SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – The South Korean government is set to reveal an investigative report on the potential falsification of emissions documents, with a focus on imported vehicle manufacturers. The results, scheduled to be released by the end of the month, are likely to lead to sales bans and revoked vehicle certifications for automakers that are found liable.
According to government sources, 23 foreign car companies operating in Korea were targeted by the investigation, which began in August after the local Volkswagen unit was found to have fabricated its emissions certification documents.
“We have reasons to believe that falsifying emissions documents is a customary practice among foreign automakers,” said the Ministry of Environment in August, referring to imported car companies allegedly receiving certification for a single vehicle model only, and considering related trims as equally certified.
The practice was brought to light by Volkswagen when it argued during its emissions probe here that simply changing model names on certification documents was frequently practiced across the industry.
The ministry first asked the National Institute of Environmental Research to conduct a preliminary probe, and then launched its own investigation based on NIER results, while at the same time reviewing certification documents from each of the automakers.
Although the official results have yet to be disclosed, sources say three or four companies have been identified as taking part in the illicit practice.
“No companies will be informed of the results prior to the official disclosure,” said a ministry official. “The hearing process will begin a week after our announcement.”
The environment ministry banned the sale of 80 Volkswagen vehicle models in August, and revoked their certification, affecting 83,000 of the vehicles.
By Joseph Shin (email@example.com)