The Korea Herald


Korea again rejects Volkswagen's recall plan

By Shin Hyon-hee

Published : March 23, 2016 - 20:14

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South Korea's environment ministry said Wednesday that it has again rejected Volkswagen's plan to recall its vehicles built to sidestep emissions tests sold in the country, citing the plan's insufficiency.

The German carmaker recently submitted its recall plan to the Ministry of Environment for around 125,000 vehicles equipped with what are called defeat devices designed to manipulate emissions results.

The ministry, however, demanded more supplementation and said the German carmaker failed to provide software to fix the problematic cars. 

The environment ministry warned it will oppose the recall process, if necessary changes are not made to the recall plan.

The carmaker's initial recall measures submitted in January were rejected by the ministry for insufficient data and no proper outline to rectify the shortcomings of the vehicles affected.

Johannes Thammer, head of Audi Volkswagen Korea, is currently under investigation by prosecutors, following the ministry's request, for failing to start the recall swiftly.

Last week, prosecutors raided Volkswagen's vehicle inspection center in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul. In February, the headquarters of its local unit in Seoul was raided.

As it takes time to complete the recall software for the 15 types of cars sold in the country, the ministry had allowed the carmaker some leeway to come up with a working plan.

The carmaker is known not to have submitted software changes, saying the headquarters in Germany have yet to make them so they can be fitted into cars.

Volkswagen's brand image has been tarnished since the so-called diesel gate surfaced last year, when the automaker was found to have faked emissions results for some of its diesel models to meet tight regulations in the United States. Massive recall plans were announced in major global markets.

The recall plans for the 15 types of cars sold in South Korea have not been approved by any government in the world, including Germany.

In November, South Korean authorities fined the German carmaking giant 14.1 billion won ($12.5 million) and ordered a recall of the affected vehicles. Thousands of car owners have also been joining a class-action lawsuit to demand refunds and compensation, saying they were duped into buying the cars equipped with the defeat devices. (Yonhap)