AD #1766 – VW Phaeton Put to Pasture, Thief Shuts Down Assembly Line, California Could Cripple Autonomous Car Market

December 17th, 2015 at 11:54am

Runtime: 7:27

- Volkswagen Phaeton Gets the Axe
- Management Shake Up at Volkswagen
- Hyundai IONIQ
- Thief Shuts Down Ford Production Line
- California Could Cripple Autonomous Car Market

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31 Comments to “AD #1766 – VW Phaeton Put to Pasture, Thief Shuts Down Assembly Line, California Could Cripple Autonomous Car Market”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Leave it to any govt dept (state or federal) to screw up a free lunch.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    Anyone that has ever worked with automation knows that eventually it will fail. Something will go wrong, it always does. CA’s rules from what I have read, still puts the responsibility of the car’s operation on the operator. Otherwise cars without manual controls would make the manufacturers accountable for their performance. It should not slow down the development of the safety systems required to build automated cars, but will still offer financial protection to automakers.

  3. HtG Says:

    You think DC can regulate well? Give me a call. Arrogant ignoramuses can’t even add or do basic research, especially if future jobs in industry are a hope. And I’m speaking from current personal experience.

    I reserve the balance of my time and the right to revise and amend my remarks. Thank you Mr. President.

  4. aliisdad Says:

    While I usually feel that government imposes way too many regulations, I am happy to see California’s approach to autonomous cars…
    This is new technology, and it seems only wise to go slow and act with extreme care… I also think that liability issues will keep true autonomous cars off the road, or limited in their use, for a long, long time…
    The right approach in my opinion is to use the technology for “enhanced” driving as opposed to full autonomy… There would still be driver involvement (with a steering wheel!!!); however, the technology would be used to assist the driver much as some braking and tracking systems work now… An example is the system used on some Mercedes S classes, today…
    My concerns include the liability issues, time and expense needed to go convert the current fleet of cars to all autonomous cars, and the consequences of possible failures…
    Let me leave you with one thought: When you look at GM/Chrysler quality issues and recalls, would you want to trust your life with in autonomous car built by them?!?!

  5. Drew Says:

    @4 – cheap shot. Why not pick on VW (real overt cheating) or Japan Inc. (failure to report safety incidences per the TREAD Act)?!?!?

  6. Jon M Says:

    Either some other Ford employees should be out of a job or at least on the verge of unemployment or Ford needs a new audit firm related to the Mr. Kleptomania’s theft. I don’t say this judgmentally; after all, some controls only come to light after a gap is exploited. Nevertheless, you have to wonder how he got away with so many and only got busted after the plant ran out. Hmmmmm.

  7. Rob Says:

    I’m not sure what the problem with having a driver available in all autonomous vehicles is. Its not like the intention is to have cars driving around empty is it?
    So the driver of the autonomous car will be like the old elevator operator. No longer using manual controls but there to push the button and wait for the tip.

  8. Rob Says:

    #6 I think the problem lies with one individual, the thief. No one wants to be treated like a criminal to enter and exit the workplace. Organizations want to have trust in their employees and with the aount of cameras and the obvious issue with trying to unload 6k parts without it being traced back just shows the ignorance of this person. I’m sure leaving that plant is different today though thanks to the acts of one person.

  9. fred battle Says:

    I live in CA and feel the correct approach is being taken to require a driver be “present in the driver’s seat. Look at the subway system and trains that run on rails plus add city buses….all have a human in the cab when in motion. Remember that the car is carrying human cargo. So in an accident with a driver-less car, who do you exchange insurance information. And will the driver-less car even stop in case of an accident?

  10. motorman Says:

    it is all about state revenue as they are afraid these cars could be operated by unlicensed people since why do you need a driver license if you are not driving

  11. Jon M Says:


    I agree one individual is responsible. There is no information stating anyone else was involved. But where were the internal controls to alert to the potential for what turned out to be actual thefts? I don’t judge the company or anyone else because I simply don’t know all the details. Still, it seems reasonable that Ford and/or its auditors (internal AND external) could have found this risk sooner. Perhaps controls were in place and not being fully executed. In that case, those responsible should fear for their job; their negligence resulted in serious thefts. It’s just what makes me wonder, and as I said, sometimes these things happen before you notice even the obvious gaps in internal controls.

  12. LVcurious Says:

    I am getting tired of Bulli news….

  13. Mike Says:

    California’s decision on Autonomous driving is that it hasn’t proven to be fully and 100-percent functional as when car companies tell drivers that they need to keep their hands on the wheel even when in Autonomous mode suggest that the system can fail at any moment and there can be an accident if the driver isn’t ready to take over at all times as even Google Map isn’t right 100-percent of the time.

  14. MJB Says:

    Well, it’s about time VW shut the lights off on the Phaeton.

    Regarding California’s regulatory concerns over driverless cars, I wonder if there was similar safety concerns at the time automated traffic lights were introduced to replace traffic cops…

    Either way, as post #4 stated, this is (relatively) new technology. It’s going to take A LOT of real-world data to prove (to most people) that this technology is really ready to be trusted with human lives.

    It’s interesting because my kids once thought that “Cruise Control” meant my car could drive itself without any assistance from me. But shortly, that’s precisely what cruise control WILL mean. Then we’ll end up lumping the old CC in with all those other items of yesteryear – i.e., tape players, rotary phones, floppy disks, hand-written letters, hand-crank windows, etc.

  15. gary susie Says:

    I’m betting that there are more people hurt by people driving then there every will be by automous cars.

  16. MJB Says:


    I’m certain the biggest area of concern is the transitional period during which there is a mix of autonomous cars and human operated cars on the roads simultaneously.

    Given the perfect scenario where the AI cars only have to contend with other AI cars, plus the occasional pedestrian or deer crossing the road, there would certainly be far fewer accidents. But I’d say we’ve got a full 50 years before we can even hope to see that perfect storm. There are simply too many people still alive who’d prefer driving themselves.

  17. Marshall Says:

    The Phaeton was a brilliant car that no one bought. At that price level the public could not look past the VW badge.

    Top Gear BBC VW Phaeton -

  18. Albemarle Says:

    I think California is only being sensible.

    You only have to see Maximum Overdrive, Road Train or Duel (all documentaries about road safety) to realize we need protection from the machines.

  19. HtG Says:

    15.16. If ADAS can reduce injuries and property losses in a way that far exceeds the weaknesses of the systems (read, the ADAS/autonomous car crashes) then I’ll take it. Why should people be at such risk just picking up the kids from school? Real humans aren’t very good drivers[present company excepted(where's CK anyway?)], and mundane living should be safer. The govt is charged with promoting the general welfare, so it should make way for more autonomy that makes more people safer. Also consider the man hours saved if commuter traffic isn’t screwed because of one fender blender, or that kid that eff’ed the whole DC beltway some years ago when he rolled his daddy’s Range Rover at the entrance to 95. Dick.

  20. HtG Says:

    Hey AfterHours, it’s time for Craig Cole to appear on the show. Dude’s burning a brand for himself.

  21. HtG Says:


    $1.99 gas north of NYC. (not top tier)

    Costco top tier still at $2.05, but I’m watching….

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Autonomous driving: Not yet ready for prime time.But,it’s getting there.I enjoy driving,by that I mean being in full control of my vehicle at all times.Sure I like,and use my cruise control alot,and I find myself wondering if I would like the adaptive cruise control that is becoming more available.

    Yes,I think I would,but I would have to do some mixed driving with it to be sure,before I ever ‘go for it’.Fully autonomous vehicles,I doubt I’ll live long enough to see it wide spread.

    And,in a big way to me,it will be sad to see it.Getting my license when I turned 16 was a milestone,a ‘right of passage’ so to say.It’s sad to think that driving as we know it,will fade into the sunset,and just be a conveyance to future generations.

  23. MJB Says:


    Wow. By the end of that piece he almost had me convinced that I wanted one. If it weren’t for the Phaeton’s sleepy styling (with the exception of the rear end that is), I might be somewhat persuaded to consider a gently used W12 version.

  24. Rob Says:

    The problem with autonomy is Imagine a plane full of people crashing, every single day. That’s how many people die on America’s roads daily, (40,000) says the IIHS. That’s almost 28 people per minute. Yet we accept that as a part of life.

    If one person is killed in an autonomous car it will put that technology years from being accepted. People will have a hard time swallowing an acceptable fatality rate even if its lower than what we currently live with.

  25. HtG Says:

    Costco gas now $1.99 north of NYC, 6:14pm


    $1.51 in Plainview TX.

    Good luck with those EVs and hybrids… :(

  26. aliisdad Says:

    #5… Apples and Oranges: Not talking about cheating, here, but basic quality issues… Frankly, I have had almost no problems with German or Japanese cars; however, almost every domestic (mainly GM and Chrysler products) had problem after problem with very little company concern…
    So, “cheap shot” maybe; however, there will be very little room for quality or “cutting corners” problems for truly autonomous cars to be safe, and based on my own experience it is a real concern with these makers…

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess I’m more skeptical than some, but to me, truly autonomous cars seem a long time away for places with dense traffic, a heavy mix of vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, etc. I understand California officials wanting to consider this. I would expect autonomous vehicles to be working in Wyoming years before they would be workable in L.Al

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 It will be interesting to see how the new Prius sells, but I suspect it will not do nearly as well as if it hit the market while gas was $4.00. Some people, myself included, like getting good gas mileage “on general principles,” but not many Americans feel that way.

  29. Dave Forslund Says:

    Autonomous Cars:
    Bureaucratic? Just look at the difference of opinions from your listeners (above) and you will understand how a bureaucratic government develops.

    The problem is: Accidents and the problems they cause.

    It would be nice if the State of California, the car companies and the insurance companies could work together in a positive manner to solve the number of accidents. Being antagonistic by one party towards another doesn’t help solve the problem. The autonomous car developers should be complimented for the vision, money and time they have spent on helping to solve a major driving problem.

    Not threatened, as it appears that California is doing!

  30. puremoose Says:

    An Enjoyable Story Which Turns Out to be Truer than we all may wish to note!!!

    Story time…!!

    Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to go fishing.

    He called the royal weather forecaster and inquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours. The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days.

    So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen. On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, “Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area”.

    The king was polite and considerate, he replied: “I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional. And besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way.” So he continued on his way.

    However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful conditon.

    Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the professional. Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of royal forecaster.>

    The farmer said, “Your Majesty, I do not know anything about
    forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey.
    If I see my donkey’s ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain.”

    So the king hired the donkey. And thus began the practice of hiring dumb asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions.

    And the practice is unbroken to this date…

  31. Larry Skellion Says:

    I think autonomous cars are being pushed way too fast. There are far too many recalls to rely so heavily on an industry that hides /covers up and lies to regulators and consumers. I agree with California’s decision, get it right… THEN give it to the public. Remember the autonomous car that nearly ran down the reporter? That one was so ready they were showing it off… and look what happened.