Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Audi German headquarters searched in emissions probe

Audi German headquarters searched in emissions probe

The prosecutors' searches are the first since the scandal at parent Volkswagen (VW) broke in September 2015.

VW has already agreed to pay more than $1 billion to fix or buy back the 80,000 cars, but the USA settlement is expected to end up costing the automaker as much as $17.5 billion.

Audi parent Volkswagen admitted in late 2015 to installing so-called "defeat devices" into 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, created to reduce emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides when engines were undergoing regulatory tests.

Evidently, reporters who were present at the event asked the company's CEO about the situation, and Stadler's reply was that he "has always supported efforts to clarify the diesel issue at Audi".

Police from Munich and Stuttgart searched the offices and private homes of Audi employees in Ingolstadt, where Audi's headquarters are located, and in Neckarsulm.

German prosecutors have raided Audi and VW sites as part of a probe into the manipulation of U.S. emissions tests.

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The U.S. authorities ordered the group to withdraw 482 thousand cars of the brands of Volkswagen and Audi sold in the country over the course of the years 2009-2015.

Peter Mertens, senior vice president for R&D at Volvo Car Corporation, will take up his position as head of technical development at Audi on May 1, the CEO said, replacing former R&D boss Stefan Knirsch, who left the manufacturer in connection with the emissions scandal. The source also added that Stadler's home was not one of the homes raided by police. "We will keep at it until this work is done".

"The path towards clearing up (the emissions scandal) is far from over", Stadler said on Wednesday at the carmaker's earnings press conference.

The raid at Audi's sites coincided with the company's annual press conference, in which it reported pre-tax profits of 3bn euros (£2.6bn) for 2016, a 37% drop on the previous year.

The prosecutors' probe also adds to Audi's woes as it has been losing ground to Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, which replaced BMW's namesake brand as the world's bestselling premium-car maker past year.

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