Audi CEO Rupert Stadler
VW's diesel scandal is far from over.
In the latest move on the political chessboard, German authorities arrested the head of VW's luxury division Audi at his home Monday morning according to a Reuters report. German authorities cited concerns that Stadler could obstruct their ongoing investigation into the diesel emissions cheating scandal. A German judge ordered Stadler held in custody to prevent him from obstructing or hindering the diesel investigation, the report said.
Audi and VW confirmed the arrest to Reuters and noted that under German law Stadler is presumed innocent unless proved otherwise.
2019 Audi e-tron electric SUV
Audi admitted two months after VW did that it had also installed cheat device software on its cars to fool emissions testing equipment to deliver clean readings on tests even though its cars actually emitted as much as 35 times more pollution than allowed on the road.
Although most of the attention to VW's emissions scandal has been focused on the U.S., where eight company officials have been charged, investigations are also ongoing in Germany, where the cars also failed to meet on-road emissions standards.
Stadler, the former chief of staff to VW's powerful former chairman Ferdinand Piech, had been handed the post as head of Audi in an effort to promote the automaker's transition to electric-car production. His arrest is likely to throw those restructuring efforts at VW into turmoil.
Audi announced in 2015 that it would develop a new all-electric SUV, the e-tron, and work to build a network of fast chargers around the United States to support the car. As part of a consent decree approved by the court, VW agreed to form a new division, Electrify America, to build a $2 billion network of fast chargers around the United States, and the Audi plan was rolled into that effort. Electrify America has now opened its first locations in the U.S. and laid out its plans for further expansion.