Renault celebrates a love story spanning 35 years with the Cannes Film Festival
  • A historic partner since 1983, Renault will be present once again for the 71st Cannes Film Festival. Australia’s Cate Blanchett will be leading the jury at the event, which takes place between May 8 and 19, 2018.

  • The official fleet of 300 Renault Espace and Talisman vehicles, bearing the renowned Golden Palm emblem, will carry guests, jury members and partners throughout the fortnight-long event.

  • A partnership dating back 35 years that also marks the 120th anniversary of the ties linking Renault with the silver screen!


Boulogne-Billancourt, April 23, 2018 – The Cannes Film Festival is joining forces with Renault once again for the 71st edition of the event, taking place between May 8 and 19, 2018. The official fleet will be made up 300 Renault vehicles – 170 Renault Espace and 130 Talisman. A “brand image” fleet will also be present, with Renault Trafic SpaceClass, New Renault Koleos, and the electric touch of Zoé and Twizy. Based on a schedule spanning the entire fortnight, drivers will take VIPs for film viewings and interviews, from the Croisette promenade to the red carpet. Over 20,000 journeys will take place during the Festival.


Renault, official partner of the Cannes Film Festival since 1983

In the beginning, festival-goers used to walk to the steps of the Palais des Festivals. The Cannes Film Festival quickly grew to become the leading international Cinema Festival. As a result, mobility and transport became a central issue. Renault, a French brand with global reach, was chosen in 1983.

“Renault is one of the oldest partners of the Cannes Film Festival. We first worked together in1983. Back then, VIPs were driven to the iconic steps of the Palais des Festivals in an R25,” says Claude Hugot, Director of Public Relations with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. He adds: “1983 was particularly symbolic for us in that it was a Japanese film, ‘The Ballad of Narayama’ by Shōhei Imamura that won the Golden Palm!".

Renault celebrates 120 years with the silver screen

The story goes back to 1898, when the Lumière brothers set up their first film studios near the Renault factory on Île Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt. As a result of the close ties forged by the two families, Renault became the preferred partner of actors and directors. Renault voiturettes could be seen in the first adverts, and subsequently in films by Jacques Tati, Claude Sautet, Claude Lelouch, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Wim Wenders and Xavier Dolan among others.

Every year, around forty vehicles feature in 200 TV and cinema productions.

Today, Renault is a partner of Unifrance, the Golden Globes, the Ateliers de Beaune workshops and France’s César film awards, as well as the festivals of Deauville, Lyon Lumière, Alpe d’Huez, Cabourg and Angoulême.


Cannes 2018: a line-up including Jean-Luc Godard, Spike Lee and Asghar Farhadi

At the 71st Cannes Film Festival, the key notes will be glamour, with Cate Blanchett leading the jury, and humour, with Édouard Baer as master of ceremonies. Love will also be part of the line-up, as illustrated by the official poster for the event, showing a scene from Pierrot le Fou by Jean-Luc Godard in which Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo kiss passionately in their cars.


The line-up for 2018 includes 18 films turning the spotlight on France, Asia and Italy. This year’s event also sees the return of a number of directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Christophe Honoré, Spike Lee, Jafar Panahi, Lee Chang-Dong and Kore-Eda Hirokazu. Todos lo Saben (Everybody Knows) by Asghar Farhadi with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will open the festival on May 8 before its general release the next day!

“The cinema helps us to build our media profile all over the world, from China to Brazil, India, Latin America and Russia. The Cannes Film Festival enjoys huge press coverage with an estimated value of over 40 million euros. That’s good for our brand and for our products,” points out Claude Hugot.


Council parking fines cost motorists £21m in Wales

Motorists have been fined nearly £21m for breaking parking rules over the last three years.

Welsh councils dished out more than 600,000 tickets to motorists between 2013 and 2016, according to figures obtained by BBC Wales News.

Credit: Here

The Strand in Swansea was Wales' top parking fines hotspot with 2,225 issued last year alone.

Tourism experts fear ticketing sends out the message that people visiting by vehicles are "unwelcome".

According to the data obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOI), local authorities in Wales collected more than £20.8m from fines in the last three years.


Motorists parking in Cardiff coughed up the largest sum out of Wales' 22 local authorities - paying out £6,249,781 between April 2013 and March 2016.

But a Cardiff Council spokeswoman said the figure were "not surprising" for a capital city.

Joshua Browder, a British teenager who created an online "robot" which helps motorists in the UK and USA challenge their parking fines, said tickets were issued "overzealously in Wales".

The amount of cash paid to local authorities in Wales for parking fines increased every year over the three year period, from £6.8m in 2013/14 to £7.1m in 2015/16.

But out of the 642,714 parking charge notices (PCNs) issued by Welsh councils less than 3% were successfully appealed by motorists.

Out of the 22 councils, Rhondda and Newport failed to respond to the FOI request, while Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly said police were responsible for parking fines in their area.

Mr Browder said: "Over 50% of all parking tickets challenged are dismissed and there are so many rules - correct signage and parking bays of a certain size are just two examples - that must be followed for a ticket to be valid.

"Instead of punishing people for doing wrong, which I believe is fair, they are given to raise money for [local] government.

"These unfair tickets disproportionately target the most vulnerable in society, since the elderly and disabled are most likely to make a small parking mistake."

Jim Jones, managing director of North Wales Tourism (NWT), said while quality parking was fundamental to visitor destinations, penalising people meant they may not return.

He said with issues with public transport, councils needed to address the cause of the problem rather than punishing people.

Mr Jones said: "Blanket ticketing all over cars is sending out mixed messages that visitors are not welcome, which has definitely been the case this year, especially when photographs of a stream of cars with yellow parking tickets appear all over social media.

"The answer is quite simple really - clear, easy to understand warning signs that are worded in the correct manner and not threatening," he added.

"It's obvious to me that if cars are continuously parking in areas they shouldn't be for whatever reason, it's highly likely they don't realise they're not allowed to park there, as who in the right mind wants to be fined?"

Vincent Crowley, who blocked the entrance to a construction site outside his home in Splott, Cardiff, earlier this year in protest over parking restrictions, had his fine overturned.

He was incensed after residents forced to park on double yellow lines while work was being carried out on Beresford Road bridge were issued with tickets.

"My actions spoke larger than words," he said.

Gwynedd councillor Sion Jones called for a review of public parking across Wales, saying councils should offer a few hours free daily to boost high street footfall.

Wrexham council is providing free parking at its council-run car parks throughout December.

"Online sales are on the rise, whilst the high street needs a helping hand," the councillor said.

"I would like to see more effort made by councils to boost high street trade, and free parking is a good start."

Earlier this year, Mr Jones criticised the local authority for handing out fines to walkers parking on a road in Snowdonia, claiming there were no signs telling them not to park.

A Cardiff Council spokeswoman said effective enforcement of parking regulations was "crucial" with around 80,000 commuters and visitors to the city every day.

She said: "Our team of parking enforcement officers ensure people don't park inconsiderately or dangerously so if people want to avoid PCNs, they should abide by parking regulations.

"It's important to note that any revenue raised from issuing PCNs is ring-fenced for the provision and improvements to parking services and public transportation."

A Swansea Council spokesman said: "We introduced additional parking spaces along the Strand in 2015 to increase short-term city centre parking provision.

"This was introduced after discussions with the Swansea Business Improvement District (BID)."

The group representing councils in Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said rules meant local authorities had to be spend any profit from the fines on transport.

An FOI by the RAC Foundation revealed Welsh councils made a combined profit of £13.8m from car parking charges and enforcement in 2015/16, after running costs were removed.

Of the 22 councils, 19 made a profit, while three councils lost money on parking - Flintshire (£423,000), Blaenau Gwent (£310,000) and Torfaen (£81,000).

End of the road for white lines on highways

Highway chiefs say blank roads make motorists drive more cautiously

White lines are being removed from busy roads across the country in an attempt to slow motorists down.

Highway chiefs say blank roads introduce a sense of uncertainty that prompts motorists to drive more cautiously, especially when faced with oncoming traffic.

Research shows removing the central white line, a feature of British roads for almost 100 years, can reduce the average speed of a vehicle by 13 per cent.

Recent resurfacing in London saw the central markings on three A roads erased.

“In particular, highly visible markings at the edge and centre of the road that can be seen on a wet night are enormously cost-effective in saving lives.”

Transport for London, which manages major roads across the capital, told The Times the system used on parts of the A22 and A23 in south London and the A100 in central London may now be expanded to other roads.

Plans for a pilot scheme in north Norfolk have also been drawn up and trials have taken place in parts of Wiltshire and Derby.

Road safety charity RoadPeace has applauded the initiative saying that “self enforcing schemes” are key to reducing speeding as road policing budgets are cut.

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, told The Times: “Without exaggeration it is true to say that a simple pot of paint can save lives.

“In particular, highly visible markings at the edge and centre of the road that can be seen on a wet night are enormously cost-effective in saving lives.”

Motoring groups, however, have warned removing white lines could be “fatally flawed”.

Story Link: Here

Did Volkswagen steal hybrid technology?

An American-based company called Paice alleges that Volkswagen is violating U.S. patent laws and illegally using its hybrid technology.

As if the diesel emissions scandal wasn’t enough, Volkswagen is now under investigation in the U.S. for allegedly violating patent laws and stealing hybrid technology from a company called Paice, which has developed systems for Kia, Hyundai, and Toyota. 

The German automaker worked with Paice from 2001-2004. The Baltimore-based firm claims VW abruptly ended their collaboration after Paice engineers had shared their patented hybrid tech. The problem is that Volkswagen reportedly kept using its former partner’s algorithms and mathematical models without a signed agreement.

Paice has asked the International Trade Commission to block sales of the VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid, Audi A3 e-tron, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid in the U.S. until the investigation is complete.  

Lawyers representing Volkswagen have described Paice’s claim as “weak” and said that pursuing it goes against the public interest.

UK digital driving licence planned

A digital version of the UK driving licence is under development, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Chief executive Oliver Morley posted images of a "prototype" smartphone app on Twitter detailing how it may operate within Apple's Wallet app on iPhone.

Morley said there's currently no timeline on when the app may be available but revealed the scrapping off the paper part of the licence in June 2015 meant this new project was possible.

The DVLA has stressed it will not replace the existing photocard but will operate as an "add-on" while Morley said security was a "priority".

The Wallet app already stores boarding passes and credit, debit, gift and discount cards. Payment information is encrypted and authorised with the user's fingerprint or passcode.

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Vauxhall recalls 235,000 for a second time to fix fire fault

Vauxhall is preparing to recall 235,000 Zafira cars for a second time as it can now install a long-term fix to a problem which had been causing as many as several hundred fires.

In December the car company wrote to all affected customers to tell them that improper repairs to the blower motor’s resister and fuse could cause fires.

As a result the cars were called in for repairs.

But the firm has decided that these will only keep the car safe for a period of roughly six years, and so is now recalling them again to carry out a more permanent fix.

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  • 675PS and 700Nm provide breathtaking performance, while a retractable roof adds further exhilaration
  • 100kg weight saving delivers a dry weight of 1,270kg, delivering a power-to-weight figure of 532PS per tonne
  • Second model to wear the 675LT badge in direct response to significant customer demand
  • Exclusive Solis paintwork and 20-spoke Super-Lightweight forged alloy wheels offered for the first time
  • Priced at £285,450, the most focused, fastest and exhilarating open top McLaren model ever built will be strictly limited to 500 units globally
  • See, and hear, the McLaren 675LT Spider at:

McLaren Automotive has revealed the latest chapter in the history of the iconic ‘Longtail’ name with confirmation of the 675LT Spider. Strictly limited to only 500 examples worldwide, it is only the second model to wear the LT badge. This latest model comes less than a year since the first model in nearly 20 years resurrected the name, and is in response to significant customer demand. The 675LT Coupé focused on light weight, enhanced aerodynamics, increased power and track-focused dynamics, and this limited-run model quickly sold out before the first deliveries commenced. Sharing these key characteristics, McLaren Automotive now presents the most focused, fastest and exhilarating open top model to ever wear a McLaren badge.

The 675LT Spider, priced at £285,450, is the fifth new model debuted by McLaren Automotive in 2015 in what has become a defining year for the British brand. This latest model joins the McLaren P1™ GTR, 570S Coupé and 540C Coupé, and the fixed-head 675LT Coupé as new to the line-up, and further strengthens the Super Series range.

Under the skin of the 675LT Spider sits the heavily revised 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 powertrain from the coupé sibling, ensuring performance figures are worthy of the LT – or ‘Longtail’ – badge. The power output and torque figures remain unchanged, with 675PS (666bhp) delivered at 7,100rpm and 700Nm (516lb ft) available between 5,000-6,500rpm. The changes to the powertrain saw more than 50 percent of the components replaced to ensure optimised levels of power, torque and drivability. These include new, more efficient turbos, detail design changes to the cylinder heads and exhaust manifolds, new camshaft and lightweight connecting rods, and a faster-flowing fuel pump and delivery system. 

Acceleration from 0-100kmh (0-62mph) takes just 2.9 seconds, and 200kmh (124mph) is achieved in 8.1 seconds – giving away only 0.2 seconds to the more aerodynamically optimised and lighter coupé. Controlled torque delivery in first gear manages torque to 600Nm (443lb ft) to ensure maximum acceleration, and minimising wheel slip. Top speed is 326km/h (203mph). Despite these blistering performance figures, the 675LT Spider returns 24.2mpg on the EU combined cycle, while CO2 emissions remain at 275g/km – the same as the coupé. A three-piece retractable folding hardtop can be opened at speeds up to 30km/h (19mph) to allow for a new level of open-air exhilaration.

Staying true to the ‘Longtail’ ethos, established by the McLaren F1 in the late 1990s, the 675LT Spider has been developed with a focus on light weight and optimised aerodynamic performance. The special nature of the model is supported by the extensive use of carbon fibre for the bodywork. As with the 675LT Coupé, the front bumper with larger splitter and end plates, front under body, side skirts, side intakes, lower side intakes, rear bodyside lower, rear fenders, rear deck, rear bumper, diffuser and ‘Longtail’ Airbrake are all carbon fibre. Lightweight components are also found throughout the powertrain and chassis, all contributing to a dry weight of just 1,270kg. This weight is a full 100kg lighter than the already lightweight 650S Spider, and gives a power-to-weight figure of 532PS per tonne. Due to the inherent strength of the carbon fibre MonoCell chassis, no further strengthening – and associated weight increase – has been added through the removal of the roof, and the 675LT Spider is only 40kg heavier than the Coupé, all due to the retractable roof system.

The dramatic styling and purposeful stance of the 675LT is retained with the Spider variant, with the extended front splitter flanked by front wing end plates, each working the airflow harder and increasing downforce. Sculpted carbon fibre door sills run along the lower edge of the bodywork, flowing in to a smaller air intake ahead of the rear wheels. This sits below the more pronounced side intake, with both feeding clean, cool air into the side radiators which are more prominent to offer increased cooling. The retractable hard top stows below a colour-coded tonneau cover, and the engine remains visible through a lightweight vented polycarbonate engine cover. At the rear, the lightweight titanium crossover twin exhausts exit below the active ‘Longtail’ Airbrake which is 50 percent larger than other Super Series models. This is integrated in to the design of the flowing rear wings and despite the larger size, carbon fibre construction ensures weight is actually reduced.  Exposed bodywork across the rear deck and below the rear wing aids engine cooling, while louvres in the flared rear bumper optimise pressure levels.

The 675LT Spider shares the suspension set up and geometry of the Coupé, with the front end sitting on new lightweight springs and a wider track – increased by 20mm. Spring rates are the most track-focused of the Super Series models, with stiffness increased 27 percent at the front and 63 percent at the rear, providing a more rearward balance and allowing for a 40 percent increase in downforce over the 650S Spider.

As standard, the 675LT Spider is fitted with 10-spoke Ultra-Lightweight forged alloy wheels – 19-inch at the front, 20-inch at the rear – and P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres, developed for the 675LT models in collaboration with technical partner Pirelli. These are the lightest wheel and tyre set ever offered by McLaren. Two Super-Lightweight wheel options are optionally available; a new 20-spoke design, offered in liquid metal or diamond cut finishes, and the five-spoke Super-Lightweight design which debuted on the Coupé.

The lightweight theme continues throughout the interior with Alcantara® and bare carbon fibre used extensively. A pair of lightweight carbon fibre-shelled racing seats, modelled on those fitted to the McLaren P1™, save a combined 15kg, and feature ‘675LT’ embossed leather to provide enhanced levels of support and grip. As seen in the McLaren P1™ and 675LT, heating and ventilation controls are located within the portrait-orientated, centrally-mounted touchscreen, which also operates the four-speaker Meridian audio system, while air conditioning has been removed. The 16kg system can be specified as a no-cost-option. 

The ‘By McLaren’ interior themes were first introduced on the 675LT Coupé, and are again available for the Spider model. The range is extended for the 675LT Spider, with the addition of exclusive Xenon Yellow contrast stitch.  Simialrly, the full exterior paint palette offered on the 675LT Coupé is available for the Spider model, which includes the new Silica White, Delta Red, Napier Green and Chicane Grey paint finishes. In addition, the newly developed deep golden colour, Solis – which derives its name from the Latin for sun – is a bespoke colour only available on the open-top 675LT Spider.

Further enhancements can be made through the Club Sport Professional Pack, which adds further visual carbon fibre and stealth detailing. Available in Titanium Silver, Storm Grey, Onyx Black and Chicane Grey, the Ultra-Lightweight wheels are stealth finished, while a satin carbon fibre finish is applied to the front wing end plates, lower side air intake and the centre of the rear bumper, along with the side intakes, wheelarches, wing mirrors and ‘Longtail’ Airbrake. McLaren Orange detailing is then applied both externally and internally, with brake callipers, embossed leather and stitching all in the heritage colour made famous by the Formula 1™ and Can-Am racers of Bruce McLaren,

While retaining much of the track-focus and capability of the Coupé, the Club Sport Pack – comprising titanium rollhoop, four point harnesses and fire extinguisher – is not available as an option for the 675LT Spider.

Another key characteristic of any Longtail is exclusivity, and the 675LT Spider is no exception. As with the Coupé, production of the 675LT Spider will be strictly limited to only 500 examples, with first deliveries in summer 2016. 


The story of the McLaren F1 is one of the most famous in automotive history, with the all conquering GTR moving the game on further, worthy of a place in the motorsport hall of fame. After a successful season in 1995 and 1996, McLaren set about raising the bar once more in order to stay ahead of the competition.  While the name and basic architecture remained the same, the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ – or LT  – was completely re-engineered from the ground up, and was the ultimate version of the iconic McLaren F1. With enhanced levels of downforce through extended bodywork, and dramatic weight savings, the end result was the most track-focused derivative of all 106 models to wear the McLaren F1 badge.  The McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ raced successfully during the 1997 sports car racing season, including most prominently in the FIA GT championship against specially developed racing ‘prototypes’, and went within a whisker of winning the world title. Notable achievements included victory in the Silverstone 4 hours, the Hockenheim 4 hours, the Spa 4 hours and a 1-2 class finish – 2-3 overall – at the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans. Despite racing against the much quicker LMP cars, only one lap separated the #41 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ from outright victory. The nearest opposition in the GT1 class finished nearly 30 laps behind.

And so, McLaren has done it again. ‘LT’ is now the ultra high-performance brand, re-establishing the McLaren ‘Longtail’ heritage. With two models now wearing the iconic badge, the 675LT Coupé and 675LT Spider embody the ‘Longtail’ ethos, with a focus on light weight, enhanced aerodynamics, increased power, track-focused dynamics and driver engagement.


PERFORMANCE   0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)    2.9 seconds 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph)   8.1 seconds Top speed 326 km/h (203 mph)  Power-to-weight 532PS per tonne     ENGINE & POWERTRAIN   Engine Configuration V8 Twin Turbo / 3799cc Power 675PS (666 bhp) @ 7,100 rpm Torque 700Nm (516 lb ft) @ 5,000-6,500 rpm Transmission 7 Speed SSG CO2  275g/km     DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT   Dry weight 1,270kg Weight distribution 42 / 58 Length 4,546 mm Width 2,095 mm Height 1,192 mm

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  • XC90 T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric hybrid voted Car of the Year
  • Praised for its technology and range of sophisticated driver aids
  • Tablet-style infotainment system and a range of web apps are standard with every XC90


The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine has been voted the Car of the Year in the Stuff Gadget Awards 2015.

Stuff is the UK’s best-selling gadget magazine, and its awards celebrate the pick of the year’s technology. The XC90 T8 defeated such illustrious competition as the Ariel Nomad, Audi RS3, Range Rover Sport SVR, Tesla Model S P85D, Toyota Mirai and the Volkswagen Golf R to claim the title.

Commenting on the award-winning car, the website deputy editor Tom Parsons said: “Safe, stylish and a dream to drive, the new XC90 is a tech-toting titan that’s both swift and economical, with smarts to make a genius jealous and genuinely useful on-the-road driver aids.”

The XC90 T8 is at the forefront of Volvo’s technological revolution, featuring a powerful petrol engine with an electric motor to provide dynamic performance with outstanding efficiency and environmental credentials.

Of course, it is packed with technology, too, including a nine-inch touchscreen information and entertainment system. This is no ordinary touchscreen set-up, though, because it includes pinch and zoom and swipe functionality, so truly offers the usability and convenience of a tablet-style interface.

Every XC90 also comes with Sensus Connect, which includes internet connectivity and access to a range of web apps such as Rdio, Stitcher, TuneIn, LocalSearch and Yelp.*

Another ground-breaking feature is the Volvo On Call app. Standard on every XC90, this allows you to remotely lock and unlock the car, check whether the doors and windows are closed, and access the car’s trip computer information. It also provides the location of your XC90 on a map, and allows you to sound the car’s horn and flash its headlights – perfect if you’ve forgotten where you left it in a busy car park. It even uses the car’s GPS to track your XC90 if it is stolen and will automatically alert the emergency services if you’re involved in an accident.

Being a Volvo, the XC90 is designed to keep you as safe as possible. It includes two world-first safety technologies: automatic emergency braking at an intersection, and run-off road protection, which is designed to reduce the likelihood of spinal injuries if the car leaves the road. These are on top of the XC90’s comprehensive suite of safety aids, including pedestrian and cyclist detection, and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking.

Then there’s the technology that simply makes living with the car that bit easier. The tailgate is electronically operated, but you don’t need to get the key out to use it – all you have to do is have the key with you and wave your foot beneath the rear bumper to open or close the tailgate. You don’t even have to use the key to unlock the doors or start the engine, while many of the car’s other entertainment and convenience functions can be controlled via the sophisticated voice control system.

Nick Connor, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “To have the XC90 T8 Twin Engine’s technology honoured by such an influential gadgetry title is a tremendous result. With its high-tech petrol-electric powertrain and ground-breaking connectivity features, the XC90 T8 is the most technologically advanced car Volvo has ever built. It is also full of electronic equipment designed to make your life easier, so while cars are getting more sophisticated, the XC90 T8 is proof that they don’t have to be more complicated.”

The XC90 T8 Twin Engine is on sale now, with prices starting from £60,455.

For the full story on the Stuff awards, see the Stuff Gadget Awards 2015 special issue, on sale now, or go to

For more information on the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, please go to

* A mobile data plan is required to enable online access and connectivity



Volkswagen Owners Want Payback Over Pollution-Control Cheating

John Decker bought his 2013 Volkswagen Jetta diesel thinking he was doing his part to improve the environment and reduce his carbon footprint.

Now that the German automaker has admitted its claims about the model’s performance were false, he just wants the company to buy it back from him.

“I feel completely deceived by Volkswagen,” Decker, of Sacramento, California, said in an interview. “I’m extremely upset about it. I feel defrauded.”

Decker is in good company: 482,000 Audi and Volkswagen cars sold in recent years came with software that turns on full pollution controls only when the car is undergoing emissions testing. At other times, the cars pollute 10 times to 40 times the legal limits.

The U.S. Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and regulators in California are all investigating. Eventually, the cars may be recalled and cash settlements -- or a buyback like Decker wants -- may be negotiated. Volkswagen has suspended sales of the affected models in the meantime., which operates an online car-buying guide, is advising Volkswagen owners to hold onto theirs for now -- if for no other reason than they’re likely to get lower prices in a sale or a trade-in at a dealer. Owners who bought diesels for their environmental benefits may feel a moral objection to driving them until there’s an emission fix, said Jessica Caldwell, the website’s director of industry analysis.

EPA Recalls

“The good news for these owners is that there is no imminent safety threat in driving these vehicles,” Caldwell said. “But until Volkswagen reveals a plan for how they will either buy back the cars or fix them so that they truly meet emissions standards, all affected owners will have to wait and see.”

The affected vehicles are diesel-powered versions of some of VW’s most popular U.S. cars: the Beetle, the Jetta, the Golf and the Passat for model years 2009-2015. The Audi A3 is also part of the investigation.

The cars haven’t been recalled, but the EPA has the power and expects to invoke it, according to agency spokeswoman Liz Purchia. Vehicle owners will get notices after Volkswagen and Audi have developed a way to fix the cars’ emissions controls, Purchia said.

Justice Department

“Determinations regarding potential penalties and other remedies will be assessed as part of the investigation EPA has opened in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice,” Purchia said.

A fix that improves the emissions may reduce on-the-road performance, said Bill Visnic, an independent auto analyst in Weirton, West Virginia. It would be very difficult for Volkswagen to add new pollution-control equipment to the existing engines, so the only way to fix it may be to cut horsepower and fuel economy performance to lower the pollution output once the software is eliminated, he said.

That would diminish one of the primary selling points of the vehicles.

Decker, a photographer, said he was impressed with the performance of his Jetta TDI sportwagon, especially compared to other cars that are environmentally friendly, such as the Toyota Motor Corp. hybrid Prius.

Sporty Drive

“I settled on the Volkswagen because it was fun and sporty to drive and the Prius was doggy and slow and wasn’t very powerful,” Decker said. “It was definitely a consideration to get a vehicle that was fun to drive and good for the environment was what I thought I was buying into.”

Decker wants Volkswagen to compensate him for the purchase. He said he has been in contact with the law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Seattle, which announced Sept. 18 that it was filing a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen. The firm estimates that some consumers paid as much as $7,000 more for a diesel model.

Consumer Compensation

“I don’t want my car anymore, frankly,” Decker said. “I’d like Volkswagen to buy it back from me. I really don’t want it. I don’t want to drive it. I don’t want anything to do with Volkswagen.”

The primary goal of environmental regulators will be to clean up emissions. It remains to be seen what kind of compensation consumers will get. Websites like were abuzz with members asking how they could join class-action lawsuits and whether emission fixes would harm their cars’ performance.

All U.S. states follow either federal or California rules on limiting tailpipe pollution, said Paul Miller, deputy director of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, an organization that helps set policy for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and five other states.

State Regulators

Regulators probably won’t order cars off the road since that would punish the drivers, who didn’t do anything wrong, he said.

“I think what they’re pursuing based on what I’ve seen is a swift requirement that VW go back at no cost and fix the software defeat device that they put into the cars,” Miller said.

In some cases where regulators have determined cars don’t meet safety or other standards, car owners get cash. Last year, Ford Motor Co. offered $200 to $1,050 in rebates to 200,000 consumers for inflated fuel-economy claims.

In a recent safety-related recall, the Transportation Department went even further, forcing Fiat Chrysler to buy back defective Jeeps. It’s not clear whether the EPA has the same authority, but with potential fines of as much as $18 billion, the automaker may be willing to negotiate a settlement.

Company CEO

“We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us,” VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said on Saturday. Jeannine Ginivan, a spokeswoman at the company’s North American headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, declined to comment beyond Winterkorn’s statement.

Then there are civil lawsuits.

“This is as big a thing as I’ve seen on the legal landscape in a long time,” said Robert A. Clifford, a Chicago lawyer who has filed a lawsuit on behalf of VW owners.

Value Loss

While it’s too early to say how VW diesel owners would be compensated, possibilities include payment for a vehicle’s loss of value, punitive damages for the company’s intentional misconduct and even money for people’s emotional distress, according to Clifford, a partner with Clifford Law Offices.

“This is one of those cases where the creative juices of the organized bar are going to come out in full display,” he said.

Consumers who own cars that aren’t doing what they’re intended to do will expect compensation, said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports autos editor.

Loyal Customers

“If you get fewer horsepower, or the fuel economy is what you’d get in a cheaper gasoline version of the same car, what’s the damage to your wallet?” Rechtin said.

Even though Volkswagen has admitted it fooled the EPA’s tests, some loyal customers say they remain skeptical about the findings.

“I think it’s too early to throw Volkswagen under the bus,” Perry Meade, a Volkswagen collector from Greenfield, Indiana, said in an interview.

Among the almost 100 Volkswagens Meade has owned in the last 25 years is a Jetta diesel with about 300,000 miles on it, he said. While that car was built before the alleged fraud began in 2009, he said he is considering buying a new one.

“They better not quit selling diesels here,” he said. “I will be upset.”

Meade, whose City of First Volkswagen Club in Kokomo, Indiana, is holding an Oktoberfest “cruise-in” Sept. 25, said he wouldn’t mind if emission fixes harmed performance on diesel models.

“I’m fine with losing a little bit of horsepower to have the longevity and reliability of a good power plant,” he said.

--With assistance from Andrew Harris in Washington, Dana Hull in San Francisco and Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at ; Alan Levin in Washington at ; Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at Michael B. Marois


Chris Evans to lead new Top Gear line up!

Prominent U.K. radio and TV personality Chris Evans is taking over the globally popular “Top Gear” nearly three months after the (BBC) British Broadcasting Corp. fired star Jeremy Clarkson following an altercation with a producer.

Evans, who presents “The Chris Evans Breakfast Show” on BBC Radio 2, signed a three-year deal to lead a new lineup for “Top Gear,” which focuses on automobiles. Production will begin within the next few weeks, the BBC said.

“I’m thrilled, ‘Top Gear’ is my favourite programme of all time,” Evans said in a BBC press release. “Created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless. ”

The BBC fired Clarkson in late Marchafter the broadcaster had previously suspended him earlier that month. At the time, the BBC said in a report that an internal investigation concluded that Clarkson had struck producer Oisin Tymon after verbally attacking him.

Clarkson’s suspension and eventual dismissal created a firestorm among fans of the show, which has an audience of about 350 million, making it among the most popular TV series on the planet.