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

MacGuffin

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No surprise there. It has a reason why there are a couple of lawsuits against cities here at the moment, forcing them to forbid diesels from entering towns because car makers and the government apparently aren't doing enough.

It's also very clear now that VW isn't the only one (or the worst) who cheated with Diesel emissions - but unfortunately they were the only ones dumb enough to do it in the USA. On the long run, however, the whole Diesel affair might turn out to have had a positive effect in hindsight because it opened the eyes of the public to a subject the carmakers would have rather swept under the rug.

So by cheating and being caught doing so, VW might have actually done the world a favour - involuntarily of course ;)
 

SirEdward

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It was clear that VW wasn't the only one cheating when none of the competitors has said anything as VW was being smashed in the face with dieseslgate, none tried to take advantage of the thing to show how clean their diesels were and to get good publicity. No, they all remained very much silent.

Why?

Exactly.
 

bone

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So by cheating and being caught doing so, VW might have actually done the world a favour - involuntarily of course ;)
just like those priests showed that religion is bullshit by raping those children...
 

calvinhobbes

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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.
Except that iPhones are shipped by air. Wouldn't want so many small and pricey items to be stuck on a boat for that long. ;-)
 

93Flareside

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

It?s just the old German way of population control. :p

We all thought it was only in the 1940s.
 

Spectre

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GRtak;n3541636 said:
I personally think this is a bit harsh.
Nope. Federal felony plus process crimes. He got off easy. And I'm certain that his sentence could be reduced if he were to testify against the other VW execs that we're pretty sure had greater responsibility. Betcha he didn't think he'd be going to jail and that our prosecutors were bluffing.

So, all you people that said nobody would be going to jail over this? Yeah, about that...
 
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GRtak

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I have no problem with the man going to jail for his involvement with the crimes he and his cohorts committed, but as you noted, he was probably not the one that was chiefly responsible. His not speaking up when he was given the order is what got him in trouble, now he just needs to co-operate on the testimony that will never take place in this country. Germany will not extradite it's citizens.

In my opinion, he should have received a 4 year sentence.
 

Spectre

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GRtak;n3541924 said:
I have no problem with the man going to jail for his involvement with the crimes he and his cohorts committed, but as you noted, he was probably not the one that was chiefly responsible. His not speaking up when he was given the order is what got him in trouble, now he just needs to co-operate on the testimony that will never take place in this country. Germany will not extradite it's citizens.
That's what international police warrants are for. Sure, Germany won't extradite - but most of Europe will cheerfully do so. Those execs will never be able to leave Germany to visit the rest of Europe and will have severely limited options for other foreign destinations. The former execs may just retire to the countryside, but the current remaining execs will be in the position of *never* being able to attend any non-German international auto shows or conferences or anything else - something very unusual in the auto industry. The reputation of VW as a criminal enterprise that happens to make cars would eventually be cemented as a result

Oh, and after a while? The US can seize their NA operations as assets belonging to a criminal enterprise if the responsible parties continue to hide in Germany. The US has done it before.
 
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Spectre

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Oh wow... just.... wow. Or: Meet The New Führer, Same As The Old Führer. Source: http://www.dw.com/en/german-scientis...16393-xml-atom

German scientists involved in toxic diesel fume tests on humans


Humans were exposed to the toxic fumes in experiments requested by a group funded by German carmakers, according to media reports. The shocking revelation came after tests on monkeys became public over the weekend.

Reports by German newspapers Stuttgarter Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung said humans had been exposed to a gas found in diesel fumes during an experiment "sometime between 2012 and 2015" requested by a group funded by German carmakers.

Auto manufacturers said they had an interest in proving that the use of modern technology made diesel emissions more or less harmless.

The tests were requested by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) — a now defunct organization founded by German carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.

The experiments focused on "short-term nitrogen dioxide inhalation by healthy people," according to the newspapers. An Aachen-based university hospital then examined 25 people after they inhaled varying amounts of the gas over several hours.

The experiments were reported on after recent revelations of an experiment where — in equally inacceptable tests — monkeys were made to inhale the toxic gas.

Not to be tolerated

Reacting to the accusations, Volkswagen said in a statement "we are convinced that the scientific methods chosen at the time were wrong."

Daimler said Sunday it was "shocked by the extent of those studies and the way there were carried out." "We strongly condemn the tests," the company said, adding that it had had no say in the testing method and the measures taken by the EUGT were "against Daimler's values and ethical principles."

The Stuttgart-based carmaker said it had launched an investigation into the tests on monkeys and humans which it considered "superfluous and repulsive."
Holy fuck..... Seriously???????? What's next, "mobile labs" where the subjects sit in the back and the 'test gas' is pumped in to the sealed compartment?
 
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Spectre

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It's BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/15/business/winterkorn-volkswagen-emissions-scandal.html

Former VW C.E.O. Martin Winterkorn Is Charged by Germany in Diesel Scheme

BERLIN — German prosecutors on Monday filed aggravated fraud charges against Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of Volkswagen who led the company when it deceived regulators about its vehicles’ diesel exhaust levels.

The charges are the first criminal indictment in Germany against an individual in connection with the diesel scandal, which has cost Volkswagen tens of billions of dollars since it came to light in 2015.

In charging Mr. Winterkorn and four Volkswagen managers whose names were not released, the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig tied the five to events reaching as far back as 2006, when the deception was initially conceived.

The timeline is significant because it rejects initial claims by Volkswagen that senior management became aware of the so-called defeat devices used to cheat emissions tests only after being confronted by the United States environmental authorities in 2015.

The criminal charges are an important development in how the German courts are dealing with the fallout of a scandal that has shaken Germans’ trust in their car industry. The Dieselaffäre, as it is known in the German press, has been widely debated in Germany.

They also show how the diesel scandal continues to hang over Volkswagen, the world’s No. 1 maker of vehicles last year. Even after paying $33 billion in fines and settlements related to the scandal, the carmaker continues to face legal challenges and investigations from authorities in the United States and Germany.

The indictment on Monday includes charges of breach of trust, tax evasion and false certification, either directly or by aiding in such crimes. If convicted, Mr. Winterkorn could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

The prosecutor’s office also said it would seek repayment of bonuses, the highest of which was nearly $12.5 million.

Mr. Winterkorn, prosecutors said, continued to conceal the emissions fraud even after he was told that outsiders were questioning the company’s emissions data. The prosecutor’s office also charged Mr. Winterkorn with approving a useless software update in 2014 at a cost of 23 million euros (around $26 million) despite knowing that it would not eliminate the defeat devices.

More than nine million cars with faked emissions tests were licensed in Europe and the United States, the indictment said.

Mr. Winterkorn, 71, stepped down as Volkswagen’s chief executive in 2015, and has previously denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, Felix Dörr said on Monday that the prosecutor’s office had not given his team sufficient access to the files for it to comment on the charges.

No arrest warrant was issued. Mr. Winterkorn is under indictment in the United States, and is unlikely to leave Germany for fear of being extradited. (Germany does not extradite its citizens.)

Volkswagen declined to comment on the charges, saying in a statement that these were investigations against individuals.

In March, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission sued Volkswagen, accusing the company of defrauding American investors. The commission said Mr. Winterkorn had been aware of what it called a “massive” emissions fraud as early as November 2007. Similarly, a civil trial looking at the company’s responsibility toward investors has been taking place in court in Braunschweig since October.

In May 2018, the Department of Justice indicted Mr. Winterkorn and several other Volkswagen executives on charges that they conspired in the rigging of diesel vehicles to feign compliance with federal pollution standards.

Klaus Ziehe, the senior public prosecutor in charge of the case, praised the collaboration between the Department of Justice and his office.

“The Americans were on the case earlier than us, so we profited from their experiences,” he said. “Conversely, we shared with them the results of official questioning of people involved with the case.”

The prosecutor’s office also said it was still investigating 36 other individuals who could face charges, though no timeline was given. Other than Mr. Winterkorn, who is considered a public person, none of the other four people charged — or the three dozen investigated — were named because of German privacy laws.

The 692-pages outlining the charges still need to be approved by a Lower Saxony state court, in what is largely seen as a formality. Both the prosecutor’s office and the Lower Saxony court are based in Braunschweig, near Wolfsburg, where Volkswagen’s headquarters are.
Supporting links and graphics at original link.

So even Germany looks interested in sending people to jail for this.

And apparently the EU is looking at the German motor conglomerates for collusion (really more like conspiracy) to block emissions laws:

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/289075-bmw-vw-daimler-accused-of-colluding-to-block-emissions-controls
BMW, VW, Daimler Accused of Colluding to Block Emissions Controls

The EU has sent a letter to BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen, informing all three companies that it believes they colluded to limit the development of technology to control diesel emissions from 2006 – 2014. This is entirely separate from the issues related to the defeat devices installed on VW cars over much of the same time period. The letter states that the alleged collusion is being investigated as a violation of competition law, not environmental law.

According to the letter, the EU believes these three companies colluded not to bring different diesel treatment options to market. Currently, diesels inject urea (AdBlue) into the exhaust gas stream. The EU writes that “In the Commission’s preliminary view, BMW, Daimler, and VW coordinated their AdBlue dosing strategies, AdBlue tank size, and refill ranges between 2006 and 2014 with the common understanding that they thereby limited AdBlue-consumption and exhaust gas cleaning effectiveness.”

The companies also stand accused of colluding not to introduce ‘Otto’ particle filters. These reduce harmful particle emissions from exhaust. The letter states that “In the Commission’s preliminary view, BMW, Daimler, and VW coordinated to avoid, or at least to delay, the introduction of OPF in their new (direct injection) petrol passenger car models between 2009 and 2014, and to remove uncertainty about their future market conduct.”

Taking these actions harmed consumers, the EU letter states, by denying them the right to buy less-polluting cars. One of the facts that emerged from the VW debacle was that EU groups had suspected companies were flouting diesel regulations for years, paying lip service to the idea of improving pollution but not actually hitting the milestones they claimed to be. While I can’t speak to how diesels were positioned in Europe, VW leaned on ‘green’ marketing in its messaging for diesel vehicles in the United States.

TDI was widely marketed as “clean” diesel.

While these efforts don’t involve price-fixing or illegally dividing a market between different companies, they may still violate EU law on cartel activities. It is illegal to make agreements in the EU that would limit or control production, markets, or technical developments. Cooperation that results in an improved final product through the sharing of technical know-how is explicitly permitted.

It was Daimler that informed the EU about the collusion in the first place, Reuters reports, which would seem to cast the EU’s letter in a more serious light. If Daimler, BMW, and VW were colluding to keep cleaner technology off the market at the same time VW was actively cheating and shipping all of its diesel vehicles with defeat devices, it would indicate a profound level of bad faith from automotive manufacturers for nearly a decade. The VW scandal may be a bit in the rearview mirror, but it hasn’t entirely retreated from public memory.

If found guilty, the EU could impose a fine as high as 10 percent of global turnover (total revenue).
 

Spectre

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Yup, it's back again - though this time it's not directly a VW piece. Sadly, forced excerpting. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/volkswagen-whistleblower-says-he-erred-in-trusting-gm-not-circulating-his-cv-after-2018-layoffs/articleshow/70121530.cms

Volkswagen whistleblower says he erred in trusting GM, not circulating his CV after 2018 layoffs
Hemanth Kappanna's research exposed Volkswagen’s decade long conspiracy to lie about its diesel cars’ emissions.

Hemanth Kappanna’s research changed the automotive industry. But the man who blew the lid on Volkswagen’s Dieselgate was let go by GM this year.

It is a scorching midsummer’s day in leafy Bengaluru, and Dr Hemanth Kappanna, 41, is eager to burn a few calories. “I was never an athlete. In the US, I used to do yoga. Now, I can run 10 km inside an hour,” he says. Following his return to India in May this year, the former General Motors (GM) employee has taken to e...
Weeeelllll, he trusted GM... and learned why you don't do that. Oh well.

This appears to be news on the Dieselgate front, but I'm not sure what to make of it: https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2019/07/05/volkswagen-dieselgate-scandal/

Annnnnnd Audi got caught installing more cheat devices. https://carbuzz.com/news/seriously-another-audi-caught-cheating-diesel-emissions

Seriously!? Another Audi Caught Cheating Diesel Emissions?
Jul 2, 2019 by Gabe Beita Kiser Diesel

Audi was apparently still installing emissions cheat devices two years after Dieselgate.

Digging through code to find bugs and hidden software programs is a tough and lengthy process - just ask the Volkswagen Golf’s engineers if you have any doubts - but the German Transport Ministry has just wrapped up its thorough look into the software behind one of Audi’s diesel V6 engines and found something troubling. Namely, that Audi is still cheating on emissions tests by using software that can detect when a vehicle is being tested and alter engine operation so it emits pollutants at lower levels than it does when on the road.

The engine in question, reports Autocar, is Audi’s turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6, which has been used in the A4, Q7, A6, and A8 as well as on Volkswagen models like the Phaeton and Touareg and even on the Porsche Cayenne. The real kicker is that Volkswagen has employed these defeat devices up until 2018, more than two years after Volkswagen was found guilty of widespread use of such devices during the "Dieselgate” scandal.

Germany’s transport ministry is forcing Audi to recall affected vehicles within the country, of which there may be 200,000, to remove the illegal software. This echos similar recalls recently initiated by the German government, including one it forced Mercedes to issue for the diesel GLK. The difference this time, as German news outlets Bayerischen Rundfunk and Handelsblatt point out, is that Audi’s cheating engine doesn’t just have one defeat device...or two, or even three. Instead, it features four separate software programs that help the vehicle detect when it’s on the road or when it’s undergoing a test and alter the engine’s operation accordingly.

Interestingly, the German government only deemed one of those defeat devices illegal, meaning that Audi can voluntarily remove the other three only if it wants to. Given that the illegal device outlined by the German authorities is part of the engine’s warm-up software, we can assume that the other three devices each pertain to other engine functions.
Does VAG do anything except lie and cheat?

More details on the earlier point of Winterkorn being criminally charged. https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/16/18369528/vw-ceo-martin-winterkorn-dieselgate-germany-volkswagen-emissions-scandal

Ex-VW CEO charged over Dieselgate, faces millions in fines and 10 years in prison
Martin Winterkorn charged with fraud in Germany

German prosecutors have charged VW’s ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn over his role in the Dieselgate scandal. Winterkorn is accused of knowing about the conspiracy as early as 2014 but failing to inform regulators or consumers. Along with four others, he’s also accused of unfair competition, embezzlement, tax evasion, and giving false witness. The New York Times notes that these are the first criminal charges to be filed against an individual in Germany over the scheme.

The former VW CEO is thought to have played a substantial role in the scandal, which saw millions of diesel vehicles sold worldwide that produced illegal levels of pollution despite appearing to pass emissions tests. In the US, the SEC has also charged the ex-CEO for defrauding investors due to the scandal, but he is unlikely to be extradited by German authorities. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, as well as substantial fines and the return of nearly €11 million ($12 million) in salary and bonuses.

Despite coming to light in 2015, the Dieselgate emissions scandal is showing no signs of slowing, and has since expanded to include other major German automakers. In the US a federal grand jury indicted four Audi executives for their role in the scheme, and earlier this month the EU accused BMW, Daimler and VW of colluding to limit the use of emissions tech. In Germany, VW investors are currently suing the company for as much as €9 billion in damages suffered when the company’s share price fell after the scandal.
Evidently the EU cleanup of dirty diesels isn't going so well - more than 75% of the cheat-tastic VAG (and other) products are still on the roads over there, unfixed. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/28/dieselgate-33m-polluting-cars-still-on-eu-roads

33m polluting cars still on EU roads after Dieselgate scandal

Analysis of EU commission figures found diesel cars clean up going at ‘snail’s pace’

It will probably take another two years to recall the remaining vehicles.

More than three quarters of the 43m cars tampered with in the Dieselgate emissions test cheating scandal are still on the road four years later.

It will probably take another two years to recall the remaining 33m vehicles that were tampered with, according to analysis of unpublicised European commission figures which was released last week.

Florent Grelier, the clean vehicles engineer for Transport and Environment which conducted the analysis, said: “The current snail’s pace to clean up diesel cars across Europe is unacceptable. The industry has had four years since the diesel scandal broke but has failed to deliver even on its own commitments to fix manipulated cars.

“It’s time for governments to get tough and order mandatory recalls across the EU. This does not require any new laws, just political will.”

EU sources accepted the analysis but said they did not want to “emotionalise” the debate by framing the lack of action by member states as unacceptable.

One official said: “We agree that much more needs to be done on recall actions and we’ve been stressing that from the beginning. It’s a delicate balance as we have a responsibility to work with member states in a constructive spirit and it is not our role to blackmail specific states. But if their cars are not in line with EU legislation, that needs to be remedied.”

Under current single market rules, national type-approval authorities are responsible for recalling faulty vehicles. This can create a problem if a car was, for example, approved in Luxembourg before being marketed in France and then sold in Romania.

From 1 September 2020, the European commission will be given powers to increase checks on new cars, directly initiate their recall and impose fines of up to €30,000 (£25,000) per non-compliant vehicle.

However, this will not affect Dieselgate-era cars, 350,000 of which were exported to Poland alone in 2017, mostly second-hand vehicles from Germany.

In the UK, while 75% of Volkswagen (VW) EA189 engines at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal have been reclaimed, no data for recalls of any other affected engines – including two Jaguar models found to be breaching pollution limits in March – has been submitted to Brussels.

“The EU single market fails when it comes to car emissions,” Grelier said. “It only works for selling cars, but not for recalling them when things go wrong. There must not be any second-class citizens in Europe. Every European has an equal right to clean air.”

In 2015, tests revealed that VW and several other carmakers were disabling or turning down the exhaust after-treatment systems of vehicles in order to pass vehicle air pollution tests.

In real world situations, the automobiles emitted more than three times the legal limits for pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, which is responsible for 72,000 premature deaths across Europe each year.

The scandal shocked the world and more than 250 European cities have since taken action against polluting vehicles on their roads.
Annnnd apparently the German government has finally gotten far enough at their glacial pace to force Mercedes to recall some of their cheating EU market diesels. https://boingboing.net/2019/06/26/glk-220-cdi-4matic.html

Dieselgate 2.0: 42,000 Mercedes diesels recalled for "illegal software"

Germany's auto regulator has ordered Daimler to recall 42,000 Mercedes diesels because the company installed illegal software in their engines that gimmicked the engine's thermostat, which would allow the manufacturer to selectively tune its cars' emissions.

Daimler disputes that the software is illegal and has said it will appeal (it says it showed the regulator the software in question last year); but it has formally advised investors to expect a one-time writedown of hundreds of millions of euros over the recall.

Today, the Daimler vehicles in question are Mercedes-Benz-brand vehicles that are only sold in the EU. According to a WSJ source, the issue relates to a coolant thermostat in the cars that protects parts of the engine. The related software is found on vehicles made between 2012 and 2015. The WSJ says the type of coolant thermostat used on the diesel vehicles in question is generally found on cars with catalytic converters that don't use selective catalytic reduction, an emissions-reduction technique that uses urea to reduce nitrogen oxides to less-harmful forms. But the GLK 220 CDI 4MATIC Mercedes-Benz models that must be recalled do appear to use selective catalytic reduction.
A reminder - Merc evidently decided that the US EPA had big enough teeth that they didn't want to try cheating in the North American market, as ongoing stringent testing is finding that their US models were all in compliance. And there's a lot of people looking into this in the US now - so far, no evidence Merc was cheating here.
 
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