Volkswagen Dieselgate Archive

  • Audi under investigation for forging chassis number and test records to cheat South Korean authorities

    Audi is once again in the hot seat as prosecutors in Germany launch an investigation into the alleged falsification of documents, mileage readings and vehicle identification numbers for several Audi models sold in South Korea since 2013. Three Audi non-board members are currently being probed, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

    Munich prosecutor Karin Jung told the publication that “we have three suspects, but there could be more.” The three non-board members are suspected of manipulating test results and mileage readings of the vehicles and falsifying the serial numbers, the prosecutor added. These misdeeds were done in order to obtain roadworthiness certifications required for Audi cars to be exported to South Korea.

    A report by German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung explained that the Audi models which were bound for South Korea did not comply with local regulations and would have not received operating permit, hence the falsification of information. In total, it was reported that 18 models were falsely registered with a forged chassis number. The case could be classified as fraud.


    Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler

    This new probe is linked to a case that saw one Audi executive, a Korean national, convicted of fraud in South Korea last year. The executive was sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsifying documents to achieve certification of the vehicles for export to South Korea.

    Prior to this, Audi was already running internal investigations into the case, but the findings (which included detailed descriptions of the violations) were not handed over to the public prosecutors when the Dieselgate saga erupted. The documents were only discovered in March 2017 when a raid into its headquarters took place. However, it’s noted that Audi was under no legal obligations to alert authorities on the findings.

    This is just one of several probes of Audi, which stemmed from 2015 when Volkswagen AG admitted to rigging millions of diesel-powered vehicles to cheat emissions tests. However, this matter is not directly related to the emissions cheating, which saw former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler get arrested in June based on the allegations that he tried to tamper with witnesses in the diesel probe.

     
     
  • Audi CEO arrested over fears of Dieselgate coverup

    The investigation into Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal rages on with the arrest of Audi’s current chief executive officer Rupert Stadler, according to Munich prosecutors. This news comes from Automotive News Europe, which reported that the executive is being held in custody because investigators feared he might be seeking to suppress evidence in relation to the probe.

    “The suspect has been seen by a judge, who has ordered him to be remanded in custody,” read a statement from the prosecutor’s office, which widened its investigation against Audi last week. It named Stadler among the suspects accused of fraud and false advertising.

    Stadler’s arrest was confirmed by a spokesperson of the greater Volkswagen Group, adding that the presumption of innocence applied to his case. Audi had no immediate comment regarding the arrest, and Stadler himself as well as Munich prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

    The public prosecutor’s office said that it was investigating 20 suspects, and that it had raided apartments of Stadler and another board member last Monday. That other member is said to be Audi’s head of purchasing Bernd Martens, according to a person familiar to the investigation, who declined to be named because prosecutors had yet to disclose the name, Reuters reported.

    Martens led a diesel task force at Audi, set up to coordinate the handling of the so-called Dieselgate scandal with its parent company.

     
     
  • Dieselgate: Volkswagen fined €1 billion by Germany

    Volkswagen has been fined one billion euros (RM4.7 billion) over diesel emissions from the company’s cars, according to Reuters. The fine was imposed by the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig, a city in Lower Saxony, Germany for organisational deficiencies which failed to prevent “impermissible software functions” from being installed in cars between 2007 and 2015, the report said.

    This follows the country’s recall of 238,000 Daimler vehicles earlier this week as part of a larger, Europe-wide recall of 774,000 vehicles, and the German transport minister also threatened to sue Daimler for 3.75 billion euros should it be found to have used defeat devices in its diesel vehicles.

    The latest fine imposed on Volkswagen did not address civil claims or claims made by vehicle owners, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. This however concludes the regulatory offence proceedings against Volkswagen, which the automaker said would help in settling further administrative proceedings against itself in Europe, the report said.

    The one billion euro fine was not accounted for in Volkswagen’s 25.8 billion euro provision for Dieselgate-related fines, payouts, fixes and penalties, and would impact upon the Wolfsburg carmaker’s earnings, analysts at Evercore ISI said.

    Further afield in the greater Volkswagen Group, Porsche recalled 60,000 diesel SUVs last month at the request of German authorities. Though Porsche announced that it accepted full responsibility towards its customers, it added that it “does not develop or manufacture diesel engines itself.” The 4.2 litre V8 and 3.0 litre V6 in the Cayenne and Macan respectively were developed by Audi.

    Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the Munich public prosecutor’s office had searched the resepctive properties of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and one other Volkswagen board member.

     
     
  • Dieselgate: Mercedes recalls 774,000 cars in Europe with defeat devices, including newest EU6 models

    Last week, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer threatened to sue Daimler to the tune of 3.75 billion euros (about RM17.6 billion) if Mercedes-Benz was found to have cheated emissions regulators with “defeat devices” installed in its diesel-powered cars.

    Well, as it turns out, the German Transport Ministry has ordered the tristar company to recall up to 774,000 cars across Europe after tests found that they each ran an unauthorised software that could be used to manipulate diesel exhaust emissions. According to an official statement by the ministry, selected Vito, C-Class and GLC models in Germany are involved in this recall.

    “The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany wide because of unauthorised defeat devices,” the Ministry said. It’s unclear exactly which models are being recalled, but the Vito 119 CDI, C 220 d and GLC 220 d have been identified, according to Autocar.

    While the ministry has yet to reveal the age of the cars involved, officials suggest they include latest-gen models with EU6 emission certification. This recall follows after Scheuer met Mercedes-Benz chairman, Dieter Zetsche, in Berlin to discuss what has been described as “irregularities in independent test results of various Mercedes-Benz models featuring the German car maker’s turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.”

    Since then, Daimler has pledged to remove the illegal software and co-operate with authorities. Among the functions brought into question by the German Transport Ministry is the software used to regulate the amount of Ad Blue solution injected into the SCR filter that’s fitted to the recalled vehicles.

    Apparently, Autocar notes that the software is programmed to lower the amount of Ad Blue being injected into the SCR filter after a prescribed time. This reduces the efficiency of the SCR filter and leads to much higher nitrous oxide emissions when driving in the real world – higher than those claimed by Mercedes-Benz under test conditions.

    Mercedes-Benz said it had developed a technical solution that would enable it to update the software, and Zetsche suggests the move could see the company avoid possible fines by the European Union.

    Just two months ago in April, Zetsche said Mercedes-Benz customers are showing more confidence in diesel by continuing to buy them in significant numbers. He also said that diesel cars are crucial to reducing the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere.

    “I do believe it is not to the benefit of society to turn down the benefits of CO2 savings that diesels offer. We are talking a lot about NOx but I believe CO2 is still the biggest issue,” he explained. However, some factions are calling diesel a “technology of the past,” with Volvo and Nissan each announcing plans to stop further development of the oil-burning engine.

     
     
  • Dieselgate: Porsche Europe recalls 60,000 diesel SUVs

    Porsche, after recently coming under fire for allegedly installing defeat devices in its diesel-powered cars, has issued a recall for its diesel-powered Macan and Cayenne SUVs at the request of German authorities. According to AutoExpress, approximately 53,000 units of the Macan and 6,750 units of the Cayenne are involved in this recall exercise across Europe.

    A Porsche spokesman explained that the company had “received recall notices from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) affecting Cayenne 4.2 litre V8 diesel and Macan 3.0 litre V6 diesel vehicles.”

    Although Porsche was quick to announce that it “accepts full responsibility towards its customers,” it also said it “does not develop or manufacture diesel engines itself.” Both the above-mentioned engines were developed by Audi, also a member of the Volkswagen Group. Since February this year, Porsche has dropped all sales of its diesel-engined models, citing declining sales as a motivating factor.

    As usual, owners with the affected vehicles will be contacted by Porsche dealers, and “a technical solution in the form of a software update” will be applied to their cars for free during a “short workshop visit.”

    In July 2017, German authorities reportedly found an emissions ‘defeat device’ in the the 3.0 litre diesel Porsche Cayenne, leading to an obligatory recall of 22,000 cars across Europe. This device, when triggered through routine laboratory tests, would limit the emissions of nitrogen oxide. In the real world, the level of emissions is said to be much higher.

    GALLERY: Porsche Cayenne S Diesel

     
     
  • Dieselgate continues with Porsche, Audi office raids

    DSC_0154b

    The diesel emissions scandal has yet to turn a new chapter, as it appears that Porsche and Audi facilities have been raided by German prosecutors as part of ongoing investigations relating to Dieselgate. The collective involvement of Porsche and Audi was first discovered in 2015, when the 3.0 litre TDI V6 engines from the brands were suspected of having emissions control defeat devices installed to get around US EPA emissions testing.

    Three people including a Porsche management board member, a Porsche senior manager and a former Porsche employee have come under suspicion following a raid by German public prosecutors at 10 Porsche properties, according to German publication Handelsblatt. The prosecutors did not release the names of those suspected.

    “We confirm that investigators today inspected and secured documents at the offices of Porsche AG in Stuttgart and Audi AG in Ingolstadt. Audi AG and Porsche AG are co-operating fully with the investigating authorities. Please appreciate that we can’t comment on further details due to the ongoing investigation,” Porsche said in a statement.

    In February, Porsche reportedly dropped all diesel-engined models from its product line-up. Elsewhere, changes at the board of the larger Volkswagen Group have also taken place – Herbert Diess succeeds Matthias Müller as chairman of the board at Volkswagen, while Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has been appointed to the group board of management.

    Despite the huge corrective undertaking in the aftermath of the scandal, Volkswagen still managed to take the global sales lead for 2016, and then outdoing itself the following year.

     
     
  • VW exec jailed seven years for Dieselgate role: report

    Another Volkswagen employee gets the clink for ties to the Dieselgate scandal, according to Autocar – former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in prison an hit with a US$400,000 (RM1.63 million) fine for his part in this saga. Schmidt was the company’s emissions compliance manager from 2012 until February 2015.

    This follows the sentencing of former Volkswagen engineer James Liang, who was slapped with a 40-month sentence and a US$200,000 (RM816,100) fine for his part in the German automakers emissions scandal which had been unfolding over the past two years. Liang was the first person with Dieselgate involvement to be sentenced to US federal prison.

    Schmidt was arrested at a Florida airport in January upon returning from holiday, then in August pleaded guilty to two charges related to the emissions scandal – conspiracy to defraud the United States to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, and violating the Clean Air Act itself. A third charge relating to wire fraud was dropped, said the report.

    Schmidt learned of the emissions control defeat devices in the summer of 2015, and failed to disclose their existence, he said when entering his guilt plea. Schmidt’s defense attorney appealed for a maximum sentence of 40 months with a US$100,000 (RM163,400) fine; however, the federal judge Sean Cox meted out the highest sentencing within guidelines in the Eastern District of Michigan United States District Court.

    As for the automaker itself, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty in March to three criminal charges related to the scandal, receiving a $2.8 billion (RM11.4 billion) fine and a three-year probation period.

     
     
  • VW Dieselgate scandal to cost RM127 billion – report

    The long-running Dieselgate scandal that has blighted the Volkswagen Group is now expected to rack up an additional US$3 billion (RM12.7 billion) to a total of US$30 billion (RM127 billion), according to the German automaker. The additional sum is attributed to ‘negative special items’ which are expected to burden the operating result, due to the buyback and retrofit programmes for 2.0 litre TDI engines in North America.

    The models involved for the US market included the Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat, and Audi A3, which use the 2.0 litre turbodiesel mills. Despite the fallout, US-market sales of diesel Volkswagens actually charted a 12% growth in April this year, which amounted to 10.3 million diesel vehicles sold in that time. Last week, former VW engine development chief Wolfgang Hatz was arrested by German authorities in relation to Dieselgate.

    Hatz’s arrest follows the apprehension of another former Volkswagen engineer, James Liang, who was slapped with a 40-month prison sentence and a US$200,000 fine for his role in engineering the software for the emissions control defeat devices.

    Meanwhile, VW Group brand Audi said it has no knowledge of Hatz’s arrest, and will continue to cooperate with the authorities, said a report by Automotive News Europe. Before this, only one other person has been detained in Germany, in relation to Dieselgate – that person was Zaccheo Giovanni Pamio, former chief of thermodynamics in engine development at Audi.

     
     
  • Former Volkswagen engineer gets 40 months prison time, RM853k fine over “leading role” in Dieselgate

    A Volkswagen engineer has received a stiffer-than-expected sentence for his role in the Dieselgate saga – James Liang has been slapped with a 40-month sentence and a US$200,000 (RM853,032) fine for his role in the emissions scandal which has blighted the German automaker group over the past two years.

    Liang, 63, is the first person in the scandal sentenced to federal prison, according to The Detroit News. He helped devise the software for the emissions defeat devices, and subsequently struck a plea deal with prosecutors in September for his help in unraveling the scandal.

    “It sends a very strong message to them that they better stay safely in Germany. We haven’t seen many individuals being held responsible for corporate misconduct, so this is one of those rare cases,” said Peter Henning, Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.

    The sentence meted out was harsher than even the prosecutors recommended, which was for a three-year sentence and a $20,000 (RM85,303) fine. The tough sentence makes it more likely that VW executives indicted earlier this year will remain in Germany in order to avoid further action, the report added.

    “The conspiracy perpetrated a massive and stunning fraud on the American consumer that attacked and destroyed the very foundation of our economic system. Your cooperation and regret is noted, but it doesn’t excuse your conduct,” Cox told engineer Liang.

    Aiding the company’s recovery process will be the Strategy 2025 vision it unveiled in the middle of last year, which will see the company invest billions in the coming years into electrification, autonomous driving and mobility services.

     
     
  • Volkswagen diesel sales resume in US, account for 12% of April sales despite Dieselgate – report

    German automaker Volkswagen said that it has resumed sales of its diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the United States, with oil burners accounting for 12% of its US sales in April, according to Reuters. The marque put a stop-sale order to its diesel models following its admission that its diesels were installed with engine software that is not compliant.

    The German marque sold 10.3 million cars last year despite the fallout, representing a 3.8% growth from 2015’s 9.93 million units sold. In the United States, Volkswagen agreed to a settlement for the buying back of 85,000 vehicles with the affected 3.0 litre TDI V6 engines, while US $1 billion (RM 3.89 billion at the time) was set aside to compensate owners of cars with the EA189 2.0 litre diesel engine.

    The report added that Volkswagen bought back nearly 238,000 vehicles, and repaired 6,200 vehicles. So far, the repurchased cars have not been resold yet. Volkswagen approach towards efficient vehicles has since moved from its prior diesel focus to a new emphasis on electrification and autonomous driving, with the announcement of its Together – Strategy 2025 plan for the coming decade.

    Beyond the marque from Wolfsburg, US regulators granted Daimler AG approval to commence sales of its Sprinter commerical vans following extensive testing and discussion, a Daimler spokesperson told Reuters. Daimler is under investigation by the US Justice Department, EPA and a Stuttgart prosecutor in Germany for the emissions of its Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles, the report added.

     
     
 

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Last Updated 01 Nov 2018