Knirsch was only appointed nine months ago but reportedly knew about emissions-fixing prior to the story first breaking
20 September 2016

Audi technical development boss Stefan Knirsch is set to be suspended over the ongoing investigation into the Volkswagen Group’s emissions scandal, according to Ingolstadt’s local newspaper Donaukurier.

Knirsch’s alleged suspension comes off the back of an investigation into the scandal by US law firm Jones Day. The investigation has allegedly revealed that the Audi board member is facing the end of his career at Audi, accusing him of being aware of manipulations to the emissions of 3.0-litre diesel engines long before it was revealed in September last year.

Audi has previously confirmed that its 3.0-litre V6 diesel unit was in fact fitted with emission-controlling software, which is illegal in the US where the scandal was initially uncovered. Volkswagen has previously said the cheat software was the work of some rogue engineers, but that claim has now come into question. 

The publication stated that a meeting of Audi’s supervisory board (which approves the appointment or sacking of official board members) took place last Thursday, with the board allegedly being told that Knirsch was aware of the software. 

VW emissions scandal: one year on

Knirsch has reportedly already been asked to clear his desk after only nine months in the job, having succeeded previously suspended technical boss Ulrich Hackenberg. Hackenberg quit following his suspension, alongside two other executives at the centre of the scandal.

An Audi spokesman told Autocar it does "not comment on personnel speculation".

Knirsch started at Audi in 1990 after completing his studies of mechanical engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Heilbronn, then joined Porsche in 1996 as project manager for engine development. He achieved his doctorate in 2006 at the Institute for Materials Engineering at Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg and returned to Audi in 2013 as head of powertrain development. He has been a member of the board of management of Audi AG with responsibility for technical development since 1 January.

Danni Bagnall

EU to penalise member states following emissions scandal

VW engineers pleads guilty to dieselgate criminal charges

Our Verdict

Aud A4

All-new Audi A4 zeroes in on efficiency, technology and quality but is it enough to drive buyers away from the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Join the debate

Comments
3

20 September 2016
Isn't this the guy who unveiled Audi's new Q2 not so long ago? Porsche that owns over 52 per cent of the Volkswagen uses the very same cheating diesel unit in Cayenne. Why has nobody been suspended there? Why are investigators beating about the bush?

20 September 2016
fadyady wrote:

Isn't this the guy who unveiled Audi's new Q2 not so long ago? Porsche that owns over 52 per cent of the Volkswagen uses the very same cheating diesel unit in Cayenne. Why has nobody been suspended there? Why are investigators beating about the bush?

They have to make sure they dont go for the really powerful mega rich people. Selected scapegoats is a tricky process. Because this has hit the media so hard, someone had to go down, making sure its someone noteworthy while at the same time, protecting the real culprits who are all in that "inner circle"

Red Devil

20 September 2016
BigZoot wrote:

They have to make sure they dont go for the really powerful mega rich people. Selected scapegoats is a tricky process. Because this has hit the media so hard, someone had to go down, making sure its someone noteworthy while at the same time, protecting the real culprits who are all in that "inner circle"

You may be quite right. This makes Martin Winterkorn the first scapegoat. However given that Porsche is the biggest share holder it benefited the most from this decade long fraud why aren't they even mentioned?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK