2.1m Audi diesel cars with 'cheat' emission software

THWARTING TESTS: A visitor inspects


    Sep 29, 2015

    2.1m Audi diesel cars with 'cheat' emission software


    VOLKSWAGEN'S top-of-the-range carmaker Audi said yesterday that 2.1 million of its diesel cars worldwide are fitted with sophisticated software enabling them to cheat emission tests.

    In Germany alone, 577,000 vehicles were affected and 13,000 in the United States, an Audi spokesman said. In western Europe as a whole, the number was 1.42 million.

    The models concerned were the A1, A3, A4, A6, Q3, Q5 and also the TT, the spokesman said.

    Volkswagen sparked global outrage last week when it admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars are equipped with so-called defeat devices that activate pollution controls during tests but covertly turn them off when the car is on the road.

    After the severe battering Volkswagen shares took last week in the wake of the revelations, the stock continued to slide yesterday, shedding nearly 7 per cent in late morning trade.

    Volkswagen's own staff and one of its suppliers warned years ago about software designed to thwart emissions tests, two German newspapers reported on Sunday.

    The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, citing a source on Volkswagen's supervisory board, said the board had received an internal report at its meeting on Friday, showing Volkswagen technicians had warned about illegal emissions practices in 2011. No explanation was given as to why the matter was not addressed then.

    Separately, Bild Am Sonntag newspaper said Volkswagen's internal probe had turned up a letter from parts supplier Bosch, written in 2007, that also warned against the possible illegal use of Bosch-supplied software technology. The paper did not cite a source for its report.

    Volkswagen declined to comment on the details of either newspaper report.

    "There are serious investigations underway and the focus is now also on technical solutions" for customers and dealers, a Volkswagen spokesman said. "As soon as we have reliable facts we will be able to give answers."

    A spokesman for Bosch said the company's dealings with Volkswagen were confidential.

    German authorities meanwhile heaped pressure on the embattled corporate titan, demanding it set out a timeline by Oct 7, on how it will ensure its diesel cars meet national emission standards without using the cheat technology.

    The spiralling scandal has badly tarnished Volkswagen's name, left it exposed to up to US$18 billion (S$25.7 billion) in US fines, and wiped a third off its stock market value in a week.

    Last Friday, the Volkswagen board tapped company insider Matthias Mueller - chief of its luxury sports car brand Porsche - to steer the world's largest carmaker out of the wreckage.

    Sources also said yesterday that the carmaker has suspended the research and development chiefs of its core Volkswagen brand, luxury division Audi and sports-car maker Porsche.

    The carmaker's supervisory board last Friday agreed to put a number of employees on leave until the details of Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal were cleared up, without providing names.

    Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche declined comment.