Investigators are still hard at work trying to figure out exactly how Volkswagen tricked automotive authorities everywhere with a diesel emissions cheat device installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide. According to a German newspaper, the whole scandal started out not at Volkswagen, but at Audi.
That's the word from Handelsblatt, a German news outlet, . The report claims that the device at the center of the scandal was engineered at Audi back in 1999.
According to Handelsblatt, engineers at Audi developed software that could turn emissions control devices on or off, depending on whether a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing or being driven on public roads. This "defeat device" was never used by Audi, Handelsblatt reports.
But six years later, engineers at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters found themselves unable to get the nitrogen oxide emissions of certain TDI diesel engines below the legally-mandated threshold. Thus, according to the German newspaper, VW began installing the Audi-developed emissions cheating software into diesel-powered production cars.
Handelsblatt's full report will be published tomorrow.
This information could prove valuable to government investigators, who are still working to determine who at VW Group was involved in the decision to knowingly build cars that emit up to 40 times the legal limit of pollutants in normal driving, but still pass government tailpipe tests. Meanwhile, Volkswagen's internal report on the matter, originally scheduled for a shareholder meeting this week, has been postponed until June, and it's highly unlikely that the automaker will meet the April 21st deadline to propose a fix for U.S. owners of emissions-cheating TDI vehicles.