Audi CEO must ‘push on’ with emissions probe, labor boss says

BERLIN (Reuters) — Audi‘s top labor representative said the causes of emissions issues at Volkswagen Group’s flagship luxury brand must be cleared up with no regard to who may be involved.

CEO “Rupert Stadler must push on with it (the investigation), completely and without regard to individuals,” Peter Mosch, head of Audi’s works council and a member of the Audi supervisory board’s influential steering committee, said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

Volkswagen and Audi notified U.S. authorities last Thursday that about 85,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engines were equipped with emissions-control equipment that was not disclosed to U.S. regulators.

Audi has suspended two engineers as a result of the discovery, Stadler told the Donaukurier regional newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

“We are surprised and shocked by the emissions news from the U.S.,” Audi Deputy Chairman Berthold Huber said in the joint statement with Mosch. Huber is acting as interim chairman after former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn quit the position earlier this month.

The admission from Audi, which contributes about 40 percent to VW Group’s overall profit, is raising pressure on Stadler, a 25-year VW Group veteran who has led Audi for nine years.

Asked by the newspaper about potential personal consequences, the 52-year-old executive said: “What’s at stake now is [to find out] the truth and I will not rest until everything is on the table.”

The V-6 diesel engine was designed and assembled by Audi at its factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, and widely used in premium models sold by the group’s VW, Audi and Porsche brands in model years 2009 through 2016, Audi said on Monday.