States probe VW over emissions, look for settlement money

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Expanding investigation of VW by US states could take years, result in costly settlement.

Volkswagen’s employee council and Germany’s biggest industrial union are demanding “transparency at all levels” of the company following the emissions-rigging scandal. Sixty-five percent of respondents in a poll conducted earlier this month thought the scandal had been exaggerated and that VW still built excellent cars, according to the management consultancy Prophet, which carried out the research.WASHINGTON (AP) – An expanding investigation among U.S. state governments into Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal could last years and will likely end in a settlement between the German automaker and states.

In a statement released Tuesday, the IG Metall union and VW’s employee representatives pushed for “consistent implementation” of changes to the company structure announced after the scandal broke. Three quarters said they would still buy a VW car if they liked the vehicle and the price, and 63% expected the affair to be largely forgotten within a year. Forty-five states and D.C. have joined the review, investigating how VW was able to game emissions tests so that its diesel-engine cars appeared more environmentally friendly than they are. Six out of 10 said they did not believe the “Made in Germany” label would be damaged by the scandal in the long term, and 63 percent believed the affair would soon be forgotten.

They said the changes offer an opportunity to replace the automaker’s “rigid hierarchy” with a more flexible setup, adding that “mistakes must not be swept under the carpet — they must be named, analyzed and remedied.” Tuesday’s statement underlined their stance that employees should not pay the price for “the crisis caused by managers” and voiced concern over the possibility of management trying to cut temporary jobs. A month after Volkswagen admitted to regulators that its diesel cars were rigged to cheat on U.S. emissions tests, no concrete answers are forthcoming on how the company will compensate owners, nor how dealers should deal with them. Volkswagen admitted in September that it has been cheating in diesel emissions tests by using a software defeat device that made 11m cars worldwide appear less polluting under lab conditions than they were on the road. Some Germans have expressed concern that VW’s problems could harm other businesses that depend on the country’s reputation for engineering prowess and reliability. The German auto maker has said it will begin fixing the first of the nearly 500,000 non-compliant Golfs, Jettas and Passats from model years 2009-2015 in January, but earlier models will require hardware changes and could take longer. “I’m kind of resigned to the waiting period but it’s frustrating, as I feel like I’m in limbo,” said a San Francisco Golf owner, Janet Kornblum.

The admission followed the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that VW diesel cars in the US emitted up to 40 times the permitted level of nitrogen oxides than allowed. Auto industry consultant said on Monday the price of used VW diesel vehicles sold at auction by dealers to other dealers dropped 6.5 per cent, based on Sept. 1-Oct. 9 data. Former Wisconsin governor and attorney general Jim Doyle says “this is a really important case” for states and has major economic and health consequences. The motor industry accounts for more than 750 000 jobs in Europe’s biggest economy, and politicians from Chancellor Angela Merkel down have rallied around the sector. * E-mail your opinion to [email protected] and we will consider it for publication, or use our Facebook and Twitter pages to comment on our stories.

On the online forum, one owner trying to sell his 2013 diesel Passat for $14,400 on Sept 18 was told by another member: “No one here will buy an ‘affected’ TDI until the VW fix is implemented, and that fix, whatever it is, may take a year to happen.” Volkswagen sold more than 594,000 cars in Germany in the first six months of this year, making it the company’s second-biggest market after China, where it sold 1.74m vehicles.

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