German investigators also want to question VW Group's former chief financial officer.
As of this writing, neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the California Air Resources Board have lodged a public complaint against Volkswagen Group over recent allegations of Audi having an emissions defeat device in its transmissions. However, Jones Day, the law firm representing the automaker in the United States, has reportedly decided to question Audi CEO Rupert Stadler (above) about the situation, according to anonymous insiders.
Jones Day already questioned Stadler about defeat devices in VW Group’s engines and decided that there was no wrongdoing on his part. Now, the firm has decided to interrogate him again about the latest allegations. “The lawyers are requesting further information,” an unnamed person told Reuters.
Germany's Bild am Sonntag broke the story about the allegations of another defeat device. CARB reportedly discovered that when the steering wheel pointed the vehicle straight (like for an emissions test), the automatic transmission software functioned in a low-rev mode that shifted early for better fuel consumption nd improved emissions. The cheat was in the AL 551 transmission on models like the Q5, A6, and A8, and it was not just on vehicles with diesel engines.
VW Group is also facing legal questions in Germany because prosecutors in Braunschweig want to question current supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch about his time as the automaker’s chief financial officer, according to Automotive News Europe. The lawyers there have been investigating the company’s top execs for allegedly failing to disclose financial damage from the emissions defeat devices.
Even if VW Group manages to avoid another emissions violation notice in the U.S and evades execs going to prison, the firm still needs to deal with the 3.0-liter V6 TDI in America. The latest rumors suggest the fix could combine a buyback of around 25,000 of the affected vehicles and repair for the remaining 60,000.
The fallout from the emissions scandal has been huge for the company. Since Dieselgate, Audi delayed new vehicle development and also pulled out of endurance racing. Volkswagen stepped away from the World Rally Championship, too.