AG informs on Wednesday: "Supervisory Board and Management Board jointly agreed that – given the current situation of the company – a signal should also be sent with respect to the topic of the Management Board's remuneration. Different models which would constitute a reasonable and fair solution for all parties involved are currently discussed and coordinated. As a consequence, this would lead to a significant reduction of the variable remuneration. This would also subsequently apply to Mr. Poetsch at his own request. The individual compensation components will be adopted in the forthcoming Supervisory Board meeting and will be published in the annual report on 28 April." View full article
  24. When Volkswagen admitted that it used illegal software in their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests, questions arose as to whether or not any other automakers did something similar. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KPA) decided to investigate this and put 60 vehicles from various manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to the test. Their results revealed that Volkswagen was the only one automaker to cheat. These results will be published in a report later this month, but German business paper Handelsblatt learned about the investigation and results from various sources and spilled the beans on it. The KPA investigation started a few days after Volkswagen admitted to cheating emission tests. The authority brought in 60 different vehicles to conduct extensive emission testing in the lab and on the road. The testing was done in secrecy to prevent possible tampering from OEMs. The results of the investigation concluded that Volkswagen was the only automaker to cheat emission tests in Germany. KPA's investigation also revealed there were “strange irregularities” in terms of emissions with other OEM's vehicles. But a source says the emission levels were in the legal limit. Handelsblatt says the results of each vehicle involved in the testing have been sent to their respective automakers. Source: Handelsblatt
  25. When Volkswagen admitted that it used illegal software in their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests, questions arose as to whether or not any other automakers did something similar. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KPA) decided to investigate this and put 60 vehicles from various manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to the test. Their results revealed that Volkswagen was the only one automaker to cheat. These results will be published in a report later this month, but German business paper Handelsblatt learned about the investigation and results from various sources and spilled the beans on it. The KPA investigation started a few days after Volkswagen admitted to cheating emission tests. The authority brought in 60 different vehicles to conduct extensive emission testing in the lab and on the road. The testing was done in secrecy to prevent possible tampering from OEMs. The results of the investigation concluded that Volkswagen was the only automaker to cheat emission tests in Germany. KPA's investigation also revealed there were “strange irregularities” in terms of emissions with other OEM's vehicles. But a source says the emission levels were in the legal limit. Handelsblatt says the results of each vehicle involved in the testing have been sent to their respective automakers. Source: Handelsblatt View full article

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