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Ontario government executes search warrant at Volkswagen offices
The Canadian Press
First posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:07 AM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 01:25 PM EDT
The federal government should be moving ahead with action against Volkswagen in the wake of news that Ontario has charged the company and carried out a raid on its headquarters, according to an environmental organization.
On Tuesday, provincial authorities executed a search warrant at Volkswagen Canada offices in the Toronto area as part of its investigation into the emissions scandal that rocked the company two years ago.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change said Wednesday it had charged Volkswagen AG with one count under the province’s Environmental Protection Act last week, alleging the German company did not comply with Ontario emission standards. The allegations have not been proven in court.
“It’s good news, finally. Now if we could just get Environment Canada to act on behalf of the country, that would be a great thing,” said Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence.
He said the federal government has broader powers than the province and can impose higher fines on offenders that could be used to protect against pollution and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
His organization and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment filed suit over the summer to try to force Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to move forward on enforcing Canadian pollution laws allegedly broken by Volkswagen.
A statement from McKenna at the time said her department is investigating and will act if necessary. The department did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for an update.
The Ontario government said the search warrant was part of its continuing investigation.
“Yesterday, MOECC executed a search warrant at the company’s Ajax facility. Under the charge, Volkswagen is alleged to have caused or permitted the operation of vehicles that did not comply with emission standards prescribed by Ontario regulations,” said Environment Minister Chris Ballard in a statement.
“If the allegations are proven in court, penalties for the offence will be determined following a sentencing hearing.”
He added Volkswagen owners, dealers, service managers and technicians are not the focus of the investigation.
The company, meanwhile, said in a brief statement it is co-operating with the Ontario government and it would not be “appropriate” to comment further.
Earlier this year, Quebec and Ontario courts approved a settlement agreement with members of a Canadian class-action lawsuit who bought or leased certain Volkswagen or Audi vehicles with diesel engines caught up in the emissions cheating scandal.
It has been more than a year since Volkswagen agreed to pay more than $20 billion to settle criminal charges and civil claims related to the company’s sale of nearly 600,000 cars with “defeat devices” designed to beat U.S. emissions tests.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.
In fact, under normal conditions, the cars emitted 35 times Canada’s legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.
About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them.
Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, said it’s not surprising that Ontario is laying charges two years after the scandal erupted.
“Officials everywhere, not just in Canada but in the U.S., Germany, many other countries where many Volkswagen vehicles had been sold, they’re all still looking into it and at this stage Volkswagen still isn’t finished by a long shot with all of the court cases they have to face,” he said.
He said the scandal has affected the entire market, noting Germany and France have announced plans to phase out diesel engines over the next 20 years.
Ontario government executes search warrant at Volkswagen offices | Ontario | New
 

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Volkswagen suspends exec after report German automakers tested exhaust on monkeys
Associated Press
More from Associated Press
Published:
January 30, 2018
Updated:
January 30, 2018 10:39 AM EST
In this file photo taken on June 22, 2016 a Volkswagen logo is seen on a VW Tiguan on display during German carmaker Volkswagen shareholders' annual general meeting.JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP/Getty Images
FRANKFURT — Automaker Volkswagen has suspended its head of external relations and sustainability in response to controversy over experiments in which monkeys were exposed to diesel exhaust.
The company said in a statement Tuesday that Thomas Steg was stepping away from his duties at his own request. Steg had said in an interview published in the Bild newspaper that he had known about the experiment but did not inform the company’s then-CEO, Martin Winterkorn.
In this file photo taken on August 7, 2017 a hose for an emission test is fixed in the exhaust pipe of a Volkswagen Golf 2,0 litre diesel car at the Technical Inspection Agency in Ludwigsburg, southwestern Germany. THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images
The statement from the automaker said that the company was “drawing the first consequences” as it investigates the activities of EUGT, the entity backed by Volkswagen and other carmakers that commissioned the monkey experiment.
The move follows a report in The New York Times that the now-disbanded EUGT commissioned the monkey test to show how Volkswagen’s diesel technology was succeeding in controlling harmful emissions.
But the test was done with a vehicle that used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests, turning controls off when the vehicle was not being tested. That practice was exposed in 2015, toppling then-CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said in the statement that “we are investigating in detail the work of EUGT, which was dissolved in 2017, and drawing the necessary conclusions.” He said that Steg “has declared that he takes full responsibility, and I respect that.”
This file photo taken on November 18, 2016 shows the CEO of German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) Matthias Mueller attending the company’s press conference in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images
Volkswagen said the probe would be carried out “at top speed.”
Government officials, environmental groups and animal rights activists all condemned the experiment.
Daimler and BMW also condemned the experiment and said they were investigating. The New York Times report said that the three companies backed EUGT financially.
The monkey scandal is another black eye for the German auto industry as it seeks to move past the Volkswagen scandal and the doubts it unleashed over how clean diesel technology really was. Volkswagen paid billions in fines and settlements and pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The Volkswagen case led to increased scrutiny of diesel cars from other manufacturers, which were found to emit more in everyday driving than during tests, though not necessarily through illegal software as at Volkswagen.
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http://nytimes.com/2018/01/25/world/europe/volkswagen-diesel-emissions-monkeys.html
Volkswagen suspends exec after report German automakers tested exhaust on monkeys | Toronto Sun
 

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Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested over emissions scandal
Associated Press
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Published:
June 18, 2018
Updated:
June 18, 2018 12:10 PM EDT
Rupert Stadler, CEO of German car producer Audi, briefs the media during the annual press conference in Ingolstadt, Germany on March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
BERLIN — German authorities on Monday detained the chief executive of Volkswagen’s Audi division, Rupert Stadler, as part of a probe into the manipulation of emissions controls.
The move is an extension of the emissions scandal that has rocked Volkswagen since 2015 and led to billions in fines, the arrest of executives and the indictment in the U.S. of its former CEO.
Stadler’s detention follows a search last week of his private residence, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating the manager on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents.
“Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was provisionally arrested this morning,” the company said in a statement. It said shortly afterward that a judge had ordered him kept in custody pending possible charges at prosecutors’ request.
The company said that it couldn’t comment further due to the ongoing investigation, but stressed that “the presumption of innocence remains in place for Mr. Stadler.”
German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors decided to seek Stadler’s arrest due to fears he might try to evade justice. A former head of Audi’s engine development unit is already in investigative detention.
A total of 20 people are under suspicion in the Audi probe, which focuses on cars sold in Europe that were believed to be equipped with software that turned emissions controls on during lab testing and off again during regular driving to enhance road performance.
Audi said in a statement last week that it was “co-operating with the authorities” in the probe.
Volkswagen first admitted in 2015 of using software to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. That has cost it $20 billion in fines and civil settlements.
Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States and nine managers, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, were charged there. Two are serving prison terms; Winterkorn and the others remained in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited.
German authorities this month fined Volkswagen $1.2 billion as part of their own investigation. They are also investigating Winterkorn and 48 others.
The arrest of the Audi CEO comes just weeks after Volkswagen tapped a new CEO to move the company past the scandal. Herbert Diess was given the top job in April and he said that besides focusing on new technologies, like electric cars, he wanted to build a more open, values-based culture to avoid the cheating that led to the emissions scandal.
Volkswagen shares were down 2.1 per cent at 157.66 euros in Frankfurt trading.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested over emissions scandal | Toronto Sun
 

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Volkswagen to plead guilty on environment charges in Canadian court
Canadian Press
Published:
December 13, 2019
Updated:
December 13, 2019 1:26 PM EST
Volkswagen export cars are seen in the port of Emden, beside the VW plant, Germany March 9, 2018. Fabian Bimmer / REUTERS
Volkswagen intends to plead guilty to all 60 charges it faces for allegedly breaking numerous environmental laws, a lawyer representing the German auto giant told an Ontario court Friday.
The federal government charged the behemoth this week with 58 infractions of the Environmental Protection Act, as well as two counts of providing misleading information, alleging the company imported 128,000 cars into Canada between 2008 and 2015 that violated emissions standards.
Volkswagen’s lawyers said they intend to take responsibility, and have reached a plea deal with the Crown.
“We are before Your Honour prepared to plead guilty to 60 charges, all the charges before the court. It is hard to picture more clear accountability than that,” defence lawyer David Humphrey told the judge.
But the proposal was held up for several hours by a lawyer representing an environmental group who submitted to the judge that the court should hear victim impact statements before making a sentencing decision.
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Typically, if victim impact statements are heard in court, they are brought by the Crown rather than a third party.
The judge was considering whether it would even be appropriate to hear victim impact statements in a case involving environmental law. That decision was reserved until next Thursday.
Environment Canada’s investigation, launched in September 2015, was repeatedly criticized by environmental experts and lawyers for taking too long.
The company pleaded guilty in U.S. court in 2017 for violating American laws and was fined $4.3 billion. In 2018, German prosecutors fined the company one-billion euros in the emissions-cheating case.
Several company executives and managers involved in the deception were charged in the U.S. and Germany, and some have already been sent to prison.
In total, the scheme has cost the company more than US$30 billion in fines and civic lawsuits, as well as compensation to customers who returned the affected cars for refunds or exchanges.
The affected vehicles in Canada included 3.0-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engine vehicles sold under the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands.
http://torontosun.com/news/world/volkswagen-to-plead-guilty-on-environment-charges-in-canadian-court
 

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Volkswagen ordered to pay $196.5 million to Canadian government in emissions scandal
Canadian Press
Published:
January 22, 2020
Updated:
January 22, 2020 6:59 PM EST
A worker fixes a sign at a Volkswagen Golf car during a press tour in Zwickau, central Germany on Nov. 9, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jens Meyer)
TORONTO — Volkswagen was ordered Wednesday to pay $196.5 million to the Canadian government for importing cars that secretly violated the country’s emissions standards, a record-setting fine an Ontario judge said marks “a new era” in environmental protection.
Judge Enzo Rondinelli handed down the fine hours after the company formally pleaded guilty to all 60 environmental charges it faced in the emissions-cheating scandal.
The Crown and Volkswagen jointly suggested the penalty, which falls short of the maximum $265 million the company could have been forced to pay. But prosecutors said the amount is more than 20 times higher than Canada’s previous record environmental fine, a contention Rondinelli supported.
“The proposed fine here indicates that a new era of environmental protection is upon us,” Rondinelli said in his decision. “It is no longer a matter of a company just paying minimal fines and seeing it as a cost of doing business and going on to commit further infractions down the road.”
In an agreed statement of facts, the automaker and the Crown acknowledged the company imported 128,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles, along with 2,000 Porsches, that violated the standards.
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Reading from the statement, prosecutor Tom Lemon noted that certain supervisors and employees were aware that the company was using software to cheat the U.S. testing process, the results of which are used by Canadian authorities.
But Volkswagen refused to admit any actual human or environmental harm caused by its pollution, saying only that the scheme had the potential to cause harm.
The federal government charged the auto giant last month with 58 counts of illegal importation under the Environmental Protection Act and two counts of providing misleading information.
The penalty was significantly higher than the previous record — a $7.5 million fine incurred by a mining company in 2014.
“Normally sentences gradually increase over time, if they do, as certain offences become more of a problem or they get greater notoriety and there’s a greater consciousness to deal with these offences,” Lemon said outside court. “So the judge is correct in stating that this, being such a high fine, hopefully is a dawn of a new era for greater penalties in the environmental context.”
Volkswagen has 30 days to pay the money, which will go to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund. Both parties suggested distributing it to the provinces and territories based on how many affected vehicles were sold in each jurisdiction.
The statement of facts notes that the automaker has already tried to make some amends in Canada.
Volkswagen “has devoted significant resources to, and undertaken extensive measures for, the remediation of the subject vehicles,” Lemon read in court, noting the company has compensated Canadian customers for the cost of either fixing vehicles’ emissions or getting them off the road.
Those settlements, the statement said, provided benefits “of up to a potential maximum” of $2.39 billion, and were completed by Aug. 31, 2019.
In court last month, defence lawyers said Volkswagen intended to plead guilty, but the resolution was delayed while three people sought to make victim impact statements and provide other input.
Rondinelli ruled against them, saying it’s not their role to prosecute the company accused of harming them.
Lemon said at the time he would gather victim impact statements and review them before submitting them to the court on Jan. 22, in line with the typical process.
On Wednesday, prosecutors argued that the “community impact statement” turned in to them was not admissible in court. The seven-page document — accompanied by 520 pages of reference materials — was an attempt to enter untested expert testimony into the record, they said.
Rondinelli accepted that argument.
Outside court, lawyer Amir Attaran, who teaches at the University of Ottawa and works with the group Ecojustice, said he felt it was a failing of the Canadian justice system that the court didn’t hear about the environmental and health harms of excess emissions.
“If that’s not important, the fact that this company has endangered lives, and not worth the 15 minutes it would take to read it out in court, well shame on the Canadian justice system and shame on Volkswagen,” he said.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty in U.S. court to three felonies in 2017 and was fined billions of dollars. German prosecutors fined the company one billion euros in the emissions-cheating case in 2018.
Environment and Climate Change Canada considered Wednesday’s sentencing decision a win.
“It’s a recognition by the government that we need to ensure that environmental offenders pay an appropriate penalty and pay an appropriate price,” said Mike Bell, regional director for environmental enforcement for Ontario. “And I think the result today shows that Volkswagen AG did pay that price.”
http://torontosun.com/news/national...anadian-charges-in-emissions-cheating-scandal
 

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VOLTSWAGEN? VW's name change was early April Fool's Day stunt
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
David Shepardson and Christoph Steitz
Publishing date:Mar 30, 2021 • 12 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A Volkswagen logo is seen at a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai, China November 8, 2019.
A Volkswagen logo is seen at a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai, China November 8, 2019. PHOTO BY ALY SONG /REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — German automaker Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit issued a false news release on Tuesday claiming it would rename its U.S. operations as “Voltswagen of America” in a marketing stunt designed to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts, the company said on Tuesday.

VW came under criticism on social media for its misleading news release, some commenters recalling the company’s diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.

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“Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen. The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all,” a VW U.S. spokesman said in a statement.

The news release, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos. The company pulled it late Tuesday.

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A Volkswagen spokesman in Germany called the rebranding a “nice idea” with a focus on marketing. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to messages.

At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW’s preferred shares closed 4.7% higher. Ordinary shares closed up 10.3%.

The world’s second-largest carmaker expects to double electric vehicle deliveries and boost profits for its core brand this year after stepping up its switch to fully electric vehicles.

Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its significant U.S. EV efforts have not drawn as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.


The Volkswagen brand aims to invest 16 billion euros ($19 billion) in electrification and digitalization by 2025. It has committed to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025.

Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States, sparking Germany’s biggest corporate crisis and costing the carmaker more than 32 billion euros ($38 billion) in fines, refits and legal costs.

In 2017, VW pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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APRIL FOOL'S: Volkswagen admits marketing prank, pulls fake release on name change
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
David Shepardson and Christoph Steitz
Publishing date:Mar 31, 2021 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A Volkswagen logo is seen at a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai, China November 8, 2019.
A Volkswagen logo is seen at a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai, China November 8, 2019. PHOTO BY ALY SONG /REUTERS
Article content
WASHINGTON — Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit issued a false news release claiming it would rename its U.S. operations as “Voltswagen of America” in a marketing stunt designed to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts, the carmaker said.

Volkswagen came under criticism on social media for its news release, with some commentators recalling the company’s diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.


The initial statement outlining the name change, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos.

The company pulled it late on Tuesday.


“Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen. The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all,” a VW U.S. spokesman said in a statement.

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“We will provide additional updates on this matter soon,” he added.

Volkswagen is expected to issue a fresh statement on the matter on Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said.

A Volkswagen spokesman in Germany called the rebranding a “nice idea” with a focus on marketing. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to messages.

The incident marks the latest communication hiccup at the group, which made headlines last year when it withdrew and apologized for an advert posted on its official Instagram page for its Golf cars that it admitted was racist and insulting.

“Apparently no one in the approval process at @VW said, hey maybe we shouldn’t lie to the press given the whole, you know, emissions lying thing,” Dawn Kopecki, senior editor for CNBC.com, said on Twitter.

At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW’s preferred shares were flat on Wednesday after closing 4.7% higher on Tuesday, while common shares were down 1%, having closed 10.3% higher the previous day.

German financial watchdog BaFin had no immediate comment. The regulator said this month it was watching Volkswagen shares in a routine way following a recent rally.

Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest carmaker, expects to double electric vehicle deliveries and boost profits for its core brand this year after stepping up its switch to fully electric vehicles in a bid to catch up with Tesla.

Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its significant U.S. EV efforts have not drawn as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.

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The Volkswagen brand aims to invest 16 billion euros ($19 billion) in electrification and digitalization by 2025. It has committed to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025.


Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States, sparking Germany’s biggest corporate crisis and costing the carmaker more than 32 billion euros in fines, refits and legal costs.

In 2017, VW pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. ($1 = 0.8519 euros)