AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Your New Year’s Day hangover is nothing compared to the headache Porsche is currently threatened with. A group of unnamed investors are suing the company for about 2.6 billion dollars over the company’s failed Volkswagen takeover attempt in 2008.
Official details are scarce in the case, but according to OTS newswire as of late Friday, the lawsuit was filed in the district court of Stuttgart, Germany. Additionally, according to a story published by Reuters with sources close to the case suggests the plaintiffs are Elliott Associates, L.P., Elliott International, L.P., The Liverpool Limited Partnership, Perry Partners L.P., Perry Partners International, Inc., DE Shaw Valence International Inc., and York Capital Management Europe (UK) Advisors, LLP.
A statement from the investors explains the suit, though Porsche is insisting the claims are unjustified.
“Porsche gained control over the price of VW common stock as it secretly built enormous derivative positions covering almost all of VW’s freely traded shares, then triggered a massive short squeeze, and finally released billions of euros worth of shares into the short squeeze for its own profit,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, Porsche spokesperson Frank Gaube rejected the notion of the suit calling it unjustified.
Volkswagen is wary of the situation as well. Porsche incurred about $13 billion in debt as a result of their failed 2008 takeover attempt, but lawsuits upheld the merger that happened a year later between the two companies. Volkswagen just seems to be waiting and hoping to avoid the maelstrom of investor anger spawned by the debacle.
[Source: Automotive News]
It is not common for a car company to take legal action against a publication or TV show based on their opinion of the product, but Tesla did just that after TopGear aired an episode in 2008, featuring the all-electric Tesla Roadster.
According to Tesla, TopGear showed their car in a less than perfect light, claiming it suffered from poor range and even had a problem with the brakes.
The program claimed that the Tesla ran out of range in just 55-miles, well short of the 200-miles its makers suggests. This according to Tesla has been an ongoing cause of concern for its to be customers and hence sued the BBC program for libel.
However, at a ruling on Wednesday at the High Court in London, U.K., the honorable Justice Tugendhat sided with the BBC and said that no TopGear viewer would have reasonably compared the cars performance on the track to compare with the cars ability on the road.
A car would be driven far more aggressively on the track, and would thus be less efficient than when used on public roads.
Tugendhat went on to say; “In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant [Tesla] misled anyone.”
The judgement in favor of TopGear and its broadcaster the BBC was verbally handed out on Wednesday before lunch time.
Tesla however pointed out five other counts of complaints against TopGear, saying it staged some of the footage, like when the car was being pushed into the garage and also that just a faulty fuse was made to be looked as if the brakes had malfunctioned.
The case will resume in a few weeks time. We will keep you posted on this developing news story.
[Source: The Guardian]
Even though GM admits that the 2007-2008 Chevrolet Impalas has a faulty rear suspension, they’re hoping to avoid a class-action lawsuit by turning to their bankruptcy – as in, the “New GM” can’t be responsible for the “Old GM’s” mistakes.
Seriously? The defect is in a tie-rod design that causes premature wearing of the vehicle’s rear tires. In fact, they’ve proven that it causes the rear tires to wear out after just 6,000-miles. A technical service bulletin was issued in 2008, but GM made it only apply to police-spec Impala models, stating that they’re different than the retail versions. Right.
To us, GM’s response is borderline absurd especially considering there’s concrete evidence of a defect that is affecting owner’s pockets.
New GM did not assume liability for old GM’s design choices, conduct or alleged breaches of liability under the warranty, and its terms expressly preclude money damages,” GM said in response to the suit. The suit “is trying to saddle new GM with the alleged liability and conduct of old GM.”
Shouldn’t GM relate to its consumers when it comes to not wanting to spend excessive money?
[Source: Left Lane News]
Toyota will begin its first trial related to its sudden-acceleration issues in February 2013, says a U.S. District judge.
The first of the lawsuits will happen in federal court, and will pertain to a 2010 crash that killed two people in a 2008 Camry. The families of the victims are suing Toyota, alleging that a defect in the Camry allowed it to speed up even when the driver slammed on the brakes. Toyota should have included a brake override system, says the family’s lawyers.
Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, California is overseeing most of these federal lawsuits, and believes that the wrongful death case will test evidence and liability theories for other similar cases. In legal parlance, this is known as a bellwether case.
Lawyers for a group of plaintiffs in the Toyota unintended acceleration case are challenging a NASA report that found the automaker was not at fault for the alleged issues that led to a massive recall of Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
The plaintiffs lawyers filed papers in a California court last week stating they intend to disprove the NASA report and show that Toyota is at fault. One filing by lawyer Steve Berman stated “Toyota asks this court to take judicial notice of findings and conclusions by NASA and NHTSA that are hotly disputed in this litigation. If this court took judicial notice of the disputed findings and conclusions, plaintiffs would be barred from challenging them in this litigation.” Among the points of contention were that NASA engineers only examined 280,000 out of 8 million lines of code, and a phenomenon known as “tin whiskers”, which have been known to interfere with commercial satellites.
If the case went to trial, it would not be until 2013.
[Source: Automotive News]
When Chrysler went through its unpleasant bout of restructuring in June of 2009, it shut down 789 dealerships in an effort to reduce its dealer network by 25%. Now, 64 of those dealers are filing suit against the United States Treasury Department, claiming that the government terminated those dealerships and violated the U.S. Constitution.
More specifically, the suit alleges that the government violated the Fifth Amendment–stating that property cannot be taken away and used for public purposes (restructuring a company run partially by taxpayer money) without adequate compensation–or in this case, $130 million in damages.
Toyota is asking a U.S. federal court judge to dismiss lawsuits related to the company’s unintended acceleration scandals, with the automaker claiming that the anecdotal evidence brought forward can’t accurately identify any specific defects.
More than 300 lawsuits have been brought against Toyota, with plantiffs alleging lost income, personal injuries and fatalities. A hearing is scheduled for September 19th in Santa Ana, California, to deal with the matter.
Toyota filed papers in court Monday stating“Plaintiffs infer negligence and strict liability on the part of Toyota based on unsubstantiated circumstantial information.”
In the past, if you haven’t been picky about the rental car you’re driving, perhaps you should be. You may be surprised to learn that your rental has been recalled – so why is it still on the road?
This information comes to use via ABC News, which reports these findings after a recent lawsuit against Enterprise. The case in question involved the death of two California women who were killed after their rental Chrysler PT Cruiser caught fire and struck an oncoming semi. Unexpectedly, Enterprise came out and admitted that the company routinely rents out vehicles that are under recall and haven’t been repaired. The PT Cruiser was recalled in September of 2004, because there was a chance that the power steering unit could leak, causing an engine fire.
Even though they received the recall notice a month before, Enterprise rented the vehicle to Raechel Houck, 24, and her sister, Jacquie, 20, who were on their way to visit their parents. In this case, a jury awarded the Houcks a $15 million settlement.
In further testimony, it was revealed that Enterprise often rents out vehicles under recall, and that the company has no standing policy against doing so. ABC News also indicates that other major companies like Hertz and Avis also carry out the same practice.
“When demand called, we rented out recalled vehicles, it happened, I won’t lie,” said Mark Matias, a former Enterprise area manager in San Francisco. “If all you have are recalled vehicles on the lot, you rent them out. It was a given. The whole company did it. Enterprise’s corporate offices look the other way regarding this fact.”
Other Enterprise executives testified that there was no company-wide policy requiring cars under recall to be held back from rental.
Watch the ABC News video report after the jump.
Well it ever get here? Based on the latest scuttlebutt regarding the U.S. launch of Mahindra’s compact pickup, it’s looking less likely with each passing day. Global Vehicles USA, the licensed distributor for Mahindra vehicles in this country has filed a lawsuit against the Indian manufacturer for repeated delays in bring the trucks over, which is costing Global a pretty penny, since GV has already signed up approximately 350 dealers and spent nearly $35 million in preparation for launching the Mahindra pickup Stateside.
According to Mike Geylin, spokesman for GV USA, Mahindra has repeatedly dragged its feet regarding the launch date and the lawsuit “seeks to compel the Indian company to honor it’s contractual obligations and begin shipping [the vehicles] pursuant to existing and long standing orders placed by Global Vehicles on behalf of its dealers.”
Mahindra spokesman Pawan Goenka stated that “we are going as per (our) original plan for the launch of the pickup truck (December 2010), but can’t say on the actual time of the launch as it will depend on the outcome of the litigation.” The soap opera continues…
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
There have been some big blunders in the history of automotive naming. The Chevrolet Nova flopped in Spanish speaking countries because its name literally means “it doesn’t go”. The Ford Pinto’s name in Brazilian Portuguese has similarly negative connotations, literally meaning “a man with small genitals.”
The latest casualty in the history of cars being forced to undergo name changes is an unreleased Renault electric vehicle, formerly named “Zoe”. The name actually means “life” in Greek, and is a fitting name for an EV. Apparently, Renault is also a common last name in France, and the likelihood of finding a person named Zoe Renault wasn’t entirely out of the question.
Zoe is allegedly threatening to sue the automaker unless the name of the car is changed. Renault told Autocar that the name wasn’t set in stone, but perhaps the Renault OverSensitive is an appropriate replacement.
This past winter has been an interesting one. The effects of El Nino spared much of the Midwest and parts of the North Eastern United States and Canada, while down south cold temperatures and fierce storms wreaked havoc. At the prominent Arizona classic car auctions in January, high winds and rain did their best to put a damper on things. At Russo Steele, on January, 21st, two huge tents, holding several hundred collectible and special interest vehicles, collapsed, causing one of them to blow across a nearby freeway and the other to land on and damage a number of classic vehicles.
The company that supplied the tents, Tri-Rentals, said to the auction house that it had reinforced the tents due to the bad weather, but the damage was still extensive. The Scottsdale Fire Department closed the auction grounds for two days to clear up the mess and when they finally opened again, Russo Steele had to use semi-trailers, concrete blocks and other methods to protect the auction site. Perhaps in view of the lost revenue, it probably isn’t surprising that the auction house is now suing Tri-Rentals. A statement was issued on Thursday, April 29th from Russo Steele, citing a lawsuit against the tent company that includes charges of gross negligence, negligence, fair dealing and breach of faith among other things. The statement did not mention the amount in damages, nor what else R-S is seeking from Tri-Rentals.
If the suit is successful, it might bring about new regulations and requirements for building and tent construction at future Scottsdale auctions.
In other news that we’re tired of hearing about, but can’t stop being interested in, Hulk Hogan has filed a lawsuit on his insurance company over his coverage. As the blame game continues, Nick Hogan’s father is now pursuing the family’s insurance company after paying tens of thousands of dollars over the last 10 years and not being entirely covered for Nick’s accident that left his passenger and friend, John Graziano, severely injured.
Apparently the insurance company never bothered to advise the Hogans to increase their insurance or to purchase additional insurance – which Hogan claims they should have when his children got driver’s licenses and were able to drive his high-performance vehicles. As a result, Hogan has had to dig into his own pocket when the estate of Nick’s friend, John Graziano, slapped him with a lawsuit, because Graziano’s medical bills far exceeded Hogan’s own insurance payout – which was limited to $250,000 in medical bills per person.
Hogan also claims that his insurance company Wells Fargo Southeast, should have offered him additional coverage when he signed for his son’s driver’s license – a move opened up Hogan to personal liability.
This is the second lawsuit the Hogans have pursued, the first one against their own attorneys for the wreck. It seems like this saga will not be dying out anytime soon, and Nick will be living in the shadow of his irresponsible accident for quite some time.
[Source: Tampa Bay Online]
Are you financially liable for statements made on Facebook and Twitter? Kalamazoo, Michigan’s T&J Towing says yes, by filing a $750,000 lawsuit against a college student for libel and defamation of character. Autoblog reports that the student, Justin Kurtz, simply started up the Facebook group, “Kalamazoo Residents Against T&J Towing,” after sharing stories with others in his area that T&J had been towing cars inappropriately from legal parking spaces. Kurtz invited others to join the Facebook group and share their stories. Many have, and after browsing the page’s wall, it doesn’t seem like Kalamazoo residents have many nice things to say about T&J Towing.
T&J management filed the suit, which strangely includes an exact dollar amount (libel suits rarely specify a figure), citing loss of revenue, which brings up to two points:
First, it a company really loses $750,000 in two months because of a Facebook Group, then every time a business screws with anyone, you should start a Facebook Group for (or against) that cause.
Second, towing companies are one of the few industries with totally involuntary customers. Sure, you “may” have to park illegally first in order to deal with a tow company, but how often is your car on a tow truck because you want it to be? Odds are, never. So why would a bunch of people talking smack on the internet have anything to do with loss of revenue? As long as the owners of those lots, the people requesting cars get towed are happy, why would the “victims” complaining about it cause loss of revenue?
As a legal professor explains in the video below, T&J has to prove that the libelous statements originated from Kurtz and that they aren’t true in order to win this case, but they probably just want to scare people away from talking smack on the internet, showing that they aren’t afraid to sue you for it.
Lawsuit aims to halt sale of Toyota products
The Orange County, California, District Attorney has announced plans to file a civil lawsuit against Toyota. The suit is over safety concerns with Toyota vehicles, and comes as Toyota has recalled over eight million vehicles worldwide due to several different safety issues. The suit aims to stop Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. from “continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”
Toyota has issued a statement saying that it, “has not received the complaint and is not in a position to comment on pending litigation.”
Orange county District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will hold a press conference later today to announce the lawsuit.