Audi Insists Newly Revealed TDI "Defeat Device" Software Doesnt Equal More Wrongdoing

Audi Insists Newly Revealed TDI

alexander herold/audi
  • audi has told german federal officials that it used more software to lower emissions readings on its 3.0-liter tdi engine than had previously been known.
  • however, the automaker insists that this does not mean these were illegally used as additional "defeat devices" of the kind made familiar in parent company volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.
  • none of the involved vehicles were sold in the united states.

    audi is currently facing a boatload of issues as part of its entanglement in the vw group's diesel scandal. the company's lineup has been severely diminished, and it is currently dealing with several recalls as part of settlements with state prosecutors and germany's federal transportation agency, kba.

    this week, more bad news emerged: german trade newspaper handelsblatt and public broadcaster bayerischer rundfunk revealed that one of the eight recall settlements audi agreed to execute includes more software elements than previously known. what's important to you is: no u.s. models are affected.

    the main function targeted by this recall, which pertains to audi's v-6 tdi engine, is a thermal function designed to ensure the vehicle's nox filter, which needs high temperatures, works both at low and high loads. it was classified as a "defeat device." but as part of this recall, audi has alerted the authorities of three further software functions which regulate emissions. the software elements had not been detected or problematized, but audi chose to bring them up voluntarily as part of its approach to put everything on the table that could even remotely be construed to be problematic in the future.

    the company alerted the kba and proposed eliminating the software elements as part of a comprehensive reflashing of the vehicles' software. says audi: "as part of the technical clarification of the diesel crisis, audi ag has analyzed the relevant diesel engines and has continuously communicated on the results of the analysis with the federal motor transport authority (kba)." the authorities followed audi's reasoning and told the carmaker to go ahead and remove the functions. they were not classified as "defeat devices" and no separate recall was required.

    it doesn't sound like a scandal to us, but the discussion is the last thing audi needs as it already faces a difficult time ahead. before the end of the year, we expect to see former audi ceo rupert stadler and former vw group engine guru wolfgang hatz in front of a tribunal conducted by prosecutors and courts in munich. perhaps the purpose of the latest leak is to increase the pressure to come to a harsher verdict. and it surely is a message to the kba to pursue an even tougher stance.

    meanwhile, audi is confident that its own problems are solved. recently, the brand launched several new diesel models for the europe market, including the s6 and s7 tdi with 3.0-liter diesel engines and the sq8 tdi with a 4.0-liter diesel v-8. both engines are fitted with a 48-volt hybrid system similar to what we get in the audi a8. despite the distractions, the diesel story continues.

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