Bosch launches internal probe into emissions scandal

Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:21am EST
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By Ilona Wissenbach

STUTTGART (Reuters) - German auto supplier Robert Bosch [ROBG.UL] said it had launched an internal probe to investigate whether any of its staff were involved in a scandal over the rigging of automotive emissions tests that has engulfed Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) .

Stuttgart-based Bosch, which released preliminary full-year earnings on Wednesday, makes an engine management program used by several top automakers including VW.

VW and Bosch are both under investigation by German prosecutors and U.S. authorities who are examining what role employees of the companies may have played in designing software to help cheat U.S. emissions tests.

"The day after the allegation became public, I ordered an internal investigation," Chief Executive Volkmar Denner said, adding the company was cooperating with authorities and could not provide further details.

Bosch is however reluctant to disclose its engine management software codes to authorities since they contain years of proprietary know-how. "Why should we disclose this," Denner said. "What do authorities want with this? It's so complex that it is not feasible."

Denner said only automakers could provide real insight into potential engine management violations since they were the ones who had a complete overview of engine and exhaust systems and since they submitted cars to the authorities for certification.

Asked whether Bosch played a role in calibrating Volkswagen's engine software, Denner said: "Powertrain is complex, many suppliers are involved."

Rather than analyzing vehicle software, authorities should combat fraud with more stringent independent testing of vehicle emissions, he said.   Continued...

A Bosch Service sign is reflected in a car door while a product expert for diagnostics equipment of German auto parts supplier Robert Bosch analyses a car in a workout garage in Plochingen near Stuttgart April 15, 2013. Picture taken April 15.     REUTERS/Michaela Rehle