Sunday, 30 April, 2017

Police raid Audi offices in Volkswagen probe

Juana Turner | 16 March, 2017, 00:19

Audi was responsible for designing and manufacturing some of the engines that enabled the Volkswagen to cheat on emissions tests.

In the U.S., Volkswagen has agreed to pay a series of settlements with the Federal Trade Commission that could be worth as much as $14 billion.

VW, Audi's parent company, has drawn criticism amid the so-called Dieselgate scandal, details of which revealed that up to 11m of the auto giant's vehicles worldwide had software installed that cheats emissions tests.

Chief Executive Rupert Stadler was giving a press conference on the company's performance just hours after news of the raids broke.

Police from Munich and Stuttgart searched the offices and private homes of Audi employees in Ingolstadt, where Audi's headquarters are located, and in Neckarsulm.

"There is suspicion that devices were built into these vehicles to manipulate emissions readings and conform to USA emissions limits, without..."

The raid was focused on who was involved in the use of any illicit software that was used in 80,000 VW, Audi and Porsche cars with bigger 3.0-liter engines - which were found to exceed US emissions limits.

Ingolstadt-based Audi said it had every intention and interest in getting to the bottom of the emissions-cheating scandal.

"Important differences between the performance of certain Renault engines in the laboratory and their results under real conditions", were found, the paper said, adding the accusation forms the cornerstone of an investigation reportedly opened by French prosecutors in January.

The searches began shortly before the beginning of the Audi's annual earning press conference. "We will keep at it". Audi declined to comment on the probe.

Peter Mertens, senior vice president for r&d at Volvo Car Corp., will take up his position as head of technical development at Audi on May 1, the CEO said, replacing former r&d boss Stefan Knirsch, who left the manufacturer in connection with the emissions scandal.

Stadler, who has been criticized for how he handled the emissions scandal, said on Wednesday that he continues to demand the VW board's full support.

The group reported a 37 percent drop in operating profit to 3.1 billion euros for 2016, reducing its return on sales to 5.1 percent from 8.3 percent a year earlier.

More than two million Audis had the manipulated software, including more than half a million in Germany alone.

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