Frankfurt – Volkswagen’s flagship Audi division reined in its spending plans for 2016 and delayed the construction of a new wind tunnel on Monday, after the group was hit by a scandal over rigged emissions tests.

Audi, which made a higher operating profit than the Volkswagen brand in the first nine months of 2015, said it would invest more than €3 billion (R50 billion) on plants and equipment in 2016.

A company source said the plan foresaw spending of €3.3 billion (R55 billion) for next year. Under its previous budget drawn up a year ago, Audi announced investments of €17 billion (R285 billion) over 2015-19, or an annual average of €3.4 billion (R57 billion).

“With the current investment program, we obviously want to enhance the brand’s strong position,” said Audi finace chief Axel Strotbek, “but at the same time, we aim to achieve additional financial scope by means of further process and cost optimisation.”

The move comes after Volkswagen cut €1 billion (R17 billion) from its 2016 investment plan in November, as its emissions cheating scandal expanded to include tens of thousands more US vehicles.

Audi vowed not to save at the expense of future growth but rather to examine every investment decision individually.

“The Board of Management has therefore decided to postpone the construction of a new wind tunnel for one year,” it said.

The company did not comment on investment plans beyond 2016.