Volvo’s Loss Is Audi’s Acquire right after Automaker Poaches Itself a New Improvement Chief

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Audi was in the market for a new technical development chief following losing the last two to Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. This time about it wisely decided to shop outdoors of the organization store, poaching top Volvo R&ampD chief Peter Mertens.

The automaker has high hopes for its expanding crop of Swedish-sourced talent.

“Peter Mertens had the best mixture of qualities and encounter,” an Audi spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

Prior to his four years as Volvo’s senior vice president of R&ampD, Mertens served as head of corporate good quality for Jaguar Land Rover and worked as a car line executive for Common Motors. He has a background in production technologies and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern.

In a statement, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler mentioned, “Mertens has exceptionally broad technical knowledge and an international background in the automotive industry. These are best qualifications for him to make further progress with the Technical Development division at Audi.”

Two of Mertens’ predecessors have been removed from their positions due to potential involvement in Volkswagen Group’s violation of emissions testing regulations, making him appear like a golden boy in comparison. Automotive News Europe named Mertens as 1 of its fourteen Eurostars this year, citing his important part in Volvo’s turnaround.

This is the German’s second massive get from Volvo’s development group in the final couple of months. Thomas Mueller was lured away from the Swedish brand to grow to be Audi’s head of electrics and electronics in August. Final year, Mueller’s perform resulted in him becoming named one particular of the rising stars in the European automotive industry by Automotive News Europe.

Mertens and Mueller will be continuing their function together “at the earliest achievable chance,” according to Audi.

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Speak to Our Committee to Avoid Lawsuits, Volkswagen Dealers Inform Automaker

Volkswagen Dealer Sign (Image: Rob Brewer/Flickr)

Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. have formed a go-to team tasked with drawing compensation out of the automaker although avoiding a looming barrage of dealer lawsuits.

The five-member committee was formed at a dealers-only meeting held yesterday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, one particular day before U.S. dealers had been expected to meet with leading Volkswagen brass, Automotive News has reported.

The move is developed to head off a potential slew of lawsuits from U.S. dealers seeking reparations for sunk costs and lost income stemming from the automaker’s expansion push and subsequent diesel emissions scandal.

1 of the 5 negotiators in the committee is Jason Kuhn, chairman of Tampa’s Kuhn Automotive Group, who said the group plans to negotiate a settlement package out of Volkswagen so dealers can get back to the job of running their businesses.

“At the end of the day, we both require to get past this, and performing it in a courtroom is not acceptable,” Kuhn told Automotive News.

One particular New York-based lawyer has currently drafted a class-action lawsuit for a group of Volkswagen dealers, but that celebration is awaiting the results of this weekend’s NADA meeting with VW brand chair Herbert Diess and North American chief Hinrich Woebcken.

U.S. dealers stated they felt increasingly ignored by Volkswagen head office as the emissions scandal persisted, an alienation that worsened when their largest ally, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn, abruptly resigned in early March.

In addition to Kuhn, the dealer committee is created up of Mike Sullivan, owner of the LAcarGuy network in southern California, Jimmy Ellis of Atlanta’s Jim Ellis Automotive Group, Richard Fisher, owner of the Evanston, Illinois-primarily based Autobarn Evanston Dealer Group, and Jack Bertolet Jr., president of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania’s J. Bertolet Volkswagen.

The NADA convention wraps up Sunday.

[Image: Volkswagen, Rob Brewer/Flickr]


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Volkswagen Lawyer: Automaker Might Get Back Unfixable Automobiles

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A lawyer for Volkswagen said in court that the automaker would acquire back cars that it cannot fix in time, the very first admission from the firm that some of its vehicles might not be fixable, according to the New York Occasions.

Volkswagen lawyer Robert Giuffra told a court final week during hearings connected to the class-action lawsuits facing the automaker that the company hadn’t determined how many cars would be impacted.

“We may possibly have to do a buyback or some sort of a answer like that for some subset of the vehicles, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Giuffra stated according to the report.

Final year, reports from Germany indicated that the organization was preparing to purchase back up to 115,000 older diesel automobiles that couldn’t be repaired.

Those automobiles would likely be older vehicles, fitted with Volkswagen’s EA189 engines, which Volkswagen of America boss Michael Horn told Congress in October would want significant hardware revisions to bring into compliance — with no any severe impacts on performance and fuel economy.

Horn told Congress that the vast majority of affected automobiles in the U.S. are older models with the EA189 engine — probably a lot more than 300,000 automobiles.


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Lawsuits Against Volkswagen Using Mob-inspired Law to Takedown Automaker

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Complaints filed against Volkswagen of America are using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to allege that the automaker knowingly committed fraud across state lines, court documents show.

The law, which was produced in the 1970s to take down the U.S. mafia, could have severe ramifications for Volkswagen, who admitted that its cars illegally polluted.

Accusing the automaker of violating RICO Act would mean that lawsuits against the automaker could be much more lucrative and amplify damage to the automaker.

According to Rick Wynkoop, an automotive lawyer in Denver, plaintiffs suing Volkswagen for violating RICO statutes have a greater burden of pleading than an ordinary case. The claims need to be especially targeted, such as fraud.

In a Southern California case filed against Volkswagen, the plaintiffs accused the automaker of some significant mob shiz:

VW AG directed VW America to engage in fraudulent activities that affected interstate commerce, which included acquiring fraudulent certificates of conformity from the EPA and the design and style, manufacture, testing, sale and distribution of the Defective Cars to consumers all more than the United States. VW AG used VW America to manufacture and sell the Defective Automobiles all through the United States with defeat devices that purposefully circumvented federal and state emissions laws, and VW America operated its largest emissions testing center in California. …

and

In devising and executing the illegal scheme, the (Volkswagen) devised and knowingly carried out a material scheme and/or artifice to defraud (VW owners) or to acquire cash from (VW owners) by signifies of materially false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or omissions of material information. For the purpose of executing the illegal scheme, the (Volkswagen) committed these racketeering acts, which number in the thousands, intentionally and knowingly with the distinct intent to advance the illegal scheme.

So, essentially, Volkswagen and the mob are the exact same factor, according to court documents.

The RICO Act has been utilised increasingly to take down corporations in the previous few years, so the charges are not completely unfounded. The U.S. Division of Justice lately mentioned worldwide soccer officials from FIFA violated RICO laws by utilizing influence and power to extort bribes from other countries.

(In each circumstances, the Justice Department and plaintiffs suing Volkswagen have the hard activity of proving some of our laws are applicable overseas, one thing that the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t thought so extremely of.)

The charges against VW aren’t completely unfounded. In September, the Justice Department charged Basic Motors with wire fraud in connection with its defective ignition switches that resulted in 124 deaths. Beneath RICO statues, wire and mail fraud would need to be proved by the plaintiffs — probably by emails identified on seized computers? — with two incidents over a ten-year period to constitute a “pattern.”

But if confirmed, Wyknoop points out, the RICO allegations could imply Volkswagen would spend significantly a lot more to the plaintiffs.

“It’s a tougher claim to prove, but RICO supplies for treble damages and lawyer charges. It is a powerful tool to go against organizations that break the law. Actually hasn’t changed significantly since they went following mob with it back in the ’70s,” he said.


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