Monday, September 28, 2015

Automotive Reporter Biz News for Wk of 9-28-15

If you missed that bombshell over Berlin last week, Volkswagen announced that numbers touting its clean diesel engines were not entirely accurate, thanks to a fudging of emissions control algorithms in the cars’ computers. Actually, the bombshell dropped in Wolfsburg, 230-km west of Berlin, but there’s still a lot of fallout raining down.

VW CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn said, “"I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.” While completely unaware of what was being done to the cars, he took responsibility, and removed himself from the equation to allow VW “a fresh start.”

Stateside, the Diesel Technology Forum posted this comment, while painstakingly avoiding any mention of the letters “V” or “W”: “The circumstances involving a single manufacturer do not define an entire technology, or an industry. Vehicle manufacturers and engine makers have invested billions of dollars in research and development to successfully meet the most aggressive emissions standards in the world.”

Volkswagen has erected a webpage for VW owners, listing the affected models, and featuring a video clip from VW America President and CEO, Michael Horn, saying, “oops.” 

Porsche AG Chairman Mattias Muller is now acting interim chief for Volkswagen AG.  He began his automotive career as an apprentice tool maker with Audi, and earned a Masters Degree in Computer Science before returning to Audi. He knows his stuff.

Volkswagen’s internal review reveals nearly 5-million passenger cars with the Type EA 189 diesel engines are affected. VW says the cars “remain technically safe and roadworthy.” This morning, the Financial Times predicts the scandal could eclipse the Enron debacle.

Volvo Cars of North America is building its first American factory in Berkeley County, South Carolina.
The new facility will produce Volvo’s S60 sedans, and ship globally from the Port of Charleston starting in 2018.
In Bloom County, Berkley Breathed had no comment.

Forget the Amazing Race.
Ford Motor Company is releasing a series on the re-making of the Ford Focus RS, one of the most surprising small cars you’ll ever climb into. I rented one of these a few weeks ago while my beloved Silver Bullet was getting a nose job.
It was wicked-fast.
The Focus, not the cosmetic work on my car.

Ford this week launches the first in a series of eight films shot behind the scenes as the RS evolves, “Ford Focus RS: Rebirth of an Icon.” If the trailer is any indication of what’s in store, it should rival any “must-see TV” offerings on any network this Fall.

Nissan’s new 2016 Altima goes on sale this Fall, as well. Over the weekend, Nissan Chairman Jose Munoz undraped the extensively redesigned sedan in Detroit. 

Munoz noted that the Altima has achieved five consecutive years of sales growth, growing more than 60% since 2009. Nissan will offer the new Altima in seven trim levels, including an SR-version powered by a 3.5-L V-6.

Sunday night’s eclipse is big news on social media this morning.
Houston, alas, was socked in by clouds and rain. If you missed it, here’s a two-minute eclipse clip.
You’re welcome.

Listen to the Automotive Reporter Radio Show every weekend on, or from our webpage. 

No comments: