Audi CEO Rupert Stadler In Deep Dieselgate Trouble – Forbes
Germany’s Spiegel Magazine thinks it has the smoking PowerPoints to prove that “Audi has planned dieselgate cheating with military precision.” The magazine says it has an internal presentation dating back to 2007 that describes strategies and tactics of how to fool U.S. regulators. An attorney of suspended engine engineer Ulrich Weiß said in court that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was privy to the plans. Some of the teams working on the military-grade cheat reported directly to Stadler, the magazine will write in tomorrow’s print edition.
According to the report, Audi engineers proposed in the years 2007 and 2008 “the introduction of two operating modes” to comply with strict emission standards. On the dyno, “>90%” of the NOx gases were to be removed. On the road, only “30-70%” of the NOx gases were to be cleaned.
“So that nobody makes any mistakes about the explosiveness of the suggested solution,” writes Der Spiegel, “the technicians underlined the line ‘Extremely critical in the U.S.A.’”
The attorney of the suspended Audi engineer introduced in court various meeting reports and presentations of several top-level working groups at Audi that supposedly document a long brawl about the illegal defeat devices, going back and forth between engineers and marketing people at Audi.
In September of last year Stadler was interrogated by Volkswagen’s Jones Day lawfirm. He professed his innocence, and it was quickly leaked to the media.
Volkswagen insiders have long pointed fingers at Stadler. Early into the scandal, the Volkswagen rumor mill was abuzz with talk about Stadler impending departure, and the gossip treated Audi’s sales chief Dietmar Voggenreiter as Stadler’s likely successor. Sources at Volkswagen told me of a rivalry between Stadler and Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller, and that Stadler survived so far, because he is under the protection of Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piech. According to a report by Germany’s Handelsblatt, Audi was the technological cradle of all dieselgate cheating at VW. 17 years ago, said the paper, Audi engineers developed methods to circumvent the increasingly strict emission regulations. Tomorrow’s report in Spiegel appears to back the story up.