Audi hit with €800m in penalties over diesel emissions scandal

Emissions test on a VW

Image Audi is part of the VW group which also contains the Seat and Skoda brands in its stable

German premium vehicle brand Audi, a division of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), said it was fined 800 million euros ($927 million) on Tuesday for violations tied to heavily polluting six- and eight-cylinder diesel engines.

In September 2015, parent company Volkswagen admitted rigging some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software that enabled them to pass USA emissions tests even though emissions in real driving were much higher.

In total, the case dealt with nearly five million cars worldwide built between 2004 and 2018.

The Munich II public prosecutor had been investigating the Volkswagen Group brand over claims that certain versions of the firm's V6 and V8 diesel engines breached requirements relating to "emissions service" and "power engine approval". The European Environmental Agency estimated that nitrogen oxides were responsible for around 75,000 premature deaths in the European Union in 2014.

German prosecutors said their fine reflected neglect by Audi management between 2004 and 2018 and, particularly, the extent of the economic gains enjoyed by the company through the cheating.

The penalty comes on top of total costs in fines, recalls, refits and buybacks of over €27 billion that the parent Volkswagen had to pay out over the dieselgate scandal. Sales executive Bram Schot is acting as interim CEO. Two Volkswagen executives were sent to prison in the US.

Prosecutors said the failure of proper corporate oversight by Audi AG enabled deliberate wrongdoing by individuals.

Audi said the fine would have an impact on its annual earnings.

The company said in response: "Audi accepts the fine and, by doing so, admits its responsibility".

VW was fined for developing and selling polluting four-cylinder engines, while prosecutors in Munich at the time said they were examining whether to impose similar fines on Audi.

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