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German car imports fall for first time in 13 years on VW scandal

By Ahn Sung-mi

Published : July 26, 2016 - 11:22

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 [THE INVESTOR] The import volume of German-made cars in South Korea dropped for the first time in 13 years amid an emission-rigging scandal involving Volkswagen and Audi cars, industry data showed on July 26.

The number of German vehicles imported in the January-May period came in at 51,736 units to reflect a 12.7 percent decrease from the same period in 2015, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association. 



Volkswagen cars are lined up at Pyeongtaek Port. / The Investor Volkswagen cars are lined up at Pyeongtaek Port. / The Investor

This marks the first on-year drop since imports declined 7.2 percent in 2003.

Prior to the scandal, German car imports were growing steadily. In 2015, they rose 26.3 percent on-year, following a 33.7 percent increase in 2014 and a 13.1 percent rise in 2013.

In particular, imports of Audi and VW cars fell 33.1 percent during the first six months of this year, with the total number reaching 12,463 units.

Imports of Mercedes-Benz increased 6.8 percent, while those of BMW fell 4.3 percent.

In September 2015, VW’s emission rigging first came to light in the US. The issue eventually made global headlines, and in Korea, prosecutors discovered that Audi Volkswagen Korea had manipulated emission and noise level tests. The carmaker has decided to stop selling 79 models here after the Environment Ministry said it would ban the sales.

An official decision, however, is still pending and will be finalized by July 29.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)