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Korean law firm to request U.S. university test VW engine

A South Korean law firm said Tuesday it would request a U.S. university look into whether Volkswagen diesel vehicles installed with new engines here used software to rig emissions tests.

Law firm Barun said it will ask West Virginia University to examine if the defeat device software was used in Volkswagen cars equipped with the new EA 288 engine. Researchers from the school had initially studied the emissions rigging that led U.S. environmental authorities to launch a probe.

“We are requesting the examination from the U.S. school because the Korean authorities failed to find (the defeat device software in the new engine cars). The law firm will cooperate with the college in terms of technology and finding the software,” Barun said.

The law firm is currently leading the class-action lawsuit for about 2,000 local Volkswagen customers against the German carmaker to nullify the purchase contracts and receive refunds. The details of the examination plan will be released next week, it added.

Earlier last week, the Ministry of Environment confirmed that Volkswagen cars with the old EA 189 engine used the defeat device software to fake the emissions in order to pass the local emissions test. It ordered a recall for some 125,000 vehicles here and fined the carmaker a penalty of 14.1 billion won ($12.2 million).

The ministry, however, said that it has not found evidence of the problematic device being used in the new EA288 engine-equipped vehicles, adding that a further probe is underway.

The ministry launched a test in October on six models of diesel-engine Volkswagen vehicles -- two Euro 5 cars and four Euro 6 vehicles.

Based on the Environment Ministry’s test result, the Transport Ministry will conduct three rounds of probes to look into whether the emissions rigging affected the fuel efficiency and safety of passengers, officials said.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)
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