Police raid BMW offices in emissions cheating investigation

The Munich, Germany, headquarters of automaker BMW was raided by German police and prosecutors on Tuesday, who sought information on possible diesel emissions cheating. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

March 21 (UPI) — The Munich headquarters of German automaker BMW was raided by authorities in an investigation into a potential diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The iconic headquarters and a BMW engine plant in Austria were visited by prosecutors and police, the Munich prosecutor’s office said.

“There is the initial suspicion that BMW AG [has] used a test stand-related defeat device,” prosecutors said in a statement.

A “defeat device” is software that allows a vehicle to operate at legal emissions levels during testing. The vehicle’s true emissions, though, in real-world conditions are significantly higher.

Volkswagen and Daimler paid billions of dollars in fines and costs to replace cars worldwide after similar scandals. Those cases prompted investigations of other German automakers and depressed the market for diesel-powered cars.

Motor vehicles are Germany’s largest export, and new revelations about potential emissions issues at BMW could injure the national economy.

At issue are two diesel-powered models — the BMW 750xd and M550xd, neither of which are sold in the United States.

BMW said Tuesday it will recall 11,400 vehicles, and noted the software that prompted the raids was inadvertently installed. The company had not intentionally tried to deceive regulators, it said.

“In the course of internal testing, the BMW Group realized that a correctly developed software module had been allocated in error to models for which it was not suited,” the automaker said in a statement.


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