Volkswagen's emissions deals & Turo's plan to let you rent out your wheels: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
Volkswagen owners in Canada could be forgiven for feeling underwhelmed this week after they got their hopes up ahead of a settlement that was supposed to outline how the automaker planned to fix their vehicles, and maybe even compensate them for their troubles.
On Thursday, a U.S. judge announced that an agreement in principle had been struck that will see almost 500,000 U.S. VW owners have their cars fixed and get some form of compensation from the company for the emissions scandal.
But the details were sealed by the judge's order, so we still don't exactly know what to expect. Media reports suggest the automaker has earmarked as much as $10 billion to fix the mess, but how much of that will go to repairs and how much to buying back old vehicles is still unclear.
Canadian owners are even more in the dark, as 100,000 of them are left waiting for details of what may be coming. The company, for its part, says it will live up to any agreements its U.S. parent strikes with the EPA, but at least one auto expert says it may not be enough to make everything right.
"VW was the Lance Armstrong of emissions cheating," said George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association. "They got away with it for a very long time and looked brilliant, and finally the whole house of cards came crashing down."
The 'Airbnb of cars' comes to Canada
If that story made you feel like your car wasn't worth the money you paid for it, there was some good news this week for Canadian drivers looking to squeeze a little more value out of their wheels.
Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental service that lets owners list their vehicles for rent — at whatever price they'd like to charge.
The company says it's a way to make money off an asset that depreciates in your driveway. But experts say the benefits could be even wider if it catches on.
"For every car that is shared, it takes eight cars off the road," Joeri van den Steenhoven of Mars Solutions Lab told us this week. "So there's really potential in car sharing actually helping, both on the individual and on the congestion level."
Microsoft pulls the plug on the 360
And speaking of stranded assets, Microsoft pulled a 180 this week by announcing the end of their once ubiquitous Xbox 360 console.
Not to be confused with the recently launched next-generation Xbox One, the 360 was first unveiled in 2005 and went on to sell about 90 million units.
But after more than a decade in production, Microsoft is pulling the plug on the 360. "While we've had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us," Xbox president Phil Spencer said, adding that the company will sell off its remaining inventory and keep on supporting the software and servers for the foreseeable future.
The Xbox One will still be going strong, Microsoft said, so there will be no red ring of death for all Xbox products just yet.
In the meantime, here's a day-by-day list of our best stories of the past seven days.
- Doha meeting fails to produce OPEC deal, sending crude lower
- Netflix rolls out high-def content, but few are watching
- DON PITTIS: Alberta real estate could be a buying opportunity, but maybe not yet
- Loonie hits 79 cents for first time since last summer
- Le Chateau to close 40 stores in the next three years
- Want to rent your car to a complete stranger? There's an app for that
- Free cellphone service is here, but why is nobody signing up?
- Volkswagen deal includes compensation, judge says