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Audi to suspend R&D chief over Dieselgate scandal: Report

If only we could all receive suspensions for errors costing billions of dollars.


Audi's HR department sounds...forgiving.

Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

It must be nice, knowing that you won't get fired, even if your company's shelling out tons of money for errors for problems that you knew existed. That's the case with Audi's head of research and development, who will receive little more than a slap on the wrist for his involvement with Volkswagen's diesel issues.

Stefan Knirsch will receive a suspension as part of the Dieselgate fallout, Reuters reports. Not only did Knirsch know about the unreported emissions software in the brand's 3.0-liter diesel engines, he lied under oath. The suspension isn't official yet, but Reuters' source, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, claims Knirsch has already been told to clear out his desk.

Knirsch used to be the head of engine development for the automaker, but he was promoted to the head of R&D after the ouster of Ulrich Hackenberg, who was "closely associated" with the engine at the heart of Dieselgate -- the 2.0-liter EA189. Knirsch's involvement was brought up as part of Jones Day's investigation into the scandal.

The US still isn't sure what to do with Volkswagen Group's 3.0-liter diesel engines. The automaker believes it can solve its federal issues with a simple software update, but no fix has been approved yet. VW would like to avoid a buyback scheme similar to its 2.0-liter cars, as that would become prohibitively expensive, and fast.