Former Audi CEO Will Make Dieselgate Confession To Avoid Prison

Industry News / 6 Comments

This is how Rupert Stadler will avoid more prison time.

Audi's ex-CEO, Rupert Stadler, is reportedly set to confess his role in the Dieselgate scandal to avoid going to prison and will pay a $1.21 million fine, according to Reuters.

Stadler, fired from the Volkswagen Group's premium brand in 2018, has reportedly worked out a deal with prosecutors who accused him of deliberately manipulating diesel engines so that they complied with emissions laws when undergoing testing. The real-world emissions were very different.

Prosecutors also accuse Stadler of failing to stop the sale of affected vehicles in Europe, even after US authorities discovered what was happening. Despite being Audi's CEO from 2007, Stadler maintained his innocence, stated that he was unaware of the engine rigging, and blamed everything on the engineers.

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Audi was at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal, which was exposed in September 2015, because it was the division that designed and developed those engines that made their way to several VWs, including the Golf.

If Stadler had not worked out a deal with prosecutors, he likely would have been imprisoned for 1.5 to two years. That sentence will be suspended only if he confesses. What will he have to say?

That information is not available at this time, but Stadler's statement is expected in two weeks, and that may still not be enough for the judge presiding over the case. The judge will determine whether Stadler's statement is truly a full confession or little more than another attempt to blame others.

The brand's former engineering chief, Wolfgang Hatz, recently pleaded guilty to his part in the scandal. Another engineer, known only as Henning L, turned state's witness.

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Dieselgate changed the automotive industry forever, with settlement funds now directed toward electric vehicles and the necessary infrastructure, such as charging networks. Electrify America, a subsidiary of VW, is one direct result.

Stadler was in prison for nearly a year following his departure from Audi but was later released. A sincere confession is the only for him to avoid going back.

The VW Group paid dearly for its actions financially and in its public image. Part of its settlement with the US government was to buy back over 500,000 vehicles powered by the 2.0-liter oil burner. The German automaker was also forced to buy back around 100,000 other cars equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6. VW and Audi are now very different automakers with new leadership, but the sins of their past have not entirely gone away.

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