SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Korea Bizwire) - South Korea could file a criminal complaint against the local unit of Volkswagen with the prosecution unless the German carmaker provides required data and information needed for its planned emissions testing, a government source said Friday.
In November, the environment ministry ordered Volkswagen Korea to recall about 125,000 vehicles whose emissions were found to have been faked through the so-called defeat device. It was also asked to submit a recall plan by Jan. 6, including how it would maintain fuel efficiency even after removing the cheating device.
Volkswagen submitted the plan as required, but the ministry recently determined that it is “insufficient” and officially requested more information and data needed to carry out its test of the cars in question.
“We sent our official request to Volkswagen on Thursday to submit supplementary information needed to carry out our emissions tests on its cars,” an environment ministry official told the English division of Yonhap News Agency on customary condition of anonymity.
“If their supplementary information turns out to be insufficient again, we will see it as a failure to submit their recall plan by the deadline in the first place and refer this matter for criminal investigation,” he added.
It is the first time that the government overtly expressed its interest in seeking a criminal investigation into the German carmaker since the fake emissions scandal started last year.
He declined to elaborate on what additional information has been requested from Volkswagen, except to say that it did not provide data and explanations “technically” needed to confirm the carmaker’s claims related to fuel efficiency, quality improvement and others.
In its initial recall plan, Volkswagen said that there will be no change in fuel efficiency and power even after removing the defeat device covertly installed to fake emissions results.
It also hoped to start the recall process during the first half of the year on the precondition that its recall plan gets approved by the government.
On Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board rejected Volkswagen’s recall plan for U.S. customers, citing as reasons a lack of details and insufficient information related to fuel efficiency, emissions and safety.’