BMW’s headquarters were raided on Tuesday by German prosecutors searching for the suspected use of illegal emissions control software that is able of manipulating exhaust levels.
About 100 police and law enforcement officials investigated the automaker’s Munich headquarters and a site in Austria, prosecutors stated, adding they had started an investigation last month against unknown people for suspected fraud.
Legal sources stated the facility investigated in Austria was BMW’s engine plant in Steyr, where the company has about 4,500 staff and assembles 6,000 engines on daily basis.
“There is an early suspicion that BMW has used a test bench-related defeat device,” prosecutors stated in a written statement.
Competitor German automaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to using “defeat device” software in the United States to cheat diesel engine emissions tests, leading the automaker into the biggest business crisis in its modern history.
Since then, emissions irregularities have surfaced at few other major automakers.
BMW, in a separate statement, stated prosecutors were searing for “erroneously allocated” software in about 11,400 vehicles of the BMW 750d and BMW M550d luxury models.