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  1. Diesel is quite popular in Europe partly due to subsidies provided by governments - in this case, a lower tax rate on diesel fuel than gasoline. The thinking at the time was diesel engines burn their fuel more efficiently than gas engines, thus they contribute less to global warming. But as the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal would reveal, diesel vehicles aren't that much cleaner, producing more nitrogen oxide emissions than their gas counterparts. Now, one CEO from a German automaker is saying that maybe it is time to end the subsidies. “We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies. The money can be invested more sensibly to promote more environmentally friendly technologies,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller to German paper Handelsblatt. This is quite the surprise as Volkswagen along with other German automakers said diesel still had a future due to new pollution reduction technologies. Also, Volkswagen did very well with the sales of diesel models. But with the dark cloud of the diesel emission scandal, Müller likely sees the writing on the wall and wants to get out ahead. Müller went on to say that he was in favor of banning older diesel vehicles from city centers. But he said that newer diesel vehicles should be exempt from the bans as they meet "stricter standards on nitrogen oxide emissions". Source: Handelsblatt via New York Times
  2. 2017 will be the last year Volkswagen sells the Touareg in the U.S., according to Motor Trend. While a reason as to why wasn't given, we have to think declining sales played a key role. The past few years have seen sales fall at a steady rate - 2016 saw a 40 percent drop to 4,223 units. 2017 isn't faring any better with 1,630 Touaregs sold through June. There is also the model being squeezed by the larger Atlas crossover and the upcoming Tiguan, which is slightly longer than the Touareg. Volkswagen will continue to sell the Touareg in other markets, with the next-generation model due out later this year. Source: Motor Trend
  3. Volkswagen, still under steep financial pressure from their diesel emissions scandal, is apparently looking to put some of its many assets on the auction block. Up first looks to be famed Italian motorcycle builder Ducati. In July of 2012, Volkswagen originally acquired Ducati for $909 million through a complicated transaction involving subsidiary Audi which in turn owns Lamborghini which is the current holder of Ducati. The purchase was the brainchild of then VW Chairman Ferdinand Piëch, a long time motorcycle enthusiast. Analysts at the time felt that it was more a trophy purchase for Chariman Piëch than one that made financial sense for VW. Sources have reported that VW has enlisted Evercore, an investment bank, to investigate the possible sale options for Ducati. Estimates currently peg Ducati with a value of around $1.63 billion (1.5b €). Speculation is that Indian automaker Eicher, maker of motorcycle brand Royal Enfield is interested and exploring possibly acquiring the brand. While not as well known in the US, Royal Enfield sells more motorcycles globally than famed maker Harley Davidson. Eicher, which also partners with Polaris and Volvo Trucks for production in India is aggressively looking to grow its global portfolio. Eicher Motors recent growth means it has over $540 million* in cash reserves to put towards that global expansion goal. Ducati sold 55,451 units in 2016. Other possible buyers of Ducati could include Harley Davidson, Polaris, and Suzuki. Source: Times of India Pictures courtesy of Ducati and Royal Enfield *In an earlier version of this article we converted Indian Rupee to US Dollars incorrectly. -DD
  4. Volkswagen sees crossovers as its savior in the U.S. marketplace. Speaking with Wards Auto, Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said their model mix would change from 10 to 12 percent crossovers to 40 percent in the next few years. “We are shifting the brand into a position where we will enjoy more business volume because we were not present in those segments. We’re currently at 12% and the industry is nearly 60% light trucks and SUVs, so we are severely underrepresented,” said Woebcken. To accomplish this, Volkswagen will be launching the brand-new Altas and redesign Tiguan later this year. Interestingly, Volkswagen will keep the current Tiguan for a bit to act as an entry-level model for the crossover lineup. Down the road, Volkswagen will introduce an all-new Touraeg and is considering doing another crossover using the Atlas' platform. One vehicle that is still off the table is a truck. Rumors have been flying around about Volkswagen doing a car-based pickup (i.e. Honda Ridgeline). Woebcken said there is little interest for this at Volkswagen's HQ due to how small the segment is. Source: Wards Auto
  5. It was only a week ago that Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller rebuffed FCA's CEO Sergio Marchionne'sidea of having talks between Volkswagen and FCA. “We are not ready for talks about anything. I haven’t seen Marchionne for months,” said Müller. “We have other problems.” This week, Müller seems to have changed his tune. Speaking with reporters at the company's annual press conference, he said that he was open to talks with FCA. "I am not ruling out a conversation," Müller told reporters. “It would be very helpful if Mr. Marchionne were to communicate his considerations to me.” What changed? There are two possibilities. First is the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group, which makes them the second-largest automaker in Europe. Volkswagen could see this as a threat and might consider teaming up with another automaker as an additional layer of protection. The other comes from the massive costs as a result of the diesel emission mess. Volkswagen has so far agreed to pay $25 billion in fines and buyback programs. Source: Reuters
  6. Volkswagen will be cutting another big check. Today, the company announced that it had reached a settlement with Department of Justice over the criminal case on the diesel emission scandal. Volkswagen will plead guilty to three criminal felony charges and will pay $4.3 billion - $2.8 billion for the fine and $1.5 billion to settle civil cases. The settlement also requires an independent monitor to watch over the company for the next years. Volkswagen's board still needs to approve this settlement, but the company says the approval could happen today or tomorrow. If they waited, the parties would have to do it all over again with new people coming as part of President-elect Trump's team. “Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to defending consumers, protecting our environment and our financial system and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing. In the days ahead, we will continue to examine Volkswagen’s attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government. And we will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement. In addition, six Volkswagen executives and employees have been charged with their involvement in the scandal. They include, Richard Dorenkamp - In charge of Volkswagen’s Engine Development After-Treatment Department from 2003 to 2013. This department is where the cheat was developed. Bernd Gottweis - Volkswagen's supervisor responsible for Quality Management and Product Safety between 2007 to October 2014. Jens Hadler - Head of powertrain development from 2007 to 2011. Heinz-Jakob Neusser - Head of powertrain development from 2011 to 2013, suspended by Volkswagen back in 2015. Jürgen Peter - Worked in Volkswagen's Quality Management and Product Safety Group from 1990 to now. For a few months in 2015, he was a liaison for various regulatory agencies. Oliver Schmidt - Volkswagen's liaison with U.S. environmental regulators. He was arrested on Sunday in Miami as he was returning to Germany. Source: Department of Justice, Bloomberg, Reuters Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen AG Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Billion in Criminal and Civil Penalties; Six Volkswagen Executives and Employees are Indicted in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests VW to Pay $2.8 Billion Criminal Fine in Guilty Plea and $1.5 Billion Settlement of Civil Environmental, Customs and Financial Violations; Monitor to Be Appointed to Oversee the Parent Company Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty as a result of the company’s long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme, the Justice Department announced today. In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay $1.5 billion. This includes EPA’s claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims for customs fraud. In addition, the EPA agreement requires injunctive relief to prevent future violations. The agreements also resolve alleged violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). The Criminal Case: VW is charged with and has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and VW’s U.S. customers and to violate the Clean Air Act by lying and misleading the EPA and U.S. customers about whether certain VW, Audi and Porsche branded diesel vehicles complied with U.S. emissions standards, using cheating software to circumvent the U.S. testing process and concealing material facts about its cheating from U.S. regulators. VW is also charged with obstruction of justice for destroying documents related to the scheme, and with a separate crime of importing these cars into the U.S. by means of false statements about the vehicles’ compliance with emissions limits. Under the terms of the plea agreement, which must be accepted by the court, VW will plead guilty to all these crimes, will be on probation for three years, will be under an independent corporate compliance monitor who will oversee the company for at least three years, and agrees to fully cooperate in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for these crimes. In addition, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today charging six VW executives and employees for their roles in the nearly 10-year conspiracy. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, 56; Jens Hadler, 50; Richard Dorenkamp, 68; Bernd Gottweis, 69; Oliver Schmidt, 48; and Jürgen Peter, 59, all of Germany, are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, defraud VW’s U.S. customers and violate the Clean Air Act by making false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with U.S. emissions requirements. The indictment also charges Dorenkamp, Neusser, Schmidt and Peter with Clean Air Act violations and charges Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter with wire fraud counts. This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox of the Eastern District of Michigan. Schmidt was arrested on Jan. 7, 2017, in Miami during a visit to the United States and appeared in federal court there on Monday. The other defendants are believed to presently reside in Germany. Today’s announcement was made by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Acting Deputy Secretary Russell C. Deyo for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Volkswagen’s attempts to dodge emissions standards and import falsely certified vehicles into the country represent an egregious violation of our nation’s environmental, consumer protection and financial laws,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to defending consumers, protecting our environment and our financial system and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing. In the days ahead, we will continue to examine Volkswagen’s attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government. And we will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy.” “When Volkswagen broke the law, EPA stepped in to hold them accountable and address the pollution they caused,” said EPA Administrator McCarthy. “EPA’s fundamental and indispensable role becomes all too clear when companies evade laws that protect our health. The American public depends on a strong and active EPA to deliver clean air protections, and that is exactly what we have done.” “This wasn’t simply the action of some faceless, multinational corporation,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates. “This conspiracy involved flesh-and-blood individuals who used their positions within Volkswagen to deceive both regulators and consumers. From the start of this investigation, we’ve been committed to ensuring that those responsible for criminal activity are held accountable. We’ve followed the evidence—from the showroom to the boardroom—and it brought us to the people whose indictments we’re announcing today.” “Americans expect corporations to operate honestly and provide accurate information,” said Deputy Director McCabe. “Volkswagen’s data deception defrauded the U.S. government, violated the Clean Air Act and eroded consumer trust. This case sends a clear message to corporations, no matter how big or small, that if you lie and disregard rules that protect consumers and the environment, you will be caught and held accountable.” “Blatant violations of U.S. customs and environmental laws will not be tolerated, and this case reinforces that,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Deyo. “These actions put our economy, consumers and citizens at risk, and the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to take every step necessary to protect the American people.” According to the indictment, the individuals occupied the following positions within the company: Heinz-Jakob Neusser: from July 2013 until September 2015, Neusser worked for VW as head of Development for VW Brand and was also on the management board for VW Brand. From October 2011 until July 2013, Neusser served as the head of Engine Development for VW. Jens Hadler: from May 2007 until March 2011, Hadler worked for VW as head of Engine Development for VW. Richard Dorenkamp: from 2003 until December 2013, Dorenkamp worked for VW as the head of VW’s Engine Development After-Treatment Department in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 2006 until 2013, Dorenkamp led a team of engineers that developed the first diesel engine that was designed to meet the new, tougher emissions standards in the United States. Bernd Gottweis: from 2007 until October 2014, Gottweis worked for VW as a supervisor with responsibility for Quality Management and Product Safety. Oliver Schmidt: from 2012 through February 2015, Schmidt was the General Manager in charge of the Environment and Engineering Office, located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. From February 2015 through September 2015, Schmidt returned to VW headquarters to work directly for Neusser, including on emissions issues. Jürgen Peter: Peter worked in the VW Quality Management and Product Safety Group from 1990 until the present. From March 2015 until July 2015, Peter was one of the VW liaisons between the regulatory agencies and VW. According to the charging documents and statement of facts filed with the court, in 2006, VW engineers began to design a new diesel engine to meet stricter U.S. emissions standards that would take effect by model year 2007. This new engine would be the cornerstone of a new project to sell diesel vehicles in the United States that would be marketed to buyers as “clean diesel,” a project that was an important strategic goal for VW’s management. When the co-conspirators realized that they could not design a diesel engine that would both meet the stricter NOx emissions standards and attract sufficient customer demand in the U.S. market, they decided they would use a software function to cheat standard U.S. emissions tests. VW engineers working under Dorenkamp and Hadler designed and implemented a software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or it was being driven on the road under normal driving conditions. The software accomplished this by recognizing the standard published drive cycles. Based on these inputs, if the vehicle’s software detected that it was being tested, the vehicle performed in one mode, which satisfied U.S. NOx emissions standards. If the software detected that the vehicle was not being tested, it operated in a different mode, in which the vehicle’s emissions control systems were reduced substantially, causing the vehicle to emit NOx up to 40 times higher than U.S. standards. Disagreements over the direction of the project were articulated at a meeting over which Hadler presided, and which Dorenkamp attended. Hadler authorized Dorenkamp to proceed with the project knowing that only the use of the defeat device software would enable VW diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emissions tests. Starting with the first model year 2009 of VW’s new “clean diesel” engine through model year 2016, Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler and their co-conspirators installed, or caused to be installed, the defeat device software into the vehicles imported and sold in the United States. In order to sell their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States, the co-conspirators lied to the EPA about the existence of their test-cheating software, hiding it from the EPA, CARB, VW customers and the U.S. public. Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators then marketed, and caused to be marketed, VW diesel vehicles to the U.S. public as “clean diesel” and environmentally-friendly. Around 2012, hardware failures developed in certain of the diesel vehicles. VW engineers believed the increased stress on the exhaust system from being driven in the “dyno mode” could be the cause of the hardware failures. In July 2012, VW engineers met with Neusser and Gottweis to explain what they believed to be the cause of the hardware failures and explained the defeat device. Gottweis and Neusser each encouraged further concealment of the software. In 2014, the co-conspirators perfected their cheating software by starting the vehicle in “street mode,” and, when the defeat device realized the vehicle was being tested, switching to the “dyno mode.” To increase the ability of the vehicle’s software to recognize that it was being tested on the dynamometer, the VW engineers activated a “steering wheel angle recognition feature.” With these alterations, it was believed the stress on the exhaust system would be reduced because the engine would not be operating for as long in “dyno mode.” The new function was installed in existing vehicles through software updates. The defendants and other co-conspirators falsely represented, and caused to be represented, to U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and others that the software update was intended to improve durability and emissions issues in the vehicles when, in fact, they knew it was used to more quickly deactivate emission control systems when the vehicle was not undergoing emissions tests. After years of VW selling their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States that had the cheating software, in March 2014, West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions published the results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The ICCT study identified substantial discrepancies in the NOx emissions from certain VW vehicles when tested on the road compared to when these vehicles were undergoing EPA and CARB standard drive cycle tests on a dynamometer. Rather than tell the truth, VW employees, including Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter, pursued a strategy to disclose as little as possible – to continue to hide the existence of the software from U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and the U.S. public. Following the ICCT study, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, attempted to work with VW to determine the cause for the higher NOx emissions in VW diesel vehicles when being driven on the road as opposed to on the dynamometer undergoing standard emissions test cycles. To do this, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, repeatedly asked VW questions that became increasingly more specific and detailed, and tested the vehicles themselves. In implementing their strategy of disclosing as little as possible, Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators provided EPA and CARB with testing results, data, presentations and statements in an attempt to make it appear that there were innocent mechanical and technological problems to blame, while secretly knowing that the primary reason for the discrepancy was their cheating software that was installed in every VW diesel vehicle sold in the United States. The co-conspirators continued this back-and-forth with the EPA and CARB for over 18 months, obstructing the regulators’ attempts to uncover the truth. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The case was investigated by the FBI and EPA-CID. The prosecution and corporate investigation are being handled by Securities and Financial Fraud Unit Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys David Fuhr, Alison Anderson, Christopher Fenton and Gary Winters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section; Trial Attorney Jennifer Blackwell of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Criminal Division Chief Mark Chutkow and White Collar Crime Unit Chief John K. Neal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Wyse. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also assisted in the case. The Justice Department also extends its thanks to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Braunschweig, Germany. The Civil Resolutions: The first civil settlement resolves EPA’s remaining claims against six VW-related entities (including Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Porsche AG) currently pending in the multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California. EPA’s complaint alleges that VW violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 cars that the United States alleges are equipped with defeat devices and, during normal operation and use, emit pollution significantly in excess of EPA-compliant levels. VW has agreed to pay $1.45 billion to resolve EPA’s civil penalty claims, as well as the civil penalty claim of CBP described below. The consent decree resolving the Clean Air Act claims also resolves EPA’s remaining claim in the complaint for injunctive relief to prevent future violations by requiring VW to undertake a number of corporate governance reforms and perform in-use testing of its vehicles using a portable emissions measurement system of the same type used to catch VW’s cheating in the first place. Today’s settlement is in addition the historic $14.7 billion settlement that addressed the 2.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in June 2016, and $1 billion settlement that addressed the 3.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in December 2016, which together included nearly $3 billion for environmental mitigation projects. A second civil settlement resolves civil fraud claims asserted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) against VW entities. VW entities violated criminal and civil customs laws by knowingly submitting to CBP material false statements and omitting material information, over multiple years, with the intent of deceiving or misleading CBP concerning the admissibility of vehicles into the United States. CBP enforces U.S. customs laws as well as numerous laws on behalf of other governmental agencies related to health, safety, and border security. At the time of importation, VW falsely represented to CBP that each of the nearly 590,000 imported vehicles complied with all applicable environmental laws, knowing those representations to be untrue. CBP’s relationship with the importing community is one based on trust, and this resolution demonstrates that CBP will not tolerate abrogation of importer responsibilities and schemes to defraud the revenue of the United States. The $1.45 billion paid under the EPA settlement also resolves CBP’s claims. In a third settlement, VW has agreed to pay $50 million in civil penalties for alleged violations of FIRREA. The Justice Department alleged that a VW entity supported the sales and leasing of certain VW vehicles, including the defeat-device vehicles, by offering competitive financing terms by purchasing from dealers certain automobile retail installment contracts (i.e. loans) and leases entered into by customers that purchased or leased certain VW vehicles, as well as dealer floorplan loans. These financing arrangements were primarily collateralized by the vehicles underlying the loan and lease transactions. The department alleged that certain of these loans, leases and floorplan financings were pooled together to create asset-backed securities and that federally insured financial institutions purchased certain notes in these securities. Today’s FIRREA resolution is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to deter wrongdoers from using the financial markets to facilitate their fraud and to ensure the stability of the nation’s financial system. Except where based on admissions by VW, the claims resolved by the civil agreements are allegations only. The civil settlements were handled by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with assistance from the EPA; the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch; and CBP.
  7. Some good news for Volkswagen as the Environmental Protection Agency has approved a fix for a select number of vehicles equipped with the 2.0L TDI. Reuters reports that the fix available for 70,000 vehicles will come in two phases. Right now, vehicles eligible for the fix will get a software update. The following year, Volkswagen will install more software, diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst, and NOx catalyst. Now for the bad news, this fix is only available on the 2015 Audi A3, Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, and Passat. Volkswagen is still waiting on approval for fixes on the remaining 400,000 vehicles. "With today's approval, VW can offer vehicle owners the choice to keep and fix their car, or to have it bought back," the EPA said in a statement. The agency also noted the fix would "not affect vehicle fuel economy, reliability, or durability." We have to wonder how many owners will take Volkswagen up on the fix. The buyback option has proven to be very popular - getting the value of the vehicle before the scandal was brought to light. If there is one silver lining, Volkswagen will be able to sell the 2015 model year diesel vehicles once fixed. Source: Reuters
  8. Previous Page Next Page Volkswagen has never understood the U.S. marketplace since the first Beetle. Their vehicles were either too expensive or didn't fit the needs of a buyer. But the company hopes with their new 2018 Atlas crossover, they can make end roads into the U.S. market and begin fixing their tattered image. The Atlas is basically the production version of the CrossBlue concept that debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Details such as the long grille, flat-topped wheel fenders, a crease along the side, and sloping rear window are here. If you didn't know this was Volkswagen, you would swear it was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Using a stretched version of Volkswagen's MQB modular platform (yes, the same one used in the Golf), the Crossblue measures 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches tall. To put this in perspective, the GMC Acadia is about 4.7 inches shorter and 2.5 inches narrower than the Atlas. Inside, the Atlas features three rows of seating for seven people. Volkswagen is quick to point out a clever folding mechanism for the second row that allows someone to enter the third row with a child's seat in the second. As for technologies, all Atlas trims will get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink integration. Optional will be Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit which swaps the standard instrument cluster for a reconfigurable screen and a 12-speaker Fender audio system. At launch, the Atlas will come with two engine options, Turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 238 horsepower 3.6L VR6 with 280 horsepower No torque figures were given for either engine. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive comes standard for both engines. 4Motion all-wheel drive is only available for the VR6. 4Motion will offer various drive modes for various road conditions. A hybrid model is expected down the road. Volkswagen says the Atlas will be available at dealers next spring and will be built at the company's Chattanooga, TN plant. Pricing will be announced before then. Source: Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS THE 2018 ATLAS, AN ALL-NEW SEVEN-PASSENGER SUV BUILT IN AMERICA FOR THE MODERN AMERICAN FAMILY The Chattanooga-built Atlas arrives with a full slate of available driver assistance and technology features, a massive interior and a choice of two powertrains Largest Volkswagen ever assembled in America Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eightspeed automatic transmission Seating for two adults in the third row, with innovative access system Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on VR6 models or standard front-wheel-drive Santa Monica, Calif. – The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, unveiled tonight on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of historic Route 66, launches a new chapter in the company’s American history. Built in Tennessee, the seven-passenger Atlas offers class-competitive levels of technology and spaciousness combined with hallmark Volkswagen driving dynamics and attention to detail, all at a price designed to draw customers’ attention in the family SUV segment. “This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven, ” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North America Region, Volkswagen. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.” Engineered from Volkswagen’s award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas draws on the latest Volkswagen design DNA to create a bold new look in the SUV segment. At 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high, Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the U.S., yet it retains classic proportions and clean lines that create a sense of timelessness and precision. Up front, standard LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights combine for a unique visual signature, with optional LED taillights to complete the look. Inside, the Atlas makes maximum use of its dimensions to offer space for seven adults and their luggage. The third-row can be easily reached by an innovative folding seat solution, one that works even with child seats installed in the second row. Simple, driver-centric displays enhance the feeling behind the wheel rather than distracting from it; while the available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit allows drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information. The available Volkswagen Car-Net® system provides a full suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technology that offers integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. The vehicle also features an available Fender® Premium Audio System that is the most sophisticated yet seen in a Volkswagen, with 12 channels, a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers. The Atlas offers available driver assistance features that had been previously been reserved for premium SUVs, at an affordable level. These include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist). Also, the Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage. The Atlas arrives with a choice of two powertrains: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® four cylinder with 238 horsepower or the available 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 280 horsepower. Either engine routes power through an eight-speed transmission to help maximize engine efficiency, and the Atlas can be configured either as front-wheel-drive or with available 4Motion all-wheel-drive in VR6 trims. The 4Motion system has a Driving Mode Selection feature that allows the driver to select specific parameters based on driving conditions. EPA fuel economy estimates will be released ahead of the launch in the Spring of 2017. The Atlas is built alongside the Passat at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant, the result of an additional $900 million investment by Volkswagen in the facility. The Chattanooga plant is the only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. Previous Page Next Page
  9. If there is one bright spot in Volkswagen, it has to be their commercial division. Through August, the division has seen sales increase 8.2 percent to 308,500 models. With their success, it should come as no surprise they are considering moving into other markets such as the U.S. Eckhard Scholz, Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division CEO tells Reuters that the United States "are still a highly interesting market." A lot of this comes from many commercial vehicle manufacturers operating in the U.S. are taking ideas from their European counterparts. But when asked about possibly selling vehicles in the U.S., Scholz said, "A lot of things come to mind but at the moment I have nothing concrete to say." Volkswagen's commercial division handles the Caddy, Transporter, and Crafter vans, along with the Amarok pickup. This isn't the first time that Volkswagen has considered bringing over some of their commercial vehicles. Last year, then CEO of Volkswagen of America, Michael Horn said the automaker was looking at possibly bringing over one of their vans into the U.S. But there is a big elephant in the room; the diesel emission scandal. A fair number of commercial vehicle buyers like diesel engines for fuel economy and the ability to handle heavy loads. But Volkswagen may have a very difficult time trying to get diesel engines certified in the U.S. They might have to go with gas engines for the time being which could limit their appeal. Source: Reuters
  10. The Volkswagen Arteon is taking the scenic route to the US with a delayed launch brought on by some delays in getting its engine certified for the US. The US version of the Arteon debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 2018 and we recently reported that the Arteon would finally go on sale sometime in early summer. Volkswagen has announced pricing for the U.S. model will start at $35,845 plus $995 destination charge for the base SE front-wheel-drive model and $37,645 for all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on all trims, generally costing about $2,000 for the upgrade. Arteon SE comes with heated 12-way power seats with faux leather, three-zone automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, and an 8.0 inch diagonal infotainment screen including Android Auto and Apple Car Play. 18" alloy wheels and LED headlights are standard. Arteon SEL starts at $39,995 for FWD and $41,795 for 4Motion AWD. It adds adaptive front lighting, panoramic sunroof, remote start, Napa leather seats, driver seat memory, ambient lighting, navigation, a 12.3 inch digital cockpit systems, and adaptive cruise control. Arteon SEL Premium starts at $44,945 and features standard 4motion, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, ventilated front seats, massaging driver’s seat, heated rear seats, brushed aluminum, tri-color ambient lighting, and a 700-watt premium audio system with 12 speakers. The R-Line Package is available on any trim level and includes 19-inch alloy wheels for $1,265 or 20-inch alloy wheels for $1,765
  11. The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission has filed suit in San Francisco on Thursday alleging that from April 2014 through May 2015, Volkswagen fraudulently issued more than $13 Billion in bonds and securities in the U.S. market. During that time, the SEC alleges that Winterkorn and other senior management knew about the problem with over 500,000 diesel vehicles that exceeded legal emissions limits. The suit says: Winterkorn resigned within days of the scandal braking in 2015. Volkswagen said in a statement that the lawsuit is "legally and facturally flawed" and "the company will contest it vigorously". Volkswagen has already agreed to pay more than $25 billion in a settlement over the dieselgate scandal to buy back defective vehicles, paying fines, and setting up funds to help build out electric vehicle infrastructure. Winterkorn has already been charged in the US.
  12. Volkswagen has announced it will cut between 5,000 to 7,000 jobs through attrition and early retirement at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. Most of the job cuts will be administrative staff. While cutting those job, VW will be creating 2,000 new software and electronics jobs. The cuts are part of a cost savings plan to drive 3€ Billion in annual savings by 2020 and 5.9€ billion by 2023. The move comes the day after the company announced it will increase its EV plans to build 22 million units over the next decade. Electric vehicles are less complex to build and require fewer workers. Volkswagen is building a new EV platform and the first vehicle to arrive on the market will be the I.D. Neo, expected sometime in 2020. The I.D. Neo will be built at a plant in Zwickau, Germany. Future electric vehicles will be built in 7 additional factories including Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  13. The delayed launch of the Volkswagen Arteon may be nearing its end. MotorTrend is reporting that the Chairman of Volkswagen has said that the Arteon will hit U.S. shores this year. The original cause of the delay was a backlog of certifying vehicles under the World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). The Arteon in the U.S. will use a 268 hp 2.0 liter Turbo from Audi that had yet to be certified. VW sells the Arteon in Europe using a different engine. The Arteon debuted at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show and is priced above the Passat in the Volkswagen lineup. Related:
  14. Ahead of the Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen has unveiled the R version of their T-Roc crossover. The T-Roc is a small crossover not (yet?) sold in the U.S. that slots below the Tiguan and most directly related to the Volkswagen Golf. Standard models went into production for the European market in 2017. That brings us to 2019 and the unveiling of the 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc R. The T-Roc R is the new top of the line for the T-Roc range. Shown above as a nearly production ready concept, the T-Roc R gets many of the upgrades the Golf R gets. That includes a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the standard 4Motion Haldex all-wheel drive via a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. That will hustle the T-Roc from 0-62 mph in 4.9 second with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Keeping all that power on the ground is a Golf R sports suspension that is lower to the ground and a standard progressive steering system. Drive modes help keep control and include a race mode and launch control that manages and maximized torque. The electronic stability control can be switched off for driving at the limit and 17-inch brakes help to bring it all to a stop. For now, the entire T-Roc line remains Forbidden Fruit in the U.S., but with crossover sales increasing rapidly, perhaps Volkswagen can be persuaded to send it over. Volkswagen Press Release on Page 2 New T-Roc R combines performance and lifestyle Volkswagen is set to present the T-Roc R, new top model for the successfully launched crossover product line, at the Geneva International Motor Show (7– 17 March 2019). Developed by Volkswagen R, this powerful vehicle boasts some impressive performance data: its four-cylinder TSI engine with 2.0 litre capacity and an output of 221 kW/300 PS as well as torque of 400 Nm. The standard combination with 7-gear DSG and 4Motion all-wheel drive ensures excellent acceleration without any loss of traction. The Volkswagen T-Roc R can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h. The sports running gear (with lowered suspension) ensures ideal road holding. Progressive steering comes as standard and plays a part in ensuring agile driving behaviour; the 17-inch brake system provides effective braking. The driving modes include a special race mode, which guarantees an especially sporty driving experience. These measures are supplemented by the launch control feature, which provides optimal traction during acceleration while offering maximum drive torque and a corresponding stability management program. The ESC Electronic Stability Control feature can be manually switched off to ensure particularly dynamic driving at the limit. The sporty characteristics of the T-Roc R are underscored by the unmistakable design on the exterior and in the interior. The redesigned radiator grille has a polished silver band of anodised aluminium on the underside that runs the entire width of the vehicle. The bumper’s model-specific design is painted the same colour as the car. The light units in the vertically arranged daytime running lights are integrated into the front. The rear bumpers include visual air outlets in the upper part and an “R” diffuser in a contrasting colour. The double-ended exhaust system on both the left and right are specific to the “R” model. The T-Roc R is equipped with 18-inch Spielberg alloy wheels as standard. The 19-inch Pretoria Dark Graphite matte alloy wheels and 235/40 R19 tyres are available as an optional extra. The sill panel trims sport a stainless steel design and have the “R” logo, which can also be seen on the radiator grille and on the sides of the vehicle. The “R” logo is also displayed on the backs of the seats. The leather multifunction sports steering wheel with paddle levers and decorative stitching in Crystal Grey also shows its sporty side with the “R” logo, as does the black headliner and the greeting on the start screen. The pedals shimmer in stainless steel. The new crossover model for performance and lifestyle is based on the harmonious concept of the T-Roc, 200,000 units of which have already been sold. The new T-Roc R expands the broad range of the compact crossover with an emphatically sporty model for individualists who attach as much importance to a stylish appearance as to outstanding driving performance.
  15. Volkswagen has release the pricing on the redesigned 2020 Passat and now it is roughly $2300 cheaper than the 2019 model. It also becomes one of the least expensive midsize sedans you can buy, clocking in just $250 more expensive than the least expensive 2020 Subaru Legacy. Some of that cost savings comes from carrying over a bunch of the bones of the car from 2019. The platform is the same, not updated to the new MQB platform like China is getting with their version. The 2.0-liter Turbo carries over as well, albeit with some improvement to the torque. Horsepower remains the same at 174 hp, while torque jumps 22 lb.-ft to 206. The transmission remains a 6-speed automatic driving only the front wheels. The 2020 Passat gets and exterior and interior refresh with new materials in the cabin and an updated instrument cluster. The trims will be S, SE, R-Line, and SEL. The cheapest S model still comes with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The SE, which starts at $26,765, gets additional chrome trim, keyless entry, push-button ignition, leather wrapped steering wheel, leatherette over the headed front seats, dual zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise, and lane keep assist. The R-Line, which starts at $29,565, comes with all of the above, plus a standard sunroof, alarm, 19-inch alloy wheels, a body kit, and paddle shifter. The top of the line SEL, at $32,015, comes with high beam assist, leather seats, heated rear seats, navigation, parking sensors, and a Fender audio system. The 2020 Passat will continue to be manufactured in Chattanooga, TN and arrives in dealers in the next few weeks.
  16. Volkswagen unveiled one of the loosest kept secrets in the automotive industry, the Atlas Cross Sport. The 5-seater mid-size features a more rakish back glass to give a coupe like appearance. While the Atlas Cross Sport is 2.8 inches shorter, it still rides on the same 117.3 inch wheelbase and boasts almost as much cargo space (77.8 cu. ft.) as the bigger Atlas (96.8 cu. ft.) with the seats folded. The Cross Sport is also 2.3 inches lower to the ground adding to its racier profile. Inside there are a few upgrades over the Atlas with a new steering wheel with more intuitive controls, available stitching accents on the doors and seats, and available wireless charging for mobile devices. The Atlas already comes with a suite of safety technology including Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Traffic alert. Available on upper trims are Adaptive Cruise control and Park Distance Control. The Cross Sport also adds available Traffic Jam Assist that helps maintain distances front and back, and on Cross Sports with Navigation, the system will display relevant traffic signs like speed limits, no passing zones, school zones, and work zones. Powering the Cross Sport will be a selection of two engines. The 267 horsepower V6 and a 235 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. Either engine routes power to the wheels through an 8-speed automatic and available 4-motion All-Wheel Drive. When equipped with the V6, the Cross Sport can tow up to a rated 5,000 lbs when equipped with the towing package. There will be eight trim levels: S, SE, SE w/Tech, SE w/Tech R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line. More details and pricing will be announced ahead of the launch in the Spring of 2020.
  17. Volkswagen is introducing a new generation of diesel engines with the 2.0 TDI Evo. This new engine is said to greatly undercut the limits of the tough new Euro 6d-Temp emissions standards. Volkwagen posted an interview with Sebastian Willmann, the Head of Diesel Engine Development at Volkswagen. In that interview he says that VW was able to reduce fuel consumption by 0.4 L/100km compared to the previous engine and reduce CO2 emissions by 10g/km. They did both of these things while also increasing power output. He further went on to explain that while there is a stigma surrounding diesel engines because of dieselgate, the diesel is still quite popular for its efficiency, range, and torque. Now, with this new engine, it is also substantially cleaner compared to prior engines. He says that diesels will remain especially effective for vehicles that require a longer range or extra torque for towing. These statements are in contrast to the direction that VW as a whole is taking in the segment of electric vehicles. VW has committed billions of euros to the development of an entire EV range. The first EV, the ID.3 is expected in Europe in early 2020 with top line models having a range of 342 miles on a charge. Reservations of the Volkswagen ID.3 topped 10,000 in its first 24 hours it was available.
  18. XFC Reality - Xtreme Fast Charging Tesla is the current GOLD standard of EV auto charging. Their roughly 400 North American Charging stations handle 120-140 kWh charging that allows Tesla to brag about their 90 kWh battery packs recharging in 1hr compared to 10 hrs for a Nissan Leaf, 8hr for a Chevrolet Bolt if you home charge. Tesla's customers have had this perk and until now been able to brag about it. Tesla made sure they had this by using a proprietary plug that kept other EV auto's from using the Tesla Network. In comes IONITY, the European group consisting of Porsche, VW, BMW, Daimler and Ford. This is a 400 plus Xtreme Fast Charger network being built now in Europe. A 350 kWh network that covers from 200 to 920 volts at 350 Amps of charging that will allow EV Auto's to refill in 15 min or less. This allows EV auto's that need from 50 kWh to 350 kWh of capability to be handled by these new Liquid cooled Charging stations. The technological breakthrough is in the Charging cables that connect to your EV Auto. These are light, thin charge cables that remove the heat load by liquid cooling in high amperage use. These XFC system charge aproximately 20 miles of range per minute or 300 miles in 15 minutes. How Does This Benefit North America, Specifically the US? This is where the proprietary Nissans Charging (CHAdeMO) and Tesla interface are about to Lose the EV Charging race. The XFC interface uses the CCS (Combined Charging System) based on the J1772-2009 SAE standard. This has been adopted by pretty much every country in the world as the standard except China where they have this standard, Tesla and their own Chinese standard as the 3 plug types that have to be supported at this time. The US is expected to move forward with Nissan changing over in the near future. Porsche is installing 500 of their XFC chargers across the US at dealerships and various EVgo sites. There is also Electrify America, a subsidiary of VW and funded by the $2 Billion plus funding they have committed to for installing XFC charging across America in addition to all the EV charging infrastructure funding that was paid to each state in the settlements. From Level 2 to Level 4 (XFC) charging will get installed from inner city places to suburban and especially highway stops that can support long distance driving by EV auto's. The future is bright for the upcoming onslaught of EV auto's including the Electrify America's Chargers as shown below. The Drive Story SAE J1772 Org SAE J1772 Info
  19. https://www.motor1.com/photo/3040654/six-wheeler-vw-amarok/ Motor 1 is reporting that a 6 wheel heavy duty Amarok is coming. The comments now tend to cover VW version for taking on the 6 wheel G Wagon. LOL Interesting, wonder if it would ever show in America?
  20. Seems VW is all in, in setting a new EV auto record for the fastest time up Pikes Peek.
  21. iCar is a VW Mini Van According to story's at other sites, Apple is finally going to hit the road with their own autonomous auto. These auto's are going to be used to ferry employees around their new campus. Apple has partnered up with Volkswagen to use the T6 as their proof of concept in autonomous auto's. These vans will be outfitted at a VW assembly plant in Italy with the electric powertrain, sensors, software and battery packs. According to the NY Times story, Apple wanted to partner with Mercedes-Benz or BMW to develop their all electric self driving auto. This was all rebuffed after Apple wanted control and all data along with the design to be handed over to them according to people familiar with the talks. VW declined to comment on this matchup with Apple. Apple also declined to talk but insiders have said that Apples plans beyond getting these vans onto the campus is lacking in any direction and has led from the 1,000 person team of employees to just hundreds as others left for greener paths at Waymo and GM who both have autonomous auto's on the road now and will be expanding their fleet. Seems Apple who has a 50 auto fleet of Lexus SUV's that are daily testing their sensors and software and autonomous driving on ICE auto was unable to at first partner up with any auto company in the asian rim due to their requirements. Volkswagen behind in R&D compared to their german rivals and in the thick of a Diesel cheating scandal jumped at giving Apple all they asked for to gain a leg up in getting their EV auto R&D going. The original deadline to have these auto's on site and being used by the end of 2018 is going to be missed and first half of 2019 is more of a reality. Uber has announced the complete shutdown of their autonomous project and layoff of the 300 employees they had on this at their Arizona R&D office. NY Times Story Green Car Reports
  22. Diesel is quite popular in Europe partly due to subsidies provided by governments - in this case, a lower tax rate on diesel fuel than gasoline. The thinking at the time was diesel engines burn their fuel more efficiently than gas engines, thus they contribute less to global warming. But as the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal would reveal, diesel vehicles aren't that much cleaner, producing more nitrogen oxide emissions than their gas counterparts. Now, one CEO from a German automaker is saying that maybe it is time to end the subsidies. “We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies. The money can be invested more sensibly to promote more environmentally friendly technologies,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller to German paper Handelsblatt. This is quite the surprise as Volkswagen along with other German automakers said diesel still had a future due to new pollution reduction technologies. Also, Volkswagen did very well with the sales of diesel models. But with the dark cloud of the diesel emission scandal, Müller likely sees the writing on the wall and wants to get out ahead. Müller went on to say that he was in favor of banning older diesel vehicles from city centers. But he said that newer diesel vehicles should be exempt from the bans as they meet "stricter standards on nitrogen oxide emissions". Source: Handelsblatt via New York Times View full article
  23. Volkswagen, still under steep financial pressure from their diesel emissions scandal, is apparently looking to put some of its many assets on the auction block. Up first looks to be famed Italian motorcycle builder Ducati. In July of 2012, Volkswagen originally acquired Ducati for $909 million through a complicated transaction involving subsidiary Audi which in turn owns Lamborghini which is the current holder of Ducati. The purchase was the brainchild of then VW Chairman Ferdinand Piëch, a long time motorcycle enthusiast. Analysts at the time felt that it was more a trophy purchase for Chariman Piëch than one that made financial sense for VW. Sources have reported that VW has enlisted Evercore, an investment bank, to investigate the possible sale options for Ducati. Estimates currently peg Ducati with a value of around $1.63 billion (1.5b €). Speculation is that Indian automaker Eicher, maker of motorcycle brand Royal Enfield is interested and exploring possibly acquiring the brand. While not as well known in the US, Royal Enfield sells more motorcycles globally than famed maker Harley Davidson. Eicher, which also partners with Polaris and Volvo Trucks for production in India is aggressively looking to grow its global portfolio. Eicher Motors recent growth means it has over $540 million* in cash reserves to put towards that global expansion goal. Ducati sold 55,451 units in 2016. Other possible buyers of Ducati could include Harley Davidson, Polaris, and Suzuki. Source: Times of India Pictures courtesy of Ducati and Royal Enfield *In an earlier version of this article we converted Indian Rupee to US Dollars incorrectly. -DD View full article
  24. Volkswagen sees crossovers as its savior in the U.S. marketplace. Speaking with Wards Auto, Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said their model mix would change from 10 to 12 percent crossovers to 40 percent in the next few years. “We are shifting the brand into a position where we will enjoy more business volume because we were not present in those segments. We’re currently at 12% and the industry is nearly 60% light trucks and SUVs, so we are severely underrepresented,” said Woebcken. To accomplish this, Volkswagen will be launching the brand-new Altas and redesign Tiguan later this year. Interestingly, Volkswagen will keep the current Tiguan for a bit to act as an entry-level model for the crossover lineup. Down the road, Volkswagen will introduce an all-new Touraeg and is considering doing another crossover using the Atlas' platform. One vehicle that is still off the table is a truck. Rumors have been flying around about Volkswagen doing a car-based pickup (i.e. Honda Ridgeline). Woebcken said there is little interest for this at Volkswagen's HQ due to how small the segment is. Source: Wards Auto View full article
  25. G. David Felt - Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.cheersandgears.com Study Suggests VW Emissions will lead to 1200 premature deaths in Europe alone! This study covers the effects around the Globe that VW diesel emissions scandal will cause. The US is equally affected but on a lower number of 60 expected deaths. This is based on the number of autos old sold, 482,000 TDI in the US versusus 2.6 millions. Plenty of interesting information but end result is an increase in the emissions from VW TDi directly affects health and the length of life world wide. Pretty amazing read at MIT News. Study Here

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