Regulator in U.S. Opens Audi Investigation

A government regulator in the U.S. started an investigation of Audi, owned by Volkswagen, over the reported discovery of new software designed to cheat emissions, without saying who the source was of their information.

A week ago, a weekly paper in Germany said that CARB or the California Air Resources Board had discovered this past summer software designed to cheat in an Audi automatic transmission, which is not related to the software device that triggered a diesel emission scandal last year at Audi parent VW.

It was reported that the software discovered by CARB lowered the emission of carbon dioxide or CO2 through detecting if the steering wheel of the vehicle was turned, which would mean it was actually driving.

On Sunday, it was reported that the Environmental Protection Agency of the EPA in the U.S. initiated proceeding against the German carmaker Audi and next week will hear senior group engineers at VW, without releasing any other information.

An EPA spokesperson as well as VW and Audi’s headquarters based in Germany all declined to make any comment on the matter.

However, two individuals who had been briefed on this situation said the government of the U.S. was asking questions about the software device and if it is a defeat device in vehicles that are gasoline powered.

CARB and the EPA are focused currently on coming to an agreement with officials from Volkswagen on the best way to resolve the problem vehicles that emit as much as 9 times the legal amount of pollution levels, prior to the court hearing on November 30 in San Francisco.

VW has submitted its proposal on fixes for the larger VW, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles. It is also involved in intense discussions with California and U.S. regulators.

Talks are also ongoing between lawyers for car owners and VW as they try to come to an agreement on the amount of compensation owners will receive.

Owners of the polluting vehicles with 2.0-liter engines were given between $5,100 and $10,000 as compensation, in addition to an offer of buyback.

At least a pair of class-action suits have already been filed in the U.S. against Audi over this issue. One of the lawsuits says that CARB determined that Audi already has installed a gearing defeat device in Class Vehicles.

That defeat devices circumvented the emissions control systems of class vehicles that exist to comply with emissions standards for the Clean Air Act.

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