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While news of defeat devices used for diesel emissions scandals flood the internet today, German newspaper, Handelsblatt, reports that Audi may have developed the infamous emissions-cheating device back in 1999 — well ahead of the Volkswagen Group’s exploitation of it.

It is said that the German car maker’s engineers developed a software that could turn off several engine functions in a vehicle under certain circumstances, like an emissions test cycle, for example. This would cause the vehicle to produce lower emissions than it would in a real-world scenario.

However, Audi, or any other brand under the Volkswagen Group, are said to have never used the system in their production models. Not until six years later, at least, when Volkswagen engineers were unable to come up with a solution to reduce emissions levels to abide by new legal limits. As a quick way out, it looked to Audi’s technology.

According to Reuters, Volkswagen and Audi have both declined to comment on the German publication’s report. It is said that ongoing investigations by US law firms prevented the car makers from providing any comments on this.

Despite recent delays caused by claims that its fixes result in an increase in fuel consumption, Volkswagen has already begun rectifying measures for its European vehicles. In the US, however, things are far more complicated with law firms, the US Justice Department and even the Federal Trade Commission, suing the car maker for its illegal actions.