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Environment Ministry throws the book at VW

Aug 21,2019
Eight Volkswagen Group cars are losing their environmental certifications, while the parent company is being fined and may be investigated for possible crimes.

The Ministry of Environment announced Tuesday that the emission levels of 10,261 vehicles from Audi Volkswagen Korea and Porsche Korea were much higher than reported due to an undisclosed manipulation.

Included on the list are three trims of the Audi A6, two of the Audi A7, two Volkswagen Touareg models and one Porsche Cayenne. Volkswagen Group, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, is owner of the Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche brands.

The ministry said the injection of pollution-busting urea solution was intentionally slowed as it was felt that consumers would not want to add the solution too often. Volkswagen thought the addition should only be made during regular oil changes.

As a result, emissions of nitrogen oxide were 10 times higher than were originally disclosed.

The government started investigating after Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority found the illegal manipulation in Audi A6 and A7 models in June last year. After investigating for more than a year, the ministry concluded that the results for two Volkswagen models and the Cayenne had been manipulated.

The ministry said it will pursue criminal charges against the two Korean units of the European company while levying fines and sending orders to correct the “seriously fraudulent” defects. It expects to fine Audi Volkswagen Korea 7.9 billion won and fine Porsche Korea 4 billion won.

The announcement from the ministry comes just four years after Volkswagen Group was caught in a global emissions cheating scandal.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]