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Korea’s Environment Ministry to inspect Mercedes-Benz diesel cars

South Korea’s Environment Ministry said Friday that it would start investigating Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles over alleged breaches of diesel emissions regulations.

Starting August, the ministry will conduct periodic inspections as well as defect investigations for 47 Mercedes-Benz models, powered by OM642 or OM651 diesel engines. 


The number of vehicles in question is around 110,000 units, according to the company.

The National Institute of Environmental Research will be responsible for the inspections for the next few months, the ministry said.

If proven to have breached the regulations or manipulated the exhaust control to fake emissions levels, the ministry can cancel the certifications for the vehicles and impose fines and penalties on the German automaker.

Automakers who intentionally breach or manipulate emissions levels are currently subjected to a fine worth up to 10 billion won for each model, according to the law revised in July 2016, a move came on the back of the Volkswagen’s emissions scandal.

Starting Dec 2017, the fine will be intended to a maximum of 50 billion won as the country revised the law once more in December last year, significantly stronger compared with the fine issued to Volkswagen.

The ministry in 2015 had canceled the certifications of 15 Volkswagen and Audi models and imposed a fine worth some 14 billion won ($12 million) on the automaker, approximately 1 billion won for each model that falsely breached the regulations.

Mercedes-Benz Korea, meanwhile, said Friday that it would offer engine software updates for the diesel vehicles and also cooperate with the related authorities over the inspections. The software updates will be free of charge, it added.

Mercedes-Benz Korea’s decision came in line with Daimler’s previous call to provide “voluntary service actions” for 3 million vehicles in Europe, almost all Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel vehicles.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube