Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler charged over Dieselgate scandal

Published: 31 July 2019

► Ex-Audi CEO Rupert Stadler charged
► Offences including false certification
► Abraham Schot continues as CEO 

Former Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has been charged by prosectors in Germany for his part in the Dieselgate emissions scandal that's rocked the German - and global - car industry.

The public prosecutor's office said that Stadler is charged with false certification and criminal advertising practices; three other unnamed defendants are accused of developiong engines used by Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche that contained so-called cheat devices to manipulate emissions in laboratory tests. 

'Stadler is accused of having been aware of the manipulations since the end of September 2015, at the latest, but he did not prevent the sale of affected Audi and VW vehicles thereafter,' prosecutors said in a statement. 

The former golden boy of the VW empire has been held in custody during the drawn-out investigation. He denies any wrongdoing and the case continues.

Bram Schot replaced Rupert Stadler in June 2018

Bram Schot Audi CEO

When Stadler was first implicated in the emissions scandal last summer, Audi quickly appointed Abraham Schot as caretaker chairman. Schot (pictured above, far left) had been sales and marketing chief of Audi since September 2017.

In a statement, Audi head office said: 'Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was taken into custody at the request of the Munich II Public Prosecutor’s Office on 18 June 2018. Stadler has requested that the Supervisory Board release him from his position in the Board of Management of Audi AG and in the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. The Supervisory Boards of Volkswagen and Audi have complied with Stadler’s request to release him from his duties. This release applies temporarily, until the circumstances that led to his arrest have been clarified.'

VW emissions scandal: an explainer

Audi and the diesel emissions crisis

In September 2015 Volkswagen, the parent company of Audi, first admitted to fitting devices to its cars to cheat diesel emissions tests. The car maker installed the software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide, including 1.2 million in the UK - meaning the vehicles knew when they were being tested and cut their emissions accordingly, to meet targets artificially.

But that number has proved fluid. VW went on to admit an additional 60,000 Audi A6 and A7 models with diesel engines had a defeat device - on top of the 850,000 recalled in 2017. 

The scandal has so far cost the VW group more than €25 billion (£22bn) in buybacks, fines and compensation.

By CAR's road test team

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