Volkswagen Finally Starts Recall in Korea

      January 13, 2017 12:13

      Recalls of 125,155 Volkswagens and Audis over an emissions-rigging scandal will finally start on Feb. 6. The Environment Ministry on Thursday authorized the recall plan submitted by the German automaker after three previous proposals were rejected.

      The first to be recalled will be 27,010 Tiguan SUVs, with 19 other models or 98,145 to follow once the ministry finishes reviewing the paperwork. The recalls come over a year after the discovery in November of 2015 of rampant forgery of emissions test data and cheating software in Volkswagen's diesel cars.

      To restore confidence among Korean consumers, Volkswagen is offering an average of W1 million worth of vouchers to 270,000 customers here (US$1=W1,180). But the size of the compensation pales in comparison to the maximum US$10,000 the German automaker pledged to car owners in the U.S., which has punitive regulations in place that require automakers to provide compensation surpassing the amount of damage incurred.

      The Environment Ministry has demanded since last year that Volkswagen compensate Korean customers, but the German automaker held out, claiming it has never provided monetary compensation in countries other than the U.S.

      Some pundits said Volkswagen simply took advantage of Korean laws that make it difficult for car owners to get financial compensation and that the ministry settled for adequate reimbursement.

      Volkswagen's Korean office will send out notices to customers on Jan. 24 informing them of the recall schedule. Owners will need to make reservations to visit one of the carmaker's 31 nationwide service centers. It will only take around 30 minutes to complete the service.

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