The Ministry of Environment announced Tuesday a revised law to strengthen control over breaches of vehicle authentication here, in a bid to prevent another Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scandal.
Audi Volkswagen Korea headquarter
According to the revision bill of the current Clean Air Conservation Act, automobile makers that breach vehicle authentication measures in Korea will receive a penalty of up to 5 percent of the total sales amount and can be fined up to 50 billion won ($41 million) per vehicle.
This upper limit of the penalty was an increase from the previous 10 billion won, which had been amended just last year to strengthen the effectiveness of checking the noise and emissions level of vehicles.
As for vehicles that do not pass the vehicle emissions test and fail to obtain authentication, the environment minister can order automobile makers to replace the problematic components, according to a newly added clause.
If companies do not comply, the government may order them to refund or repurchase the disputed model of vehicle for customers. If companies continue to resist, they face a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to 50 million won ($41,400).
“With an increased levy scheme, we expect automobile makers to make extra effort to avoid breaching vehicle authentication measures,” said Na Jung-kyun, the ministry’s director general for climate and air quality management.
“We are glad to see that the ministry can become more directly involved in protecting customers’ rights,” he added.
The revision bill was introduced four months after the ministry cancelled the authentication for 32 types of Volkswagen vehicles -- 83,000 vehicles in total -- as the company had forged test results for its vehicles’ noise-level, fuel efficiency and emissions to receive authentication. Another 126,000 vehicles were decertified in November 2015 for using a defeat device to trick emissions test.
In August, a penalty totaling 17.8 billion won was charged to the German carmaker’s local unit for falsifying authentication documents on the fuel efficiency and emissions of 24 models of VW vehicles, including the VW Golf and Audi A8.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)