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Volkswagen Sued by the United States

January 5th, 2016

Volkswagen_logo

I can’t imagine anything much scarier than finding out your business is being sued by the United States of America.

Of course, to avoid that from happening, all you have to do is play by the rules and not intentionally deceive the government while taking home millions of dollars in profit. Pretty easy, right?

Volkswagen is learning that lesson the hard way. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the automaker over the emissions scandal that saw the German car giant install software in hundreds of thousands of cars to cheat emissions tests.

The allegations in the lawsuit, which accuse Volkswagen of intentionally violating the Clean Air Act by installing illegal devices to impair emission control systems in 600,000 vehicles, carries penalties that could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars. Yes, the wrath of the U.S. government will finally rain down on VW.

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Will Gas-Powered Cars Rule for Another 25 Years?

December 28th, 2015
With electrics like this, how can they fail?

With electrics like this, how can they fail?

Electric cars are the transportation solution of the future, but that future might be farther away than we think.

There’s so much talk about automakers increasing the number of EVs in their fleets by 2020 that we might start believing an all-EV future is right around the corner. California has toyed with the idea of banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2030 and Norway has proposed eliminating new internal-combustion car sales by 2025.

Green Car Reports says,

If laws were passed tomorrow to limit the number of new internal-combustion cars, it would likely take almost two decades to bring half the overall fleet in that jurisdiction to electric propulsion.

No law outright banning operation of any vehicle with a tailpipe has been proposed anywhere, as far as we know, even in Norway.

Like it or not, we can be sure that gas-powered cars will account for our transportation needs for many decades to come.

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Are We Reaching the End of the Single-Occupancy Vehicle?

December 9th, 2015
How do we fix this?

How do we fix this?

The way we drive in cities can’t be sustained during the years to come.

As our population grows, so do the number of vehicles in our large metropolitan areas. In 2012, over 76 percent of vehicles in the United States were occupied by one person during the average commute. There were 256 million vehicles registered in the United States in 2013, which explains the massive congestion encountered in cities across the country every day.

Although we can’t easily increase the capacity of our roads, ever more people will need access to American cities.

What’s the solution?

Well, for now, there isn’t one. But some prominent people think the end of the single-occupancy vehicle is in our future.

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Volkswagen’s Sales Sink While Problems Mount

December 8th, 2015

Volkswagen

Maybe the word “Volkswagen” translates to “problems” in German.

News broke in September of the company’s intentional deception regarding the emissions of its diesel engines. October sales were relatively flat, and dealers felt confident that they could weather the storm with VW’s support.

November, however, told a different story.

Volkswagen sales in the United States collapsed by 25 percent last month. Dealers had hoped that things would improve, Autoweek says,

But as Volkswagen drifts into a third month of a seemingly unbound scandal, that tone is changing and dealer frustrations are bubbling to the surface. The absence of a ready-to-go fix, plus continuing inventory shortages and the prospect of more new-car sales pain, is stirring angst and even anger in VW’s dealer network.

Falling sales are only part of the scandal’s continuing consequences.

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Volkswagen Scandal Deepens, New Offer Made to Owners

November 10th, 2015

volkswagen_goodwill_program

Things aren’t getting any easier for Volkswagen.

When the diesel emissions scandal broke in September, the problem was limited to 11 million vehicles equipped with the company’s 2.0-liter TDI engine. That alone was a crippling blow to the company that some estimates said could top $18 billion in damages.

The situation hasn’t improved in the weeks since.

Volkswagen, at least publicly, has done very little to let customers know how it will proceed in fixing the affected vehicles. In the meantime, the U.S. government has accused VW of cheating on additional vehicles, and Volkswagen itself has found another 800,000 cars that are probably affected.

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To Keep or Sell a Volkswagen TDI?

September 28th, 2015
The Jetta TDI: It sure looks green, doesn't it?

The Jetta TDI: It sure looks green, doesn’t it?

The implications of the Volkswagen diesel scandal are, without a doubt, enormous.

There’s a lot of talk about what it means for the company’s brand and the future of its diesel program, not to mention questions about the validity of diesel in general.

But what about the people who own Volkswagen diesel vehicles? What will this do to their brand loyalty and perhaps more importantly, how will it affect the resale value of their vehicles?

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Volkswagen: TDI or TD Lie?

September 21st, 2015

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What if it was revealed that your gas/electric hybrid wasn’t really a hybrid? Or what if Ford fans discovered their prized 5.0 V8 was actually only 4.3 liters? What if a Chevrolet claimed a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds but was only capable of 5.2?

Automakers sell their cars with the promise that they will achieve a certain performance benchmark. Sometimes that benchmark is speed, sometimes it’s fuel economy, and sometimes it’s something a little less noticeable: emissions numbers.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Volkswagen is being accused of deliberately deceiving its customers, and the U.S. government, with cars that emit much more pollution than claimed. This is bad for a number of reasons, but the worst might be the loss of trust in its vaunted TDI brand.

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Should Fiat and General Motors Merge?

June 29th, 2015

Fiat_GM_merger

Is Chrysler ready for another merger?

The U.S. automaker recently wrapped up a takeover by Italian automaker Fiat and was subsequently renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA.

Now FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has his eyes on another merger:

A takeover of General Motors.

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Do You Prefer a Gas Tax or a Miles-Driven Tax?

May 26th, 2015
Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Some ideas are destined to never work.

The hoverboard is one. So is the flying car. A peanut-butter-and-sardine sandwich would also make the list of ideas not likely to catch on.

The state of Oregon is about to discover one more: a miles-driven tax in place of a fuel tax.

The slow rise of electric and hybrid vehicles, in addition to improved fuel economy in vehicles powered by fossil fuels, has presented state governments with a new problem: how to fund roads with less money coming in from fuel taxes.

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NEMPA Panels Dig Into Green Vehicle Technology

May 22nd, 2015

DSCN1961

This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

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