The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) estimates that diesel
cars are responsible for more than 50 percent of harmful NOx
emissions in Germany.
Opel is currently in the midst of a
closely-watched struggle to improve profitability at the
The carmaker wants to focus on producing lower volumes of
vehicles with higher profit margins in the future and has
launched a far-reaching program of corporate reforms since being
acquired by PSA in 2017.
Audi earnings slump in Q3
due to ‘extraordinary factors’
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
Audi’s earnings slumped as a consequence of
"extraordinary factors" during the third quarter (Q3) of 2018,
figures published on Wednesday by the German luxury carmaker and
Volkswagen Group subsidiary show.
Gross revenue and vehicle deliveries both fell from 14
billion euros to 13 billion euros and from 471,780 units to
458,488 units respectively between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018.
During the same period, Audi’s operating profit including
special items collapsed from 1.26 billion euros to 110 million
"The third quarter of this year featured numerous adverse
factors for the Audi Group:
"As expected, restrictions in the sales portfolio caused by
the changeover to WLTP had an increasingly negative effect",
according to a statement published by Audi.
Aside from the new exhaust systems testing standard, the
Ingolstadt-based company highlighted the imposition of an
800-million-euro "dieselgate" fine by German prosecutors and the
"broadest model initiative in Audi’s history" as circumstances
which undermined its quarterly earnings performance.
Audi also said, however, that group revenue of 44.25 billion
euros for the period from January through September has held
steady at the previous year’s level.
As predicted earlier by Audi and experienced by several major
carmakers during the past months, a difficult transition to the
Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
certification standard provided particularly damaging to the
company’s production volumes and finances in Q3.
On Tuesday, the Volkswagen Group’ flagship brand Volkswagen
blamed a similar decline in vehicle sales and deliveries on the
impact of the regulatory change in Q3.
German Porsche SE ordered
to pay 50 mln euros in 'dieselgate' compensation
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
Porsche SE, the German holding company which owns the majority
of voting rights in the publicly-listed Volkswagen Group, was
ordered on Wednesday to pay investors around 50 million euros
(56.98 million U.S. dollars) in compensation for its conduct in
the "dieselgate" scandal.
Judge Fabian Reuschle of the Stuttgart Regional Court
announced that Porsche SE was found to have acted in breach of
its public disclosure duties with regards to emissions-cheating
practices at Volkswagen during a class-action lawsuit.
The former Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin
Winterkorn, who simultaneously acted as the head of the Porsche
SE management board, had at the very least demonstrated serious
neglect in his role.
Reuschle followed the argumentation of plaintiffs that
knowledge obtained by Winterkorn as Volkswagen CEO must have
been available to Porsche SE as well.
As a consequence, the holding company should have issued a
profit warning to investors as early as May 2014 following first
internal revelations about the installation of illicit motor
software in diesel vehicles.
The law firm Nieding + Barth told press that it had secured
damages worth 2.3 million euros (2.6 million U.S. dollars) for
the pensions fund of the British city of Wolverhampton which it
represented against Porsche SE.
Other plaintiffs represented by the attorney Josef Broich
were awarded a combined 44 million euros according to Broich’s
partnered law firm Tilp.
Notably, however, the verdict is not yet legally binding.
Porsche SE has already criticized the ruling as unjustified
and said it would file an appeal.
The company argues that Winterkorn had a duty of
confidentiality in his dual role at Volkswagen and the holding
company and hence could not inform it about internal proceedings
at the former.
The lawsuit in Stuttgart is only one of several ongoing
compensation cases involving Porsche SE at the regional court.
Although Porsche SE is headquartered nearby, it remains a
matter of dispute whether such claims must actually be made in
the framework of a larger so-called "template lawsuit" against
Volkswagen which is currently being deliberated at the
Braunschweig Higher Regional court rather than in individual
So-called "template lawsuits", in which several plaintiffs
unite to press charges collectively and resolve key questions to
set a legal precedent, were only recently enabled by new federal
legislation passed in response to the ongoing "dieselgate"
In closely-watched and still ongoing court proceedings of
this category in Braunschweig, a group of investors are
demanding billions of euros in compensation from the Volkswagen
Porsche SE was first established by the engineer and
automotive industry pioneer Ferdinand Porsche in 1931 who also
founded the modern Volkswagen corporation.
The holding company is owned to 50 percent by his descendants
from the Porsche and Piech families who are widely considered to
be amongst Europe’s wealthiest with a combined net worth of
approximately 39 billion euros. Enditem (1 euro =1.14 U.S.
Court orders another
German city to prepare bans on diesel vehicles
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
Mainz has become the latest of several
German cities where courts have ordered policymakers to prepare
to ban diesel vehicles to improve urban air quality.
According to a verdict by the Mainz Administrative Court
published on Wednesday, the city must include driving bans in
its next official plan to ensure compliance with European Union
(EU) clean air legislation.
If the regulatory limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions
levels set by the bloc are not abided by during the first six
months of 2019, the new measures must then automatically take
force from September 2019 onwards at the latest.
City of Mainz officials have promised to meet the NO2 limit
of 40 micrograms per cubic meter at the most polluted measuring
point near the main railway station by the end of 2019.
The verdict in the closely-watched court case mostly followed
a pattern already seen in other cities such as Hamburg,
Stuttgart, Berlin and Frankfurt where judges have ordered cities
in breach of EU pollution limits to impose full or partial
driving bans as a last resort.
While generally siding German Environmental Aid (DUH) lobby
group as the plaintiff against the city of Mainz, the latest
ruling left open, however, whether only individual streets or
the entire municipal area would be affected.
Commenting on the development, DUH president Juergen Resch
said his organization was "very happy" with what it hoped would
be a wake-up call for politicians who had been inactive on the
The DUH has filed dozens of similar lawsuits in the wake of a
landmark ruling by the Federal Administrative Court which
enabled cities to unilaterally impose diesel driving bans.
During the ongoing "dieselgate" emissions-cheating scandal,
major German carmakers such as Volkswagen and Daimler were found
to have installed illicit defeat devices to understate NOx
emissions in millions of diesel vehicles sold to customers.
Large majority of Germans
oppose Merkel’s ‘dieselgate’ policy
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
A large majority of German citizens are
dissatisfied with a new "dieselgate" policy initiative of
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to prevent driving bans in
cities, a YouGov opinion poll published on Tuesday by the German
press agency (dpa) finds.
Nearly two thirds of respondents (65 percent) indicated that
Merkel was not acting decisively enough to protect the interests
of diesel drivers.
A further 72 percent said they had no faith that the federal
government and automotive industry would eventually reach a
compromise to prevent driving bans as a last resort to improve
urban air quality.
The findings were based on a representative online survey of
2,043 voters in Germany which was conducted by the YouGov
Merkel has recently announced that the Christian Democratic
Union (CDU) would seek to pass legislation to prevent the
widespread imposition of diesel driving bans in German cities.
The party considered outright bans on diesel vehicles to be a
disproportionate in most cases and would instead advocate for a
change to relevant laws in a way which re-directed policy
efforts towards other, less radical, solutions.
The chancellor’s announcement came just a few weeks after the
ruling "grand coalition" unveiled a further "dieselgate" policy
package aimed to lower Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions in 14
particularly-affected cities with fleet renewal incentives and
technical retrofitting, so-called "hardware upgrades", of
Carmakers have so far made little signs offering their
support to hardware upgrades, however, raising doubts over
whether court-ordered diesel driving bans in Hamburg, Berlin,
Stuttgart and Frankfurt can still be averted.
The YouGov survey on Tuesday suggested that voters had mixed
feelings about the latest measures adopted by the government in
response to the diesel emissions scandal.
Around two thirds (66 percent) considered technical
retrofitting to be "sensible or very sensible", while only 37
percent gave the same seal of approval to fleet-renewal
incentives such as "swapping premiums" and other sales
When asked in the poll to give two responses, the biggest
concern of citizens identified in the context of the "dieselgate"
scandal was clean air in German cities (48 percent). Meanwhile,
37 percent said that driving bans were the biggest problem
created by high NOx emissions levels, ahead of depreciations in
the value of older diesel vehicles (32 percent).
The results were released ahead of a closely-watched regional
elections in the state of Hesse this weekend, where the grand
coalition parties CDU and German Social Democrats (SPD) are both
predicted to suffer heavy losses in voter share.
Fresh court deliberations over another potential diesel
driving ban in the city of Mainz are scheduled to open
German carmaker Audi fined 800 million euros over
‘dieselgate’ cheating scandal
Volkswagen growing out of cheating crisis with third-quarter
Opinion: The war on German automobiles is seen as 'a war on