After two years since the emissions scandal erupted, German prosecutors rushed to the offices of one of the members of Volkswagen Group. This is about Audi and its two biggest plants plus other sites in southern Germany. The search warrant regards the emissions cheating issue. The investigation took place on the same day of the release of company’s earnings. This put pressure on the luxury division of Volkswagen and the CEO Rupert Stadler.
This Is the First Time German Prosecutors Search Audi Headquarters
On March 15th, German prosecutors started investigations at the premises of Audi’s luxury car unit. The authorities explained this action as an attempt to reveal more information about the nature of vehicle line of 80,000 units that entered the U.S. market between 2009 and 2015. They believe these cars as well were upgraded with software that can detect and manipulate emissions tests.
A spokesperson for Audi revealed that the German prosecutors entered the Audi buildings in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm at around 8 a.m. The manufacturer has 60,000 employees at these two headquarters. There are 70 officials in Ingolstadt that perform the searching operations. They do investigate offices as well as apartments. On the other hand, they did not touch the private home of Rupert Stadler, the CEO of the company.
In November 2015, Audi confessed that its 3.0 liter V6 diesel vehicles that were for sale in the United States had emissions detection software. This piece of equipment was declared illegal. Nonetheless, this is the first time after two years since the scandal erupted at parent Volkswagen when authorities perform an investigation at Audi’s headquarters.
The CEO Is Willing to Cooperate with the Authorities
Rupert Stadler stated during the press conference for Audi earnings report that he is not against such an official action. On the contrary, he has an interest as intense as the one of the authorities for the situation to be cleared up. Thus, he did not avoid saying that he would comply with any request coming from the German prosecutors. It is in his company’s interest for its public image to regain integrity. This way, clients will see no reason anymore to refrain from purchasing from the luxury car unit.
In light of this particular scandal, the revenue report of Audi held on Wednesday announced bad news. The 2016 results showed a 37% decrease in operating profit. Moreover, the return on sales plunged to 5.1% from 8.3% in 2015.
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