FRANKFURT – Volkswagen is telling non-managerial employees they can come forward with information about how the company cheated on U.S. emissions tests and they won’t be fired.
In a move aimed at getting to the bottom of the scandal more quickly, Volkswagen brand manager Herbert Diess told staff in a letter that the company won’t seek damages or fire employees for what they might reveal.
Workers could be transferred to other duties, however, and the company stressed it cannot get anyone off the hook for ongoing criminal probes.
The offer is valid until Nov. 30 and only applies to workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. “Managers are not included,” said company spokesman Eric Felber.
In the letter, made public by the company Thursday, Diess says the offer was being made in the interests of “full and swift clarification” of the scandal, which has seen revelations trickle out over weeks.
Volkswagen is facing fines, expensive recalls and lost sales after U.S. authorities found it had equipped diesel cars with software that turned off emissions controls and pepped up performance when the vehicle was not being tested. Under normal driving conditions, the vehicles far exceeded limits for nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that can cause health problems. The company has said there were also “irregularities” in its measurement of emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas scientists say contributes to global warming.
The company says up to 11 million vehicles worldwide have the software that helped cheat on the U.S. emissions tests.
Volkswagen is under pressure to speed up its reaction to the scandal. CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned, but his replacement, Matthias Mueller, is a longtime company employee, as is the board chairman, Hans Dieter Poetsch. That has led to questions about whether insiders can clean up the mess.
The company, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, has hired an outside executive to oversee legal compliance, and has brought in U.S. law firm Jones Day to investigate. German prosecutors are also looking into the matter.
Volkswagen’s step is similar to one taken by German industrial firm Siemens AG as it cleaned up a bribery scandal in 2008. A new CEO, Peter Loescher, announced a monthlong amnesty, later extended for one more month, explicitly excluding former directors.
According to a study by the London-based Institute of Business Ethics, some forty whistleblowers at Siemens came forward about the widespread practice of paying bribes through phoney consultants to win business, extending the scandal’s reach into previous upper management, according to report authors Graham Dietz and Nicole Gillespie.
Volkswagen AG said Tuesday that some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with software at the center of a U.S. emissions scandal, and that it is setting aside around 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the fallout.
In the wake of the company’s statement, the share price of the world’s top-selling carmaker took another battering. In midday trading in Frankfurt, VW’s share price was down another 18.8 percent at 108.45 euros and near a four-year low. The fall comes on top of Monday’s hefty 17 percent decline.
The trigger to the company’s market woes was last Friday’s revelation from the U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency that VW rigged nearly half a million cars to defeat U.S. smog tests.
The company then admitted that it intentionally installed software programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. The software then switches off again, enabling cars to drive more powerfully on the road while emitting as much as 40 times the legal pollution limit.
In its statement Tuesday, Volkswagen gave more details, admitting that “discrepancies” related to vehicles with Type EA 189 engines and involved some 11 million vehicles worldwide.
“A noticeable deviation between bench test results and actual road use was established solely for this type of engine,” it said. “Volkswagen is working intensely to eliminate these deviations through technical measures.”
To cover the necessary service measures and what it says are “other efforts to win back the trust of our customers,” VW said is setting aside some 6.5 billion euros in the current quarter.
That figure, it conceded, may be subject to revaluation in the light of ongoing investigations. As a result, it said 2015 earnings targets will be adjusted but didn’t specify by how much.
It added that the software is also installed in other vehicles with diesel engines but that that for the “majority of these engines the software does not have any effect.”
VW’s are not confined to the U.S., though.
South Korea said Tuesday it would investigate emission levels of Volkswagen diesel vehicles in the wake of the rigging scandal in the U.S. that’s heaped pressure on CEO Martin Winterkorn. The German government is to also conduct new emissions tests in VW’s diesel cars, while France called for a wider Europe-wide investigation into Volkswagen’s practices — and into those of French carmakers.
Czasy kiedy do przemieszczania się służył koń i wóz już dawno temu upłynęły. Obecnie korzysta się ze środków lokomocji takich jak statki, samoloty, pociągi lub najpopularniejsze samochody. Niestety wygoda jaką jest posiadanie samochodu sporo może nas kosztować. O samochód powinno się dbać by służył nam jak najdłużej, trzeba także nalać do baku by móc nim jeździć. Prócz paliwa trzeba, również zadbać o przegląd czy ubezpieczenie. Miłośnicy czterokołowców mogą wybierać pomiędzy autami większymi, mniejszymi w lepszym lub gorszym wyposażeniem, wszytko dostepne tu informacje motoryzacyjne Do wyboru jest bardzo duża liczba samochodów różnych form, klas czy jakości. Decydując się na auto prócz kalkulacji kosztów musimy podjąć decyzję czy chcemy auto z pierwszej ręki czy używany ale tańszy. Nie zawsze mamy odpowiednio duże fundusze na kupno wymarzonego samochodu, a jego posiadanie jest wręcz konieczne. Należałoby w tedy pomyśleć nad kupnem używanego ale sprawnego wozu. Obecnie rynek używanych samochodów jest tak duży, że każdy znajdzie coś odpowiedniego dla siebie.
Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk may seem to be using his entrepreneurial super genius for the forces of societal good, but he’s making some powerful enemies. Last week General Motor’s (GM) VP of Global Development told AP the company is working on an electric car with 200 mile range and a price tag under $30,000. The fact that GM refused to say when or even if such a product would be mass produced goes a long way towards explaining why Musk doesn’t seem too concerned about the competitive threat.
Judging by shares of Tesla the stock market is convinced the electric car industry is going to be huge with or without Detroit.
Despite electric cars accounting for a mere 0.3% of total U.S. auto sales, shares of Tesla are up 430% in 2013. General Motors rakes in more than 100x as much revenue as Tesla but is only about twice the size in terms of market cap. The stock market seems to giving Tesla credit for selling cars to people who haven’t even been born.
It’s safe to say Tesla has more room for growth than GM but it requires a leap of faith significantly beyond the range of electric cars to say TSLA deserves to be valued 50x higher than GM on a trailing revenue basis. You can torture the valuation model until it screams but the best reasons for keeping shares of Tesla in a portfolio don’t have anything to do with numbers.
The best things Tesla has going for it as an investment are Elon Musk and professional investors getting desperate into the end of the year. “A lot of managers are lagging the broader indexes so they’re trying to play catch up buying these cult stocks,” explains Todd Schoenberger of LandColt Capital.
It’s hardly a fundamental battle cry but Schoenberger thinks that desperation could drive Tesla even higher into the end of the year.