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Conti headquarters in Hanover

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / dpa

The public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt is investigating quality problems at the supplier group Continental. A spokesman for the authority said on request that it was being investigated on suspicion of fraud. According to the information, it is about quality problems with hoses that had been noticed in 2022. Previously, the »Handelsblatt« had reported on the investigation. A Continental spokesman said it was cooperating fully with the authorities.

The company pointed out that it discovered the defects itself and reported them to the authorities. "Based on the findings of our investigation, which are still ongoing, we have continuously drawn organizational and personnel consequences," the spokesman said. An agreement has also been reached with buyers of the defective hoses.

This is due to quality problems with hoses for air conditioning systems in the Contitech division. According to the report, the investigations by the public prosecutor's office are about the accusation that Continental could have defrauded its customers by supplying hoses that did not meet the agreed quality for years. Beyond that, no further information can be given at this time, said the spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

The supplier had admitted in September 2022 that it had supplied its customers from the automotive industry with contaminated hoses for air conditioning systems over a long period of time. Even then, SPIEGEL reported that internal quality tests had been manipulated to cover up the deficiencies.

This was noticed during internal investigations after there had been indications from the workforce. According to the information, the delivery of the defective hoses was stopped at that time. According to Conti, it was purely a precautionary measure. There was no danger to vehicle occupants, road safety or the environment.