Emis­sions to im­prove

Audi will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new soft­ware

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Ger­man au­tomaker Audi says it will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new soft­ware to im­prove their emis­sions per­for­mance, fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar move by ri­val Daim­ler as the auto in­dus­try tries to get ahead of pub­lic con­tro­versy over the tech­nol­ogy.

Audi, the lux­ury brand of the Volk­swa­gen Group, an­nounced the vol­un­tary retrofitting pro­gram on Fri­day. The com­pany said in a state­ment that it “aims to main­tain the fu­ture vi­a­bil­ity of diesel en­gines” and be­lieves the pro­gram “will coun­ter­act pos­si­ble bans on ve­hi­cles with diesel en­gines.”

The free pro­gram, which will ap­ply to Europe and other mar­kets out­side the U.S. and Canada, ap­plies to cars with six-cylin­der and eight-cylin­der diesel en­gines. The ser­vice ac­tion also ap­plies to Porsche and Volk­swa­gen mod­els with the same types of en­gines.

On Tues­day, Daim­ler said it will vol­un­tar­ily re­call 3 mil­lion Mercedes-Benz cars with diesel en­gines in Europe to im­prove their emis­sions per­for­mance.

Diesels have been un­der a cloud since Volk­swa­gen ad­mit­ted equip­ping ve­hi­cles with soft­ware that ma­nip­u­lates the level of emis­sions. In the U.S., the soft­ware turned on emis­sions con­trols dur­ing lab tests and il­le­gally turned them off when the cars were on the road, to im­prove per­for­mance.

Sep­a­rately, five Ger­man au­tomak­ers Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Volk­swa­gen and its sub­sidiaries Audi and Porsche - last year agreed to re­call a to­tal of 630,000 diesel ve­hi­cles in Europe af­ter it was found that real-world emis­sions of­ten ex­ceeded EU emis­sions stan­dards. There have been calls for bans on diesels in sev­eral Ger­man cities due to con­cerns about pol­lu­tion lev­els, while the gov­ern­ment in the large south­ern state of Baden-Wuert­tem­berg has said it would re­ject such de­mands if au­tomak­ers came up with a way to ad­just older ve­hi­cles to re­duce emis­sions lev­els.

Volk­swa­gen has ad­mit­ted us­ing il­le­gal soft­ware in 11 mil­lion ve­hi­cles world­wide. It agreed to pay more than $20 bil­lion in civil and crim­i­nal set­tle­ments and penal­ties in the U.S. and eight ex­ec­u­tives have been charged there.

In other cases, engine con­trol soft­ware turns off emis­sion con­trols at cer­tain tem­per­a­tures to avoid engine dam­age, car­mak­ers say.

That ex­emp­tion is le­gal but Ger­man reg­u­la­tors have ques­tioned whether its use was al­ways jus­ti­fied.

Auto ex­ec­u­tives and state and city of­fi­cials will meet with Trans­port Min­is­ter Alexan­der Do­brindt at a “diesel sum­mit” over the is­sue on Aug. 2 in Ber­lin. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials say the pur­pose of the sum­mit is to re­duce diesel emis­sions and at the same to en­sure that the tech­nol­ogy can con­tinue to be used in the fu­ture. The auto in­dus­try is a ma­jor em­ployer in Ger­many and it’s an elec­tion year, with na­tional elec­tions slated for Sept. 24.

This can be a good way to top up a down pay­ment af­ter the min­i­mum is met or it could be used to cover clos­ing costs. But take note: par­ents will have to de­clare in­ter­est from the loan on their tax re­turn.

Loan Gift -

- Many par­ents co-sign for a house, and while that can get chil­dren their own abode it comes with risks, too. If the kids de­fault on their mort­gage pay­ments, the cosignees would be on the hook to cover the costs.

One of the eas­i­est ways to help a child is to give them a fi­nan­cial gift. There’s no tax on cash gifts, but if the gift is the out­right pur­chase of a house for the child, then the par­ents may have to pay cap­i­tal gains on the even­tual sale of the house.

If you’re a par­ent want­ing to help your kids buy their first home, make sure you do that with­out putting your own fi­nan­cial life in jeop­ardy by seek­ing ad­vice from your pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sor.

*https://www.rate­hub.ca/ blog/cana­di­ans-needed-fi­nan­cial-help-to-buy-a-home/

Co-sign -

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