Audi CEO to face renewed VW emissions inquiry: sources

Rupert Stadler, CEO of VW's Audi luxury car division, delivers a speech during the opening of a new plant in San Jose Chiapa, in Puebla state, Mexico, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Imelda Medina

BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi VOWG_p.DE Chief Executive Rupert Stadler will again be questioned by U.S. law firm Jones Day on a reported discovery of a new cheat software device at the luxury car brand, two people familiar with the matter said.

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag reported a week ago that a U.S. regulator had earlier this year found a software in an automatic transmission Audi capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) by detecting whether a car’s steering wheel was turned as it would be when driving on a road.

Jones Day, commissioned by the supervisory boards of VW and Audi to investigate the diesel emissions scandal, found no evidence against Stadler when it questioned the CEO in September about when he found out about the use of the software which triggered the scandal 14 months ago.

Asked whether Stadler faces another probe by Jones Day, one of the people said: “Yes, that will be the case. The lawyers are requesting further information” on what he knew about the alleged discovery of the CO2 emissions-rigging software.

A date for Stadler’s questioning hasn’t been set yet, the person said.

German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported earlier on Friday that Stadler faces a second interrogation by the U.S. law firm. Audi and VW declined comment.

The renewed questioning of Stadler hits Audi at a bad moment. The carmaker, together with parent VW, is hoping to reach an agreement with U.S. authorities soon to resolve the fate of about 80,000 polluting diesel 3.0-liter vehicles.

A U.S. judge earlier this month set a Dec. 1 deadline for a report on the status of the talks and said he was “very optimistic” that an agreement will be reached.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Tina Bellon