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General News UpdateBack

VWLogo3Volkswagen to Slash Investment By $1.1B Per Year

Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen announced Tuesday it would cut annual investment by 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) after a special board meeting in the wake of the emissions scandal that has thrown the company into crisis. In a press release Tuesday, the company’s new Volkswagen Brand Board of Management said they planned to ramp up efficiency programs and overhaul select car models while cutting investments made by the VW Group’s brand division by around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) per year. The board also outlined plans for major developments towards plug-in hybrid vehicles and said new models of its flagship Phaeton car would be completely electric.

Source: CNBC

FCAFCA leads to more intrusive finance providers for dealers

Dealers are likely to experience more intrusive relationships with their finance suppliers under stricter rules made by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which could see them reducing the number of funding solutions they offer to customers, according to lawyer Russell Kelsall.

Kelsall will take to the stage at AM’s F&I Compliance Conference on 10 November at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, West Midlands when he will explore the challenges dealers face operating in the FCA regulated environment.

Rule 1.2.2 in the Consumer Credit Sourcebook, known as CONC, states a firm must ensure that its employees and agents comply with CONC; and take reasonable steps to ensure that other persons acting on its behalf comply with CONC.

Kelsall said: “Effectively the rules are saying that finance providers could have some responsibility for dealers’ actions. In the past, finance providers would have allowed dealers to manage their own processes, but going forward, it is likely they will be much more intrusive.


VWScandalVW Group to waiver dealer stocking charges and pay bonuses

Volkswagen Group dealers will have their customer satisfaction bonuses paid and stocking charges waivered as a result of the emissions crisis affecting the brands, according to managing director Paul Willis.

Addressing questions from the Commons Transport Select Committee, Willis said the group had moved to protect its dealers who he described as the “backbone of our business” and it would not charge them for stocking the 4,000 vehicles it withdrew from sale.

“The situation with dealers is one of great deal of concern. In my company we employ less than 900 people but in the dealers there is over 21,000,” he said.

“What we’ve done to help them already is to change the stocking plan so the vehicles that are on sales stop, a stock of around 4,000 units, we will take all the interest for that; we will definitely not charge our retailer network interest on that and we’ve started to make changes in some of our earnings potentials straight away so for example customer satisfaction bonuses we will pay.”

“We introduced this immediately when we knew the extent of this issue. In the coming days my team are meeting with all the retailers to see precisely what we need to do next. Of course we could not exist without our dealers, our retailers are the backbone of our business, and therefore it’s really important that we look after them and support them. They’re at the forefront of the pressure and questions from customers and its absolutely imperative that we work with them and help them.”

Willis said vehicle owners affected by the recall will be offered loan cars by their dealers while their vehicles are being fixed.

Willis also confirmed that out of the 1.2 million affected UK vehicles, which have been sold since 2008, about 400,000 with EU5 1.6-litre engines will need fuel injectors modified as well as a software fix. While vehicles with EU5 2.0-litre engines will just require a software update.

It has emerged that 60 different models are affected over the VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW Commercials brands across three different engines and two different transmissions. An eight day gap between the start of the crisis and the identification of affected vehicles meant dealers sold more than 1,000 vehicles which will now be recalled.

Willis confirmed that the recall will start at the beginning of 2016 and run to the end of the year although he acknowledged there was “some risk” of its target being missed.


MoneyCommission operators warned about proposed law

Businesses operating on a commission operator basis could be particularly vulnerable if proposed legislation currently before Parliament becomes law, a top licensing expert has warned.

Solicitor Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, said the Immigration Bill would give police officers the power to close down premises with a drinks licence or late night drinks licence, if they believe a worker does not have the correct immigration status.

He said: “This Bill should be of concern to all operators of licensed premises. Some sectors of the licensed trade, including petrol forecourts, often work on a commission operator basis where the operator rather than the licence holder and property owner take responsibility for employees. The enactment of the Bill will mean that the premises may face closure and this will therefore hit the licence holder/property owner as well as the commission operator.

“It will be vitally important for all businesses to have a robust checking process whether they are the direct employer or not. Businesses that work on a commission operator basis must ensure that they are able to terminate agreements and establish a due diligence argument to reduce the likelihood of closures and reviews.”


F-gaslogoNew F-gas document sparks outrage as restrictions lifted

DEFRA has said that F-gas servicing without recovery does not require certification.

F-gas restrictions do not apply for the servicing of Mobile Air-Conditioning (MAC) systems, such as those found in passenger cars, and are only enforceable for the recovery of F-gases, the Environment Agency has announced.

The notice comes just weeks after the public body issued documents to F-gas wholesalers, retailers and technicians in the mobile air-conditioning sector, explaining that it was no longer legal to sell F-gas refrigerant for MAC servicing in passenger cars.

In the latest F-gas regulation document released last month, the Environment Agency said: “Following further examination of the legislation, DEFRA believes that such restrictions do not apply for the servicing of MAC, only for the recovery of F-gases from such systems.

“Therefore, the UK Government believes that it remains legal to sell F-gases for use in mobile air conditioning systems to those who do not hold recovery qualifications.”

The clarification was made following questions raised by industry stake holders.

A DEFRA spokesperson told GW: “The legislation has not changed, it is the legal interpretation which was questioned and has been re-examined.

“Servicing without recovery does not require certification.”


ShellLogoShell commits to 400 hydrogen filling stations in Germany

Shell will install a nationwide network of hydrogen fuelling pumps at retail sites in Germany from 2016.

The company, which opened its first hydrogen fuel station in Germany in 2011, has signed a declaration of intent with joint venture partners and Germany’s federal transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt. It will lead to hydrogen fuelling pumps being available at around 400 locations across the country by 2023.

In Germany, Shell is part of a joint venture called H2 Mobility Deutschland, between Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total, which has an aim to progress the commercialisation of hydrogen.

“Hydrogen-fuelled electric vehicles could play a key part in a low-carbon, low-emission, future,” said Oliver Bishop, general manager of hydrogen at Shell.

“It will take technical innovation and bold policies to transform the global energy system into a progressively cleaner, less carbon-intensive one. H2 Mobility Germany shows what we can achieve through close collaboration between governments and business. The next step is for consumers to embrace this opportunity and consider buying hydrogen vehicles as they become available.”

Shell currently operates three hydrogen stations in Germany, including one in Berlin and two in Hamburg. Shell anticipates the first four new fuelling points will be installed at existing retail sites in Frankfurt, Wuppertal, Geisingen and Wendingen.
The pumps at these sites will refuel hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in a few minutes. The cost of charging a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is comparable to filling a car with gasoline or diesel and they can travel similar distances to vehicles with conventional combustion engines.

Shell has another two demonstration hydrogen filling stations in Los Angeles that allow the company to evaluate a range of technologies, drive down costs and better understand consumer behaviour.

Last month the company announced it would be introducing hydrogen filling stations at three sites in the UK, in collaboration with ITM Power.

Shell said it is assessing the potential for more stations in the USA, UK, Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.



At least 30 managers were involved in Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal, according to reports today in German magazine Spiegel, citing internal and external sources.

VW’s US CEO Michael Horn last week blamed ‘a couple of software engineers’ for installing the software that defeated emissions tests and said it was not a corporate decision.

Volkswagen declined to comment on the Spiegel report. The magazine cited preliminary results of probes by law firm Jones Day and Volkswagen itself, stating that dozens of managers would be suspended.

It also cited a person familiar with the matter as saying the circle of those found to have been involved and who knew about the cheating could widen further.

New VW CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to speak to top management on Thursday about the current state of the investigations and the strategic way forward.


Volkswagen admits software issue in 2016 diesel cars

Volkswagen has admitted to US regulators it is using software in its 2016 diesel models that could potentially help exhaust systems run cleaner during tests.

The carmaker said that the “auxiliary emissions control device” at issue operates differently from the “defeat” device software included in the company’s 2009 to 2015 models disclosed last month.

The new software was first revealed to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California regulators on September 29, prompting the company last week to withdraw applications for approval to sell the 2016 cars in the US, reports the Associated Press.

“We have a long list of questions for VW about this,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant EPA administrator for air quality. “We’re getting some answers from them, but we do not have all the answers yet.”

The delay means that thousands of 2016 Beetles, Golfs and Jettas will remain quarantined in US ports until a fix can be developed, approved and implemented.

Diesel versions of the Passat sedan manufactured at the company’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, also are on hold.

The software at issue makes a pollution-control catalyst heat up faster, improving performance of the device that separates smog-causing nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and oxygen gases.


Plug-in carsPLUG IN CAR SALES REACH 20,000 IN 2015

Analysis by Go Ultra Low shows that 20,992 motorists bought a plug-in car between January and September this year, growth of 138.5% against 2014.

Gol Ultra Low said demand has been fuelled by a greater choice of models, with more than 27 pure electric or plug-in hybrid cars now available in the UK, ranging from high-performance sports cars to capable family run-arounds.

Plug-in hybrid models made up 14,041 of the registrations year to date, an increase of 226.5% against the same period in 2014.

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The growth in plug-in car registrations is in line with our expectations.

“This trend should continue over the course of this year as we know that motorists are keen to achieve maximum miles for the lowest cost, while minimising emissions and environmental impact.”

Shifting shares

In line with a trend seen throughout this year, registrations of ultra low emission vehicles have increased their market share to over 1% for the year so far. This is up from 0.44% in 2014.

The newest statistics reveal that Mitsubishi leads the new registrations charge, with 9,303 of its flagship Outlander PHEV sold since the start of 2015.

Nissan follows with its all-electric Leaf racking-up 4,285 registrations, and BMW’s i3 is the nation’s third most popular ultra low emission vehicle, also nearly doubling its tally with 1,564 registrations.

Tesla does not openly reveal its sales figures, but the Model S is also expected to be within the top 10.

The Government anticipates that 5% of new car registrations (around 100,000 units) will be ultra low emission by 2020.

UK top ranked ultra low emission cars for year-to-date 2015/2014

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 9,303/2,731

Nissan Leaf 4,285/2,969

BMW i3 1,564/874

Source: AM On-line

Posted by Sue Robinson on 16/10/2015