It might not even be possible for VW to fix its polluting diesels, according to an official from the California Air Resources Board. The regulator may seek a compromise.
A German report claims that Martin Winterkorn received a letter admitting to the defeat devices two weeks before the diesel emissions scandal went public. This was just the latest allegation that the automaker knew about the problem ahead of time but didn't tell the public.
Matthias Muller is officially the new VW Group CEO, but the company's supervisory board is instituting sweeping changes to the corporate structure. Michael Horn remains the boss in the US, but North America is now organized into a new business unit under the current Skoda chairman.
Despite the Volkswagen Phaeton suffering poor sales and losing money, Volkswagen is committed to the idea and wants to build another generation of the luxury sedan. It could cost the company an estimated $737 million to do it, while already having the Audi A8 to fill a similar role.
Crossovers are one of the dominant global vehicle segments of the moment, and Volkswagen is realizing that to grow sales as quickly as it wants, the business needs more of them in the lineup. However, the US might miss out on some of this CUV bonanza because the company is still waffling over where to build the Crossblue.
Financially, things are looking up for Volkswagen Group overall, yet deliveries are still falling in the Americas. Worldwide, the automotive giant's profits after taxes rose 26.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 2.47 billion euros ($3.4 billion). Total sales revenue was up 2.7 percent to 47.8 billion euro ($66 billion).
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
As the top market for the Volkswagen Group, China will be getting plenty of attention in coming years when it comes to vehicle production starting with an all-new plant in Foshan. The new plant celebrated the production of its first car this week – a seventh-gen Volkswagen Golf – but the Audi A3 will also join the line by the end of this year.