Prosecutors have raided BMW in a probe relating to more than 11,000 vehicles they suspect were involved in diesel emissions testing fraud.
The German prosecutors have said the raids were carried out due to suspicions that BMW used a “defeat device’’ to reduce emissions levels when the cars were being tested.
A defeat device was what Volkswagen had installed in its cars before its large-scale emissions fraud was uncovered. Volkswagen has since paid a $4.3 billion fine in the US. It faces a group legal action in the UK and estimates say the scandal has cost VW $25 billion in the US alone.
BMW has confirmed that it was raided and claimed that software was “mistakenly allocated to incompatible models" rather than being installed for “deliberate manipulation of the exhaust treatment system".
If the car maker is to have any chance of avoiding prosecution – or large civil penalties – it will have to show that its compliance procedures were fit for purpose. BMW will have to convince investigators that it had a genuine anti-fraud culture in place – a culture that was backed up with adequate procedures and a commitment from the top down to prevent fraud.
This was the challenge that VW faced when it was the first to be scrutinised over emissions testing fraud. And it is the challenge that any company has to meet if faced with fraud allegations.
Read our article: TESTING TIMES