Problems with the emergency assistant also at Audi and Seat

The problems with the electronic emergency call assistant eCall concern not only the new VW Golf, but also other car models from the group. According to information from company circles, there are the same difficulties with models of the subsidiaries Audi and Seat. Accordingly, it concerns the Audi A3 and the Seat Leon, which are based on the same basic system as the Golf 8. The cause of the failed function should be problems with the software. According to a report by the industry newspaper Automobilwoche, the Skoda Octavia model is also checked for problems with eCall.

On Friday it became known that Volkswagen had to prepare for a recall of the Golf 8 that had just started. According to the company, it was determined in the course of internal investigations that unreliable data transmission to the control unit can occur in individual vehicles of the model. Therefore, the function of the emergency assistant cannot be fully guaranteed. "In exchange with the responsible authorities, we examine the further procedure for the affected vehicles," said a VW spokesman for the automobile week.

A decision by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to recall and remedy the software update is expected in the coming days. The company imposed a freeze on delivery of the new model. The golf production continued for the time being – but all new cars would be put in stock for now, it said.

The works council warned – also in view of the massive sales crisis in the auto industry and the full stock due to the corona consequences – against further setbacks for golf production at the Wolfsburg main plant. The current underutilization with several canceled shifts could worsen. The employee representative therefore calls for an additional mass model to be established in Wolfsburg in the medium term. The Golf is considered the most important product of the largest German industrial group.

Meanwhile, there is movement in the discussion about the planned payment of the dividend to VW shareholders. According to a report by the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, the opposition in the state parliament demands that the state government require Volkswagen to waive the dividend payment. "It is not legitimate for corporations like VW to accept government aid such as short-time work benefits and at the same time pay dividends and bonuses," Julia Willie Hamburg, leader of the Green Group, told the newspaper. The deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Jörg Bode, demanded that the state of Lower Saxony insist on suspending the dividend as a partner.

According to the report, the group plans to distribute a total of around three billion euros to the shareholders for 2019. However, reference is made internally to the fact that the Annual General Meeting, which was originally planned for early May, has been postponed and a new assessment is therefore not entirely ruled out. Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) pointed out that the Supervisory Board would deal with the topic of dividends again as soon as the date for the shareholders' meeting was fixed. Economics Minister Bernd Althusmann (CDU) said with regard to the corona crisis that corporations like VW would be well advised to also focus on securing liquidity.

The opposition in the state parliament also criticizes Volkswagen's dividend plans because the company, along with other industry giants, is demanding purchase premiums for new cars that are to be financed with tax money. "By simply foregoing the 2019 dividend in the proposed amount, VW can finance considerable discounts and purchase premiums if it is deemed necessary," said Green Party leader Hamburg.

The state of Lower Saxony is the second largest VW shareholder with around 20 percent. According to the previous dividend plans, Lower Saxony would get 383 million euros, as the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reports.


. (tagsToTranslate) Audi (t) Auto Industry (t) Emergency Call System eCall (t) Seat (t) Volkswagen (t) eCall