Auto News for June 28 – Big VW Settlement Goes Before the Judge


VW will present a $14.7 billion dollar settlement offer to the courts regarding its diesel engines, giving owners the option of either getting their vehicles repaired, or selling them back to the maker. The New York Times called this one of the largest consumer class-action settlements ever in this country. It cited two sources close to the settlement offer that will be presented today to a judge in California overseeing the case that involves 475,000 VW vehicles. The EPA must approve the repair procedure. If the settlement is approved, it would be the largest yet by an auto company, well above the $1.4 billion that Toyota paid to settle a case involving accelerators. Reuters said the settlement could top $15 billion. News of the settlement moved VW shares higher in Europe. A top European Union official said VW should make the same deal with European owners that it offers those in the U.S.

Takata’s chairman told shareholders he will step down as soon as the company is not at risk of “faltering.” The company was founded by Shigehisa Takada’s grandfather has been seeking outside funding to cope with the recall of about 60 million vehicles in the U.S. with the defective airbags. They have been linked to 14 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Corporate advisers have said Takada is facing possible bankruptcy. One of the big unanswered questions is how much of the recall effort will be met by the automakers and how much will be paid by Takata. It is one of only three major airbag makers worldwide.

Jeep will show off its replacement for the Compass and Patriot at the Los Angeles auto show in November with a Jeep based pickup appearing in 2018, according to Automotive News. It cited comments from Jeep official Mike Manley who said the Wrangler-based pickup will make its debut only after a new Wrangler appears in the first half of next year.

James Bond’s car company is in the red. Aston Martin has reported a pre-tax loss of $172 million in 2015, the fifth year in a row that the British auto company has been in the red. Aston has invested heavily in expansion efforts including the development of a Sport Utility Vehicle, the DBX, and is building a new manufacturing plant in South Wales.

For the first time, Brownsville Texas has been named the safest city in the country to drive in, according to the 12th annual America’s Best Drivers Report from Allstate. The average driver in Brownsville experiences an auto collision every 14.6 years, which is 31.4 percent less often than the national average of every 10 years. It was followed by Kansas City Kansas, Madison Wisconsin, Cape Coral Florida, and Boise Idaho. Lexington Kentucky and Kansas City Missouri came in at the bottom of the survey.

New car sales are expected to increase 5 percent in June for an estimated 17.1 million Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, according to Kelley Blue Book. “June 2016 is expected to bring mostly positive numbers for new-vehicle sales and the industry remains on pace for another top performing year,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “As we head into summer, sales should stabilize just slightly ahead of last year’s pace.” KBB predicts strong sales for Subaru and Honda.

Top Gear USA has been canceled by the History Channel, according to Co-Host Rutledge Wood in a posting on Facebook and Instagram. “I’m not saying Top Gear on History is done,” he said, but “it’s done for the immediate future on History.” There are no additional shows scheduled to be produced after this evening’s program airs. He said the three co-hosts will “stick together and hope to bring you much more Top Gear USA, albeit it somewhere else …”










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