The Korea Herald


Volkswagen Korea receives sales ban notice

By Ahn Sung-mi

Published : July 12, 2016 - 15:32

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[THE INVESTOR] Volkswagen Korea has received an official order from the Ministry of Environment to stop sales and cancel the registration of its vehicles that cheated on emission tests, the company said on July 12. 

“We received the notice,” Lee Soo-jin, a spokesperson of Audi Volkswagen Korea told The Investor. 

“But in order (for the ministry) to go ahead with revoking the registration, there will be a hearing session for us to explain. We will come up with an action plan after the hearing.”

The date of the hearing is undecided, but it will be sometime this month.
The Environment Ministry has issued an order to ban sales of all VW’s diesel and gasoline engine vehicles that are equipped with disputed engines, following a request by the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutors identified the Volkswagen vehicles were certified to sell here based on false documents. 

The sales ban is expected to affect up to 60 percent of the total 250,000 units of VW cars that were sold in South Korea since 2007. 

Due to the staggering number, some industry watchers say the move may be designed to kick the brand out of the market for good, but VW Korea declined to comment on the speculation. 

Earlier this year, Korean prosecutors opened a local inquiry into the German carmaker’s emission scandal that came to light in 2015. After a five-month investigation, the authorities discovered that VW had indeed circumvented local emission control systems in several models including the Audi RS7, Audi A8, Golf 1.4 TSI and the Golf 2.0 GTD. 

South Korean customers have filed class-action suits against VW for compensation, but the German carmaker has refused, saying there are no legal grounds for it to do so. According to current environmental laws, VW can recall the problematic cars to fit them with upgraded software. In addition, the company has pledged to donate 10 billion won (US$ 8.50 million) as a part of its corporate social responsibility program here. 

The figure, according to local critics, compares with the $14.7-billion deal Volkswagen reached with its US consumers. 

On July 8, former VW Korea managing director Park Dong-hoon was resummoned for questioning regarding the carmaker’s emission-cheating. Park, however, is said to have played no role, as his authority was limited to managing sales at most, according to those close to the matter.

By Ahn Sung-mi (