In total, the ICA identified 240 unspecified "corrective
actions" which Volkswagen would have to take in 2018 to ensure
that it fulfilled new compliance standards.
Hiltrud Werner, the recently-appointed director for integrity
and justice at Volkswagen, highlighted on Monday that it would
take several years for reforms to reach all 12 brands of the
automotive group and 650,000 global employees.
"We have a marathon ahead of us", Werner said.
Speaking at Volkswagen’s latest Annual General Meeting (AGM),
chief executive officer (CEO) Herbert Diess argued that
long-term commercial success could only be secured with a
corporate culture centered on "decency".
As a consequence, the Dax-listed firm needed to become "more
honest" and "more transparent" in the way it conducted business.
According to the newspaper "BILD", Volkswagen is currently
preparing to sack several senior staff members in connection to
the "dieselgate" scandal and thus give in to a long-standing
demand for personnel changes by Thompson.
"BILD" cited information that immediate dismissal notices
sent by mail were already on the way to affected individuals.
If the report proves true, it would mark a U-turn in
Volkswagen’s handling of the crisis after having previously
shown leniency towards staff which have not yet been convicted
Volkswagen has hesitated to fire Rupert Stadler, CEO of its
Audi luxury subsidiary, for example, in spite of being jailed by
German authorities in the course of "dieselgate" investigations
over nine weeks ago.
German carmakers finalize
concrete plans for diesel software updates
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
Germany’s major carmakers have finalized
concrete proposals for voluntary software updates in vehicles
affected by the "dieselgate" scandal, the German press agency (dpa)
reported on Friday.
The country’s automotive industry faces a looming deadline on
Sept. 1 when the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) begins
assessing whether the updates in question are successful in
lowering nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and will hence receive
its regulatory approval.
According to dpa, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW and Opel are all
on track to meet the deadline for software changes which they
hope will spare them from having to commit to costlier
"hardware" upgrades of diesel exhaust systems.
The Volkswagen Group told dpa that it had submitted
corresponding plans to cover its portfolio of 12 brands.
The Wolfsburg-based company is Germany’s largest carmaker
with gross combined revenue of 230 billion euros (267.6 billion
U.S. dollar) in 2017 and the only industry representative so far
to admit to illegal emissions cheating practices to judicial
Similarly, Stuttgart-based Daimler announced on Friday that
all plans for software updates would be presented to the KBA on
The changes concern nearly three million diesel vehicles in
total, and roughly one million in Germany alone.
Daimler announced a first round of updates back for 300,000
Mercedes-Benz cars in 2017 which has been approved by transport
regulators and is now 95 percent complete.
BMW has already forwarded "all necessary documentation"
directly to the KBA, a spokesperson for the Munich-based
Ruesselsheim-based Opel also confirmed its compliance with
the deadline and stressed that its software updates for the
majority of relevant vehicles had "already taken place."
Diesel vehicles sales have slumped recently in Germany given
the risk of driving bans being implemented by cities to lower
NOx emissions levels following a corresponding landmark ruling
by the Federal Administrative Court.
According to a study by the German Association of the
Automotive Industry (VDA), the share of diesel vehicles amongst
newly-registered cars in Germany fell from 41.3 percent during
the first half of 2017 to 31.1 percent during the first half of
In a move which could further exacerbate the situation, the
Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) is demanding an end to the
privileged treatment of diesel vehicles by German tax
The UBA estimates that diesel cars are responsible for more
than 50 percent of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the
NOx levels currently exceed binding limits set in EU clean
air legislation in several major German cities, prompting the
European Commission to file a still-unresolved lawsuit against
the federal government in Berlin at the European Court of
German Environmental Aid
has described technical
upgrades in "dieselgate" scandal as unavoidable
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
The non-governmental German Environmental
Aid (DUH) group has accused policymakers and carmakers on
Wednesday of making half-hearted attempts to lower nitrogen
oxide (NOx) emissions caused by diesel vehicles in Germany.
DUH President Juergen Resch told press that urban air quality
would only improve again in the country once a commitment was
made to conduct more comprehensive "hardware solutions" to
modify diesel motors.
Resch said that emissions testing by his organization had
showed that Volkswagen vehicles which had undergone software
treatments in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal continued
exceed regulatory limits set by the European Union (EU).
German carmakers have refused hardware upgrades so far on the
grounds that they would be too costly, volunteering to offer
motor software updates for more than 2.8 million diesel vehicles
However, Resch argued on Wednesday that the costs associated
with more effective technical changes could easily be shouldered
by the highly profitable automotive industry.
According to DUH, quick-fix technical upgrades could be
completed for as little as 1,500 per vehicle.
"It is possible and would not endanger jobs", Resch said.
By contrast, he criticized the measures offered by carmakers
as "Mickey-Mouse software upgrades" which failed to tackle the
problem at hand.
So far, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) coalition
government has shown leniency towards economically-significant
national automotive industry on the issue.
Merkel’s cabinet has debated for several months whether
technical diesel motor upgrades constitute a feasible
alternative to software upgrades.
The chancellor and Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU)
publicly side with carmakers, while Minister for the
Environmental Svenja Schulze has repeatedly demanded mandatory
hardware upgrades as well.
In the meanwhile, some major German cities like Hamburg and
Stuttgart have already grasped an opportunity offered in a
landmark court ruling by the Federal Administrative Court to
unilaterally impose driving bans on diesel vehicles as a means
to lower NOx emissions.
The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) estimates that diesel
cars are responsible for more than 50 percent of harmful
nitrogen oxide emissions in the Germany.
NOx levels currently exceed binding EU limits in several of
the country’s cities, prompting the Commission to file a lawsuit
against the federal government at the European Court of Justice
Speaking to press on Wednesday, DUH President Resch urged
Merkel to take a firmer stance on carmakers by forcing them to
pay for technical diesel upgrades or take back vehicles which
were installed with illicit defeat devices to understate their
actual emissions levels.
"We expect the federal government to either enable citizen to
access technical upgrades of manipulated vehicles which are paid
for by the producers, or to return their vehicles to the
producers in exchange for the original purchasing price—just
like authorities in the United States already have", Resch said.
Volkswagen CEO, ex-CEO
incriminated by staff members: report
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
Former Volkswagen chief executive officer
(CEO) Martin Winterkorn and the company’s acting CEO Herbert
Diess have both been incriminated in testimonies made by staff
during the ongoing "dieselgate" investigations, popular German
magazine Spiegel reported on Friday.
According to Spiegel, four technicians and former managers
who are formally charged with criminal offenses in the scandal
told prosecutors that Winterkorn and Diess withheld relevant
information about emissions-cheating practices from the public.
The testimonies all state that Winterkorn and Diess were made
aware of the installation of illicit defeat devices to
understate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by July 2015 at the
Nevertheless, they claimed the two senior managers refused to
alert regulators and shareholders.
At the time, Winterkorn was CEO of the publicly-listed
Volkswagen Group, while Diess occupied the helm of its flagship
The four employees specifically referred to a meeting of
around a dozen senior managers who discussed key aspects of
illegal software in diesel vehicles and potential fines suffered
by Volkswagen in the United States as a consequence.
Slides were allegedly presented to the attendees who detailed
the scale of the emission fraud in the country several weeks
before the company began to cooperate with U.S. authorities
after the international scandal was revealed.
Volkswagen rejects the allegations against Winterkorn and
The company insists there was merely a small informal meeting
around the time in which potential issues with diesel motors in
the United States were flagged as requiring a technical
Management was therefore not made aware that the installation
of the defeat devices amounted to criminal fraud under U.S. law.
So far, Diess and Winterkorn have refused to comment in
public on ongoing investigations into their involvement in the
diesel emissions scandal.
However, Diess told press that he had offered to travel
personally to the United States to help resolve the matter with
Winterkorn stepped down from his position at the helm of the
Volkswagen Group shortly after the first reports about the "dieselgate"
scandal were published in September 2015.
He has repeatedly stated that he had no prior knowledge of
emissions cheating practices affecting 11 million vehicles at
The Braunschweig State Prosecution Office currently lists 49
suspects in its investigations into emissions-cheating at German
A small number of senior Volkswagen executives, including
Winterkorn, his successor Diess and board chairman Hans Dieter
Poetsch are believed to have potentially committed "market
manipulation" offenses under German laws governing the conduct
of publicly-listed companies.
Also on Friday, German newspaper Bild reported that
Volkswagen was preparing to sack several staff members who were
listed as "dieselgate" suspects.
Bild cited information that immediate dismissal notices sent
by mail were already on the way to affected individuals, marking
a U-turn in Volkswagen’s handling of the crisis after having
previously shown leniency towards staff which had not been
formally found guilty of wrongdoing.
Stadler’s arrest marked the first time that a member of the
management board of a German car maker was taken into police
custody in the "dieselgate" scandal.
The Audi CEO has since provided a first testimony to
prosecutors at the penitentiary facility near Munich. It
remained unclear on Friday whether he, too, was among the four
individuals who have made incriminating statements against
Winterkorn and Diess.
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