VW Will Get Away With Emissions Scandal

Image from Thebigredbiotechblog
Image from Thebigredbiotechblog

VW might be able to get away with their diesel cheating emissions test if the Europe regulators will not act on this. This is according to a group of MPs and there is “real danger” there.

A report that was published by the Transport Select Committee indicated that the Department for Transport has been relatively slow in terms of investigating whether the car giant should be prosecuted in the UK over last year’s rigged emissions testing.

They expressed concern with regards to the “ambivalence” towards assessing the legality of VW’s use of software in order to cheat their way round. The committee also warned that without the right sanctions, there is little to prevent from the same incident to happen again.

The report stated: “The Department has been far too slow to assess the applicability of its powers to prosecute VW.”

According to Louise Ellman, chair of the committee, Volkswagen Group has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health.

“Volkswagen’s evidence to us was just not credible but the Government has lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions.

“There is a real danger that VW will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.”

Last year, VW admitted that it had affected over 482,000 of their diesel cars in the US that has the defeat device software that enables switching engines to a cleaner mode when the car is being tested. It also announced that almost 1.2 million vehicles in the UK are affected.

There is really utmost concern on the side of the MP and even the consumers with regards to the non-investigation of VW in relation to their diesel scandal. We cannot deny that other countries have been moving relatively quick in order to prosecute the car brand and seeks sustainable solution for the affected cars. With regards why UK is not doing the same is the question we need to still find answers. One assumption might be because the brand is home grown. Second, they might be helping VW in a way considering the huge amount it could cost them.

Commentaries from Newsweek



VW Plan to Fix 3.0L Diesels Rejected

Image from Ebay
Image from Ebay

Just last Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board rejected VW Group’s plan to fix their 3.0L diesel VW. This also includes Audi and Porsches that were discovered last September that they were illegally altering the cars’ emissions control systems. Two letters were given, one addressed to Volkswagen and Audi cars and the other address to Porsche. In it, CARB called the company’s recall plan “substantially deficient”.  They also said that the VW Group submitted documents that “fall far short” in meeting their standards that would bring the carps up to code.

A total of 85,000 3.0L diesel Porsche, Audi and VW cars are on the road still that has not been recalled or bought back. In June, the VW Group proposed a massive settlement. In here, they would buy back almost 500,000 2.0L diesel vehicles and also compensate the owners.

Last Wednesday in CARB, the air regulator claimed that their subsidiaries Audi and Porsche “failed to disclose and provide a complete description of all defeat devices” on the cars. CARB already rejected an earlier plan last February and reminded VW that they need to submit to get CARB approval of the recall plan. CARB also stressed that VW didn’t describe in detail how the fix would work. In addition, how it will impact the car’s emissions are not also indicated.

Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche “failed to specifically and completely describe the fixes in their proposed recall plan in a manner that allows CARB to adequately evaluate whether they could be successful or are even technically feasible or would not cause greater emissions deterioration,” CARB wrote.

CARB also added that VW provided inadequate documentation with regards to how the fix would impact fuel economy, drivability and the On Board Diagnostics systems in the cars. CARB also concluded that “the recall plan cannot be completed expeditiously.” This is another criteria for having a recall plan approved.

Meanwhile a statement from VW came calling that the rejection “a procedural step under California state law.”

“We continue to work closely with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CARB to try to secure approval of a technical resolution for our 3.0L TDI vehicles as quickly as possible,” the statement added.

At least, VW is keen to make everything right this time. This goes to show that in spite of the rejection they are still eager to do it and this time trying to find a technical resolution with regards to the affected cars. This might be a long process for the car giant yet we also cannot deny that CARB and EPA is just trying to generate the best sustainable solution for this concern.

Commentaries from Arstechnica



VW Stocks Jump After Recall Rejection

Image from Wired
Image from Wired

VW stocks popped about 2% last Thursday after the proposed recall plan was rejected by the California regulators.

This decision comes right after the company asserted to use “clean diesel,” yet instead used Auxiliary Emission Control Devices (AECDs) in order to pass emissions tests. VW announced last June that it had already reached a $15 settlement agreement with regards to the scandal.

CARB or the California Air Resources Board said that Volkswagen’s plan didn’t demonstrate how their proposed fixes were catered to correct the nonconformities. Which is why, the state plans to work with EPA and VW in order to find a sustainable resolution. CARB also indicated that the company would not disclose the types of AECDs that will be used during testing.

“VW’s and Audi’s submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claim certified configuration,” CARB said in its rejection letter to Volkwagen.

California is one of the states that VW has agreed to resolve on their existing and potential state consumer claims with regards to the diesel matter. There are even 43 more states that are included.

“We continue to work closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CARB to try to secure approval of a technical resolution for our 3.0L TDI vehicles as quickly as possible,” a Volkswagen spokesman said.

With regards to their stock options, VW’s shares have dropped more than 41% in the past year.

With this rejection, VW must be able to up their game in order to meet standards required by the California Air Resources Board and also the Environmental Protection Agency. With the diesel scandal dragging by the days, it is very important that they get to be able to resolve this one as soon as they can. Although they have been shelving money for settlement purposes, seems like their efforts are still not enough. Yet there is that keen sense of resolving the diesel scandal on the side of VW.

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The Mercedes Benz Golf Cart

Image from Maxim
Image from Maxim

If you are stinkin’ rich and you don’t know what to buy anymore, perhaps this might be your fancy. How about a Mercedes-Benz high tech golf cart. Yes you read that right. This has the looks of a sports car with the brand etched on it. This was three years after they asked fans to submit ideas for a “golf cart of the future”. However, don’t get too excited just yet. This doesn’t have autonomous driving capabilities. Furthermore, the final product is designed by the automaker and their project partner. This has a 10.1 inch tablet that will display the current speed and also power consumption. This has also varied vehicle’s controls.

As the driver, you can tap on the screen in order to change the driving modes. It has sport or eco. You can also switch the headlights, heater, AC and wipers be it on or off. This also displays the vehicle’s position on a map of the golf course. Plus, this provides access to various programs like your favorite weather app. Apart from the tablet, this has also integrated Hi-Fi Bluetooth speakers and even a fridge.

The car manufacturer is even planning adding smartphone integration with the car. For now, the companies are just showing off their creation at the British open and also varied events in other countries such as Denmark, Monaco and Germany. They will slowly unfold this automotive in the next few months or so.

This is totally a different specimen away from the usual automobiles created by Mercedes Benz. However at least they are keen to welcome what their consumers would suggest that would fit the bill of the golf cart of the future. More than that, they are open to the possibilities that such would be one important automobile not in the streets but in other lanes. I am just excited what other capabilities would this golf cart provides towards the convenience of golf addicts and aficionados alike.

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Volvo Layoffs Affected 300

Image from CDN
Image from CDN

A second round of layoffs went underway this year at Volvo’s truck manufacturing plant in Pulaski County. This triggered elimination of over 300 jobs. This was announced by the company last Friday.

“We regret having to take this action, but we operate in a cyclical market, and we have to adapt to market demand,” Volvo Trucks North America spokesman John Mies wrote in an email.

“Outplacement support meetings led by the company and UAW (union) representatives will be provided for all affected employees. They will also be provided with information regarding the Virginia Employment Commission and the regional Rapid Response Team,” he added.

The Regional Rapid Response Team that is based at New River Community College in Dublin helps the laid off workers in order to find new jobs and more so to receive additional training.

Mies indicated that the layoffs will occur this September.

It was originally announced by the car brand that the layoffs will commence by May. However, they didn’t specify at that time just how many workers would be affected.

The announcement just came right after 500 layoffs occurred in the month of February. The reason is very much similar to what was stated by Mies.

Prior to this event, the truck actually employed over 2,800 workers. This is up from the usual 1000 in early 2009. Last spring, the local union UAW Local 2069 approved a new labor contract with the car brand that it will run until March 2021. This is after Volvo and its union reached a previous agreement way back in 2011. The company rehired over 700 workers.

Volvo officials said that the significant job cuts at the plant this 2016 is a response to expected reductions with regards to truck demand. Forecasts show a drop to 251,000 in 2016 and barely rebound to 252,000 in 2017.

This is definitely one sad news for Volvo workers in their truck department. Good thing that their union is providing them with things to do in order to make those employees employable. However, this move should be anticipated by the car brand in order to minimize worker displacement. They must at least moved the other workers to other segments of their factory and perhaps train them in order to fit the other demands of the brand. At least, they would be able to eliminate a few numbers rather than by the hundreds.

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VW’s First Battery Gigafactory in China

Image from Welt
Image from Welt

According to a source close to VW’s senior management indicated that the first lithium-ion battery factory that can supply the massive EV roll-out of the said car giant could be built in China. This is because of the impending and massive demand of the said factory.

VW has announced that in 2025, they intend to produce 2-3 million plug in cars. This will be rolled out in over their 10 brands under the VW Group. There will be some 30+ new all electric models that would need around 150 GWh of batteries. This is technically a lot which is more than any 3rd party provider can supply to the car giant and the others in the near future.

Because of such plan, the total investment with regards to such and building the battery could be up to 20 billion euros.

“Whereas current global automotive cell capacity is estimated at around 27 gigawatt hours of supply for the entire industry, VW believes it alone will need the equivalent of 150 GWh just to power its own fleet. “That is roughly 10 battery plants, each requiring investments of 2 billion euros, so that’s 20 billion in total,” the source said.”

As to why they chose China would be left to the decision of the said car giant. Yet we cannot deny, China has a lot of advantages over other countries be it in Asia and the rest of the world.

For one, the market is now the largest with regards to plug-in sales worldwide. Furthermore, they have strong government incentives for any companies to build there. And lastly, in order to get those incentives, a JV partner would be needed. This could mean that VW can only pay half the bill in order to create the infrastructure.

“When asked where all these plants might be built, the person responded “China is likely one of the first, since we think electromobility will catch on there as a trend much sooner given the government’s relentless push.””

This massive plan would be a win-win situation for the company and more so for China. Not only are they employing more people in order to build their gigafactory but also this is a good manifestation that indeed the car brand is trying to push with electric vehicles in the near future. At least with this move, they can guarantee that the scandal that occurred to them before would never happen again.

Commentaries from Insideevs



Top VW Executives Accused of Fraud

Image from Imsplanet
Image from Imsplanet

There are top VW executives who were engaged in a massive fraud in order to intentionally sell diesel cars that violated emissions rules. This is according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the New York and Massachusetts’s attorneys general.

VW admitted that there are over 500,000 diesel cars that were sold in the US that has software designed to cheat during emissions testing. This claim was executed by lower level employees without knowledge from the top executives. And this was repeatedly indicated.

Last month, VW reached a $15 billion settlement with regulators and also state attorneys general in order to compensate US car owners. This also includes repairing cars to lower emissions and also pay environmental fines.

Yet there’s a new civil suit by New York and Massachusetts that could increase additional fines on the side of the car giant. It indicated that during their state investigation and based on a review of internal emails and documents, it shows that the deception actually reached executives. Martin Winterkorn, CO of VW resigned shortly after the scandal broke. He is one of the executives that were identified.

“This was a widespread conspiracy involving many, many people,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“Today’s lawsuits make clear that substantial penalties must be imposed on the Volkswagen companies, above and beyond the amount they have to pay to make American consumers whole,” said Schneiderman. “Neither Volkswagen, nor any other car manufacturer, should ever again conclude that it can engage in this behavior as part of the cost of doing business.”

VW however said that this kind of allegation isn’t new to their ears. And they are now discussing with environmental regulators and also federal law enforcement officials on how to settle it. They will continue to cooperate with them.

While this is indeed not new, the involvement of top executives in the emissions scandal is certainly bad on the side of the car giant. This will implicate that there were big bosses that were involved hence these cars were released to the market. While we are just here in the side lines just watching the development, this could mean bad business if indeed proven.

Commentaries from CNN



Volkswagen Aiming For Electric Cars by 2020

Image from CBC
Image from CBC

VW is now trying to make their wait into the future. While they still have ongoing emissions scandal that is still their biggest roadblock, they are now eyeing to eliminate the possibility of that happening again. And well, that might be right.

Last Tuesday, Volkswagen confirmed with the Wall Street Journal that it will plan on building electric vehicles in North America by 2020.This is in an attempt to change their already soiled reputation. Just hours later on that same day, Reuters reported that there are three states that filed separate lawsuits against the car giant. The states are New York, Maryland and Massachusetts. They are alleging that the company violated their environmental laws and also covered up their diesel cheating scheme.

Even before the emissions scandal broke out last September, VW already announced their plans to roll out with 20 electric cars and also plug-in hybrids by year 2020. They also boldly predicted that their new cars will be smartphones on wheels. Last Tuesday was already a confirmation for EVs but it didn’t reveal further details.

Last June, VW struck a $14.7 billion settlement in order to remedy the emissions scandal. The company has its e-Golf hatchback on the road but they are also ramping to more electric fleet by 2020.

“We believe that this country, especially in urban mobility, will have a very strong shift from petrol engines into hybridization and electric cars,” Hinrich Woebcken, the new head of Volkswagen AG’s U.S. division, told the Wall Street Journal. “We are heavily investing in this one — including production in this North American region.”

There is no denying that VW will have a lot of work to do with regards to their realization of their electric vehicles. Though they are already underway, there are already other brands that are way ahead them. Yet, it seems that VW is strategic in setting their eyes and their goals to this new target. They are really pursuing for a cleaner brand tagged in their name.

Commentaries from Techcrunch



VW Eyeing US and Mexico

Image from Alicdn
Image from Alicdn

VW is currently weighing their sites in the US and Mexico for their soon to be electric vehicle plant. They are gearing up towards competing with Tesla Motors, General Motors and other big names in the industry.

The German executives indicated last Tuesday that they are studying a Chattanooga, Tennessee location or even one in Mexico in order to serve the North American market.

Currently, Volkswagen has a plant at Chattanooga though labor relations are currently rough recently. Mexico has emerged as a major manufacturing hub with regards to global auto industry with their cheaper costs and also easy access to US plants. The Volkswagen’s plant in Mexico’s Puebla state is considered the second biggest factory in the world under the said car brand.

VW’s decision looms as General Motors is due in rolling out Bolt which is their fully electric vehicle. This will be release this year. Moreover, luxury EV maker Tesla is currently retooling in order to create the Tesla 3. This is considered the first mass-market vehicle will be due to release starting next year.

Volkswagen is currently offering the e-Golf which has an 83 mile battery only range and also a base price of around $29,000. Furthermore, they have little success in the US with this model simply because of continuing cheap gas prices and even tough competition.

As reported, VW is said to lay out a far-reaching strategy this mid June as they are aiming to become the leader in the EV market. They are also planning to roll out over more than 30 new EV models by the year 2025.

Truly the arena is set for electric vehicles. Varied car makers are already revamping their manufacturing plants in order to cater to such. And we simply cannot deny it since the issues of pollution and emissions scandal. This move from VW will prove very helpful in their strategy to provide electric vehicles to their consumers. However, they are not the only ones embracing the change. There are a handful who would want to join in. Which is why putting up their plants be it in Mexico and in the US would prove helpful in realizing this strategy. We can only wait and see.

Commentaries from Investors



VW Scandal Hurts Second-Quarter Profit

Image from EE Static
Image from EE Static

VW AG reported last Wednesday that their cost-cutting efforts boosted their earnings. Yet, half of their gains were wiped away by $2.4 billion in terms of diesel-related charges. This indicates that the German auto giant still got a long way to go with regards to overcoming their emissions cheating scandal.

This new charge came after the company just set aside almost €16.2 billion and suggested that Chief Executive Matthias Muller speak in assuring investors last April that there will be no further significant diesel-related costs.

VW said that their operating profit was €7.5 billion in the first six months of 2016. This implies a record €4.4 billion in operating profit from April to June. This is a 20% increase from the previous year. Investors cheered as the profit surge therefore pushing the brand’s shares to more than 6% higher in early trading.

In spite of such report, there are still worried investors as it suggests VW is less optimistic in containing the costs of the emissions scandal because they are now facing another financial risk.

“Despite Dieselgate, VW reported the best quarterly operating profit ever,” said Michael Punzet, an automotive analyst at DZ Bank AG, but he added the caveat that he maintained a “skeptical view on VW” because of remaining uncertainties about the fallout from the scandal.

VW plunged into this mess starting September last year when US environmental regulators disclosed that the car giant rigged some diesel engines in order to cheat on emissions tests. This forces the resignation of the then Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn. Furthermore, it sparks investigations and varied civil litigation against the company. This is not only in the US but across the globe.

True enough we cannot neglect the worry of VW investors with regards to putting their trust and their money in the brand. Even more, there are still more and more complaints coming their way. The only thing that VW needs to do would be to guarantee investors and their consumers that they are doing their best to address each concern. And looks like they do.

Commentaries from WSJ