Four senior officials at Audi have been indicted in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, accused of using devices to cheat on emissions tests with several different vehicle models.
The scheme is similar to one that federal officals say was run by Audi's parent company Volkswagen.
Richard Bauder, Axel Eisner, Stefan Knirsch and Carsten Nagel are all named in an indictment that alleges Conspiracy to Defraud the United State, to Commit Wire Fraud, and to Violate the Clean Air Act, six counts of Violation of the Clean Air Act, and 5 counts of Wire Fraud.
According to the indictment, Audi used "defeat devices" to spoof emission testing after standards were raised with the 2009 model year. The devices allowed the vehicle to pass both Federal and California emissions tests, allowing them to be sold in the United States.
The devices would recognize when a test was being performed and reduce the emissions from the diesel engines during the testing. The emissions would then return to their normal elevated levels once the vehicle's system determined the testing was over
According to the federal government, the vehicles involved in the scheme are the 2009-2015 VW Touareg, the 2009-2015 Audi Q7, the 2014-2015 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2014-2015 Audi A 7 Quattro, the 2014-2015 Audi A8L and the 2014-2015 Audi Q5. All of the models have diesel engines.
Audi's parent company Volkswagen was hit with a similary emission scandal following a notice of a suspected violation fo the Clean Air Act in 2015. The company ends up buying back hundreds of thousands of cars and paying several billion dollars in fines.