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Volkswagen barred from selling 80 vehicle models in South Korea

By Allen Cone
Volkswagen barred from selling 80 vehicle models in South Korea
South Korea on Tuesday banned Volkswagen from selling 80 models in the country, including the Golf (above), because the company faked documents on emissions and noise-level tests. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Volkswagen was barred Tuesday from selling 80 models in South Korea and fined $16 million because it fabricated emissions and noise-level tests.

The cars banned by the South Korean Ministry of Environment included 32 vehicle types. Of them, 66 models — including the VW Golf and Tiguan, and the Audi A3 and A6 — were already taken off the market voluntarily by Volkswagen.

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In September 2015, the German automaker admitted it had used emissions-cheating software in 11 million diesel-powered cars worldwide. At the time, South Korea fined the company $12 million and stripped certifications from 126,000 diesel-powered cars.

Tuesday's decision added another 83,000 vehicles, including Volkswagen, Audi and Bentley brands.

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The total barred cars account for 67 percent of all cars made by Volkswagen since 2007, when the auto maker entered the country.

People who own those cars can still drive or sell them, however.

Last month, prosecutors told the Ministry of Environment about extensive forgery in documents on emissions and noise-level tests that Volkswagen had used for government certifications. A South Korean executive of Volkswagen was indicted last month for falsifying 140 of the documents and prosecutors say they plan to charge other executives.

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Volkswagen Korea apologized to its customers and dealers "for causing worries" and said the company would cooperate to resolve the problems.

Environmental ministry official Hong Dong-gon told reporters Volkswagen will face a tougher review process if it tries to enter the market again.

"Rather than just going through the papers, we will conduct a thorough review which will include on-side inspections and visiting the German headquarters if necessary," he said.

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In September, Volkswagen admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide and 500,000 in the United States were equipped with software to cheat emissions tests.

Two months ago, Volkswagen agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle claims in the United States.

Last month, attorneys general in New York, Massachusetts and Maryland alleged in lawsuits that high-ranking Volkswagen executives spearheaded "massive fraud" for more than a decade to intentionally sell diesel cars that violated emission regulations.

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