Volkswagen Bluemotion

Switzerland bans new Volkswagen diesel sales

Volkswagen BluemotionSwiss authorities have halted the sale of Volkswagen Group cars fitted with diesel engines believed to contain emissions test manipulation software.

The move by the Swiss Federal Roads office relates to 180,000 Euro 5 cars yet to be sold or registered; 1.2-litre TDI, 1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI engines are all affected.

The sales ban is not restricted to Volkswagen vehicles either: Audi, SEAT and Skoda cars are also hit by the official sales halt.

Euro 6 emissions-compliant cars are unaffected and can continue to be sold; the Euro 6 standard was made mandatory for all cars sold in the European Union.

Although Switzerland is not an EU member, the switch to Euro 6 still applies there.

The Swiss Federal Roads office also added that Volkswagen Group cars already on the road can continue to be driven as normal.

More on the VW scandal on Motoring Research

VW scandal: Matthias Müller becomes CEO, priority is to ‘win back trust’

VW scandal: who is Matthias Müller?

Volkswagen: ‘We are sorry. And will put it right.’

#Dieselgate: company cars set for a nasty shock?

Dieselgate latest: what we’ve learnt – LIVE

SMMT says Volkswagen emissions scandal ‘not an industry-wide issue’

Volkswagen U.S. boss: ‘we totally screwed up’

Volkswagen diesels ‘manipulate US emission testing: VW CEO ‘deeply sorry’

Matthias Müller Porsche

VW scandal: Matthias Müller becomes CEO, priority is to ‘win back trust’

Matthias Müller PorschePorsche AG chairman Matthias Müller has been named as Volkswagen Group CEO and has immediately promised to win back the trust of customers.

Müller, who will continue as Porsche chairman until a replacement is found, has promised to “leave no stone unturned” and will conduct his investigation into the dieselgate scandal “with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation.

“Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry.

He is confident Volkswagen Group will emerge as a better, stronger company, too.

“If we manage to achieve that then the Volkswagen Group with its innovative strength, its strong brands and above all its competent and highly motivated team has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”

It’s also been confirmed that VW US boss Michael Horn will remain in his role; he was the first senior VW official to speak out about the emissions scandal, admitting “we totally screwed up”.

Horn is believed to command strong support among US dealers.

Volkswagen Group restructures

After announcing Müller’s appointment, the supervisory board also revealed a surprisingly comprehensive corporate restructuring. Its interim chairman Berthold Huber said it “strengthens the brands and regions”, and will help the development of more focused strategy within the divisions.

Here are the key changes summarised:

North America region

USA, Canada and Mexico are merged, led by current Skoda chairman Prf. Dr. Winfried Vahland. He’ll be replaced at Skoda by Porsche’s sales and marketing chief Bernharm Maier.

Porsche brand group with Bentley and Bugatti

This is similar to the Audi brand group with Lamborghini and Bugati: Porsche will take the lead in developing modular architectures for sportscars and mid-engine cars. A separate department is being set up for it, but its CEO has yet to be announced (Müller remains its head for the time being).

Dedicated structure for efficiency and ‘future-oriented’ fields

Volkswagen will become more agile, says Huber, through the establishment of better structures to develop and launch new tech. A chief technology officer will “analyse and, if necessary, co-steer technical developments throughout the Group as mandated by the Group Board of Management”. If Müller’s team say it’s a priority, it becomes a priority. Which may be critical in the months to come…

Streamlined Group Board of Management

Brands will have more responsibility, which means the production division at Group level is being abolished. Revealing that this is a development that was underway before #dieselgate, Huber said: “In recent weeks, we have already undertaken important steps such as separating Group and Brand functions.” Dieselgate “underscored the urgency of this”. These changes will be implemented by the start of 2016

Other changes

The firm said that Volkswagen AG board member member for sales and marketing Christian Klingler is leaving the brand – due to differences with business strategy, not as a result of recent events. His place will be taken by SEAT chairman Jürgen Stackmann; Audi board member for sales and marketing Luca de Meo will now lead SEAT.

Herbert Diess

VW scandal: who is Dr. Herbert Diess?

Herbert DiessDr. Herbert Diess was born in 1958 in Munich; the 56 year old studied vehicle technology in his home city, graduating with a diploma in 1983. Between 1984-1989 he was a researcher with the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management.

#Dieselgate on MR

He joined automotive supplier Bosch in 1989, working at the firm’s Stuttgart and Spanish Treto facilities. Dr. Diess joined BMW AG in 1996, with roles including production and development at BMW-owned Rover Group factories in Longbridge and Oxford.

Dr. Diess was recruited to the BMW board in 2007, leading product development. He also reportedly became an advocate of electric cars, as BMW launched its i range of EVs and range extenders.

A surprise move came in late 2014: Volkswagen announced Dr. Diess was to join it as chairman of the Volkswagen passenger cars division. He begun work at Volkswagen AG on 1 July 2015. Now-ousted chief Martin Winterkorn led the recruitment of Dr. Diess – and also came to an arrangement with BMW Group allowing him to join the firm three months earlier than planned.

Vuhl 05

Vuhl 05 review: 2015 first drive

Vuhl 05

Vuhl 05: Overview

Even standing still, the looks of the Vuhl 05 are arresting. It oozes athleticism, appearing to move at speed even when its wheels are firmly planted on the tarmac.

The Vuhl is a track car, you won’t be astonished to hear. What may surprise you is that it comes from Mexico, is built to an exacting quality and works pretty damn well on the road, too.

The chassis is aerospace technology, all bonded aluminium and honeycomb stiffening with the engine and rear suspension bolted directly to the rear of the passenger cell. That makes it very light indeed, and at less than 700kg, the power-to-weight ratio is 400hp per tonne.

We were one of the first to drive what turns out to be the only car currently in Europe. The launch price is £59,995 and it’s being sold through Bespoke Performance in Ware, Hertfordshire.

0_Vuhl

Vuhl 05: On the road

There’s nothing really intimidating about the Vuhl, save for the fact that you’ll want to remove the steering wheel via the quick-release mounting, in order to thread your legs into the footwell. Pedals, gearchange, handbrake, they all have old-school functionality

Press the start button on the central pillar (there’s a kill switch under a red lever alongside) and the Ford 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine starts readily. Then it’s simply a matter of dipping the clutch and heading off.

The gearbox and pedals are straightforward, with not an automated change or flappy paddle in sight. Ground clearance is certainly an issue, although Vuhl assures us that the carbon bits on this car can deal with the light brushing that inevitably happens.

With an acclimatisation period that’s measured in minutes, the time soon comes to find a straight piece of road and explore the Vuhl’s 285hp performance envelope. And it’s simply eye-watering. Not merely because there’s little in the way of a windscreen, but the astonishing way it accelerates forward.

7_Vuhl

Vuhl quotes a 0-60mph acceleration time of 3.5 seconds. That’s the same as the forthcoming McLaren 540C. But it feels even faster, with all the wind, engine noise and closeness to the road. This is truly thrilling stuff, with turbo boost instantly responding to a small movement of the throttle. Passengers will be left speechless.

Stick the Vuhl on a typical British winding road, peppered with surface imperfections, and the story is also a good one, with delightfully precise, accurate, low-friction steering and suspension that has the compliance to keep the car pointing in the right direction and prevent passengers being hammered around.

Neither the steering nor the four-pot braking system are servo-assisted, but in a car this light it doesn’t matter. Indeed, many would argue that the benefit is that the feel though wheel and pedals is maximised.

We’ll have to leave track impressions to another day, but rumour has it that Vuhl is going to sharpen it up a bit for customers who want to maximise circuit agility. The risk is that this will be at the expense of the decent ride comfort experienced here.

9_Vuhl

Vuhl 05: On the inside

OK, there are a couple of issues here. The lack of windscreen we’ve already mentioned. There are also no doors, or side windows, or roof. That means climbing in over the – admittedly low – sides and then dropping down into the seats. There’s less padding here than Chris Froome gets on his Pinarello Dogma bike, but that can be fixed to your own personal specification.

The race bucket seats and full harness safety belts are a necessity for track use, but less than ideal on the road. However, you do feel well-ensconced in the Vuhl, better able to concentrate on the job in hand.

10_Vuhl

A full-face helmet is the obvious answer for distance of any significance on the road. Instead we ran with tight-fitting Oakleys, which started to lift off at speed.

Just how fast was hard to say because the speedometer was reading close to 900 mph, which can’t have been right, surely… The instrument pack is tucked behind the steering wheel and not the easiest to use on the move. Thankfully, there’s a set of coloured digital lights that progressively illuminate as the revs get close to the red line.

6_Vuhl

Vuhl 05: Running costs

You don’t really need to ask about running costs, do you? The base price of £60k can be extended by adding carbon seats with water-resistant suede trim, exposed carbon body panels, that quick-release steering wheel, electronic data acquisition, built in HD camera and a titanium bolt pack.

3_Vuhl

Vuhl 05: Verdict

The track day market in the UK is a vibrant one. You can get lots of entry-level fun in a Caterham, while a Porsche 911 in GT3 guise is a popular but much more expensive route.

Cars like the Vuhl offer something else, a racecar-like experience in a car that’s much more approachable for the non-professional racer.  There are already quite a few to choose from: Arial, KTM, Lotus and Radical all offer highly capable alternatives.

Yet the Vuhl looks, in our eyes, the most eye catching of them all. And from our perspective on the road, it’s possibly just as much fun, too.

2_Vuhl

 

Vuhl 05: Specification

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Price: £59,995

Power: 285hp

Torque: N/A

0-62mph: 3.5 seconds

Top speed: 150+mph (240+km/h)

Fuel economy: N/A

CO2 emissions: N/A

Rupert Stadler

VW scandal: who is Rupert Stadler?

Rupert StadlerRupert Stadler was born in the Bavarian region of Titting in 1963. The 52 year old studied business management in Germany: he majored on corporate planning and finance, banking and investment.

#Dieselgate on MR

His first job was at Philips Kommunikation Industrie AG in Nuremberg; he joined Audi AG in 1990, taking various roles in the sales and marketing division.

In 1994, he moved to Barcelona as commercial director at Volkswagen-Audi Espana S.A.: the firm says he oversaw controllership, accounts, personnel and organisation.

In 1997, Stadler became head of the Volkswagen Group’s board of management’s office, adding the head of group product planning to his role from January 2002.

His move to Audi AG came in January 2003, where he joined the board: from 2003-2007, he was responsible for the finance and organisation division. Then, in 2007, came the big move: Stadler was recruited chairman of the board.

Stadler also joined the board of management of Volkswagen in 2010, representing Audi: his honorary doctorate was awarded in late 2012: he’s a honorary professor for business administration at the University of St. Gallen.

Peter Andre It's Me or the Car

Insania! Peter Andre to host ITV’s Top Gear ‘rival’

Peter Andre It's Me or the Car

Well it has certainly been a good week to bury bad news. The combination of #piggate, #dieselgate and #fifagate has created a smoke screen sufficient enough to slide any kind of negative publicity under the radar.

Which is the only explanation we have for the news that Peter Andre is set to host ITV’s Top Gear ‘rival’: It’s Me or the Car.

Peter is very excited

Sources are suggesting that the former star of those ‘brilliant’ Iceland TV adverts has already shot a pilot episode of the show, which is billed as a family-oriented version of Top Gear. According to The Sun, “It’s a big-money deal for Peter. It’s still in the pilot stage at the moment but the initial signs are promising.

It’ll be like ‘Top Gear’ for all the family. Peter’s very excited.”

Which is great news for everyone. These really are golden times for fans of television car shows. Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May have moved to Amazon Prime, Chris Evans is to front Top Gear, while in an unexpected twist, Dermot O’Leary is to host ‘The Getaway Car’, in which the BBC is promising “thrills, laughter and challenges.”

Peter Andre at the car wash

Keen car washer

For his part, Peter Andre is no stranger to cars, having been spotted behind the wheel of many an exotic supercar. He has also lent his weight (and ripped torso) to the Children in Need appeal, taking part in Peugeot’s Largest Car Wash. Fans of Saturday night TV will no doubt be aware that he’s the current favourite to win I’m A Strictly Ice Dancer Get Me Skating Factor.

And Mr Andre has form in front of the TV cameras. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was a guest judge on Your Face Sounds Familiar (whatever that was), as well as a team captain on Odd One In (no, we’ve got no idea either). All of which means we’re anxiously waiting the arrival of his new car show. It should prove to be a lot of fun.

So in the week that started (and is likely to finish) with news of dirty air, we hope this story isn’t just a load of hot air. And with that, we’ll leave you with a word from our, er, sponsors:

Peter Andre It's Me or the Car

Insania! Peter Andre to host ITV's Top Gear 'rival'

Peter Andre It's Me or the Car

Well it has certainly been a good week to bury bad news. The combination of #piggate, #dieselgate and #fifagate has created a smoke screen sufficient enough to slide any kind of negative publicity under the radar.

Which is the only explanation we have for the news that Peter Andre is set to host ITV’s Top Gear ‘rival’: It’s Me or the Car.

Peter is very excited

Sources are suggesting that the former star of those ‘brilliant’ Iceland TV adverts has already shot a pilot episode of the show, which is billed as a family-oriented version of Top Gear. According to The Sun, “It’s a big-money deal for Peter. It’s still in the pilot stage at the moment but the initial signs are promising.

It’ll be like ‘Top Gear’ for all the family. Peter’s very excited.”

Which is great news for everyone. These really are golden times for fans of television car shows. Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May have moved to Amazon Prime, Chris Evans is to front Top Gear, while in an unexpected twist, Dermot O’Leary is to host ‘The Getaway Car’, in which the BBC is promising “thrills, laughter and challenges.”

Peter Andre at the car wash

Keen car washer

For his part, Peter Andre is no stranger to cars, having been spotted behind the wheel of many an exotic supercar. He has also lent his weight (and ripped torso) to the Children in Need appeal, taking part in Peugeot’s Largest Car Wash. Fans of Saturday night TV will no doubt be aware that he’s the current favourite to win I’m A Strictly Ice Dancer Get Me Skating Factor.

And Mr Andre has form in front of the TV cameras. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was a guest judge on Your Face Sounds Familiar (whatever that was), as well as a team captain on Odd One In (no, we’ve got no idea either). All of which means we’re anxiously waiting the arrival of his new car show. It should prove to be a lot of fun.

So in the week that started (and is likely to finish) with news of dirty air, we hope this story isn’t just a load of hot air. And with that, we’ll leave you with a word from our, er, sponsors:

Skoda Octavia vRS estate 4x4

Skoda Octavia vRS 4×4 set for UK debut

Skoda Octavia vRS estate 4x4

Hot on the heels of the new Skoda Octavia vRS 230 – the most powerful production vRS ever – comes the news that a 4×4 variant is on the way. Could this be the missing cog in the Skoda Octavia line-up?

More details on the UK specification will be released next week, but initial reports suggest the Octavia vRS 4×4 will be powered by the firm’s 2.0-litre TDI engine and offered with the six-speed DSG transmission. With 184hp on tap and the benefit of all-wheel drive, you stand every chance of matching the claimed 7.6 seconds it can take to reach 62mph.

A 141mph max and 280lb ft torque

The Octavia vRS 4×4 has a top speed of 141mph, with torque listed as 280lb ft between 1,750-3,250rpm. Fuel economy is 57.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 129g/km. Needless to say, there’s currently a cloud hovering above Volkswagen Group diesel emissions…

Speaking about the Octavia vRS 4×4, Werner Eichhorn, Skoda board member for sales and marketing, said: “The Octavia vRS has been very well received, and sales have exceeded our expectations. This 4×4 version will continue to drive the success of the model series.”

Skoda Octavia vRS 4x4

The third-generation Octavia vRS has been on sale since 2013, with more than 58,000 units produced to date. The new 4×4 version will be available in both hatchback and estate variants. It’s the ninth 4×4 in the Skoda range, which includes the Yeti 4×4 and Superb 4×4.

Sadly, Skoda is sticking to its guns and not giving the world a Superb vRS. We can only hope that there’s a change of heart in the Czech Republic.

In the meantime, there’s no word on whether a petrol version of the Octavia vRS 4×4 will be offered. We’ll bring you more news on the UK spec, including prices, next week.

Volkswagen logo

Volkswagen: ‘We are sorry. And will put it right’

Volkswagen logoVolkswagen has tweeted an apology to customers for the dieselgate emissions scandal, promising customers it will “make things right”.

Admitting its guilt in the ‘defeat device’ emissions-cheating issue, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn said it “would like to offer our deepest apologies to those affected by our violation of CARB and EPA emissions standards.”

Horn has set the firm an ambitious challenge, too: rectify the situation in the eyes of every single party affected by dieselgate.

“We will remedy the issue, and we will make things right in order to win back the trust of you, our customers, our dealers, the government, the public, and our employees.,” it said.

To do this, Horn has asked for time. “We kindly ask for your patience as we work very hard to address this complex issue, and we will share more information as soon as we can.”

Horn was the first Volkswagen official to speak out after the presence of Volkswagen’s defeat device emissions-cheating device became public. “We totally screwed up”, he said on Monday.

“I don’t think this will affect us long-term,” he added.

Volkswagen logo

Volkswagen: 'We are sorry. And will put it right'

Volkswagen logoVolkswagen has tweeted an apology to customers for the dieselgate emissions scandal, promising customers it will “make things right”.

Admitting its guilt in the ‘defeat device’ emissions-cheating issue, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn said it “would like to offer our deepest apologies to those affected by our violation of CARB and EPA emissions standards.”

Horn has set the firm an ambitious challenge, too: rectify the situation in the eyes of every single party affected by dieselgate.

“We will remedy the issue, and we will make things right in order to win back the trust of you, our customers, our dealers, the government, the public, and our employees.,” it said.

To do this, Horn has asked for time. “We kindly ask for your patience as we work very hard to address this complex issue, and we will share more information as soon as we can.”

Horn was the first Volkswagen official to speak out after the presence of Volkswagen’s defeat device emissions-cheating device became public. “We totally screwed up”, he said on Monday.

“I don’t think this will affect us long-term,” he added.