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VW emissions scandal: Audi CEO 'had no prior knowledge of Dieselgate'

Autocar Friday, 23 September 2016 ()
Investigators find no signs of wrongdoing from Audi boss Rupert Stadler; engineers are also under investigation following the VW emissions scandal

New evidence suggests Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was not involved in the Volkswagen emissions scandal, following questioning from US law firm Jones Day.

The brand boss has been investigated along with diesel engine development engineers, and reports on Reuters suggest legal representatives have found no reason to be suspicious of him.

This comes despite claims that Stadler, who was made chairman of Audi in 2010, was involved in the scandal as he had knowledge of the software used to manipulate emissions tests for the 3.0 TDI engine. Stadler has maintained he had no prior knowledge of Dieselgate, and it seems investigators agree with him at this stage.

The latest update comes just days after German media outlets leaked documents into the public sphere that claimed Audi was involved in the manipulation of diesel engine emissions through the use of cheat software at the Volkswagen Group.

Citing e-mail correspondence recently uncovered by internal investigators at the US law firm Jones Day, Germany’s Sud Deutsche Zeitung reveals Audi engineers were actively involved in the decision-making process that led to emissions on the company’s own turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel being manipulated during tests to pass strict US regulations.

In an e-mail from 2007 that was circulated to what is described as a wide range of senior managers at the German car maker, an Audi engineer outlined the difficulties in complying with the strict US regulations for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

In the e-mail, which was leaked to Sud Deutsche Zeitung and two other media outlets, the Audi engineer is claimed to have written: “Without cheating, we cannot meet the US limits.”

Up until now, Audi has denied its engineers were involved in the manipulation of diesel emissions, saying only that it had neglected to disclose a specific detail of the engine’s electronic control unit with authorities in the US.

Audi officials contacted by Autocar refused to comment on the latest Dieselgate revelations, although sources at the German car maker suggest up to four engineers previously involved in the development of the company’s 3.0 TDI engine have been suspended as internal investigations by Jones Day continue.

In a supervisory board meeting last Friday, Audi suspended its research and development boss, Stefan Knirsch, on suspicion of involvement in diesel engine emission manipulation practices.
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News video: South Korea: Volkswagen boss questioned over emissions scandal

South Korea: Volkswagen boss questioned over emissions scandal 00:35

The man who oversees Volkswagen’s emissions certification – Detlef Stendel – has been questioned by the authorities in South Korea over the so-called dieselgate scandal. Stendel, who was summoned to Seoul from Germany by prosecutors, said he was there, “to cooperate with Korean...

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