By on September 24, 2016

2014 audi a6 tdi engine

Despite witnesses claiming Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was involved in the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the law firm investigating the company has reportedly found no evidence to support the claim.

According to company sources, U.S. law firm Jones Day found nothing that suggests the company chairman had any prior knowledge of the brand’s rigged diesel engines, Reuters reports.

Jones Day questioned Stadler earlier this week after shifting its investigation to what executives knew of the emissions-cheating engines, and when. A source close to Volkswagen’s supervisory board told Reuters, “Nothing burdensome against Stadler was found” — a claim backed up by two other sources close to the automaker.

This comes after an earlier report in Germany’s Der Spiegel claimed Stadler knew of the defeat devices as early as 2010. The executive has run the company since 2007.

Audi’s 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines contain the same emissions-cheating software found in Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-liter diesels. A total of 85,000 3.0-liter vehicles, most of them Audis, await a fix or a potential buyback in the U.S.

The investigation into the company’s executives continue. Last week, German media reported the suspension of Audi technical development boss Stefan Knirsch. According to Bild am Sonntag, Audi relieved Knirsch of his duties after investigators received information about his prior knowledge of the defeat devices. Allegedly, he provided a false affidavit to investigators.

Knirsch spent nine months in the position, replacing former tech boss Ulrich Hackenberg last December.

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28 Comments on “Audi CEO Could Be in the Clear after Emissions Probe Grilling...”

  • avatar

    It’s not a good look for VW leadership either way. If you knew about the diesel shenanigans, then you are criminally liable. If you didn’t know, then you were asleep at the wheel.

    In the mean time, I’ll stare at the engine bay and remember the 3 hours and 2 skinned knuckles it took to change the air filter on my Audi 3.1.

    It literally take 60 seconds to change the air filters on our Hondas. Truth in Engineering.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember when you could open the hood and see the engine….

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Was that the Audi engine that was marketed as a 3.2-liter?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, 3123cc AVK/BGN engine codes for the US market.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Okay…not to be confused with the 3.2-liter VR6, which actually *was* 3.2 liters and which was a wholly-different engine, for transverse-engined vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks, qfrog.
            I have a 2005 A6 3.2, but the engine is just 3.1 liters, and it is no VR6.

            I feel a little like a fraud like the people who used to ride in a five point oh, even though their Mustang’s V8 had just 4.9 liters. Learn significant digits!

        • 0 avatar

          Can’t even tell the truth in marketing the displacement.

          Lied about emissions, wrongly rounded up displacement, what’s next, lying about power or acceleration times?

          Oh, wait, they already did both, as they couldn’t deliver either unless they cheated using Schummelmotor tech.

    • 0 avatar

      Came here to write that.

      Either was a direct coconspirator, with a good plausible deniability shield, or he was ignorant of what his troops were doing.

      Either way, as the setter of the “tone at the top”, he is culpable for not sending and reinforcing a message of honesty and integrity.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Asleep at the wheel” is an unfair charge.

      I wouldn’t expect the CEO to be aware that the diesel engines supplied by his parent company were illegal, not would I expect him to even ask such a question.

      There is something in us which wants to blame the top guy for everything, since we assume they are all-knowing and all-powerful. This is done in politics, too, in which we assume the US President is directly controlling every military op and clandestine op in the world – they aren’t. Usually, their underlings don’t want them to know.

      For my part, I’m glad at least someone in the V-A-G has been cleared.

      • 0 avatar

        But here’s the thing: Mazda and Honda both tried really hard – spending $200M in Honda’s case – to make small I-4 diesel engines for the US market without use of urea. And they both failed. This is the same Honda that makes more internal combustion engines than anyone on the planet, so I think they know a little something about internal combustion.

        And nobody in VW/Audi leadership thought it was weird that they uniquely could sell diesels that met US regulations without urea? Nobody ever asked why? It’s a little hard to believe.

        • 0 avatar

          VoGo, could you point me to some articles about that Japanese quest for clean diesel? Very interesting.

          • 0 avatar


          • 0 avatar

            Thanks, VoGo!

            Now hold on a ding dang minute… that article only reports Honda’s stated intention as of 2006 to develop an I-4 sludge-burner for the US market. No details, no “200 million” spent specifically to that end.

            Oh, I get it…. “Do your own work, f*ckin’ fridge.”
            Challenge accepted.

        • 0 avatar

          Most of the engines Honda makes are not subject to ANY emission controls whatsoever (think lawnmowers, generators, outboards etc), and many of them are even two-stroke. So that wouldn’t necessarily add to their emissions control expertise. Let alone to their diesel engine expertise.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, Honda’s too inexpert to have crashed their US market over sleazy tricks.

          • 0 avatar

            You know not of what you speak.

            Small engines are most certainly subject to emissions standards.

            Why do you think Stihl abandoned 2-strokes, developing the “4-mix” (4-cycle) engine?

          • 0 avatar

            Sorry, Kenmore,
            If you spend the time, I’m sure you’ll find articles stating Honda was building out the production capacity in Indiana for diesel engines, but the project was stillborn when engineering realized they just could not get a diesel in the US that was clean enough to skip urea injection.

      • 0 avatar

        With great salary comes great responsibility.

        The buck does indeed stop at the C suite. Angelo Mozillo of Countrywide Financial tried the same defense – that he had no idea his loan originators were lying cheating scum.

        While he did lose his job eventually – he probably should have gone to prison.

        AUDI using VW supplied engines is no different that sub-contracting the manufacturing of subassemblies. Someone needs to QA the stuff coming in from the subcontractor.

        If the CEO of a company does not fully understand the development process of the products his company is selling, then that CEO is derelict in his duty.

      • 0 avatar

        One thing that astonished me about the military: their secrets are on a need-to-know basis. A lot of their weapons, applications and operations are unknown to the President/Commander-In-Chief. He doesn’t need to know – unless he already knows enough to ask!

  • avatar

    Of course not, it was Whilhem the mailboy in zector 32-Zee. Zee wuz alweyz da problem.


  • avatar

    Well that was a non story. The company lawyers assure us that this employee of their client has “nothing burdensome” – meaning nothing in writing that can be subpoenaed, which is a far cry from declaring him innocent. Not that I would expect them to announce it even if they found he wrote the software himself.

    • 0 avatar

      Except the implication in the article is that Jones Day is NOT the company law firm. Rather, it is a law firm investigating VW.

      • 0 avatar

        Jones Day was hired directly by the directors of Volkswagen. The purpose of hiring Jones Day is to identify the conspiracy inside the company without just relying on the government to do it.

        At this point, there’s nothing left for the board to cover up. From a regulatory perspective, Volkswagen has conceded that the cars aren’t compliant, and has agreed to take them off the road. The remaining question is who conspired and how it was structured. Whether or not the government accepts Jones Day’s findings as fact and relies on them, the VAG board has a duty to get to the bottom of this for their business. They need to find and fire everyone in the company, and all of the vendors, who were part of this colossally expensive and damaging criminal conspiracy.

        If Jones Day reports falsely to VAG or another institution like a bank, a court, or a government agency, they become part of the conspiracy and are subject to the same civil and criminal penalties.

  • avatar

    A lot of people are unclear on what a CEO does. He answers to the Chairman of the Board, whose primary job is to schmooze the other directors. The CEO supplies the Chairman with schmoozing materials obtained from department heads who actually know what’s going on.

    There’s an old saying that the people at the top are C students who learned only the basics of systems and processes and how they work together. They spend most of their time networking and with extra-curricular activities that get them in touch with alumni. They hire B students to actually run the systems and processes.

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