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    As the Diesel Emits: Audi's r&d Boss Steps Down, Current CEO Cleared In Emission Investigation


    • Audi's CEO found to not have any knowledge of the software cheat, while the r&d boss says good-bye.

    It has been a mixed few days at Audi. Last Friday, sources told Reuters that no evidence was found that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler knew about the illegal cheating software. Stadler was questioned earlier in the week by U.S. law firm Jones Day - the group brought in by Volkswagen to conduct an internal investigation. Stadler's questioning came around the same time as media reports saying that Audi was more entangled in the diesel emission scandal than previously thought.

    "Nothing burdensome against Stadler was found," said a source.

    Then on Monday, Audi's r&d head Stefan Knirsch stepped down from his post and left the company. As we reported last week , Knirsch reportedly knew about the illegal software and lied about under oath during an internal investigation. At the time, Knirsch was going to be suspended. In a statement, Audi said Knirsch would be leaving immediately. The company did not say the reason for his departure or who would take his place.

    Source: Reuters, 2

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    26 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Will get dirtier before cleaner.

    Ohhh absolutely yes.  Thank god GM is in the clear of this mess!

    ...although I think I should be thanking the invisible flying spaghetti monster for this....

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      Heinz-Jakob Neusser: from July 2013 until September 2015, Neusser worked for VW as head of Development for VW Brand and was also on the management board for VW Brand. From October 2011 until July 2013, Neusser served as the head of Engine Development for VW. Jens Hadler: from May 2007 until March 2011, Hadler worked for VW as head of Engine Development for VW. Richard Dorenkamp: from 2003 until December 2013, Dorenkamp worked for VW as the head of VW’s Engine Development After-Treatment Department in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 2006 until 2013, Dorenkamp led a team of engineers that developed the first diesel engine that was designed to meet the new, tougher emissions standards in the United States. Bernd Gottweis: from 2007 until October 2014, Gottweis worked for VW as a supervisor with responsibility for Quality Management and Product Safety. Oliver Schmidt: from 2012 through February 2015, Schmidt was the General Manager in charge of the Environment and Engineering Office, located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. From February 2015 through September 2015, Schmidt returned to VW headquarters to work directly for Neusser, including on emissions issues. Jürgen Peter: Peter worked in the VW Quality Management and Product Safety Group from 1990 until the present. From March 2015 until July 2015, Peter was one of the VW liaisons between the regulatory agencies and VW. According to the charging documents and statement of facts filed with the court, in 2006, VW engineers began to design a new diesel engine to meet stricter U.S. emissions standards that would take effect by model year 2007. This new engine would be the cornerstone of a new project to sell diesel vehicles in the United States that would be marketed to buyers as “clean diesel,” a project that was an important strategic goal for VW’s management. When the co-conspirators realized that they could not design a diesel engine that would both meet the stricter NOx emissions standards and attract sufficient customer demand in the U.S. market, they decided they would use a software function to cheat standard U.S. emissions tests.
      VW engineers working under Dorenkamp and Hadler designed and implemented a software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or it was being driven on the road under normal driving conditions. The software accomplished this by recognizing the standard published drive cycles. Based on these inputs, if the vehicle’s software detected that it was being tested, the vehicle performed in one mode, which satisfied U.S. NOx emissions standards. If the software detected that the vehicle was not being tested, it operated in a different mode, in which the vehicle’s emissions control systems were reduced substantially, causing the vehicle to emit NOx up to 40 times higher than U.S. standards.
      Disagreements over the direction of the project were articulated at a meeting over which Hadler presided, and which Dorenkamp attended. Hadler authorized Dorenkamp to proceed with the project knowing that only the use of the defeat device software would enable VW diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emissions tests. Starting with the first model year 2009 of VW’s new “clean diesel” engine through model year 2016, Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler and their co-conspirators installed, or caused to be installed, the defeat device software into the vehicles imported and sold in the United States. In order to sell their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States, the co-conspirators lied to the EPA about the existence of their test-cheating software, hiding it from the EPA, CARB, VW customers and the U.S. public. Dorenkamp, Neusser, Hadler, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators then marketed, and caused to be marketed, VW diesel vehicles to the U.S. public as “clean diesel” and environmentally-friendly.
      Around 2012, hardware failures developed in certain of the diesel vehicles. VW engineers believed the increased stress on the exhaust system from being driven in the “dyno mode” could be the cause of the hardware failures. In July 2012, VW engineers met with Neusser and Gottweis to explain what they believed to be the cause of the hardware failures and explained the defeat device. Gottweis and Neusser each encouraged further concealment of the software. In 2014, the co-conspirators perfected their cheating software by starting the vehicle in “street mode,” and, when the defeat device realized the vehicle was being tested, switching to the “dyno mode.” To increase the ability of the vehicle’s software to recognize that it was being tested on the dynamometer, the VW engineers activated a “steering wheel angle recognition feature.” With these alterations, it was believed the stress on the exhaust system would be reduced because the engine would not be operating for as long in “dyno mode.” The new function was installed in existing vehicles through software updates. The defendants and other co-conspirators falsely represented, and caused to be represented, to U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and others that the software update was intended to improve durability and emissions issues in the vehicles when, in fact, they knew it was used to more quickly deactivate emission control systems when the vehicle was not undergoing emissions tests.
      After years of VW selling their “clean diesel” vehicles in the United States that had the cheating software, in March 2014, West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions published the results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The ICCT study identified substantial discrepancies in the NOx emissions from certain VW vehicles when tested on the road compared to when these vehicles were undergoing EPA and CARB standard drive cycle tests on a dynamometer. Rather than tell the truth, VW employees, including Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter, pursued a strategy to disclose as little as possible – to continue to hide the existence of the software from U.S. regulators, U.S. customers and the U.S. public.
      Following the ICCT study, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, attempted to work with VW to determine the cause for the higher NOx emissions in VW diesel vehicles when being driven on the road as opposed to on the dynamometer undergoing standard emissions test cycles. To do this, CARB, in coordination with the EPA, repeatedly asked VW questions that became increasingly more specific and detailed, and tested the vehicles themselves. In implementing their strategy of disclosing as little as possible, Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt, Peter and their co-conspirators provided EPA and CARB with testing results, data, presentations and statements in an attempt to make it appear that there were innocent mechanical and technological problems to blame, while secretly knowing that the primary reason for the discrepancy was their cheating software that was installed in every VW diesel vehicle sold in the United States. The co-conspirators continued this back-and-forth with the EPA and CARB for over 18 months, obstructing the regulators’ attempts to uncover the truth.
      The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
      The case was investigated by the FBI and EPA-CID. The prosecution and corporate investigation are being handled by Securities and Financial Fraud Unit Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys David Fuhr, Alison Anderson, Christopher Fenton and Gary Winters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section; Trial Attorney Jennifer Blackwell of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Criminal Division Chief Mark Chutkow and White Collar Crime Unit Chief John K. Neal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Wyse. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also assisted in the case. The Justice Department also extends its thanks to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Braunschweig, Germany.
      The Civil Resolutions:
      The first civil settlement resolves EPA’s remaining claims against six VW-related entities (including Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Porsche AG) currently pending in the multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California. EPA’s complaint alleges that VW violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 cars that the United States alleges are equipped with defeat devices and, during normal operation and use, emit pollution significantly in excess of EPA-compliant levels. VW has agreed to pay $1.45 billion to resolve EPA’s civil penalty claims, as well as the civil penalty claim of CBP described below. The consent decree resolving the Clean Air Act claims also resolves EPA’s remaining claim in the complaint for injunctive relief to prevent future violations by requiring VW to undertake a number of corporate governance reforms and perform in-use testing of its vehicles using a portable emissions measurement system of the same type used to catch VW’s cheating in the first place. Today’s settlement is in addition the historic $14.7 billion settlement that addressed the 2.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in June 2016, and $1 billion settlement that addressed the 3.0 liter cars on the road and associated environmental harm announced in December 2016, which together included nearly $3 billion for environmental mitigation projects.
      A second civil settlement resolves civil fraud claims asserted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) against VW entities. VW entities violated criminal and civil customs laws by knowingly submitting to CBP material false statements and omitting material information, over multiple years, with the intent of deceiving or misleading CBP concerning the admissibility of vehicles into the United States. CBP enforces U.S. customs laws as well as numerous laws on behalf of other governmental agencies related to health, safety, and border security. At the time of importation, VW falsely represented to CBP that each of the nearly 590,000 imported vehicles complied with all applicable environmental laws, knowing those representations to be untrue. CBP’s relationship with the importing community is one based on trust, and this resolution demonstrates that CBP will not tolerate abrogation of importer responsibilities and schemes to defraud the revenue of the United States. The $1.45 billion paid under the EPA settlement also resolves CBP’s claims.
      In a third settlement, VW has agreed to pay $50 million in civil penalties for alleged violations of FIRREA. The Justice Department alleged that a VW entity supported the sales and leasing of certain VW vehicles, including the defeat-device vehicles, by offering competitive financing terms by purchasing from dealers certain automobile retail installment contracts (i.e. loans) and leases entered into by customers that purchased or leased certain VW vehicles, as well as dealer floorplan loans. These financing arrangements were primarily collateralized by the vehicles underlying the loan and lease transactions. The department alleged that certain of these loans, leases and floorplan financings were pooled together to create asset-backed securities and that federally insured financial institutions purchased certain notes in these securities. Today’s FIRREA resolution is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to deter wrongdoers from using the financial markets to facilitate their fraud and to ensure the stability of the nation’s financial system.
      Except where based on admissions by VW, the claims resolved by the civil agreements are allegations only.
      The civil settlements were handled by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with assistance from the EPA; the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch; and CBP.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Previous Page Next Page Coming for Spring 2017, Audi took the covers off the updated SQ5 for the 2018 model year.  The primary changes are a more powerful 3.0T engine producing 354 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, enabling the SQ5 to get to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. 
      Further enhancing the driving feel is a new lighter weight suspension featuring a 5-link setup in the front. Available for the first time is a height adjustable air suspension allowing the driver to select a lower mode for sporty driving or a raised mode when additional ground clearance is needed. 
      2018 SQ5 models will also get an available dynamic steering setup that varies steering ratio depending on speed and driver setting.
      Audi Press Release on Page 2
       
      The perfect balance of performance and functionality, all-new 2018 Audi SQ5 makes world debut at NAIAS
       
       
       
      ·        The all-new SQ5 with 3.0-liter TFSI® engine produces 354 hp and sprints from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds
      ·        Available for the first time with an adaptive air suspension, which allows for ride height and firmness adjustability, enabling a more dynamic drive
      ·        The high-performance, sporty variant rounds out the Q5 family and will be available Spring 2017
       
       
       
      HERNDON, Virginia, January 9, 2017 – With increased power, a new turbocharged V6 engine and a more progressive, sporty design, the all-new Audi SQ5 makes its global debut at the North American International Auto Show. New for 2018, the second-generation SQ5 offers a full suite of available driver assistance systems and advanced infotainment features, combined with a dynamic driving experience, to set a new standard in the luxury performance crossover segment.
       
       
       
      2018 Audi SQ5
      Featuring an all-new 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine, the Audi SQ5 produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, between a broad 1370 – 4500 rpm range. The eight-speed tiptronic® transmission is well suited for the low-end torque of the turbocharged V6 and its eight gears provide quick, smooth shifts. 
      Every Audi SQ5 is standard-equipped with quattro® all-wheel drive, offering high-precision and dynamic handling through active torque distribution to both axles. As part of the available S sport package, the SQ5 with quattro® sport rear differential can offer an even more dynamic driving experience by actively splitting torque between the wheels of the rear axle, with the ability to direct nearly all torque to one wheel, helping maximize driving dynamics.
       
       
       
      CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
      For 2018, a newly developed front and rear suspension allows for both a sporty driving experience and more comfortable ride for long distances. The new front five-link suspension with lightweight construction offers greater steering precision and excellent handling through optimized steering-rack placement direct at wheel centers. 
      The available S sport package also includes, for the first time on the SQ5, a sport adaptive air suspension, which lowers vehicle height by 30 mm (when in auto mode) compared to the standard adaptive suspension. The air suspension system allows for adjustment of both the ride height and the firmness of the dampers, and is controllable via the standard Audi drive select. 
      Along with the standard four drive select modes – comfort, auto, dynamic and individual – the available sport adaptive air suspension also adds both an allroad and a lift/offroad mode, which raise the air suspension for increased ground clearance when needed. 
      Also available on 2018 SQ5 models is dynamic steering, which offers a variable steering ratio that adjusts based on vehicle speed and the Audi drive select setting. At higher driving speeds, dynamic steering helps to improve straight-line stability, and at lower driving speeds, a more direct steering ratio is utilized to help increase steering response for easy maneuvering.
       
       
       
      DESIGN
      The 2018 SQ5 mirrors the Q5’s distinctive Audi “Q” SUV design language, with a flat, coupe-like roof line coupled with a strong, wave-design shoulder line and pronounced wheel arches which emphasize the standard quattro® all-wheel drive. 
      The SQ5 is characteristically recognized by its sporty design differentiators including a platinum gray Singleframe® grille with aluminum optic double horizontal blade bars, aluminum optic exterior side mirrors, and S model rear roof spoiler. Sculpted, three-dimensional LED headlights flow in harmony with the clamshell hood to the wider horizontal rear of the vehicle and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals. 
      The interior offers improved space compared to the previous generation, with more rear legroom and shoulder room, as well as increased cargo capacity with the second row seats folded down. The SQ5 is also standard equipped with a three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel, sport front seats with available diamond stitching, standard matte brushed aluminum inlays or available carbon atlas inlays and standard stainless steel door sill inlays with S badging. The asymmetrical center console of the interior creates a driver-focused cockpit while a small number of controls with expanded functionality helps bring a greater ease of operation into the SQ5. 
       
       
       
      INFOTAINMENT & DRIVER ASSISTANCE
      The new SQ5 also offers advanced infotainment options including MMI® touch® with handwriting-recognition technology, Bang & Olufsen® sound system with 3D sound and standard Audi smartphone interface, which provides Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto integration. Also available is the Audi virtual cockpit, which helps make viewing and navigating via the large Google Earth™ images supported with 4G LTE (where available) easier on the driver’s eyes. Unique to SQ5, the virtual cockpit features a “sport” display mode, which brings the tachometer and speedometer to the front and center of the display and adds a boost gauge and lap timer. Also available is a full-color head-up display which projects relevant driving information directly in the driver’s field of vision. 
      In addition to infotainment and connectivity features, the SQ5’s advanced driver assistance systems are designed to help drivers navigate the road and traffic with increased confidence. Standard Audi pre sense® city, an automatic emergency braking system, can help detect stationary vehicles and pedestrians, and if necessary, initiate full braking at speeds of up to 52 mph when a potential collision is detected. Standard Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housing and includes rear cross traffic assist, which supports the driver when reversing out of perpendicular space, and pre sense rear which helps monitor the traffic following the vehicle. 
      Also available is adaptive cruise control with stop & go automatically maintains distance from the vehicle in front, including braking and accelerating. Between 0-40 mph, traffic jam assist combines acceleration, braking and steering guidance, which can help decrease the stress of driving in congested traffic.
       
       
      Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted. 
      Driver assistance system availability and some available options may differ at launch. Driver assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details, and important limitations. 
      Audi connect should only be used when it is safe and appropriate. Audi connect services and features are optional, provided with the support of authorized affiliated and third party service providers, and may require additional subscriptions with separate terms and conditions. Services are subject to change, and Google Earth and Street view services may not be available after December 2017.  Certain services collect location information, see Terms of Service for information about how to disable and for other details. 
      2018 EPA estimates not available at time of publication. See www.fueleconomy.gov for updated information. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors including your driving habits and vehicle condition.
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