Volkswagen is in trouble with just about everybody on the f'ing planet

Spectre

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Another VW Dieselghazi update:

From the European front, VW is now shelling out discounts to get people to dump their Dieselghazi cars. Looks like VW is trying to make the problem cars go away short of a US-style mandated recall.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/08/news/volkswagen-germany-diesel-incentives/index.html

Volkswagen offers Germans mega bucks to scrap their diesel cars

Volkswagen is offering Germans up to ?10,000 ($12,000) off a new car if they scrap their old diesel clunkers.

The cash incentives -- billed by the automaker as an environmental program -- come as pressure mounts on German cities to ban diesel cars because of pollution. Britain and France have already set target dates for phasing out diesel and gasoline vehicles.

German drivers trading any brand of diesel car for a new Volkswagen will receive discounts of ?2,000 ($2,400) on a compact model, ?5,000 ($6,000) on a Golf, and ?10,000 ($12,000) on a Touareg SUV.

On top of that, customers will receive as much as ?2,380 ($2,800) if they buy a replacement car powered by electricity, natural gas or a hybrid system.

Executives representing Germany's car brands -- Volkswagen (VLKAY), Audi, Porsche, BMW (BMWYY), Opel and Daimler (DDAIF) -- met with government officials last week as part of an effort to save diesel vehicles.

The companies agreed at the meeting to retrofit over 5 million vehicles with a software update that reduces nitrogen oxides emissions by as much as 30%.

BMW and Daimler have also announced cash incentives for trading in older diesel cars, but they are not as generous as those offered by Volkswagen in Germany.

Environmental activists have been pressuring authorities to improve air quality by cracking down on diesel cars, which were at the center of a major emissions scandal that has roiled the industry.

A judge ruled last month that Stuttgart may have to ban or severely limit diesel vehicles to bring down pollution and meet air quality standards. It could happen as soon as January 1.

Other German cities also face legal challenges to their clean air plans.

On one side of the issue are the angry voters, who are demanding tougher regulation and cleaner air. They are opposed by a mighty car industry that keeps the German economy humming.

One in every five cars worldwide carries a German brand and the industry employs over 800,000 people.

Still, many Germans think more could be done to reduce pollution.

A study commissioned by the newspaper Die Welt showed that 73% of Germans think government policies toward the auto industry are too soft on the issue of air pollution.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it had been cheating on diesel emissions tests after its vehicles in the U.S. were found to be emitting up to 40 times the legal limit on nitrogen oxide.

Other automakers including Daimler, Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Renault (RNLSY) are also facing probes over diesel emissions.

There may be more trouble ahead.

In July, European antitrust confirmed they were looking into claims that Germany's major carmakers may have been operating a cartel since the 1990s, colluding on everything from vehicle development to diesel emissions systems.
Related reading suggested in the article: Related: German automakers confront a diesel rebellion in their own backyard

German automakers are frantically trying to save diesel.

Executives representing the country's top car brands -- Volkswagen (VLKAF), Audi, Porsche, BMW (BMWYY), Opel and Daimler (DDAIF) -- met with German government officials on Wednesday amid growing calls for cities to ban diesel cars over pollution concerns.

The carmakers agreed at the meeting to retrofit over 5 million vehicles with a software update that reduces nitrogen oxides emissions by as much as 30%, according to a statement issued by the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

The companies said they would cover the cost of the voluntary upgrade. They also said it would not hurt an engine's performance, fuel consumption or service life.
More at link, but I'm going to say that I'm suspecting the above bolded line is:


Many, many supplementary links in this article on the original site. A second VW employee has pled guilty to criminal charges arising from Dieselghazi; Oliver Schmidt is likely to be going to jail as his plea bargain drops the potential sentence he faces from 169 years in prison down to 7 years and a maximum fine of $400K.

A second Volkswagen employee has pled guilty in US court over Dieselgate



The second Volkswagen Group employee to be arrested in the US for his involvement in the company?s emissions cheating scandal has pled guilty in US District Court in Detroit this morning, according to Reuters. Oliver Schmidt, who was arrested back in January, faces up to seven years in prison and fines between $40,000 to $400,000 after pleading guilty to two separate charges: conspiracy to defraud the US government, and violating the Clean Air Act.

Schmidt was charged with 11 felony counts earlier this year and faced a maximum of up to 169 years in prison before making a plea deal with prosecutors. He will be sentenced later this year.

Schmidt is one of eight VW executives charged in the US for their roles in the scandal, which has come to be known as Dieselgate. In 2015, an EPA investigation found that Volkswagen had developed a way to make it appear that many of its diesel cars complied with emissions regulations. Volkswagen installed software on these cars that could detect when a US emissions test was being performed. The car would then limit the emissions until the test was done. Back on the road, the EPA says the affected cars were putting up to 40 times as many pollutants into the atmosphere as environmental regulations allow.

Schmidt is only the second VW employee to be prosecuted in the US; the rest are still in Germany, which does not extradite citizens. The first was James Liang, an engineer who ran the company?s Diesel Competence unit in the US. Liang pled guilty last fall.

Volkswagen itself pled guilty to criminal charges earlier this year after reaching a $4.3 billion settlement with US regulators in January, but it?s still expected to pay out around $20 billion more in civil court. It?s not alone, either: a handful of other major car companies are currently suspected of or under investigation for similar behavior, and a recent report from Der Spiegel alleges that German automakers have been colluding to cheat US emissions regulations since the 1990s.

More from Fortune.


Volkswagen Executive Pleads Guilty in Diesel Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen AG executive Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit in connection with a massive diesel emissions scandal that has cost the German automaker as much as $25 billion.

Under a plea agreement, Schmidt faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000 after admitting to conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violating clean air laws. He will be sentenced on Dec. 6.

In March, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve U.S. charges it installed secret software in vehicles to evade emissions tests.

U.S. prosecutors have charged eight current and former Volkswagen executives.

Earlier this year, Schmidt was charged with 11 felony counts and federal prosecutors said he could have faced a maximum of up to 169 years in prison. As part of his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop most of the counts.

Volkswagen said on Friday it "continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals. It would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personnel matters."

As part of the agreement, Volkswagen has agreed to spend as much as $25 billion in the United States to resolve claims from owners and regulators over polluting diesel vehicles and offered to buy back about 500,000 vehicles.
So, in case y'all were wondering? The deal VWNA reached with the EPA and CARB does *not* preclude executive prosecution.

More on his arrest earlier this year:


Arrest surprised VW manager, who lawyers say cooperated in probe

Oliver Schmidt, who served as Volkswagen general manager for three years in Auburn Hills, thought he could avoid being swept up in one of the largest automotive criminal investigations in U.S. history by cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice.

He was wrong.

Schmidt was arrested anyway in Miami on Jan. 7 while on Christmas vacation with his wife in Miami. This was despite what his lawyers say were hours spent cooperating with authorities last year.

The arrest surprised many who wondered why Schmidt, a German national, risked traveling to the U.S. He'd left his U.S. job in 2015.

Court documents filed recently in U.S. District Court in Detroit reveal that Schmidt, 48, thought his extensive cooperation with investigators made him a low priority for arrest.

Schmidt, who worked in the U.S. from 2012 to early 2015, contacted the FBI and willingly participated in an interview in London in November 2015 "without any preparation or legal counsel," his lawyers say in the court documents.

He met again with FBI agents in Detroit the following month and participated in at least six interviews connected to Volkswagen's internal investigations, including one in November that lasted 12 hours.

The government says Schmidt, who pleaded not guilty last month, is a central figure among a group of executives who spent more than a decade developing software that was designed to defeat the government's laboratory testing of diesel emissions and lied on a federal certification process.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency charged Volkswagen in September 2015 with creating software that was designed to defeat those tests for more than a half-million vehicles that actually emit nitrogen oxide at levels far above the legal limit.

Schmidt's role at Volkswagen was to be the automaker's liaison with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board. For several years, Schmidt shepherded Volkswagen's vehicles through a diesel emission certification process and said the company's vehicles met regulatory standards.

Schmidt, who is being detained at the federal correctional institution near Milan, Mich., while he awaits trial, hopes to get out on bond, forfeiting his rights to property, cash and other assets valued at more than $1.34 million for the right to be free until his trial, scheduled for April. His attorneys will get a chance to make that argument March 16 before U.S. Judge Sean Cox in Detroit.

George Donnini of the Butzel Long law firm, who is among Schmidt's local attorneys, declined to comment on the case.

In court records filed by his attorneys, Schmidt is portrayed as someone who is not a flight risk. He owns seven properties in the Miami area, got married in Florida in 2010 in a Volkswagen dealership and has spent the Christmas holidays in the U.S. every year since 2008. He crossed the border four times in 13 months knowing that he was under investigation, records filed by his attorneys say.

"A person who came to this country, knowing he was under investigation, knowing full well that he could be arrested and who has friends and property here should not be detained on the grounds that he is a German national," his attorney, David Massey of Richards Kibbe and Orbe of New York, argued in January during a detention hearing in Miami.

Schmidt's attorneys also paint a picture of a man who didn't develop the software used to defeat the emissions tests, who advocated for transparency with regulators and "relayed information he believed was accurate."

"He had nothing to do with the design of diesel engines or the engine control unit software at issue in this case," his lawyers argue.

The government disputes the characterizations and says Schmidt is a flight risk.

"The very crime that Mr. Schmidt is alleged to have committed, and in particular his role, is lying to the U.S. government," Benjamin Singer, an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department's fraud section, said during the hearing. "When Mr. Schmidt did meet with us, he purported to be cooperative, but what he did is he exculpated himself and attempted to deceive the government."

The investigation, along with its cover-up, has forced Volkswagen to agree to civil settlements worth about $17 billion for U.S. consumers and dealers who own the automaker's diesel vehicles and an additional $4.3 billion to settle criminal charges. Volkswagen, as a corporate entity, is scheduled to appear in court to formally plead guilty, as a company, on Friday.

Volkswagen's U.S. diesel certifications first came into question when researchers from West Virginia University conducted emissions tests unlike the government's tests and discovered that the automaker's diesel engines were actually spewing nitrogen oxide at levels that far exceed U.S. regulations.

While Schmidt, who is still a Volkswagen employee, did not play a role in the creation of the software used to cheat on emissions tests, he did participate in the cover-up, the government says.

In its indictment, the government said Schmidt told officials from the California Air Resources Board in August 2015 in Traverse City that the emissions tests were flawed because of "abnormalities" or "irregularities" without revealing that Volkswagen had intentionally designed software "to detect, evade and defeat U.S. emissions testing."

Schmidt faces a 10-count indictment that includes violations of the Clean Air Act and wire fraud. Collectively, those charges add up to a possible sentence of 149 years in prison, but judges rarely stack charges consecutively.

He is one of six Volkswagen employees indicted in January. An engineer, James Robert Liang, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. last fall.
There are currently *eight* VW executives under indictment in the US for their roles in Dieselghazi. Two have been arrested and have thus plead out. One is an Italian citizen who'd been working as a VW exec in Germany who is now facing extradition to the US (more on that in a moment). The remaining five are cowering in Germany with international arrest warrants out for them; Germany apparently refuses to extradite their citizens no matter the evidence against them.

About the one being extradited to the US:

Arrest of Former Audi Executive Highlights VW Investigators? Strategy

FRANKFURT ? United States investigators are continuing to pursue wrongdoing in Volkswagen?s emissions deception, charging a former manager at the carmaker?s Audi luxury car division who has been arrested in Germany.

The case against Zaccheo Giovanni Pamio, who was head of thermodynamics in Audi?s engine development department, presents a rare opportunity to bring a suspect to trial in the United States.

Most of the accused former managers are safe in Germany because it does not extradite its citizens. But Germany is not necessarily a refuge for Mr. Pamio because he is Italian.

Mr. Pamio, the eighth former Volkswagen executive to be charged by the United States government, was arrested by Munich authorities this week. His arrest is the first on German soil related to Volkswagen?s emissions fraud.

Mr. Pamio was a relatively small player in what is alleged to be a conspiracy to dupe American regulators and consumers. But his arrest appears to be part of a strategy by federal investigators to pressure lower level employees to testify against their superiors.

?They want names, and they want top managers,? said Annette Voges, a Hamburg lawyer who represents Heinz-Jakob Neusser, a former head of engine development at Volkswagen who is also a suspect in the case.

The case by American authorities, filed in Detroit on Thursday, implies that Mr. Pamio acted under internal pressure and that he informed at least one senior manager about wrongdoing at Audi. The complaint could reinforce the widespread view that Volkswagen?s unforgiving corporate culture caused the scandal.

Beginning in 2006, Mr. Pamio helped find a way to evade clean air standards in the United States after other departments at Audi refused to allocate enough room in the car for the necessary pollution equipment, according to the complaint. The space was needed in part for a high-end sound system, the complaint said.

In 2013, Mr. Pamio prepared a presentation for a member of Audi?s management board, who was not identified. The presentation, according to the complaint, described in detail how the engine software could be programmed to deceive regulators about a car?s emissions.

Terry Brennan, a Cleveland lawyer representing Mr. Pamio, declined to comment.

Andrea Grape, a spokeswoman for Munich prosecutors, confirmed Friday that a suspect was being held in connection with an investigation of Audi?s role in the cheating scandal. She did not identify the suspect in accordance with German privacy laws. A person close to Mr. Pamio confirmed widespread German media reports that he is the person being held.

Unlike the other executives charged in the scandal, Mr. Pamio, 60, worked primarily for Audi, a situation that could focus more attention on the brand.

Audi engineers were the first to figure out how to use software to cloak excess emissions, according to court documents. Volkswagen later adopted the technology to meet American limits on nitrogen oxides, which cause lung ailments and urban smog.

The luxury car division, which accounts for a disproportionately large share of the carmaker?s profits, has not suffered as much damage to its reputation as the Volkswagen brand. Audi said Friday that sales in the United States rose 6.2 percent in the first half of 2017 to 103,000 cars, a record.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to United States charges in March and agreed to pay penalties and civil settlements of more than $22 billion. Despite the plea, the company has continued to insist that top management was unaware of the wrongdoing.

Rupert Stadler, the chief executive of Audi since 2007, has clung to his job even though his office has been searched by investigators and despite criticism that he should take responsibility for wrongdoing that occurred on his watch. Audi declined to comment Friday.

Mr. Pamio was indicted after a lull in the case, a sign that investigators in the United States are continuing to pursue suspects. Little public activity had occurred in the Volkswagen investigation since the indictments of six other former managers were made public in January.

Until this week, only one other suspect was in custody in Germany or the United States. Oliver Schmidt, a German who previously handled Volkswagen?s relations with American regulators, was arrested in Miami in January and is being held in Michigan. He is accused of feeding false information to officials in an ultimately futile attempt to prevent them from discovering Volkswagen?s fraud.

Another former Volkswagen executive, James Liang, has pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States government and to violate the Clean Air Act. Mr. Liang, who worked at a Volkswagen testing center in Oxnard, Calif., is cooperating with investigators and is awaiting sentencing.

According to the complaint against Mr. Pamio, Audi resorted to cheating after it became clear that cars with 3-liter motors needed a larger tank to hold a chemical solution known as AdBlue that was used to scrub harmful nitrogen oxides from the exhaust.

That presented a quandary. A larger tank would rob space needed for the luxury sound system. But a smaller tank would require more frequent refills, an inconvenience that Audi feared would deter buyers. So the cars were designed to ration AdBlue ? and pollute more than allowed ? unless software in the car detected the telltale signs of an emissions test.

In 2008, Mr. Pamio appeared in a video in which he offered assurances that the AdBlue tank would need to be refilled only when the car was due for an oil change. ?The refilling is planned at a minimum after 10,000 miles, during the oil change interval,? Mr. Pamio told the Driving the Nation website.

He was shown standing next to an Audi sedan with stenciling on the door that read, ?The cleanest diesel in the world.?
What with the cartel allegations mentioned above, it is appropriate that US prosecutors are using techniques successfully used to curtail much Mafia influence in this country. This story isn't anywhere near over.

Edit: Also LOL at the reason for not having a big enough DEF tank.
 
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Mitchi

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Actually, that *does* have something to do with VW's treachery, if only tangentially. Remember, in the 90s the US caught heavy truck makers doing the same thing that VW would do a decade later. After that, even the truck makers that didn't cheat retuned their engines to make sure they stayed way the hell away from the limits instead of just riding the allowable line like most makers usually do. Even if Mercedes didn't cheat (I have no idea if they did in the EU, so far they don't seem to have done so in North America) they have a bunch of reasons to retune their engines to make sure they have an even larger margin of regulatory safety. Having someone getting caught and punished in your industry tends to make people want to CYA like that.

Edit: Some additional speculation - what they might have done is backported the US tune for that engine to the EU ones. The turbodiesel fours were praised in Europe but found so wanting in the US compared to the prior E-class I6 diesel offering that they were only offered a couple years and then taken out back and shot. The symptoms you're describing match up pretty well (less felt power than prior models despite similar or greater power ratings) and are more generally typical of a Euro engine that's been brought in compliance with US smog regulations.
Yeah what I wanted to say is that the story has nothing to do with VW directly but of course it's where it all started. :)

The US software and reviews - that's actually a very good thought; I think that's pretty much it.
 

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Yeah, well the ship produces more carbon dioxide than all the cars inside combined.

Somehow Greenpeace, like PETA, is doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.
 

MWF

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I saw something recently, can't quite remember where, that basically said that your iPhone's journey by ship from China to Europe or America generates less CO2 than your drive to the store to buy it. Per phone that is. Makes sense.

And in a similar vein (from "Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles" IIRC) at it's most efficient the triple-expansion steam engine could move one ton of cargo one nautical mile on the energy produced by burning one sheet of Victorian writing paper.
 

narf

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Doing some quick back of the Google maths, it seems that ship uses a low double-digit tons of fuel per day - I'm guessing that's while moving, with not a lot of use while docked. It needed less than a day to get to the UK, let's make the high assumption that it's 20t per trip and that it'll return back empty instead of reusing that trip for other cargo just to be on the unfair-to-the-ship side... that'd be 40t of fuel to ship its cargo.
It holds about 2000 cars, so that's 20kg of fuel per car. Driving that route in a modern, efficient diesel would be 850km at maybe 4l/100km, so 34l - way more than 20kg. Add in the amount needed to get the driver back to Germany, the extra meat produced to fuel 2000 drivers instead of a handful of crew, ...
Fuel is pretty directly related to CO2, so the ship wins.

If you're worried about sulphur from burning oil instead of low-sulphur diesel, the ship recently got a scrubber to help there.
 

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Doing some quick back of the Google maths, it seems that ship uses a low double-digit tons of fuel per day - I'm guessing that's while moving, with not a lot of use while docked. It needed less than a day to get to the UK, let's make the high assumption that it's 20t per trip and that it'll return back empty instead of reusing that trip for other cargo just to be on the unfair-to-the-ship side... that'd be 40t of fuel to ship its cargo.
It holds about 2000 cars, so that's 20kg of fuel per car. Driving that route in a modern, efficient diesel would be 850km at maybe 4l/100km, so 34l - way more than 20kg. Add in the amount needed to get the driver back to Germany, the extra meat produced to fuel 2000 drivers instead of a handful of crew, ...
Fuel is pretty directly related to CO2, so the ship wins.

If you're worried about sulphur from burning oil instead of low-sulphur diesel, the ship recently got a scrubber to help there.
There is a difference between absolute and relative numbers, in relative numbers boats might be more efficient and less polluting but in absolute....
 

narf

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93Flareside

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Volkswagen is in trouble with just about everybody on the f'ing planet

Are ships allowed to burn #6 oil while near continental Europe?
 
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narf

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If I'm reading this correctly, non commercial use is only 40% of emissions.
I don't see a distinction between commercial and non-commercial, only passenger vs freight. Both water-going and road-going contains both, so I didn't bother to separate freight from passenger.
Page 11 has a nice breakdown at the bottom, how much energy from what source is used for what mode of freight and passenger transport at what efficiency. Based on that, freight and passenger are overall fairly close together, with rail being much more efficient in terms of mechanical energy from source energy. No surprise, looking at big diesel efficiency.
 

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Very interesting read here.

Here's the tricky bit. The limit on NOx for Euro 6 diesels is 0.08g/km. My dad's (2009 Euro 4) Skoda diesel comes in at 0.262g/km.
But.... after proper testing using a proper Portable Emissions Measurement System (as used by the US students who uncovered VW's cheating)

The current Qashqai N-Connecta DCI CVT (1598cc) in reality produces 1.46g of NOx per kilometre. That is more than 18 times Europe's 0.08g/km limit.
The VW Tiguan even comes in at 0.076g/km, just below the 0.08g/km limit.
 
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