Audi has been fined €800m (approximately £703 million) for its involvement in the Volkswagen Group’s Dieselgate scandal.
The German firm was investigated over claims that versions of its V6 and V8 diesel engines contained cheat software, used to bypass European emissions regulations.
This is a separate offence from the four-cylinder diesel engines originally discovered to be cheating emissions laws back in 2015, developed by parent company Volkswagen and also heavily used across the Audi, SEAT and Skoda ranges.
The fine by Munich’s public prosecutor is made up of €5m (circa £4m) as a maximum penalty for ‘negligent regulatory offences’ – or the brand’s failure to discover the cheating software itself – and €795m (circa £699m) as payment for the economic benefits the brand had from selling the cheating vehicles.
In a statement, Audi said: “Following thorough investigation, Audi accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. By doing so, Audi admits its responsibility for the deviations from the regulatory requirements.”
The fine will “significantly” affect Audi’s financial targets for the 2018 fiscal year, the company said. It means, though, that parent company the VW Group now faces one less set of legal proceedings.
No end in sight for Dieselgate saga
The Dieselgate scandal first broke in 2015 when it was revealed that Volkswagen had been putting ‘defeat devices’ into millions of cars to cheat emissions tests. It was fined €1 billion (circa £880m) four months ago over the scandal.
Audi’s ousted chief executive Rupert Stadler is awaiting trial for his involvement in ‘dieselgate’. He is one of several executives from the VW Group facing court cases, including former chief executive Martin Winterkorn. Charges include fraud and false advertising.
In addition, the group is fighting a lawsuit against investors who believe they were not informed about the crisis and lost money. Group actions are also in progress in several European countries, including the UK, with owners of affected cars pushing the company to offer compensation as it has done in the USA.