German publication Handelsblatt reported that some Audi documents that were found during a raid of the German automaker’s office last March explain why thousands of vehicles are being exported to China, Korea or Japan. Apparently, the vehicles that are being exported to Asia have duplicate VINs.
As we all know, a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN) is a unique combination of 17-digit numbers that are assigned to every vehicle. With a VIN, it will be easier for one to track the vehicle throughout its lifetime. The general rule that the European Union and German laws implemented is for every car to have its own unique VIN. It is only this car that can have this number for at least 30 years, and it cannot be duplicated or transferred to another model.
After the raid, an Audi spokesperson said in an interview with the German business journal that they were not aware of the duplicated VIN number that have been assigned to more than one car.
The reason for the raid was because investigators were searching for papers that were related to the Dieselgate scandal that affected the Volkswagen Group two years ago. And in June, Audi was accused of also cheating diesel emission regulations by the German Transportation Authority, pointing at the 2009 to 2013 models of the A7 and A8.
Naturally, Audi defended its name saying that there’s no reason to produce vehicles and assign them the same VIN. They said that they are currently working with a Chinese firm through a joint venture where they produce and assemble vehicles. Furthermore, the German automaker added that the Chinese market has a thing for imported Audis.
Whether or not investigators find out the reason why Audi will produce duplicate VINs, the documents really do not look good. The fact that Audi was already accused of disobeying emission regulations already makes them look bad. This also means that investigators will really look into the paperwork to look for other illegal acts. But as of now, the duplicated VIN issues are only based on paperwork, and so far, investigators have not found an actual duplicate VIN vehicle just yet. Let us hope that these are just errors that were made on the documents.
Imagine you as a kid; your parents snoop through your things while you’re away. And instead of finding something bottles of alcohol hidden somewhere, they’ll find cash, drugs and passports of you with different aliases and nationalities. Basically, what we are trying to say is that not because evidence was found in your hands, it does not necessarily mean that you are an international drug dealer.