Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess is cleaning out those attached to Dieselgate. Picture: NEWPRESS UK
Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess is cleaning out those attached to Dieselgate. Picture: NEWPRESS UK

New Volkswagen Group supremo Herbert Diess is finally on the field — and he’s cleaning house.

Sources suggest the company, slammed in 2015 for using trick software codes to cheat on its diesel emissions, is set to put a broom through its internal suspects.

The Braunschweig public prosecutor investigating Dieselgate has identified 39 culprits linked to the scandal, but VW itself has fired six managers and possibly more.

While there is no official word from the car maker about the firings, German newspapers Handelsblatt and Bild am Sonntag insist the most senior manager fired is former director of powertrain, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, along with former head of diesel development Falko Rudolph, diesel developer Rudolph Krebs and three other engineers.

More firings are expected from VW, which has largely used suspensions while its internal investigations have continued. Another former diesel development boss, Jörn Kahrstedt, is said to have been fired, along with an emissions specialist known only as Thorsten D.

Thorsten D could be a key in the German criminal investigation into Dieselgate, having declared to the Braunschweig public prosecutor that he informed current VW Group CEO Diess of the cheat on July 27 2015 — about six weeks before the crisis became public.

However, it’s unclear what Diess, who had just arrived from BMW, could have done about it, especially if he was surrounded and led by managers who might have been involved in the scandal.

Jaguar will build electric versions of the classic E-Type from 2020. Picture: NEWPRESS UK
Jaguar will build electric versions of the classic E-Type from 2020. Picture: NEWPRESS UK

Jaguar goes e-lectric

If there is a Venn diagram with overlap between retro and futuristic, Jaguar’s hoping the E-Type battery-electric vehicle (BEV) finds it.

Hot on the heels of its brilliant I-Pace BEV crossover, Jaguar Land Rover has announced it will build a limited number of revived E-Type Zero sports cars with BEV power, starting midway through 2020.

More than 2-billion people saw the E-Type Zero being driven away from the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

It will be built by Jaguar Classic, which is Jaguar’s vintage restoration operation in Coventry, England, rather than the Magna operation in Austria that assembles the I-Pace.

The really cool part is that it can be retrofitted into all current E-Types, and the change of powertrain can later be reversed to re-swallow the classic in-line six-cylinder petrol engine.

Mercedes-Benz has launched its new A-Class in SA. Picture: MOTORPRESS
Mercedes-Benz has launched its new A-Class in SA. Picture: MOTORPRESS

Merc hopes for an A

Mercedes has launched the latest generation of its A-Class in SA this week.

Merc says a highlight is its new infotainment connectivity system called MBUX or Mercedes-Benz User Experience. The system uses artificial intelligence to learn what its driver and occupants use most regularly and require from it and like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, it uses to natural voice recognition so you can ask it to do things using the simple but rather unimaginative “Hey Mercedes”.

Currently only two models are available in SA, the A200 and A250 Sport, with a diesel set to join the line-up in 2019 and performance AMG versions including the possibility of an A35 AMG also on the cards.

Festival fun

The Festival of Motoring takes place at the Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg this weekend.

The event promises plenty of interaction with the latest vehicles as well as exhibits from many of the manufacturers.

If you want to see what’s new and what will be coming to our roads soon then go along and take a look.

If you can’t make it then Motor News will be there and will bring you all the news from the event next week, including the first viewing of the new Suzuki Jimny which we are rather excited about.

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