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Audi Lawsuit Filed by A6 & Q7 Owners, Lessees

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Audi: “Truth in Engineering”?

In the latest blow to Volkswagen Group, on Thursday a coalition of Audi owners sued the company’s Audi AG and Audi of America, LLC units after reports surfaced over the past weekend that certain gasoline powered Audi vehicles were equipped with emission control defeat devices. Similar to last year’s revelations involving Volkswagen’s diesel models, it is alleged that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has discovered cheat software installed by Audi engineers in certain 3.0 liter A6 and Q7 Audi’s. While the exact models and production years affected remain unclear, it is believed that the scheme may have continued through May 2016 – almost one year after Volkswagen was first implicated in the “diesel-gate” cheating scandal.

The software may have been installed in over 100,000 gasoline cars operating in the United States. It is alleged that Audi engineers sought to deceive regulators by tricking testing systems through the use of algorithms that could detect when the car was being run on a dynamometer – a type of treadmill used to measure vehicle emissions. During CARB testing, the vehicle’s transmission control module sets shift points that produced compliant emission results under the calibration that Audi referred to as the “dyno calibration.” The subject vehicles can detect static dynometer lab conditions and will operate in low power mode until exposed to actual road conditions. Hence, when the cars are on the treadmill they appear to emit legal levels of pollutants, and thus get a clean bill of health from regulators.

It is alleged that Audi engineers concluded that the only time the subject vehicles would run continuously with no steering wheel input would be in a lab, on a test bed. At all other times during normal road operation, the transmission computer offers full power to the driver as the transmission software switched to “road calibration” which increased fuel consumption and corresponding carbon dioxide emissions. In that real-world operational state, the vehicles fail to meet emissions standards.

Now Audi customers may be stuck with vehicles that violate Clean Air Act regulations and other air quality measures. Worse, if these allegations prove true, Audi drivers are not enjoying the benefit of the bargain they made with Audi when they purchased or leased the offending vehicles. The cars simply do not provide the performance advertised in conjunction with the emissions claimed.

Audi’s slogan, “Truth in Engineering,” is beginning to ring hollow.

The case is Lee Bull et al. v. Audi AG and Audi of America, LLC, 16-cv-03885, United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The putative class is represented by Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. of Montgomery, Alabama, The Law Office of Thomas L. Young, P.A. of Tampa, Chestnut Cambronne, P.A. of Minneapolis, Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A. of Chicago, and The Dicello Law Firm of Mentor, Ohio.

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