Germany investigates possible Audi diesel emission cheats

Just as the Volkswagen Group begins to wind down its diesel scandal in the United States, things may be ramping up in Europe.

A German government task force discovered a new type of defeat device in Audi vehicles, which allows the cars to cheat emission tests.

Both V-6 and V-8 powered Audi A8 diesels—built between 2009 and 2013—were equipped with the defeat device with a total of 24,000 cars affected.

DON’T MISS: Settlement for Audi, Porsche, VW 3.0-liter diesel TDI owners announced

Half of the cars were sold in Germany, according to Handelsblatt.

Germany’s Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt, announced the findings and has demanded a recall for the diesel-powered A8s.

Audi has already informed the German government of a software update for the affected vehicles and is currently undertaking a recall.

It’s the first time Audi vehicles have been investigated in Europe—in the U.S., Audi admitted some cars were capable of cheating emission tests earlier this year.

German officials originally decided Audi had not outfitted European models with defeat devices, but the decision has been flipped quickly.

READ THIS: Diesel owners in Germany who sue VW face significant hurdles

It should be noted Germany does not allow for class-action lawsuits—a common practice in the United States, which lets individuals band together for greater bargaining power.

Any Volkswagen-related lawsuits in Germany must be filed one by one; the loser in a case must also pay all court fees, which makes for an intimidating prospect.

It’s not a great outlook for the automaker, either.

In one Volkswagen TDI case, a German court ordered the automaker to fully reimburse the owner for the original purchase price of the car.

The decision to order a full reimbursement for an over-polluting Volkswagen may have set a disastrous precedent for the automaker.

CHECK OUT: Court orders full reimbursement for VW diesel owner in Germany

If similar lawsuits and court decisions arise from Audi A8 owners, it may make for serious financial woes—keep in mind 24,000 cars are said to be affected.

Volkswagen has paid over $20 billion in fines after reaching settlements with the U.S. government and American consumers, but the price for cheating in Europe may cause greater strain.

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