Curiously, no VW brand CEO has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.
Just when we all thought the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal was beginning to subside, it’s back in the news again, and this time it specifically targets Audi. According to Automotive News, Audi "has fired four engineers from its diesel division," including the former chief of engine development, Ulrich Weiss. The other three engineers were not named, but one of them was the now former head of emissions in the US.
Weiss has actually been on paid leave for the past year and a half, however, his termination comes only a few days after he told a German labor court that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler "was made aware of illegal software installed in cars as early as 2012." For his part, Stadler claimed he wasn’t aware of the software until the scandal broke in September 2015. Audi claims it fired Weiss along with the three others for "gross breach of duty," but the timing of the firing, especially that of Weiss, is what makes this whole thing stink. And, for the record, several former VW executives, including retired CEO Martin Winterkorn, haven’t been charged for anything Dieselgate related.
Winterkorn was questioned again last month by the German government, but so far no cover-up charges have been filed. Also in January, the US Justice Department indicted six VW executives for their part in the scandal and are facing conspiracy to defraud the United States and American consumers as well as for being in violation of the Clean Air Act. Still though, a CEO, former or current, for any of VW’s brands who was on the job while those defeat devices were still unknown to the public, has yet to face any charges. Based on Weiss’s testimony, it’s possible Stadler could be the first.