Audi has suspended two engineers after its larger diesel engines were found evading emissions limits in the United States, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told a newspaper.
Parent Volkswagen (VW) and Audi notified US authorities last Thursday that about 85,000 vehicles with three litre V6 diesel engines were fitted with emissions control equipment that was not disclosed to US regulators, Reuters noted.
Audi is now investigating whether employees in technical development and other departments deliberately manipulated emission-control devices and has suspended two engineers, Stadler told the Donaukurier regional newspaper, without giving any further details.
"We are surprised and shocked by the emissions news from the US," Audi's acting chairman, Berthold Huber, said in a joint statement with works council head Peter Mosch.
"Now the causes for such grave mistakes must be found and eliminated," added Huber, a former head of Germany's IG Metall labour union. "This has utmost priority."
The V6 diesel engine was designed and assembled by Audi at its factory in Neckarsulm, Germany and widely used in premium models sold by the group's VW, Audi and Porsche brands in model years 2009 to 2016, Audi said earlier.
According to Reuters, the Audi suspensions take the number of officials confirmed to have been put on leave across the VW group as a result of its internal investigations to eight, including at least six senior individuals.
Audi has said it failed to notify authorities in the US of three so-called auxiliary emissions control devices (AECD) in luxury models, one of which is classified there as a banned "defeat device".
The CEO is scheduled to brief the Audi board at a regular meeting on 3 December on the state of negotiations with US authorities and progress in finding technical fixes for the affected vehicles which include the A6 saloon and the Q5 SUV, company sources told Reuters.