— An Audi defeat device lawsuit alleges numerous gasoline-powered vehicles contain illegal software that causes false carbon dioxide levels. The proposed class-action lawsuit includes at least 100 named plaintiffs from numerous states, all claiming they were harmed by buying Audi vehicles.
According to the Audi emissions lawsuit, the automaker installed illegal emissions defeat devices in gasoline-powered cars to get around government emissions regulations and to fool consumers and federal regulators into believing the cars emit far less carbon dioxide (CO2) than they do.
The plaintiffs who purchased or leased the vehicles say they didn't know the cars were equipped with devices that allow the cars to pass emissions testing in labs while emitting illegal carbon dioxide levels during normal driving.
The lawsuit says illegal CO2 defeat devices were installed on Audi vehicles equipped with 8HP55 “AL 551” and DL 501-7Q “DL 501” transmissions, with the AL 551 transmissions manufactured by ZF Friedrichshafen, the same company that made gear shifters that are the focus of Chrysler lawsuits and recalls.
The Audi vehicles named in the emissions lawsuit include the S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7.
In addition to the allegations of illegal carbon dioxide emissions, the lawsuit alleges the defeat devices alter fuel efficiency and make the vehicles appear to have better fuel economy than they do during normal driving.
The plaintiffs claim they would not have purchased or leased the vehicles if Audi would have disclosed the cars were illegal and with the alleged defeat devices installed, the value of the vehicles has nosedived.
The Audi lawsuit alleges the defeat device software is hidden in the transmission control module (TCM), a module used for shifting by reacting to signals from sensors monitoring coolant temperature, exhaust temperature, ignition timing, crankshaft and camshaft positioning, fuel mixture and air flow volumes.
According to the plaintiffs, Audi engineers intentionally put the illegal software in the TCM to make the defeat device more difficult to detect.
Audi allegedly hid its deception by programming its engines with different modes, one which Audi called the “warm-up” mode that typically activates when the vehicles are started. The plaintiffs claim the mode used significantly less fuel and emitted much less CO2, but also delivered a lot less power.
While the “warm-up” function is on, the automatic transmission remains in a “switching program” that reduces the engine speed, consumes less fuel and produces less CO2.
During normal driving conditions, the transmission computer allegedly switches to “road calibration” mode that switches on when the driver turns the steering wheel 15 degrees. In contrast to “low CO2” mode, the “road calibration” mode gives full power to the driver, resulting in increased fuel consumption and more CO2 emissions.
The lawsuit also says Audi knew exactly what it was doing and even commissioned its own study which found that fuel consumption on the road increased by 8.5 percent after the steering wheel was turned. In addition, Audi executives allegedly knew how the defeat device worked and told company employees to use the devices to deceive regulators and consumers.
According to the plaintiffs, Volkswagen and Audi management discussed the defeat device software in detail during a “Summer Drive” event in South Africa in 2013.
According to the event minutes, Axel Eiser, then the head of Audi’s powertrain division (and currently the head of powertrain development of Volkswagen group), asked: “When will we have the cycle optimized shift program? The shifting program shall be designed to be 100% active on the dyno, but only 0.01% in the hands of the customer.”
The Audi carbon dioxide lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California San Francisco Division - Michael Delaet, et al, vs. Audi AG and Audi of America.
The plaintiffs are represented by Heygood Orr & Pearson.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about the Audi vehicles named in the emissions lawsuit.