Shares of European carmakers took a nosedive today on news that Renault’s offices were searched last week “regarding a fraud investigation possibly linked to emissions,” as Reuters put it. More in Forbes
A leading German politician claimed yesterday that the U.S. government may be providing fire support for its automakers by aggressively targeting foreign competitors. This accusation caused outraged headlines in the U.S. It does, however, reflect broad thinking in Europe, and in the rest of the world. It also is not the first time this has come up. A similar scandal was used to box-in Toyota, and to provide a nest for fledgling Tesla.
There is a highly interesting article in Germany’s Welt. It is required reading for all interested in EVs. It especially is of interest for people interested or invested in Tesla, from Elon Musk on down. Reading it will make some people doubt the sanity of the Gigafactory. The story is in German, and in case the language doesn’t come easy to you, here is an abstract. [Continue Reading]
Today, Europe’s auto manufacturer association ACEA published EU new passenger car registration data for October. Overall EU registrations were up 2.9 percent in the month, but that wasn’t what observers were looking for. A mere 75 seconds after ACEA released the numbers, Bloomberg hit the wire, pronouncing that “VW’s European Market Share Falls in First Month of Scandal.” Later, “falls” was edited to “slips.” Volkswagen’s group sales were down a mere 0.2 percent in the month. Was it due to dieselgate? The proof is far from conclusive, and the facts deserve at least a few minutes of closer inspection. [Continue Reading]
On Monday, Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board convened an emergency meeting to work off the overload of bad news. The Hallway Radio characterized the atmosphere as “icy” and erratic: “Meeting often breaks into small groups, nobody trusts nobody,” a Hallway Radio reporter texted, using – nobody trusts nobody – the Snowden-approved unbreakable Signal app. [Continue Reading]
Where will the next dieselgate shoe drop? Informed observers are convinced it will be at GM. This weekend, the London Times published tests that show Vauxhall’s Corsa, Astra and Vectra diesel cars as “among the most polluting models on Britain’s roads — typically emitting twice the level of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) seen from rival manufacturers’ cars.” [Continue Reading]
Donald W. Blohowiak, author of “No Comment! An Executive Guide to the News Media”, has invaluable advice for Volkswagen:
“Reveal bad news in total. The slow drip, drip, drip of damaging facts piques public interest and surrounds the story in an air of drama unfolding. Revealing all there is to tell right off the bat allows the media to tell everything in one shot. The resulting bang may be deafening for a brief moment, but then it’s in one ear, out the other, and quickly forgotten in the noise from other news events.”