The luxury auto brand, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, has admitted that millions of its vehicles with so-called EU5 engines have an emissions “defeat device” installed.
On Monday, Audi said that 2.1 million of its cars were among those involved in the VW scandal.
Models concerned are the A1, A3, A4, A6, Q3, Q5 and TT, a spokesman said.
BERLIN/FRANKFURT-German prosecutors on Monday opened an investigation against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn to establish what his role was in the company’s emissions-rigging scandal.
Mr Winterkorn quit last week after nearly nine years at the helm of VW, saying he had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions results.
“Following a number of legal suits, the public prosecutors in Brunswick have opened an investigation against Martin Winterkorn“, they said in a statement.
He will be investigated over allegations of fraud in the sale of cars with manipulated emissions data.
The device in question basically reduced the amount of emissions it produced when it was being tested, reverting to higher emissions when it is sold commercially.
German media reported over the weekend that Volkswagen staff and one of the company’s suppliers had complained about the use of “defeat devices” to detect when a vehicle was being tested and change the operating mode of the diesel engine so it would emit far less toxic nitrogen oxides than it did in normal operating mode.
Winterkorn was replaced on Friday by former Porsche chief Matthias Mueller.
They specifically singled out Mercedes for criticism, suggesting its A, C and E class models showed differences of over 50% between lab tests and real-world performance.
“It is clearly a massive blow to the reputation of the company“, Christian Ludwig, automotive analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, said on CNBC, talking about the Volkswagen scandal.
VW has already said it will set aside 6.5 billion euros in provisions in the third quarter.
The deceptive software was uploaded on 2.1 million Audi cars and 1.2 million Skodas.
Volkswagen says their newer EU6 compliant engines fitted into cars from the 2015 model year comply with all regulations. It faces investigations and potential fines from regulators and prosecutors, as well as lawsuits from cheated customers.