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Found 36 results

  1. Another day, another raid by German prosecutors into Volkswagen's diesel emission scandal. Yesterday, 160 investigators conducted searches in about 10 premises in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg owned by Porsche. Prosecutors said in a statement to Reuters the raids are part of an investigation into Porsche employees on charges of fraud and fraudulent advertising tied to the cheating software used on diesel engines. “The three suspects include a member of the management board and a member of Porsche AG’s higher management. The third suspect is no longer employed at Porsche AG,” said prosecutors. A Porsche spokesman confirmed the searches to Reuters, but declined to comment any further. On the same day, two Audi sites were also searched according to Stuttgart prosecutors and an Audi spokesman. The searches relate to another investigation dealing with the diesel emission scandal. Source: Reuters
  2. Another day, another raid by German prosecutors into Volkswagen's diesel emission scandal. Yesterday, 160 investigators conducted searches in about 10 premises in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg owned by Porsche. Prosecutors said in a statement to Reuters the raids are part of an investigation into Porsche employees on charges of fraud and fraudulent advertising tied to the cheating software used on diesel engines. “The three suspects include a member of the management board and a member of Porsche AG’s higher management. The third suspect is no longer employed at Porsche AG,” said prosecutors. A Porsche spokesman confirmed the searches to Reuters, but declined to comment any further. On the same day, two Audi sites were also searched according to Stuttgart prosecutors and an Audi spokesman. The searches relate to another investigation dealing with the diesel emission scandal. Source: Reuters View full article
  3. Volkswagen isn't the only automaker that has the attention of German prosecutors. Yesterday, prosecutors carried out raids at various Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) buildings. This is part of an investigation into fraud related to false advertising and the possible manipulation of emissions with diesel powered vehicles. The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office told Reuters the raids were carried out "against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars." 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched 11 sites to look for evidence to help build a case. Diamler confirmed the raids to Reuters and said it was "cooperating with authorities." The company is also under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for emission discrepancies with diesel vehicles. Source: Reuters View full article
  4. Volkswagen isn't the only automaker that has the attention of German prosecutors. Yesterday, prosecutors carried out raids at various Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) buildings. This is part of an investigation into fraud related to false advertising and the possible manipulation of emissions with diesel powered vehicles. The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office told Reuters the raids were carried out "against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars." 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched 11 sites to look for evidence to help build a case. Diamler confirmed the raids to Reuters and said it was "cooperating with authorities." The company is also under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for emission discrepancies with diesel vehicles. Source: Reuters
  5. 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
  6. 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 View full article
  7. Last May, Joshua Brown was killed in a crash when his Tesla Model S in Autopilot collided with a tractor-trailer. After an investigation that took over half of a year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their findings today. In a report, NHTSA said they didn't find any evidence of defects with the Autopilot system. The agency also stated that they would not ask Tesla to perform a recall on models equipped with Autopilot. In a statement, Tesla said "the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion." NHTSA's report revealed that neither Autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes to prevent or lessen the impact of the crash. However, NHTSA cleared the Automatic Emergency Braking system as it's “designed to avoid or mitigate rear end collisions” but that “braking for crossing path collisions, such as that present in the Florida fatal crash, are outside the expected performance capabilities of the system.” Speaking of Brown, NHTSA's report said that he did not any action with steering or anything else to prevent this. The last recorded action in the vehicle was the cruise control being set to 74 mph. NHTSA notes that in their reconstruction of the crash, Brown had seven seconds to from seeing the tractor trailer to the moment of the impact, giving him possible chance to take some sort of action. This brings up a very serious concern of how much confidence owners give the Autopilot system. Despite Tesla having statements such as that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it," various videos showing Model Ss narrowly avoiding crashes have caused people to think that Autopilot was fully autonomous - which it isn't. “Although perhaps not as specific as it could be, Tesla has provided information about system limitations in the owner’s manuals, user interface and associated warnings/alerts, as well as a driver monitoring system that is intended to aid the driver in remaining engaged in the driving task at all times. Drivers should read all instructions and warnings provided in owner’s manuals for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies and be aware of system limitations,” said NHTSA. Tesla, to its credit, has been updating Autopilot to make drivers pay attention when using it. These include increasing the warnings for a driver to intervene when needed, and turning off the system if a driver doesn't respond to repeated requests. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Report in PDF), Tesla
  8. Last May, Joshua Brown was killed in a crash when his Tesla Model S in Autopilot collided with a tractor-trailer. After an investigation that took over half of a year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their findings today. In a report, NHTSA said they didn't find any evidence of defects with the Autopilot system. The agency also stated that they would not ask Tesla to perform a recall on models equipped with Autopilot. In a statement, Tesla said "the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion." NHTSA's report revealed that neither Autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes to prevent or lessen the impact of the crash. However, NHTSA cleared the Automatic Emergency Braking system as it's “designed to avoid or mitigate rear end collisions” but that “braking for crossing path collisions, such as that present in the Florida fatal crash, are outside the expected performance capabilities of the system.” Speaking of Brown, NHTSA's report said that he did not any action with steering or anything else to prevent this. The last recorded action in the vehicle was the cruise control being set to 74 mph. NHTSA notes that in their reconstruction of the crash, Brown had seven seconds to from seeing the tractor trailer to the moment of the impact, giving him possible chance to take some sort of action. This brings up a very serious concern of how much confidence owners give the Autopilot system. Despite Tesla having statements such as that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it," various videos showing Model Ss narrowly avoiding crashes have caused people to think that Autopilot was fully autonomous - which it isn't. “Although perhaps not as specific as it could be, Tesla has provided information about system limitations in the owner’s manuals, user interface and associated warnings/alerts, as well as a driver monitoring system that is intended to aid the driver in remaining engaged in the driving task at all times. Drivers should read all instructions and warnings provided in owner’s manuals for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies and be aware of system limitations,” said NHTSA. Tesla, to its credit, has been updating Autopilot to make drivers pay attention when using it. These include increasing the warnings for a driver to intervene when needed, and turning off the system if a driver doesn't respond to repeated requests. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Report in PDF), Tesla View full article
  9. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't out of the dog house when it comes to vehicles rolling away. A few months after issuing a recall on a number of models equipped with the stubby transmission lever for rolling away, NHTSA is investigating models equipped with the rotary knob gear selector for the same problem. The investigation is looking at the 2013–2016 Ram 1500 and the 2014–2016 Dodge Durango which have the rotary knob selector. NHTSA has gotten 43 complaints about these models moving away. Out of the 43 complaints, 25 have resulted in crashes and another 9 resulted in injuries. NHTSA also says that 34 complaints said the vehicle was moving while in park. FCA said it is cooperating with the investigation. In the meantime, FCA and NHTSA are urging owners to engage the parking brake Source: NHTSA, Reuters View full article
  10. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't out of the dog house when it comes to vehicles rolling away. A few months after issuing a recall on a number of models equipped with the stubby transmission lever for rolling away, NHTSA is investigating models equipped with the rotary knob gear selector for the same problem. The investigation is looking at the 2013–2016 Ram 1500 and the 2014–2016 Dodge Durango which have the rotary knob selector. NHTSA has gotten 43 complaints about these models moving away. Out of the 43 complaints, 25 have resulted in crashes and another 9 resulted in injuries. NHTSA also says that 34 complaints said the vehicle was moving while in park. FCA said it is cooperating with the investigation. In the meantime, FCA and NHTSA are urging owners to engage the parking brake Source: NHTSA, Reuters
  11. As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues its cooperation with the federal investigation into its falsified sales, they have begun to issue restate monthly sales results. They reveal that the Chrysler 200, a midsize sedan the company was hoping to be a success was even less popular than we first though. Automotive News reports that in a three-month period from July to September 2015, FCA reported that it sold 21 percent more 200s (8,577) than the new numbers. To put this in perspective, the second-largest discrepancy in sales was the Dodge Charger with 2,258 over-reported sales. "There was a lot of pressure on the 200 to offset the loss of sales from discontinuing the Dodge Avenger," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific. "FCA was under pressure to deliver a midsize car that could compete with the Accord and Camry after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were vilified for not offering competitive cars after we saw gas spike to $4. The 200 was meant to show how FCA was committed to offering passenger cars that could compete." There was also a $1 billion investment FCA made into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the 200. There was a lot of pressure for this sedan to succeed and could explain some of the reason as to the inflated sale numbers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears View full article
  12. As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues its cooperation with the federal investigation into its falsified sales, they have begun to issue restate monthly sales results. They reveal that the Chrysler 200, a midsize sedan the company was hoping to be a success was even less popular than we first though. Automotive News reports that in a three-month period from July to September 2015, FCA reported that it sold 21 percent more 200s (8,577) than the new numbers. To put this in perspective, the second-largest discrepancy in sales was the Dodge Charger with 2,258 over-reported sales. "There was a lot of pressure on the 200 to offset the loss of sales from discontinuing the Dodge Avenger," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific. "FCA was under pressure to deliver a midsize car that could compete with the Accord and Camry after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were vilified for not offering competitive cars after we saw gas spike to $4. The 200 was meant to show how FCA was committed to offering passenger cars that could compete." There was also a $1 billion investment FCA made into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the 200. There was a lot of pressure for this sedan to succeed and could explain some of the reason as to the inflated sale numbers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  13. Volkswagen can take a sigh of relief as it appears the current CEO, Matthias Müller, didn't have any prior knowledge of the diesel emission cheating. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) got their hands on a report done by Jones Day which said Müller didn't find out the scandal till the EPA made the announcement - September 18, 2015 if you're wondering. Only a week later, Müller would be named CEO of Volkswagen. Still, Müller's track record on dealing with the diesel emission mess is spotty. He has said the scandal was just a 'technical problem' and a misunderstanding about U.S. law - claims that were deemed false and got Müller in hot water. Source: Bild am Sonntag via Reuters
  14. Volkswagen can take a sigh of relief as it appears the current CEO, Matthias Müller, didn't have any prior knowledge of the diesel emission cheating. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) got their hands on a report done by Jones Day which said Müller didn't find out the scandal till the EPA made the announcement - September 18, 2015 if you're wondering. Only a week later, Müller would be named CEO of Volkswagen. Still, Müller's track record on dealing with the diesel emission mess is spotty. He has said the scandal was just a 'technical problem' and a misunderstanding about U.S. law - claims that were deemed false and got Müller in hot water. Source: Bild am Sonntag via Reuters View full article
  15. Seems Ford is under a new investigation for all of their 2015 and 2016 F150 Pickup trucks with the 3.6L V6 engine after multitude of customer complaints that the brakes just fail at random times. Ford says they are working with the NHTSA on this, but customers are clearly not happy. Ford F150 Brake Story @ Reuters Seems 271,000 of the 2013 and 2014 versions of this same F150 truck have brake issues also. Ford F150 Recall
  16. If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers. According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers. As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers. Source: The Wall Street Journal
  17. If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers. According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers. As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers. Source: The Wall Street Journal View full article
  18. Mitsubishi Motors brought in investigators to answer a question; why did they manipulate fuel economy figures on a number of their models? The results of the investigation were announced yesterday and it was a combination of various decisions and factors that led to it. The investigation criticized the company for "not having the manufacturing philosophy of an automaker". A key example comes from the company not rallying their workers to help them back on track after two major scandals. Instead, it was focused on cutting costs wherever it could. This caused Mitsubishi engineers to pull off the impossible task of improving fuel economy on their current engines and not developing new ones. There was also the feeling that workers couldn't speak up about reaching these impossible targets. The investigation also revealed that management failed to the address the possibility of something fishy going on with the fuel economy testing. In 2005, a new employee brought up concerns about fuel economy figures being made up. This was brushed off by managers. Six years later, a compliance survey addressing other falsifications were not brought to Mitsubishi executives. “The problem is not only with the testing, certification, or the development department. It’s a collective failure of Mitsubishi Motors as a whole, starting from the management,” said Yoshiro Sakata, one of the investigators appointed by the company at a briefing yesterday. “I take the panel’s recommendation seriously,” Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko in a statement. “The efforts we’ve been making since I took over in 2005 haven’t been enough.” The investigators made a number of recommendations to prevent something like this from happening again. They include, Revamping development Making vehicle certification department independent from the research and development department Restructure the organization structure Being more transparent Understanding laws Be willing to find and tackle violations Source: Bloomberg, Reuters
  19. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. Bloomberg learned about the investigation from two sources this morning and since then, FCA has confirmed it. This investigation stems from lawsuits filed earlier this year by dealers in Florida and Illinois saying the automaker inflated sales numbers by having them file false 'New Vehicle Delivery Reports'. At the time, FCA denied the charges made and is seeking dismissal of the suit. But as Automotive News notes, FCA added a disclaimer to their sales reports in April about how sales are reported. “FCA US reported vehicle sales represent sales of its vehicles to retail and fleet customers, as well as limited deliveries of vehicles to its officers, directors, employees and retirees. Sales from dealers to customers are reported to FCA US by dealers as sales are made on an ongoing basis through a new vehicle delivery reporting system that then compiles the reported data as of the end of each month. Sales through dealers do not necessarily correspond to reported revenues, which are based on the sale and delivery of vehicles to the dealers. In certain limited circumstances where sales are made directly by FCA US, such sales are reported through its management reporting system.” Investigators from the FBI and SEC visited various FCA field staff at their homes and offices on July 11th. That same day saw federal attorneys visit FCA's headquarters to gather information. According to a source, FCA employees were advised not to speak with investigators without counsel. In a statement today, FCA said that it would "cooperate fully" with the SEC investigation into its "reporting of vehicle unit sales to end customers" in the U.S. It also mentioned that is has received similar inquiries from the DOJ and will cooperate with them. The DOJ, FBI, and SEC declined to comment. Source: Bloomberg, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  20. 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
  21. The emission cheating that went back to 2006 and would land Volkswagen in deep trouble last September was an open secret in the automaker's engine development department. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung along with regional broadcasters NDR and WDR reported on Friday some of the results of Volkswagen's internal investigation into the diesel cheating scandal. The cheating goes back to 2006 at Volkswagen's engine development department. With strict U.S. emissions standards looming, the department was given an impossible task; find a cost effective solution to develop clean diesel engines. Pressure from the board and fear of telling their bosses that it could not be done only added to fire of going with cheating. "Within the company there was a culture of 'we can do everything', so to say something cannot be done, was not acceptable," said Sueddeutsche Zeitung in its report (and translated by Reuters). Thus, the decision was made the development team to commit fraud to meet this impossible task. Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the cheating began in earnest in November 2006 and the staff took solace that regulators would not be able to detect the cheating with regular testing methods. The cheat was an open secret to those in the department. That doesn't mean someone tried to speak out. The report says in 2011, a whistleblower who was involved in the deception, told a senior manager outside the department about the cheating. The manager reportedly did nothing. A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment on what he called 'speculation'. Source: Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters Click here to view the article
  22. The emission cheating that went back to 2006 and would land Volkswagen in deep trouble last September was an open secret in the automaker's engine development department. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung along with regional broadcasters NDR and WDR reported on Friday some of the results of Volkswagen's internal investigation into the diesel cheating scandal. The cheating goes back to 2006 at Volkswagen's engine development department. With strict U.S. emissions standards looming, the department was given an impossible task; find a cost effective solution to develop clean diesel engines. Pressure from the board and fear of telling their bosses that it could not be done only added to fire of going with cheating. "Within the company there was a culture of 'we can do everything', so to say something cannot be done, was not acceptable," said Sueddeutsche Zeitung in its report (and translated by Reuters). Thus, the decision was made the development team to commit fraud to meet this impossible task. Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the cheating began in earnest in November 2006 and the staff took solace that regulators would not be able to detect the cheating with regular testing methods. The cheat was an open secret to those in the department. That doesn't mean someone tried to speak out. The report says in 2011, a whistleblower who was involved in the deception, told a senior manager outside the department about the cheating. The manager reportedly did nothing. A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment on what he called 'speculation'. Source: Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters
  23. This morning at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, executives admitted there were parts of the company "tolerated breaches of rules" and would be 'relentless' in finding those involved in the diesel emission scandal. Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told reporters at the press conference that investigations into the affair were going well, but it would take time for the investigation to figure out which individuals were the key players. Poestch also reiterated that a small group of individuals were involved in the cheating. The key question is how did the cheating happen in the first place? Poetsch explained there were three key reasons, “Mindset in some areas of the Company that tolerated breaches of rules.” Misconduct of individuals Flaws in processes that prevent issues like this "It is clear that, in the past, deficiencies in processes have favored misconduct on the part of individuals. This is true, for example, for test and certification processes affecting our engine control devices, which were not suited to preventing use of the software in question. Group Audit has suggested specific remedies to correct this. We are concentrating on structuring these processes more transparently and systematically. For example, in the future, software for engine control devices will be developed more strictly in accordance with the 4-eyes principle. In addition, the bodies responsible for the release of such software are being reorganized," Volkswagen said in a statement. Aside from an internal investigation, Volkswagen has also brought in the law firm Jones Day to do an external investigation. The firm is expected to present the results of their investigation in April during Volkswagen' annual meeting. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller also spoke at the conference and announced that changes were coming to how Volkswagen corporate structure will look like. Muller is also committed to keeping the twelve brands and protecting jobs. "We will not allow the crisis to paralyze us. Although the current situation is serious, this company will not be broken by it," said Muller. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Jalopnik, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Page 1 of 2 1 2 → Last » Click here to view the article
  24. This morning at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, executives admitted there were parts of the company "tolerated breaches of rules" and would be 'relentless' in finding those involved in the diesel emission scandal. Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told reporters at the press conference that investigations into the affair were going well, but it would take time for the investigation to figure out which individuals were the key players. Poestch also reiterated that a small group of individuals were involved in the cheating. The key question is how did the cheating happen in the first place? Poetsch explained there were three key reasons, “Mindset in some areas of the Company that tolerated breaches of rules.” Misconduct of individuals Flaws in processes that prevent issues like this "It is clear that, in the past, deficiencies in processes have favored misconduct on the part of individuals. This is true, for example, for test and certification processes affecting our engine control devices, which were not suited to preventing use of the software in question. Group Audit has suggested specific remedies to correct this. We are concentrating on structuring these processes more transparently and systematically. For example, in the future, software for engine control devices will be developed more strictly in accordance with the 4-eyes principle. In addition, the bodies responsible for the release of such software are being reorganized," Volkswagen said in a statement. Aside from an internal investigation, Volkswagen has also brought in the law firm Jones Day to do an external investigation. The firm is expected to present the results of their investigation in April during Volkswagen' annual meeting. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller also spoke at the conference and announced that changes were coming to how Volkswagen corporate structure will look like. Muller is also committed to keeping the twelve brands and protecting jobs. "We will not allow the crisis to paralyze us. Although the current situation is serious, this company will not be broken by it," said Muller. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Jalopnik, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen making good progress with its investigation, technical solutions, and Group realignment Initial results of the emissions investigation available Approximately 450 external and internal experts involved in the investigations 100 terabytes of data secured – equivalent to information in approximately 50 million books Volkswagen will have future emissions tests evaluated independently Technical solutions for customers in Europe developed; implementation to begin in January 2016 Group realignment making good progress The Volkswagen Group’s realignment is well underway. The Group is making progress on all five of the priorities it set at the end of October: The technical solutions for customers in Europe have been devised, presented to the authorities, and positively evaluated by them. These solutions will begin to be implemented in January 2016. The emissions investigation is producing results, and initial consequences have already been drawn based on the findings to date. The implementation of the new structure is proceeding according to plan, and the process of developing a new strategy has commenced. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, Hans Dieter Pötsch, told the press in Wolfsburg today: “The Volkswagen Group is fully functional in every respect, even during these eventful days. How, and when we meet the current challenges is primarily – although not solely – up to us. In order to pass this test, we must make an enormous, common effort – and we are all ready to do so.” The Chairman of the Board of Management, Matthias Müller, said: “We are doing everything to overcome the current situation, but we will not allow the crisis to paralyze us. On the contrary, we will use it as a catalyst to make the changes Volkswagen needs.” For the first time, the Company provided detailed commentary on the status of its investigation, which is being coordinated by a special committee of the Supervisory Board. Approximately 450 internal and external experts are involved in the investigations, which are being conducted in two phases. An internal review, being conducted by a task force of experts from various Group companies with a clearly defined mandate and a deadline, is focused on the mandate to Group Audit by the Supervisory Board and the Management Board to investigate relevant processes, reporting and monitoring systems, and the associated infrastructure. Group Audit will provide its findings to the external experts of Jones Day. The Supervisory Board has given this internationally respected law firm a parallel mandate to completely clarify the facts and responsibilities – i.e., among other things, it has been asked to conduct a forensic investigation. In connection with its work, Jones Day is being provided with operational support by the audit firm Deloitte. Group Audit has identified process weak points As reported on Wednesday, extensive internal investigations, which were subject to external independent review, did not confirm the suspicion of irregularities during the CO2 certification process. Now, the first significant findings in the investigation of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) issue are available. Group Audit’s examination of the relevant processes indicates that the software-influenced NOx emissions behavior was due to the interaction of three factors: The misconduct and shortcomings of individual employees Weaknesses in some processes A mindset in some areas of the Company that tolerated breaches of rules. It is clear that, in the past, deficiencies in processes have favored misconduct on the part of individuals. This is true, for example, for test and certification processes affecting our engine control devices, which were not suited to preventing use of the software in question. Group Audit has suggested specific remedies to correct this. We are concentrating on structuring these processes more transparently and systematically. For example, in the future, software for engine control devices will be developed more strictly in accordance with the 4-eyes principle. In addition, the bodies responsible for the release of such software are being reorganized. They will be given more sharply defined and binding powers and responsibilities. Deficiencies were also found in reporting and monitoring systems. The main problem there was that responsibilities were not sufficiently clear. Volkswagen will now further sharpen them. Group Audit also found deficiencies in some areas of Volkswagen’s IT infrastructure. These deficiencies will also be remedied. Volkswagen will introduce IT systems that allow individual processes to be monitored with greater efficiency and transparency. This will simultaneously reduce our dependence on individuals when problematic processes have to be identified and, if necessary, escalated. As Pötsch stated: “Group Audit’s investigation is producing valuable findings, which will help us create a structure that, rather than favoring breaches of regulations, will prevent them, or at least allow them to be detected early on.” The Company has already drawn a key conclusion based on Group Audit’s findings, namely that its testing practice must undergo comprehensive changes. Volkswagen has decided that in the future emissions test will be evaluated externally and independently. In addition, randomly selected real-life tests to assess emissions behavior on the road will be introduced. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Pötsch stated: “We hope that this will help Volkswagen regain lost trust.” More time is required for the external investigation Although Group Audit’s analysis of the processes will be concluded shortly, Jones Day will need well into next year in order to finish its work. The external investigators will need more time for their investigation, for two reasons. The first is that they have a massive volume of data to screen. At present, 102 terabytes of information have been secured, which is the equivalent of the information contained in approximately 50 million books. More than 1,500 electronic data storage units have been collected from approximately 380 employees. The second reason is that their investigation of the facts takes legal responsibility into account. Therefore, their findings must not only be plausible and consistent, but must also hold up in court. Volkswagen plans to provide a status update on the external investigation at its Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2016. The information that has been screened to date has largely explained the origin and development of the nitrogen oxide issue. It proves not to have been a one-time error, but rather a chain of errors that were allowed to happen. The starting point was a strategic decision to launch a large-scale promotion of diesel vehicles in the United States in 2005. Initially, it proved impossible to have the EA 189 engine meet by legal means the stricter nitrogen oxide requirements in the United States within the required timeframe and budget. This led to the incorporation of software that adjusted nitrogen oxide emission levels according to whether vehicles were on the road or being tested. Later, when an effective technical process was available to reduce NOx emissions, it was not employed to the full extent possible. On the contrary, the software in question allowed the exhaust gas treatment additive “AdBlue” to be injected in variable amounts such that the NOx values were particularly low when vehicles were in the test bay, but significantly higher when vehicles were on the road. Hans Dieter Pötsch stressed that, “No business transaction justifies overstepping legal and ethical bounds.” As a first step, nine managers who may have been involved in the manipulations were suspended. Pötsch emphasized: “I here and now guarantee that we will pursue our thorough investigation to its conclusion. I vouch for this personally, as does the entire Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG.” Technical solutions, which have been positively evaluated by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (“Kraftfahrtbundesamt”), are now available for the European variants of the EA 189 engine type affected. Volkswagen is thus ensuring that the models affected in Europe will meet all legal requirements in the future. The costs of implementing these solutions will be manageable in technical, manufacturing, and financial terms. The software of the 2.0 and 1.2 liter TDI will be updated. For the 1.6 liter TDI, a so-called flow transformer will be used that increases the measurement precision and, in combination with redesigned software, will optimize injection quantity. Now that the technical solutions have been approved, Volkswagen is working intensely on plans to implement them. The recall of the highest-volume variant, the 2.0 liter TDI, will begin in January 2016. The recall of the 1.2 liter TDI is currently scheduled to begin in the second quarter. The implementation phase for the 1.6 liter models is planned to begin in the third quarter to allow time to prepare for the hardware modification. Under the current plan, the entire initiative will take at least all of calendar year 2016. Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management, promised: "Volkswagen will not rest until this matter has been resolved once and for all to our customers’ satisfaction.” Volkswagen will inform the owners of the affected vehicles individually as to when their vehicles will be updated. Volkswagen guarantees that the solutions will be implemented free of charge. The company waives any statute of limitations for the technical solutions, and will provide an appropriate replacement vehicle if required. Due to far stricter nitrogen oxide limits in the United States, it is a greater technical challenge to retrofit the vehicles such that all applicable emissions limits can be met with one and the same emissions strategy. To this end, Volkswagen is cooperating closely with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The solution designed for North America will be presented as soon as it has been approved by the responsible authorities. Implementation of the new Group structure commenced Parallel to overcoming the crisis, Volkswagen is also instituting a comprehensive new alignment that affects the structure of the Group, as well as its way of thinking and its strategic goals. Volkswagen will be managed in a more decentralized fashion in the future, and its brands and regions will be granted more independence. The Group’s Board of Management is fully focused on its core task: advancing the major, global issues for the future, as well as synergies, controls, and strategy. Volkswagen will have significant input to the technical changes that have a major impact on its own business model, becoming more agile, and streamlining its decision-making processes. In addition, Volkswagen will become leaner and improve cost efficiency. All these structural changes ultimately aim to reduce managerial complexity and ensure that the Group can be effectively led over the long term. At an organizational level, with the appointment of Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, the Integrity & Law area will be represented as its own department on the Group’s Board of Management in the future – a clear indication that these issues are extremely important to Volkswagen. Significantly more importance will be attached to digitalization, which will report directly to the Chairman of the Board of Management. Overall, direct reports will be reduced from more than 30 to 19. The renewal of personnel in the Group has recently again been given new impetus. Since the beginning of 2015, the Group’s Board of Management has seen six new members join, seven of the brands have had their top personnel changed, and eight departments falling within the CEO’s area of responsibility now have new heads. Müller stated: "The team with which we wish to address the challenges of the coming months and years is in place.” The details of the new structure are to be worked out in the first quarter of 2016. The new structure will be in place Group-wide by the start of 2017. New mindset initiated Müller noted: “We can have the best people, and a great organization, but we can do nothing without the right attitude and mentality.” During the upcoming process of change toward a new way of thinking, Volkswagen can build on its traditional strengths: quality consciousness, strong identification with its vehicles, and a high degree of social responsibility. According to Müller, the future will be about more open discussions, closer cooperation, and a willingness to allow mistakes if they are understood as an opportunity to learn. The Chairman of the Board of Management stated, “We don’t need yes-men, but managers and engineers who make good arguments in support of their convictions and projects, who think and act like entrepreneurs. I am calling for people who are curious, independent, and pioneering. People who follow their instincts and are not merely guided by the possible consequences of impending failure. In short: the future at Volkswagen belongs to the bold. We need a little more Silicon Valley, coupled with the competence from Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt, Stuttgart, and the other Group locations.” New strategic destination under development In addition, Volkswagen has initiated development of a new strategic target: “Strategy 2025”, with which Volkswagen will address the main issues for the future, is scheduled to be presented in mid 2016. Müller explained, “We are realigning Volkswagen strategically and technologically. Our goal is to courageously and decisively participate in shaping the future of mobility.” Among other things, the Group aims to achieve a significant expansion of its sales outside of its current core business. Furthermore, a digitalization and an electrification offensive are being prepared. In parallel, Volkswagen is currently doing everything it can to limit the effect the current situation has on its business performance. The operating business is meeting expectations, and the 2015 annual forecast, which was updated at the end of October, remains unchanged. The sales figures are very mixed as regards the various markets and brands. Müller explained, “Overall, the situation is not dramatic, but, as was to be expected, it's tense.” In summary, the Chairman of the Board of Management stated: “Although the current situation is serious, this company will not be broken by it. We have a clear mission: we will create a new, better, and stronger Volkswagen. A company that uses its strengths to make the transition to the new world of automobiles. A company that now releases new forces, and takes better advantage of its huge potential. And, last but not least, a company that will be successful over the long term on the basis of strong values.”
  25. While much of the focus of the investigations into Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has been focused on the German automaker, attention is now turning to one of their key suppliers. Reuters has learned from sources that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into what involvement did German auto supplier Bosch GmbH have in the scandal. Bosch built a number of key components that Volkswagen and its subsidiary brands would use on diesel engines. Now the sources are quick to point out that Bosch isn't charged with anything at the moment. A key part Bosch provided Volkswagen and a number of other German automakers is the engine control module (known as EDC17), and basic software. This module regulates how a vehicle cleans burned-up diesel fuel before it is expelled as exhaust. Each automaker has their own version of the module and software. Now Volkswagen modified the software to cheat emission tests and Bosch insisting that it had nothing to do with it or knew anything. But a source tells Car and Driver that the supplier had to know something was going on. “I’ve had many arguments with Bosch, and they certainly own the dataset software and let their customers tune the curves. Before each dataset is released it goes back to Bosch for its own validation. Bosch is involved in all the development we ever do. They insist on being present at all our physical tests and they log all their own data, so someone somewhere at Bosch will have known what was going on. All software routines have to go through the software verification of Bosch, and they have hundreds of milestones of verification, that’s the structure. The car company is never entitled by Bosch to do something on their own,” said the source. Source: Reuters, Car and Driver

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