Wednesday

1st Feb 2023

Audi ex-CEO on fraud charge, as diesels remain on road

  • Rupert Stadler, then CEO of Audi, at a car show in Frankfurt, 15 September 2015 - mere days before Audi's parent company Volkswagen Group admitted to having cheating on emissions tests. (Photo: AUDI AG)

German prosecutors have accused Rupert Stadler, former CEO of carmaker Audi, of fraud for his role in the diesel emissions scandal, Munich prosecutors announced on Wednesday (31 July).

Stadler had led the German company, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group (VW), from 2010, including in the period leading up to VW's confession of having cheated on the emissions test in the US.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The technology VW used to equip 11m cars worldwide with emissions cheating software was developed at Audi (Photo: Colin Harris  ADE)

He remained in his post until October 2018 - four months after he had been temporarily held as a suspect.

VW had rigged some 11 million diesel cars worldwide with illegal emissions cheating software, eight million of which in the EU. They included the brands Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, and Skoda.

The cheat technique had been developed from Audi engineers.

The news comes almost four years after VW's cheating came to the limelight, and 15 weeks after former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged with fraud by the public prosecutor in Braunschweig.

Last year, the then Audi CEO was arrested out of fear he would interfere with the investigation into the diesel emissions fraud.

The company received a €800m fine over the scandal in Germany.

Meanwhile, the German car companies have not dealt with all of the cars equipped with the illegal software.

One in five cars has still not received the software update, despite promises to the EU that it would be done by the autumn of 2017.

The situation varies greatly between EU member states, because recalls are not mandatory everywhere.

Germany vs eastern Europe

While Germany has a recall and update percentage of 99 percent, less than half of the affected vehicles have been updated in Croatia (46 percent), Poland (45 percent), and Romania (37 percent).

Another thirteen EU member states have recall percentages below 75 percent. Of those, France (74 percent) is the only country where the recall is mandatory.

EU-wide there are still around 1.5m VW cars driving around with the cheat software.

Even then, the ones that have been treated do not perform much better in terms of pollution.

VW was also not unique: other carmakers also sold diesel cars that were much dirtier in actual use than during the official laboratory test.

According to campaign group Transport & Environment, there are some 43m dirty diesel cars and vans still on the road.

"The current snail's pace to clean up diesel cars across Europe is unacceptable," the group said in a statement last May.

"The industry has had almost four years since the diesel scandal broke but has failed to deliver even on its own commitments to fix manipulated cars. It's time for governments to get tough and order mandatory recalls across the EU. This does not require any new laws but just political will."

Germany's solution to Dieselgate: buy German cars

German owners of dirty diesel cars have received a letter from an official government body suggesting they buy a new car. But the promoted websites are all for German companies.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

Interview

Dieselgate disappointed car-loving commissioner

Industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska often finds herself on opposite sides to the car industry, referring to diesel engines as the "technology of the past".

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  2. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  3. EU lobby register still riddled with errors
  4. Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk
  5. More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies
  6. Study: EU electricity transition sped into high gear in 2022
  7. Russia and China weaponised pandemic to sow distrust, MEPs hear
  8. Frontex to spend €100m on returning migrants this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  4. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  6. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us