back to article Audi chief exec arrested over Dieselgate car emissions scandal

Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has been arrested in Germany over the software-enabled Dieselgate emissions scandal, according to reports. Stadler was arrested after a warrant was issued by a Munich prosecutor, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported, adding that his personal flat had been searched by fraud …

  1. Commswonk Silver badge
    Devil

    "Stadler was arrested..."

    Ach for you ze car is over...

  2. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So lets see....

    Dieselgate first came to light on ~ca. 2013. Some five years latter, should there be anything left to be found. Should be used against this moronic simpleton, to the full effect possible. As anyone (Hopefully with a Brain), would have done the proper thing. al-la Hillery, and would have bitbleached everything, the exact moment their number got into the que.

    And my my personal Residence would, likely have been the absolute last place I would care to store such Data in.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So lets see....

      Translation issues.

      I read the report earlier today in a few other places and languages. The reason is potential for witness tampering, not destruction of evidence.

      1. jonathan keith

        Re: So lets see....

        As the old saw goes, it's never the crime they get you for, it's the cover-up.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: So lets see....

          When the old saw goes, you get tetanus

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So lets see....

      "As anyone (Hopefully with a Brain), would have done the proper thing. al-la Hillery, and would have bitbleached everything, the exact moment their number got into the que."

      That's a big risk. If you don't every last bit of evidence, any remaining evidence then leads investigators to ask where the rest is. Like something as simple as an email reply on someone elses computer or still in the GMail cloud that includes something "bad". What happened to the rest of the chain? Destroying evidence is usually very much frowned upon.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: So lets see....

        Destroying evidence is usually very much frowned upon.

        Unless your name is Clinton.... That is...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So lets see....

          For fucks sake get over it - YOU WON THE ELECTION YOU FUCKING MORON!!!

  3. jpo234

    The reason is interesting: so far it's not about the original sin, e.g. developing the defeat device and lying to regulators. This is about the handling of the aftermath: Prosecutors claim that he did not immediately stop deliveries in Europe after the scandal broke and those knowingly allowed non-compliant cars to be sold.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Seems like a more resonable comp to me. But, with the livelyhoods of so many employees on the line. It wasn't like they could just halt all production, until they managed a leagl way to compliance. Which was what casued them to cheat in the first place.

      1. cosmogoblin

        Quite frankly, this is a pathetic argument - that obeying the law would put jobs at risk, so we shouldn't have to. It's been used plenty by truly nasty companies like the tobacco industry, and it flies as well as a penguin with lead boots.

        If you have to lay off employees to pay for the cleaning up of your criminal activities, the cost of their redundancy settlements is yours to bear. Perhaps whatever fines Germany and the EU level at Audi should go to compensate those harmed by their actions - for instance their employees, and anybody who bought an Audi, or breathed in the exhaust created by one.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          "Quite frankly, this is a pathetic argument - that obeying the law would put jobs at risk,"

          I'm fairly sure that there's not a single trading company that follows all laws. It's just too hard and there are too many grey areas.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            > I'm fairly sure that there's not a single trading company that follows all laws. It's just too hard and there are too many grey areas.

            There's a vast gulf between not following some obscure law/regulation to the letter, or skirting grey areas, and deliberate, intentional fraud.

            They deliberately developed a device (aka software) with the intention of circumventing well-known regulations, to sell more cars. This device would never have been developed if the regulations around emissions didn't exist and weren't well-understood in the first place.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      so far it's not about the original sin, e.g. developing the defeat device and lying to regulators.

      That is not even criminal offense in most jurisdiction. At most it can go under some obscure paragraph of fraud, but even that is not likely as regulatiory circumvention is punished with relatively low punishments.

      This is about the handling of the aftermath:

      Now this is juicy. Fraud of various shapes and sizes, perverting the course of justice, etc. You are looking at 7 years plus for most of these in most jurisdictions. So it is not surprising that the prosecution will concentrate on these.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    Gives new meaning to be between a rock and a hard place...

  5. m-k

    funny

    how there's been talk of "EVERYBODY'S DOING IT" well before that VW pimple broke. OMG, could it be that the "everybody" bit was ever true?! Nah, just one bad apple... ok, maybe two... or three... the rest are as shiny as polished... well ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: funny

      how there's been talk of "EVERYBODY'S DOING IT" well before that VW pimple broke. OMG, could it be that the "everybody" bit was ever true?! Nah, just one bad apple... ok, maybe two... or three... the rest are as shiny as polished... well ;)

      Well, not quite (and that's just one example, there are more). It was quite clear by the absence of noise from other car manufacturers that VW was simply the one that got caught, and the rest quickly started feverishly working on the problem before they too got caught.

      It's a bit like what is happening with GDPR - the reason you can hear tumbleweeds in that area is because there are so many companies playing fast and loose with personal data that nobody wants to stick their heads above the parapet and be made a very expensive example.

      1. Oneman2Many

        Re: funny

        I am going to guess that isn't true else VW wouldn't have emissions figures that were so far ahead of the other manufactures.

        Now if you are talking fuel consumption figures that is a different matter.

      2. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: funny

        Interesting aside: one Japanese truck firm bought out another -- and closed the diesel division. At the time there was an understanding that this was because diesel emission standards were "too difficult". Now it's clear how the other companies were meeting the "too difficult" standards.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: funny

          There's been enough time and motivation to test and expose any other company who set up their cars to switch mode when it detected test conditions.

          But there has been nothing much come out of it.

  6. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    Genuinely shocked that he didn't have enough money to get out of being remanded.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Genuinely shocked that he didn't have enough money to get out of being remanded."

      Would that even be possible under German law at this stage in the proceedings? Even if it were, given that, as per comments above, the charge is witness tampering, bail might not be allowed.

      1. lybad

        Isn't this the same country that allowed Bernie Ecclestone to pay a huge wad of cash to end a trial? So I guess, anything is possible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Isn't this the same country that allowed Bernie Ecclestone to pay a huge wad of cash to end a BRIBERY trial?

          FTFY

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Genuinely shocked that he didn't have enough money to get out of being remanded."

      By the sound of it, the prime reason for the arrest was the risk of evidence being disposed of. Allowing bail would negate that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd say he agreed with VW group HQ to be the scapegoat in return for a very comfortable retirement....

  7. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    Bureaucracy rules...

    Can anyone explain the "logic" behind emissions tests which require an infernal combustion engine - either petrol or diesel - to be stuck in a small area with no through-flow of air for cooling while the tester has to rev the guts out of it? Cos as well as no cooling (which isn't good for the car or the environment), there's also nothing moving all those nasty emissions away from the poor buggers doing the testing, and the (audio) volume in the enclosed space is not going to do their hearing much good either - they can't wear ear defenders as you need one to thrash the engine while another reads the test machine and the two need to be able to shout to each other...

    And shouldn't someone be liable to refund us for the fuel wasted whilst our vehicles are mistreated like this just so some pencil-neck can claim to care about the environment?

    1. Solarflare

      Re: Bureaucracy rules...

      ...what?

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy rules...

        ...what?

        HE SAID... wait, what? I see.

    2. Salestard

      Re: Bureaucracy rules...

      The MOT emissions point test is nothing to do with the VAG emissions dodge. (Which was a software mode enabling ultra-lean running to cheat through the Euro IV-VI emissions regs and others).

      But in answer to your questions;

      1) Cooling air not required, especially not for short duration tests

      2) Emission ducting is usually provided or accommodated for in the test area, or with a pipe attached to probe

      3) Noise - operator discretion. Most engines operate in a dB range well below that of an airgun or other machinery in use

      4) Fuel wasted by 2-3 minutes stationary revving.... unless you're driving a Mazda 787b on full qualifying settings, it will be miniscule.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy rules...

        "The MOT emissions point test is nothing to do with the VAG emissions dodge. (Which was a software mode enabling ultra-lean running to cheat through the Euro IV-VI emissions regs and others)."

        ...and, of course, their original explanation was this is a mode engaged when the car is stopped at junctions, traffic lights etc., not their fault that it also happened when in the test centres, no siree bob!

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Bureaucracy rules...

          original explanation was this is a mode engaged when the car is stopped at junctions, traffic lights etc.

          That's called stop-start and it's unlikely to be stopped during testing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bureaucracy rules...

        It would be interesting to know if the actual devices came from Bosch.

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy rules...

        Salestard +1

        Some relevant photographs here...

        https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/page/better-control-co2-emissions-road-transport-curb-climate-change-9332

        Where cooling air is needed, an air blower unit placed in front of the vehicle (see top row, 2nd from left and bottom row, in front of motorcycle).

        it is possible to determine a test scenario by looking at the speed of the non-driven wheels (via the abs sensors) which would be stationary as only the driven wheels will turn.

        https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/jrcsh/files/7200_hi-res.jpg

        Portable emissions equipment makes things harder to evade as all wheels are now turning...

        http://www.millbrook.co.uk/services/vehicle-emissions-testing-facility-powertrain/

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Vorsprung Durch Teknik

    updated marketing slogan...

    Vorsprung Durch Betrug

  9. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    What I find difficult to get my bonce around

    OK, so VW, with the might of its huge design & development teams couldn't come up with an engine that met emissions regs and resorted to fraud.

    Then the brown stuff hit the rotating object.

    All of a sudden, a "solution" was found, tested and rolled out. Not only that but the "fix" was, for most engines, a firmware tweak and, in the case of the 1.6tdi, adding an airflow control device (a plastic mesh) in the intake.

    Magically, that was all developed and rolled out in next to no time.

    One is given to wonder why, if it really was so simple, VW couldn't have got it right first time around

    Unless, that is, it wasn't possible to produce compliant engines that would not run a big, big risk of early EGR valve etc., failures - which seems to be exactly what is happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What I find difficult to get my bonce around

      > One is given to wonder why, if it really was so simple, VW couldn't have got it right first time around

      Apparently because the newly deployed fix turns the car performance to crap for drivers.

      If it had performed in this crap fashion when people did their test drives, there would have been less sales.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What I find difficult to get my bonce around

        You find it difficult to understand why they chose the cheaper more lucrative option?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What I find difficult to get my bonce around

        > Apparently because the newly deployed fix turns the car performance to crap for drivers.

        My VW 2.0 TDI performs seemingly exactly the same after the fix, so that's a questionable argument you're making.

        > Magically, that was all developed and rolled out in next to no time.

        I was told by a friend that's quite high up in one of VW's other car companies, that the fix apparently does almost exactly nothing at all. Sounds unlikely, given the opportunities for people to put the emissions to the test, but it would explain how they managed to perform the miraculous feat of engineering a solution via software in a matter of months, yet hadn't bothered to do it in the 6 or so years they've been running that engine model.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those still confused...

    Ref: Chaos Computer Club (CCC.de

    Event 32C3

    Dieselgate presentation

    Use Google

    Slides in PDF are on-line (about 71-pages).

    Video, search for 32C3 Dieselgate (a lovely explanation of the smoking gun, or tailpipe)

    What they found was that the test condition limits (distance vice time, as well as others) were hard coded into the VW program. If the conditions followed those lines, then the pollution controls were activated. If not, then not.

    Slide 64 of 71 is the punch line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For those still confused...

      Direct link (PDF) to the CCC presentation, in case it's helpful.

  11. I'm Dugly

    Mercedes BlueTec

    Back when this story made the news, I was curious as to why Mercedes needed the BlueTec solution to solve emission compliance, while VW et al only needed software. It was an engineering & design issue, so it seems engineers would have devised a somewhat similar solution.

    I had a GL320 and GL350 (not at the same time), and while diesel fuel consumption was decent, having to buy new BlueTec urea-based stuff as part of regular maintenance pretty much cancelled out the economies of diesel over gasoline.

    Wikipedia notes that "In February 2016, Mercedes-Benz was sued by private plaintiffs alleging BlueTec violates standards in a manner similar to the Volkswagen emissions scandal. On December 6, 2016 U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares threw out the lawsuit, finding the plaintiffs had alleged no standing." This doesn't explain if there was any merit to the claim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mercedes BlueTec

      The example given in the dieselgate presentation (ref CCC.de) was for a VW *with* the Adblue urea exhaust additive. The cheat code turned off the Adblue when not under precise test conditions, thus conserving fluid. I presume the cheat code did even more than that, but that was the key finding described in that presentation.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    Dieselgate first came to light on ~ca. 2013

    "Dieselgate first came to light on ~ca. 2013. Some five years latter, should there be anything left to be found."

    Take a look at the source code and find out the name(s) of the programmers who wrote it. Then ask them who told them to hack the code to generate false readings. If you see anyone hunched over a computer in a hoodie talking to his invisible friend, then it's probably one of 'em.

  13. G R Goslin

    My sympathies....

    My sympathies, to some extent lie with the manufacturers. Governments, generally not particularly gifted with intelligence, tend to enact laws, which are in conflict with the Natural Laws, on the basis that "You can always get round these, by research and design". As an example of this, I was once told that an American State (I've no idea whether this was true, or not), enacted a law declaring the the value of pi, would henceforth be 3, saving all those tedious calculations (Why they didn't pick 4, I've no idea, it would have been so much easier). The manufacturers were told, to make it like that. It's now the Law. The manufactures were also faced with other problems. More Laws stated that the cars must be more robust (heavier) to protect the occupants from the results of their actions, although not the unfortunate pedestrians/cyclists/etc they collided with. The buyers wanted more comfort (heavier), air conditioning, etc, etc.

    In my younger days (so many days ago), as part of my Ordinary National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, I did Heat Engines. Our lecturer, and he was a very good lecturer explained that the process of extracting mechanical power from combustion was largely a matter of creating a mass of hot gas and extracting the mecanical enrgy by cooling it down. The higher the temperature you get at the start and the lowest temperaturte at the end would determine the amount of energy you would get. Ther were natural Laws which determined how much of the available energy you could extract. The rest had to be discarded. And there was always a lot which had to be thrown away. Large installations, like power stations could theoretically use some of this for district heating and other uses, but since nobody wanted to be near a power staion, the resutlatnt heat in the medium of hot water, was usually too far from any possible use to be economic. The New York steam heating, so beloved of film makers was one of these, I believe.

    The lecturer told us that there were research projects into ceramic engines, capable of the required qualities at high temperatures. Later I went to work for Ruston and Hornsby, who did just that. They did not have a ceramic engine, but developed one which ran at much higher temperatures, and therefore extracted more power . It worked fine with pure fuels (Distillate fuels), but when they extended it to the more common residual oils, it failed. The wear rate under the high temperatures and the heavy metal contaminents in the fuel, was horrendous, and the project failed, and with it the Company.

    The auto manufacturers, presumably left to their own devices to compile the test schedules, did what so, so many organisations have done throughout the history. They wrote the schedules to comply with the letter of the Law. Look back to all those road tests and fuel consumption figures, going back donkey's years, in cars stripped of all removeable weight, on new engines very carefully run-in, on tyres pumped up to brick hardness, and in weather noted to be good for fuel eficiency (the colder, the better). A similar situation is coming to light as a result of the Grenfell fires.

    As a result, as someone has pointed out. You get adherence to the law (just), but oh, where has all that power gone. I once owned a motorcyle, a real powerful beast. It was happiest at about 80mph. It would have been happier faster, but the effort of hanging on against the power of the wind sapped ones energy. It regularly turned out 50 miles per gallon. On one occasion, for an extended period, I had to follow another vehicle at about 40-45 mph, and was surprised to find I was getting better than 70 miles per gallon.

    It used to be said that The Law is an Ass. Nowadays, it's more like The Law is ALWAYS an Ass.

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: My sympathies....

      Another current example is Governments demanding that maths be changed to suit them enabling crypto to only apply when you are a bad guy.

      It's more complicated but just the same end result of a State government demanding pi be 3.

      [It was the Indiana Pi Bill which nevr made it to law according to wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill]

    2. Salestard

      Re: My sympathies....

      Well, you managed to include politics, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, and quite a lot of other stuff in one post.

      But I'll pick out one;

      ["The auto manufacturers, presumably left to their own devices to compile the test schedules, did what so, so many organisations have done throughout the history. They wrote the schedules to comply with the letter of the Law. Look back to all those road tests and fuel consumption figures, going back donkey's years, in cars stripped of all removeable weight, on new engines very carefully run-in, on tyres pumped up to brick hardness, and in weather noted to be good for fuel eficiency (the colder, the better)."]

      Whilst this was true for a period - I remember the quoted coefficient of drag for a car I owned wasn't the bespoilered fat tyred 164mph version, which comparatively the aerodynamics of the blunt end of a barn, but actually the weedy 1.8 version on super skinny tyres, gawky hubcaps, and covered in Teflon. Similarly, power outputs were usually given for a blueprinted engine operating under absolutely perfect conditions running 100 or 101 octane fuel. Bike makers were the worst, with the Italians taking it to quite absurd levels (looking in particular at the FZR1000 EXUP engined Bimota YB10 Furano of the early 90s - magically gained 40hp by being put in an Italian frame).

      However, the Euro emissions tests were undertaken by an independent testing body - hence the need for the software to recognise it was being run under test conditions, thus wind the fuelling back to ultra-lean, and in the case of petrol, ignition advanced as close as you can without it knocking.

  14. RobertsonCR7
    Terminator

    lets see if any more line up

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