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Korea to probe Volkswagen for cheating emission rules

The South Korean Ministry of Environment said Monday that it would launch an investigation into diesel-powered Volkswagen and Audi cars here to test whether or not they complied with its emissions standards.

Volkswagen’s diesel cars that the Korean authority is set to investigate include Jetta, Beetle, Passat and Audi A3 cars produced between 2009 and 2015.

The move came on the heels of the news Friday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the German carmaker cheated on its emissions standard compliance by installing software within some diesel-fueled cars to pass the emission test.

With the results of investigation, Volkswagen faces a mass recall of almost 500,000 cars. Volkswagen had promoted the clean and powerful image of its diesel cars to boost sales in the U.S., where it has struggled despite being the world’s biggest carmaker.

To minimize the impact of the U.S. probe on the business, Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized Sunday for breaking customers’ trust. Also, the company decided to halt sales of diesel-powered cars being investigated in the U.S. market.

In the meantime, Volkswagen Korea said it is waiting for the stance of the headquarters in Germany regarding the investigation of the local regulator into diesel-powered Volkswagen cars.

By Seo Jee-yeon (