‘Dieselgate’ continues as German prosecutors raid Audi offices, factories

Audi Neckarsulm factory
The Volkswagen Group is getting closer to resolving criminal charges in the United States related to its use of illegal “defeat device” software in diesel cars, but the situation is only beginning to heat up in Europe.

Audi offices and factories were raided by German prosecutors Wednesday in connection with parent VW’s diesel scandal, reports Automotive News Europe (subscription required). The raids were the first on Audi facilities since the diesel scandal broke 18 months ago.

The raids focused on the 83,000 Audi, Porsche, and VW models with 3.0-liter V6 engines found to have “defeat device” software that allowed them to cheat U.S. emissions tests. Munich prosecutors said European-market cars were outside the scope of the investigation. The Volkswagen Group has agreed to buy back some affected cars, and modify others to meet emissions standards, at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters was searched, along with Audi factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, and six other unspecified facilities. The raids coincided with a press conference held by Audi CEO Rupert Stadler to announced the automaker’s annual earnings, creating a bit of embarrassment. Officials reportedly searched the offices and private apartments of some Audi executives, although Stadler said his home was not raided.

The raids come shortly after a round of personnel changes at Audi related to the diesel scandal. Last month, the carmaker said it fired four engineers from its diesel division for “gross breach of duty.” Audi’s previous R&D boss, Stefan Knirsch, also left in connection with the diesel scandal. He’ll be replaced by Peter Mertens, an executive from Volvo.

Last week, Volkswagen pleaded guilty on three felony counts in a U.S. District Court for its diesel cheating. In addition to its guilty plea, the company has agreed to pay $2.8 billion in criminal fines, and $1.45 billion in civil fines. Administration of those penalties is on hold while the judge overseeing the case looks into a complaint by an attorney representing some of the affected VW diesel owners.


Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.