Volkswagen and its luxury brand Audi plan to start the recall process for their emissions-faked vehicles sold in Korea in late April following a delay caused by the Seoul government rejecting the companies’ measures to fix the problem for being insufficient, industry sources said Thursday.
The two German carmakers recently submitted their recall plans to the environment ministry for around 125,000 vehicles equipped with what are called deceit devices designed to manipulate emissions results.
Under the plans, the recall will be carried out “in phases” with some models to be called in to remove the device “in late April at the earliest,” the sources said. The carmakers claimed that removing the devices will not compromise their fuel efficiency and driving performance, they added.
Their initial recall measures submitted in January were rejected by the ministry for insufficient data and proper fixing methods.
The ministry later asked the prosecution to investigate Johannes Thammer, head of Audi Volkswagen Korea, for failing to start the recall swiftly. Its main offices in Seoul were raided recently in a related move.
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.
In November, Korean authorities fined the German carmaking giant 14.1 billion won ($12.5 million) and ordered a recall of the emissions-faked 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 deceit devices.