The development head knew about defeat devices, reports say.
Audi’s head of research and development, Stefan Knirsch (seen above on the left), is set to be suspended from his position amid the ongoing investigation into the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal.
According to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, quoted by Automotive News Europe, investigations by Jones Day have shown Knirsch knew about emissions control defeat devices fitted to VW Group’s 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines and gave a false promise about the situation when questioned under oath.
It emerged in November last year that the V6 diesel was fitted with a defeat device, two months after the Dieselgate scandal originally broke. Like the four-cylinder EA189 unit at the center of the scandal, the V6 has software that reduces the amount of nitrogen oxide emitted from the tailpipe when tested under laboratory conditions. In the United States, a fix has not yet been approved for the engine, which is fitted to a number of Audi models, plus the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. A total of 85,000 cars are affected.
Knirsch only took up his post in January of this year, having previously served as head of powertrain development. His predecessor, Ulrich Hackenburg, was ousted from his position as he was one of the executives closely involved with the development of the EA189 engine. Knirsch actually left Audi last summer, but returned shortly afterwards.
Bild am Sonntag said that Knirsch has been asked to clear his desk. Neither Volkswagen Group nor Audi have commented.
Source: Automotive News Europe