If you thought this tangled web of deceit and lies that is the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal could not go any further, then you would be wrong.
German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag reports that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found illegal software on certain Audi models that would reduce CO2 emissions during lab tests. The software monitored the position of the steering wheel and would activate a special program in the automatic transmission if the wheel didn't move more than 15 degrees - signifying it was in the lab. CARB technicians, taking the lessons of the Volkswagen investigation, began turning the wheel during the lab test to simulate being driven on the road, thus revealing the cheat. Bild doesn't say where they got this information from. but the Wall Street Journal was able to confirm this through two sources, saying this was discovered four months back. Another source revealed this cheat was discussed between Audi, Volkswagen, and CARB officials "some months ago".
What makes this cheat different than the one used on the 2.0L and 3.0L TDI engines is that this software was used on vehicles running gas or diesel. The transmission in question (known internally as AL 551) was used in a number of Audi vehicles such as the A6, A8, and Q5. Reuters says the software in question was used until May 2016, before CARB discovered it in an older Audi model.
This defeat device was also mentioned during an annual test drive of new vehicles in South Africa, known as 'Summer Drive" back in February 2013. Minutes of a meeting during the drive obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveals that Axel Eiser, the head of Audi’s powertrain division saying, The shifting program needs to be configured so that it runs at 100% on the treadmill but only 0.01% with the customer.”
These new allegations could put Audi and Volkswagen into a tougher spot in the U.S.