The South Korean Ministry of Environment announced on Tuesday that it is banning the domestic sales of eight diesel-powered vehicles from three Volkswagen AG brands for violating emissions regulations. In a statement to local media, the ministry stated that it will slap fines and seek prosecution on the German-based carmakers.
According to a The Korea Herald report, a probe from the ministry has determined that the German automakers had manipulated pollution control devices used in their diesel-powered vehicles. The vehicles involved are comprised of 1,261 cars across eight models that were sold in the country from May 2015 to January 2018 under the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche brands.
These vehicles are the Volkswagen Touareg V6 3.0 TDI BMT, Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI 4 Motion, the Audi A6 40 TDI Quattro, two Audi A6 50 TDI Quattro models, two Audi A7 50 TDI Quattro models, and the Porsche Cayenne diesel, a variant of the popular crossover that has been discontinued after the company’s decision to abandon diesel last September.
South Korean officials noted that the vehicles in question were emitting ten times more nitrogen oxide gas than normal. “They were manipulated so that the emission mitigation devices perform at lower levels in driving conditions that are different from those when they were certificated,” an official from South Korean Ministry of Environment said.
As a result of the ban, South Korea is planning on canceling the import certifications of the Volkswagen AG diesel cars. The country is also ordering correction measures and penalties, which are expected to reach about 7.9 billion won ($6.5 million) for Audi, and 4 billion won ($3.3 million) for Porsche. An investigation into the Volkswagen AG brands will also be underway.
South Korea’s announcement comes on the heels of a decision by a district court from Düsseldorf, Germany, which recently determined that Volkswagen’s software fix for vehicles affected by the Dieselgate scandal in 2015 actually contained another cheating device. According to the district court, Volkswagen’s Dieselgate software fix only worked at outside temperatures between 10-32 degrees Celsius. In the event that the weather falls below or above the range, the supposedly fixed vehicles would overly-pollute as usual. As noted in a WallStreet-Online.de report, the repercussions of the district court’s findings will likely result in more fines for the German auto juggernaut.
Ultimately, these developments come at an inopportune time for Volkswagen, especially since the company has recently announced that it has created a diesel engine that was “absolutely clean.” Apart from this, the company’s upcoming all-electric car, the ID.3, has also been receiving much excitement from the EV community. The ID.3 is designed to be a mass-market EV, and so far, the reception to the vehicle has been very encouraging, with 10,000 pre-orders for the all-electric hatchback being recorded within 24 hours of its unveiling.