South Korean regulators have fined Volkswagen Group the equivalent of $16 million (14.3 million euros) and demanded the company stop selling 80 models, including some from Audi and Bentley. The government alleged the automaker falsified emissions and noise certifications. It ordered the suspension of deliveries until officials could retest the cars. In total, the officials have decertified 209,000 vehicles there, according to Automotive News.
By allegedly falsifying the documents, VW had an easier time bringing these vehicles into South Korea. The company seemed to anticipate the regulators' decision, though, because it voluntarily stopped selling 32 models in July. At the time, the automaker said the decision would reduce customer confusion about the issue.
The problem is sure to hurt VW Group’s bottom line in the country because it could be months before many of these models are on sale again. The government could even order the automaker to buyback some of them. "It usually takes three months for vehicle certification, but this may take longer for Volkswagen, as we will take thorough steps," environment ministry director Hong Dong-gon said, according to Automotive News.
In a statement on its South Korean Website, VW says it is considering filing for a legal injunction against the government’s decision. A victory in court might get the automaker’s models on sale again a little sooner.
The South Korean government has been investigating this issue for months. It raided VW’s offices there for evidence and even arrested an executive. While smaller in scope than the diesel emissions problem in the United States, this scandal is another black eye for the German automaker’s international reputation.
Source: Automotive News