Handelsblatt exclusive

Dieselgate’s Roots Stretch Back to Audi

Investigators into Dieselgate are steering their search towards what happened at Audi.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    VW’s internal probe into Dieselgate is nearing completion and may finally reveal whether the number of people involved in the scandal was really as limited as the management is insisting.

  • Facts


    • Handelsblatt has learned that VW’s emissions-cheating software was first devised at its luxury unit Audi back in 1999 — but never used by Audi.
    • VW engineers resorted to the software years later, in 2005, while developing the infamous EA 189 diesel engine designed to cheat emissions tests.
    • The report by law firm Jones Day, hired by VW’s supervisory board to investigate the scandal, is due to be submitted to the U.S. authorities in the coming days.
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Until now, VW’s version of events on the diesel scandal has been clear: the core brand alone was responsible. The subsidiaries, and the luxury units Audi and Porsche in particular, had nothing to do with the systematic manipulation of diesel engines.

That’s not entirely the case. It’s true that engineers at VW’s main plant in Wolfsburg initiated the fraud. Handelsblatt has learned from company and industry sources that the manipulation originated not at VW but at Audi. The offending software was devised at Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt, in southern Germany.

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