It looks like there could be more legal trouble for Audi. This time it’s not strictly about emission regulations, but in a round-about way, it’s all related. The Wall Street Journal reports that three employees at the automaker are under investigation for allegedly falsifying documents to get Audi vehicles cleared for export to South Korea. That’s according to prosecutors in Germany, who have been taking a close look at Audi ever since its parent company Volkswagen admitted to fudging diesel emission tests – otherwise known as Dieselgate.
In this instance, three suspects have been identified and more could be uncovered as the investigation continues. The trouble is brewing over the possibility that test results and mileage ratings for Audi vehicles could have been manipulated in order to get the models certified in South Korea. The exact nature of the tests isn’t revealed, but apparently false serial numbers are part of it all so yeah, this could get real serious.
If there’s some good news in this, it’s that the employees in question apparently aren’t high-level executives. The WSJ story does, however, mention an internal Audi report recovered by German authorities back in March of 2017 that was related to a South Korean investigation on the matter. Since there’s the possibility that more suspects could be named in this latest investigation, things could get worse for Audi before they get better. And lets don't forget, former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is still in jail over allegations of tampering with evidence related to Dieselgate.
Despite this, Audi sales are actually up slightly in the global market through 2018, though European sales are down. Some of that is likely due to the trouble many automakers are having with the new Euro emission testing rules that went into effect in September – as evidenced by Audi sales being down a whopping 56 percent last month.
Still, Dieselgate continues to haunt Audi and Volkswagen, and likely will for many years to come.