Automotive News Roundup: Former VW Boss Sentenced To Seven Years In Prison

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Photo via Volkswagen

Controversy from the automotive industry made headlines even outside the car world this week.

In a week when the United States was reminded of one automaker’s recent transgressions, others found themselves in the middle of a controversial political race.

Given the current heated political climate in the U.S., it should be of little surprise that politicians have again used automakers’ manufacturing plans as part of their platforms. What might be surprising to some, however, is the reason manufacturers have been brought into the conversation.

Here are some of this week’s major stories from the automotive industry:

Judge Dubs Former VW Executive ‘Key Conspirator,’ Hands Down Maximum Sentence
Just when many people began to forget about Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” scandal, it’s worked its way back into the national spotlight.

Former VW executive Oliver Schmidt will serve seven years in prison and pay a $400,000 fine for his part in concealing the automaker’s emission cheating, as U.S. District Judge Sean Cox handed him the maximum sentence Wednesday.

Cox called Schmidt, formerly VW’s U.S. Environment and Engineering Office in Detroit a “key conspirator” in the coverup, arguing that he used the scandal as a way to climb the company’s corporate ladder.

Toyota, Mazda’s Joint Venture Takes Center Stage In Alabama Senate Race
Toyota and Mazda have yet to decide whether they will build their new $1.6 billion factory in Alabama or North Carolina, causing the joint venture to become a major talking point in the former’s upcoming special election.

U.S. senate candidate Doug Jones has argued that if his opponent, Roy Moore, wins the Dec. 12 election, it could hurt the state’s chance at being chosen as the location for the facility. Jones claims the long list of sexual assault allegations against Moore would make the Japanese manufacturers wary of building the plant in Alabama, and some industry experts agree.

“You have a manufacturer in this case that has a consumer product and invests millions in marketing their image,” Mark Sweeney, from McCallum Sweeney Consulting, told Automotive News, “so that’s where a short-term controversy can gain a lot of weight.”

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