December 08, 2016 10:39
The Fair Trade Commission on Wednesday fined Volkswagen W37.3 billion for doctoring the emissions and fuel efficiency ratings of cars (US$1=W1,168). It was the biggest fine ever imposed on a carmaker for such offenses.
The FTC also filed criminal complaints against Volkswagen headquarters, Korean office and five former and current executives including André Konsbruck, now vice president of sales for the Americas at affiliate Audi, and Audi's head of overseas sales Terence Bryce Johnsson.
The FTC said Volkswagen fooled consumers from late 2007 into believing that cars equipped with the EA189 diesel engine met Euro-5 emission standards.
The German automaker advertised its diesel cars as both environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient. But that was only true under testing conditions and not on the road, when sneaky software disabled the curbs.
Volkswagen's sales in Korea surged from 4,170 cars in 2008 to 62,353 in 2015.
The FTC's fine is heavier than penalties in other countries. Italian and Brazilian authorities fined the carmaker W6.2 billion and W2.8 billion. The Korean watchdog said its fine is equivalent to just one percent of the W4.4 trillion Vokswagen made from the affected vehicles and Korean laws allow fines of up to two percent.
It said it did not opt for the higher penalty because the German automaker did not advertise the vehicles involved in newspapers and on TV.
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