February 16, 2018 / 6:56 AM / a year ago

Volkswagen's Audi unit head Stadler to leave in April - Bild

FRANKFURT, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Volkswagen’s luxury unit Audi, Rupert Stadler, will be replaced in April because of his unsuccessful handling of the diesel emissions scandal, German daily Bild reported on Friday.

VW unit Skoda’s head Winfried Vahland is seen as the top candidate to succeed him, the paper added.

Audi was not immediately available for comment.

Stadler, who has run Audi since 2007, has faced criticism for his handling of a scandal in which the group admitted cheating diesel-emission tests in the United States.

The carmaker’s supervisory board in May nonetheless unanimously voted to extend his contract by five years to the end of 2022. Stadler said at the time that Audi would continue its work to address the scandal “until the job is done,” promising to make law and ethics its “ultimate benchmark”.

Audi admitted in November 2015 that its 3.0 litre V6 diesel engines were fitted with an auxiliary control device deemed illegal in the United States that allowed vehicles to evade U.S. emissions limits.

The issue has come back into focus as German prosecutors said earlier this month they had searched Audi’s headquarters and one of its plants, widening their inquiry into the manipulation of diesel emissions tests. (Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

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