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VW Admits Audi Software ‘Distorts Emissions’ While Also Billing it as a Feature

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As U.S. and European authorities gear-up for another round of investigations, Volkswagen confirmed Audi did produce cars equipped with software that can distort emission test results. Although VW was careful not to be too committal in its wording, hinting at it being a handy driver’s assist instead of a defeat device.

This must be a great time to be a corporate lawyer.

Reuters reports VW admitted to Audi’s emissions-influencing software, discovered by the California Air Resources Board over the summer.

Last week, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag broke the news that CARB discovered emissions cheating software in an older Audi model unrelated to the device that kicked off last year’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. The news this time wasn’t so much that VW had a new defeat device, but that it kept installing it on Audi vehicles months after the initial emissions scandal became public knowledge.

The Board’s discovery linked the Audi software to an idle steering wheel that altered the shift program in certain Audi models with automatic transmissions. The software essentially allows the car to detect testing conditions and alter the shift pattern to decrease carbon dioxide and nitric oxide output.

In a response published in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Volkswagen admitted, “Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results” in a testing environment.

“In normal use, these adaptive systems support the driver by adjusting the gear-shifting points to best adapt to each driving situation.

“Audi has explained the technical backgrounds of adaptive shift programs to the [German] Federal Motor Vehicle Authority and has made available technical information,” VW continued, noting there will be more talks commissioned by the German government and VW will conduct its own investigation.

Interviews include a renewed interest in Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, who will be returning to speak with U.S. law firm Jones Day. Commissioned by the supervisory boards of VW Group and Audi to investigate the diesel-emissions scandal, Jones Day initially gave Stadler a clear bill of health. However, in the wake of a secondary scandal focusing around Audi, Automotive News says the CEO is wanted for more questioning.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also wants a federal judge to allow the agency to take additional testimony from Volkswagen Group over recent allegations the German automaker intentionally destroyed documents relating to the company’s diesel emissions scandal.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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