German prosecutors are probing Porsche over fraud and false advertising related to emissions scandal

Article by Christian A., on July 15, 2017

The so-called Dieselgate scandal may not be over after all, as carmakers – and their respective officials -- under the Volkswagen Group are still under fire from different government authorities. Just recently, it turned out that the office of the prosecutor in Stuttgart, Germany is placing under investigation a number of employees at German sports car maker Porsche AG and its subsidiary in the United States.

Due to their connection with the diesel engine emission scandal, some employees of sports car maker and its US arm are being probed by German prosecutors for fraud and false advertising. Stuttgart prosecutor Jan Holzner said in a statement that grounds have been established that these employees might have committed fraud and false advertising. Holzner didn’t furnish more details about the investigation.

As for Porsche, the German sports car maker said it was fully cooperating with German authorities, adding it had had proactively contacted prosecutors even before the authorities launched a formal probe.

In June, German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported the Germany’s KBA motor transport agency believes that Porsche was using steering wheel movements to detect when its vehicles are being tested for emissions. Once the cheating device detects test cycle, it would retune the engine to emit less harmful emissions. Interestingly, it was believed that both diesel and gasoline engines were implemented with this cheat mechanism. Porsche has denied the allegations.

Being a part of the VW Group, Porsche has a number of models powered by the emissions-cheating 3.0-liter TDI V6 diesel engines from Audi, also a member of the VW family. Among the VW Group models powered by the 3.0-liter TDI V6 engine (Generation 2) are the VW Toureg (model years 2013 to 2016), Audi Q7 (MY 2013 to 2015), Porsche Cayenne (MY 2013 to 2016), and Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5 (MY 2014 to 2016).

Audi, meanwhile, is embroiled in a separate probe being conducted by prosecutors in Munich, this time about the German premium carmaker’s role in designing the 3.0-liter TDI diesel engine. Audi also remains on the hot seat in the United States, where a former manager was recently charged by Justice Department with fraud for his alleged role in abetting VW in cheating emissions standard.

According to the Justice Department, Giovanni Pamio was part of Audi’s diesel-engine development department in Neckarsulm, Germany, and was responsible for directing Audi employees to install cheating software on its diesel engines after realizing that it was impossible to calibrate the mill to comply with US emissions standards within the carmaker’s design constraints. He was charged of conspiring to defraud US regulators and consumers as the concerned Audi vehicles were marketed as "clean diesel," although in reality they fail to comply with emissions standards.

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