Audi Boots Top Engineers After One Accuses CEO of Involvement in Diesel Deception

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
audi boots top engineers after one accuses ceo of involvement in diesel deception

Audi appears to be going on the defensive and closing ranks around its CEO following a tumultuous week filled with accusations and revelations.

Late last week, the automaker fired four top engineers who worked on the brand’s diesel technology, including head of engine development Ulrich Weiss. Germany’s Handelsblatt reports that Weiss, who has been on paid leave since the diesel emissions scandal erupted, presented documents in court that appeared to show CEO Rupert Stadler had knowledge of the defeat devices as early as 2012.

Audi is now seeking charges against one or more individuals for “baseless accusations,” as well as revealing internal documents. Unfortunately for the automaker, another German media outlet has gotten its hands on an infamous PowerPoint presentation.

The automaker hasn’t said exactly who the lawsuit targets, or if it involves last week’s firings. Handelsblatt reports Audi will file the suit in its hometown of Ingolstadt, Bavaria, and could seek damages from one or more parties.

Weiss, who is suing Audi in a bid to return to work, claims the automaker targeted him to avoid taking the heat over the emissions scandal. The former engine chief’s lawyer calls him “a pawn” in a larger game.

Audi isn’t having any of this. In response to Weiss’ accusations, the automaker claimed Volkswagen Group’s internal investigation clears the company of wrongdoing.

“The Jones Day law firm has addressed this issue in extensive interviews and investigations,” the automaker stated. “As far as our company is concerned, all unanswered questions are now resolved.”

While all of this was going on, a damaging report in Germany’s Spiegel revealed portions of a 2007 PowerPoint presentation that mapped out how to deceive emissions regulators. The document proposes a urea injection system for diesel models with two operating modes. One, specifically for testing regimens, would eliminate 90 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions. The other, designed for normal driving, would see only a 30 to 70 percent emissions reduction.

The goal, apparently, was to reduce the amount of urea used so that the vehicles’ AdBlue tanks would only need refilling during scheduled service appointments. The PowerPoint singled out the 3.0-liter Volkswagen Touareg as an example. Having such a system in the U.S. market was “critical,” the document stated.

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  • S_a_p S_a_p on Feb 21, 2017

    Nothing runs this deep that isn't systematic.

  • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Feb 22, 2017

    “The Jones Day law firm has addressed this issue in extensive interviews and investigations,” the automaker stated. “As far as our company is concerned, all unanswered questions are now resolved.” I'm waiting for Jones Day to suddenly present in court the Powerpoint where they were tasked with laying the blame on the engineers. Then Audi can sue them too. This scandal is the gift that keeps on giving!

  • MRF 95 T-Bird One of the reasons why Mopar dropped the removal top version was that the marketing department found that few owners, maybe 20% took the trouble to unbolt and remove the heavy fiberglass roof.
  • Zerofoo The UAW understands that this is their last stand. Their future consists of largely robot assembled EVs that contain far fewer parts. Factories moving to southern "right to work" states and factories moving to the southern-most state of Mexico.I don't think lights-out auto factories are on the horizon, but UAW demands might move those automated manufacturing process timelines up.McDonalds opened a fully automated restaurant in Texas in 2022 in response to a $15/hour minimum wage demand. I'm fairly certain that at $130/hr - fully robotic car factories start to make sense.
  • Redapple2 Cherry 20 yr old Defenders are $100,000 +. Til now.
  • Analoggrotto So UAW is singling out Ford, treating them slightly better in order to motivate the entire effort. Mildly Machiavellian but this will cost them dearly in the future. The type of ill will and betrayal the Detroit-3 must be feeling right now will be the utter demise of UAW. I just hope that this tribulation is not affecting Mary Barra's total hotness.
  • Redapple2 I guessed they were ~$150,000. Maybe attainable.