Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Business | By Megan Pierce

Audi CEO says his private home not part of prosecutors' raids

Volkswagen and Audi brand vehicles with diesel engines make up the bulk of the vehicles caught up in Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal.

In the U.S., Volkswagen has agreed to pay a series of settlements with the Federal Trade Commission that could be worth as much as $14 billion.

Prosecutors in Munich have always been investigating whether the Volkswagen subsidiary could also be held responsible for the so-called Dieselgate scandal that erupted in 2015, when it emerged that 11 million cars worldwide had been equipped with software to deceive emissions tests.

Chief Executive Rupert Stadler was giving a press conference on the company's performance just hours after news of the raids broke.

Audi's supervisory board last month expressed its support for Stadler, who has run the division since 2007, despite criticism of his handling of the scandal.

VW's Wolfsburg headquarters were searched, along with Audi's Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm factories and six other unspecified sites, the group said.

"There is suspicion that devices were built into these vehicles to manipulate emissions readings and conform to USA emissions limits, without the buyers being informed", they continued.

"Important differences between the performance of certain Renault engines in the laboratory and their results under real conditions", were found, the paper said, adding the accusation forms the cornerstone of an investigation reportedly opened by French prosecutors in January.

Audi's two biggest plants were searched by German prosecutors today while its chief exec was announcing the auto giant's earnings at its annual press conference today. However, German prosecutors said they were not investigating specific Audi managers, with the charges leveled at persons unknown so far. "We will keep at it". Protecting profit at Audi, its biggest earnings contributor, is key for VW Group as it spends money on fixing as many as 11 million rigged diesel cars while maintaining financial firepower to develop electric models and new digital services.

Audi's global sales declined 1.1 percent in February to 125,100 cars as a dispute with dealers in its largest market China escalated.

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