At Volkswagen, last week was one of those weeks one would rather forget. On Wednesday, German police and prosecutors rained on the parade of numbers at Audi’s annual results conference. Offices and homes of leading Volkswagen AG managers all over Germany were raided. The timing was sheer happenstance, prosecutors claimed. A day later, Volkswagen managers were shown what could happen to them: Their colleague Oliver Schmidt was brought into a Detroit court in handcuffs and a fluorescent orange prison jumpsuit, only to be told that he would have to sit in jail until a January 2018 court date, and most likely long beyond. Meanwhile in Germany, prominent voices called Schmidt a sacrificial lamb, offered-up to distract from the truly guilty.
- Peugeot considers Le Mans return – Autocar: Peugeot could return to the top prototype class of Le Mans racing – but only if race organisers substantially reduce the costs of competing. Peugeot…
- Porsche Pockets $17250 Profit on Every Car – Bloomberg: The Volkswagen AG brand delivered 238,000 of its sinuous vehicles last year and posted an operating profit of 3.9 billion euros ($4.1 billion), up 14…
- Thousands join UK legal case against VW over emissions scandal – Guardian: … rate of 500 drivers a day and lawyers are confident the legal action will eventually involve about 100,000 owners of VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat cars.
- 2018 Lexus LC 500: Lexus’ Most Emotional Car Turns Heads Like Nothing Before It – Forbes: Ask the average car shopper to list their most important traits when looking for a new vehicle and you’re going to get a very consistent set of answers.
- Chinese Search Giant Baidu Invests in Green Car Startup NextEV – Fortune: Baidu said on Friday it had led an investment round into green car start-up NextEV, as the Chinese search engine giant looks for new growth drivers and as competition heats up in the fast-growing electric vehicles market. Baidu (bidu) is expanding into …
- BMW CEO Krueger to join Germany’s Merkel in meeting with Trump – Automotive News: BMW CEO Harald Krueger and two other German CEOs are expected to join Chancellor Angela Merkel today in her meeting with President Trump amid rising tensions on trade issues.
- Tesla Just Opened Its First South Korea Stores And There’s Already A 6-Month Waiting List – Forbes: South Koreans are so hyped about Tesla’s entry into the country with two brand new showrooms this week that the waiting list to test drive a car is already six months long. The air was filled with excitement and that new car smell on Friday at the U.S …
If you are on the Tokyo car beat, you are used to it: Americans get all the hot Japanese cars first. Lexus’ fancy new LC (as in “Luxury Coupe”) was first rolled-out to the oohs & ahhs of the Detroit Auto Show, and it has been critiqued already in justabout any American blog from Jalopnik (“Most badass since the LFA”) all the way to Architectural Digest (“Is it the Japanese Aston Martin?”). Well, if you had to ask. Months later, the Lexus LC finally came home to its Japanese birthplace today.
- BMW i8 Roadster: first pictures of prototype testing – Autocar: The new hybrid model gets a soft-top targa-style roof and will reach the UK in 2018
- Volvo Cars Seeks Around $1 Billion Share Sale – WSJ: Swedish car company Volvo Car Corp. is seeking to raise around $1 billion through the sale of preferred shares ahead of a potential initial public…
- Japan automakers willing to work with U.S. on trade grievances – Automotive News: Japan’s auto industry, under trade pressure from President Trump, has struck a conciliatory note, saying it is open to addressing American grievances and even defending the president’s stance.
- CEO of Australia’s Atlassian says he’ll meet 7-day Tesla batteries deadline – Reuters: The co-founder of Australian software firm Atlassian Corp Plc said on Tuesday he was close to meeting a self-imposed one-week deadline of getting political and financial support for a plan to use batteries from Tesla Inc to bridge an electricity supply gap in South Australia.
- Trump won’t seek to roll back California vehicle authority – Reuters: President Donald Trump will announce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will revive a review of the feasibility of strict fuel efficiency standards through 2025, but will not seek to withdraw California’s authority to set its own vehicle rules, a White House official said late on Tuesday.
- Kia Stonic – first pictures of upcoming Nissan Juke rival – Autocar: New crossover model will share underpinnings with the Rio and come in two or four-wheel-drive forms
It has taken a while, but Volkswagen finally shows the effects of hospital-grade doses of humble pie. At today’s annual results conference in Wolfsburg, reporters witnessed a less arrogant, less egomaniac, more down-to-earth Volkswagen. It’s what one would expect from a Volkswagen that, after its Friday admission of guilt in a Detroit courthouse, can officially be called a felon, as Automotive News just did. VW’s new-found modesty still is a surprise for this reporter, who, over many decades, has seen Volkswagen go from humble to hyper.
Commercial vehicles are the decidedly unglamorous side of the auto business. Their only sexy part is the money they are making. From Ford to Toyota, work trucks provide the bread and butter to an industry that serves exciting sports cars as an appetizer. Today’s Renault-Nissan announcement is about the bread and butter part.