By on March 21, 2018

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While companies are often found guilty of sketchy and illicit behavior, it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to feel some measure of sympathy for German automakers. The same goes for the government officials whose job it is to repeatedly raid the homes and offices of people employed by those manufacturers. Once gain, German prosecutors have searched both Volkswagen and BMW over diesel-related shenanigans.

Volkswagen saw 13 of its offices raided in Wolfsburg throughout the month of March. Braunschweig-based authorities seized physical and digital files in the hopes of catching the automaker in a lie from 2015. At the time, VW claimed an in-house investigation found it had understated fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on no more than 36,000 vehicles. Considering the diesel emissions scandal affected far more vehicle than this, as well as the company’s much higher earlier estimate, prosecutors hope to catch the company out.

Meanwhile, BMW saw its facilities searched over suspicions that it employed a defeat device to circumvent diesel emission testing. The automaker said authorities were looking into “erroneously allocated” software on the BMW 750d and BMW M550d. 

At this point, these types of investigations have been commonplace for German automakers for a couple of years. However, the raids don’t appear to be getting the kind of results one might expect. In the United States, Volkswagen was convicted of criminal wrongdoing less than three years after the California Air Resources Board received a study published by the International Council on Clean Transportation that raised flags about the possibility of a software manipulation. Germany had reason to be suspect for at least as long, yet its investigative paths are much slower (and often meandering).

Whether German investigators are looking in the wrong places or there is simply nothing there to find is unknown. But the round-robin searches often have very different goals,  even while possessing a similar theme. According to Reuters, the March searches at Volkswagen’s headquarters specifically related to the possibility of unlawful alterations to testing data. Federal prosecutors said on Tuesday they were investigating unknown individuals over suspicions of market manipulation.

Meanwhile, the Braunschweig investigative team admits to targeting VW’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn, former finance chief and current chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, and current VW brand CEO Herbert Diess over possible market manipulation related to the dieselgate scandal. VW denies any such market manipulations, though it confirms the earlier searches.

Manfred Doess, head of legal affairs at VW’s majority stakeholder Porsche SE, said he doesn’t expect much to come of the investigation. “In my judgement, nothing will come out of this,” he said during the holding firm’s earnings press conference on Tuesday.

As for BMW, German state prosecutors announced they had searched corporate facilities in Germany and Austria, investigating suspected emissions-cheating defeat devices. Automotive News reports that roughly 100 police and law enforcement officials raided the automaker’s Munich headquarters, along with research facilities and an engine plant in Steyr, Austria.

“There is an early suspicion that BMW has used a test bench-related defeat device,” prosecutors said in a statement.

BMW recently recalled 11,700 cars to fix engine management software it said was programmed incorrectly. But denies all accusations of targeted emissions manipulation.

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13 Comments on “Extensive Probing Continues In Germany...”

  • avatar

    Allegedly fudge some documents and your home and office are raided. Threaten to kill fellow employees and you keep your job. VW sounds like a non-stop party.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t feel sorry for them, but their cavities must be pretty clean by now.

    And what ever happened to the 100TB of data that was seized way back when? Surely that contained most of the dirt, unless VW resorted to some sort of “Windtalkers” communication in the Navajo language later on to discuss their dirty diesel dealings.

  • avatar

    Look, what the Germans do in the privacy of their own bedrooms / dungeons is their own business, OK?

  • avatar

    No reason to feel bad for them. They aren’t being probed for illicit behavior. Government couldn’t care less. Clever corruption is a indispensable feature for public officials looking for bribes, campaign funding, and favors. Plus, who really wants to enforce 100,000 pages of drivel when they could be grandstanding in front of cameras or building a giant public-service pension without really working?

    No, the auto manufacturers are being probed and punished for getting caught by the general public. Very naughty. When the illusion is shattered the sheeple are less willing to be shepherded, and by shepherded I mean have their wallets emptied by tax authorities.

  • avatar

    Wow, that’s a loaded headline.

  • avatar

    Anybody else having flashbacks to the Romans repeatedly searching the People’s Front of Judea safe-house?

    Not to say there’s no reason to question… “BMW recently recalled 11,700 cars to fix engine management software it said was programmed incorrectly. But denies all accusations of targeted emissions manipulation.”

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