Diesel Abgasskandal Anwälte Justus Rechtsanwälte
Justus Rechtsanwälte

Audi exhaust scandal

Audi is involved on a deeper level in the diesel exhaust scandal than expected.

Using 4 different exhaust strategies, Audi has deceived many of its customers from 2003 to 2008. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (or “KBA”) has turned a blind eye to the exhaust scandal.

Audi exhaust scandal in a nutshell:

  • June 2017: Audi must recall 24,000 vehicles from the A8 and A7 model series with V6 and V8 diesel engines built between 2009 and 2013
  • May 2018: Audi was suspected of using illegal software for exhaust gas manipulation on A6 and A7 models with diesel engines.
  • June 2018: The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) confirms the suspicion and orders the recall – over 60,000 models around 33,000 of which in Germany.
  • October 2018: Audi boss Rupert Stadler, who was arrested in June, remains in custody; VW announces that its distancing itself from Stadler.
  • November 2018: Recall. The Motor Transport Authority recalls far more vehicles than expected – a total of 151,000 Audi A6 and A7 models.
  • February 2019: Audi AG is convicted by the Bonn Regional Court and awards damages to a Q3-driver.
  • June 2019: Audi is said to have sold manipulated cars by 2018 and has implemented four different exhaust strategies. In some cases, exhaust limit values are exceeded 18 times during driving.

Has the Federal Transport Authority covered the exhaust gas manipulations?

  • July, 2019: In the Diesel affair, the Munich public prosecutor’s office has brought several charges against former Audi boss Rupert Stadler. He and three other defendants are accused of “fraud, false certification and unlawful advertising”. Stadler is said to be jointly responsible for the fact that Audi sold manipulated cars long after the affair became public.
  • Audi buyers and/or drivers should now sue for rescission of the purchase contract and damages.
  • August 2019 State liability: Audi buyers from Hanover now want to make the Federal Republic of Germany liable for the diesel scandal.
  • November 2019: Recall of diesel vehicles with emissions standard Euro 4: According to the Spiegel press release, the Federal Motor Transport Authority has ordered the recall of Audi models A4 and A6 from 2004-2009 with the euro emissions standard Euro 4. The vehicles were previously considered unsuspicious. However these models are now under investigation for utilizing illegal shutdown devices.

Check if your Audi model is affected with our Car Exhaust Check.

There are no laws for Volkswagen, Volkswagen makes the laws

This is a slogan from internal sources that describes the corporate culture. The Ingolstadt-based carmaker Audi and VW subsidiary apparently manipulated the exhaust emissions much more extensively than previously known. According to a report from Tagesschau (31.06.2019), diesel vehicles with larger engines and the Euro 6 emissions standard are also involved. More than 200,000 Audi vehicles as well as Volkswagen and Porsche are affected.

Recall by the Federal Motor Transport Authority

The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has recalled the models. The Flensburg-based authority sent the relevant notices by January 2018, when the Federal Ministry of Transport declared that the vehicles had only one switch-off device installed, namely the “engine warm-up function”.

Audi’s four exhaust emissions strategies

The non-public KBA report, the BR research and the Handelsblatt now point out that audi used not just one, but usually four different exhaust strategies. As a result, the vehicles show cleaner results on the test bench than they do in road traffic. The authorities break the strategies down alphabetically in the respective notices – from A to D.

Illegal switch-off device already known in 2003

As stated above, The Federal Motor Transport Authority determined the use of an “impermissible switch-off device” in Audi diesel vehicles of the Euro 4 class.

The manipulation of exhaust emission tests was already a topic at Audi in 2003, according to the “Tagesthemen” report. In fact the so-called “acoustic function” – an impermissible cut-off device – was used in Audi diesel vehicles of the Euro 4 emissions class from 2003 to 2010. This was stated in an internal memo of the Federal Motor Transport Authority dated July 26, 2018. This function ensures “that the emission limit value for nitrogen oxides is safely complied with under test conditions” and is therefore classified as an impermissible device.

Neither the KBA nor the higher-level Federal Ministry of Transport is commenting on the matter.

Federal Motor Transport Authority is being criticized

Oliver Krischer of the Green Party sharply criticizes the actions of the federal authority: “Actually, one would expect the proper authority to take action, to get an impression on thing if it suspects fraud, as we are talking about criminal offences here. But the KBA is either not in the position to do that or not willing to.”

As early as September 2018, the KBA informed Audi of its intention to issue a recall notice. The carmaker was given the opportunity to comment by 27.9.2018. But this has now passed without any consequences. The KBA has still not recalled the vehicles.

Instead of investigating for itself, the Transport Authority relied on information provided by the manufacturers. The public prosecutor’s office in Munich (Staatsanwaltschaft München II), which is investigating the diesel scandal, has also harshly criticized this behavior. The prosecutor’s office demands immediate information from the KBA on new findings. A search of the premises of the authority is now also being discussed.

Claims for damages against Audi may expire

For drivers who bought their Euro 4 Audi before 2010, the delayed clarification of the case by the KBA is very unfortunate. This is because claims for damages can expire ten years after purchase, regardless of knowledge.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority works for Audi and VW by not becoming active sooner despite knowledge. Audi will certainly also refer to the statute of limitations in the proceedings. This makes it all the more important for Audi buyers to assert their claims with the help of an attorney as soon as possible.

State liability in diesel scandal: Audi buyer from Hanover demands damages from the state

A buyer from Hanover now wants to make Germany liable for the diesel scandal. He had suffered damages amounting to 47,272 euros. The state had not implemented the European Union’s protective regulations and had controlled VW too loosely.

Because federal ministries and authorities have ignored evidence of manipulation for years, other VW customers are now demanding compensation from the state. Above all in the case of expired claims against the manufacturer, state liability must be thoroughly examined.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority ordered the mandatory recall of around 33,000 Audi A6 and A7 vehicles registered in Germany in a decision dated June 4, 2018. These are vehicles with the V6 TDI Gen2 Evo engines from the current C7 series with an output of over 200 kW and the Euro 6 emissions class, which were built from 2014. Now Audi Q5 and Q7 models and others sold until 2018 will be added.

The KBA also banned Audi from selling these models until the Auto-Group had received a software update and approval to eliminate the exhaust gas manipulations.

FAQ: Audi Diesel emissions scandal

What should affected car owners do now?

According to current case law on comparable VW cases, the car buyers of the affected models can and should declare their withdrawal from the purchase contract and demand the reimbursement of the purchase price. This can be achieved by a quick and successful individual action suit. We have already been able to obtain numerous rulings in the VW cases.

Individual action for damages or group actions proceedings?

We recommend in any case the individual quick and effective action for damages against Audi AG. Why ? You can find detailed information on our article about the joint action.

What are the chances of success and what are the costs?

We’ve won all our lawsuits against automakers so far. Our clients have received a refund of the purchase price minus the monetary compensation for use.

The costs of the legal dispute will be borne by the opponent if the ruling is successful. Otherwise, we will settle with your legal insurance or you will receive litigation financing.

Read here which models are affected by the recall and diesel scandal

Free initial consultation by an expert attorney in the diesel scandal

We offer you a free initial consultation and inquiry with your legal insurance. Simply fill out our contact form or talk directly to a specialized lawyer.

The costs for the legal dispute are borne by your legal insurance. You can negotiate a contingency fee with us or the costs are borne by a litigation cost financier.


Rechtsanwältin Grit Rahn, Büro Potsdam und Berlin

E-Mail: Rahn@kanzleimitte.de

Tel: 030-440 449 66
Fax: 030-440 449 56

Grit Rahn
Knud J. Steffan
Fachanwalt für Bank- und Kapitalmarktrecht