U.S. Indicts 4 Audi Execs in Diesel Cheating Probe

January 18, 2019 at 12:04 AM

The U.S. Dept. of Justice has charged four midlevel Audi AG executives in Germany with doctoring the company’s 3.0-liter diesels to evade emission tests.

The indicted managers and their former titles are:

  • Richard Bauder, head of Audi diesel development in Neckarsulm, Germany
  • Carsten Nagel, head of engine registration in Neckarsulm
  • Axel Eiser and Stefan Knirsch, successive heads of Audi engine development in Ingolstadt

The Justice Dept. charges the four men with wire fraud, violating the Clean Air Act and conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. But none is likely to be tried unless they visit the U.S., because German law precludes its citizens from being extradited.

The charges involve Audi certification tests for 2009-2015 model Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg large crossover vehicles, and 2014-2015 model A6, A7 and A8 sedans.

Audi, a part of Volkswagen AG, was responsible for developing the 3.0-liter diesels used by both brands. VW Group sold about 80,000 such diesels in the U.S.

The indictment says Audi decided to cheat because the alternative—installing larger tanks for a urea compound used to control emissions—would take up space needed to maximize trunk space and accommodate a premium audio system.