VW Group of America CEO Michael Horn steps down

2016 Volkswagen Passat
The ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal has claimed another executive. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn will step down six months after news of the scandal broke, and amid continuing turmoil in Wolfsburg.

Horn will depart under “mutual agreement” to pursue other interests, effective immediately, a Volkswagen statement said. He will be replaced on an “interim basis” by Hinrich Woebcken, who was recently named chairman of VW Group of America, and head of the VW brand for the North American region. Woebcken previously worked for supplier Knorr-Bremse, as well as BMW.

The departing Horn was a favorite among Volkswagen’s U.S. dealers, according to Automotive News (subscription required). The dealers issued a statement calling his resignation a “serious blow” to the company, blasting the “continued mismanagement” of VW’s response to the diesel scandal, and saying they were “deeply concerned” about the leadership change.

As the diesel scandal drags on, it sometimes seems the only response Volkswagen knows is to shuffle its management. The shakeup started when CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down shortly after news of the company’s emissions cheating broke. R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg and design director Walter de Silva subsequently departed as well. In addition to replacing those executives, VW appointed Woebcken to his current post and named a new head of electric-car development, Christian Senger, formerly of supplier Continental.

But Volkswagen will probably have to take more concrete action soon. The company still doesn’t have an approved plan to address the nearly 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. that have illegal “defeat device” software. U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer, who is overseeing a class-action lawsuit against the company, gave VW until March 24 to get a final plan together for a recall.

In April VW does plan to release the results of an internal investigation into the diesel scandal. The company has already admitted that former CEO Winterkorn may have been warned about the illegal software as early as May 2014, but claims there is no evidence he was fully aware the software existed and was being used to cheat on emissions tests.


Watch as Volkswagen’s ID R racer wins the ultimate EV bragging rights

The Volkswagen ID R has set a lap record for electric cars at Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife. The electric race car's lap time of 6 minutes, 5.33 seconds beat the previous record by 40 seconds.
Social Media

Zuckerberg may have known more about Facebook’s privacy scandal than we thought

In the midst of an ongoing investigation into Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, a new report suggests that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have known about the company's much-criticized approach to privacy.

Huawei trademarks its Android alternative globally, as work on it intensifies

Huawei is developing its own mobile operating system to potentially replace Google's Android. Rumors have spread for some time about the software project, known as Hongmeng or Ark OS, and development has now sped up.

Ford recalls 1.3 million Explorer and F-150 vehicles over safety issues

Ford announced multiple safety recalls on Wednesday, June 12, the largest of which affects 1.2 million Explorer SUVs over an issue with the suspension that has the potential to affect steering control.

Here’s why BMW mechanics now carry smartglasses in their tool chest

BMW technicians in the United States have started wearing smartglasses, and it's not because they're shooting alien ships between oil changes. They use augmented reality technology to access workshop manuals.

Will Detroit be the ultimate test for Argo A.I.’s self-driving Ford?

Ford-backed Argo A.I. revealed its third-generation autonomous prototype in Detroit. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the car is fitted with technology that sees better and further, thinks faster, and is more comfortable to ride in.
Product Review

The last American midsize plug-in hybrid is being squeezed out of existence

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid can’t catch a break. Ford is planning to discontinue production next year, but looming tariffs could spell doom for an otherwise comfortable and very economically sensible sedan.

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.

Volvo has created an autonomous truck that looks like a sports car

Volvo’s autonomous truck, called Vera, is about to start work at a Swedish port. The vehicle has a modest top speed of 25 mph and features a striking design that makes it look as if the usual cab has been swapped for a sports car.

Florida allows autonomous cars to drive on its roads without human supervision

Florida governor Ron DeSantis passed a law that establishes a legal framework for self-driving cars to operate within the state. It allows car and tech companies to test self-driving cars without a human operator behind the wheel.

New Toyota tech will automatically shut off engines, apply parking brakes

Toyota is launching two new safety features for the 2020 model year. One will automatically shut off a car's engine when stationary, and the other will automatically shift into park and apply the parking brake to prevent rollaways.

Aston Martin will put its Valkyrie hybrid hypercar to the ultimate test

The Aston Martin Valkyrie will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021. Aston Martin is taking advantage of new rules that encourage automakers to bring their fastest hypercars to the legendary French race.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.

It’s not easy being green. Why EVs have a long road to replace gas vehicles

Electric vehicles are all the rage right now, but are they really better than your average gas-powered car? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and whether or not they're ready for mass adoption.