SEOUL, Dec. 24 (Korea Bizwire) - South Korea will launch a probe into the fuel efficiency of Volkswagen vehicles that have emissions that have been manipulated to meet tightened environmental regulations, a government official close to the matter said Thursday.
The investigation follows the transportation ministry’s internal conclusion that there is a “correlation” between the German carmaker’s manipulated emissions for some of its diesel vehicles and their fuel efficiency, the official told the English division of Yonhap News Agency.
“We have concluded that there is a correlation,” the official said on the customary condition of anonymity. “We will launch an investigation into the fuel efficiency aspect of those cars in question.”
He declined to elaborate on other details such as when and how the investigation will be conducted.
The transportation ministry has carried out its own analysis of test data offered by the environment ministry, which conducted its own probe into Volkswagen’s suspected emissions cheating.
The transportation ministry’s analysis was to determine any impact that the emissions manipulation could have on fuel efficiency. The ministry will likely measure fuel efficiency in a real driving test.
Under the current regulations, the ministry can order a recall and impose a fine if the discrepancy in tests exceeds 5 percent of officially-approved efficiency.
On Nov. 26, the environment ministry ordered a recall of about 125,000 Volkswagen vehicles after finding that their emission results were manipulated. It also fined the German auto giant about 14 billion won (US$11.9 million).
Subject to the recall order are vehicles equipped with the “EA189″ engine. Others include the Volkswagen Beetle and the Q5, Q3 and A4 of its Audi luxury brand.
Volkswagen should submit detailed recall plans to the environment ministry by Jan. 6, including how to enhance emissions results and maintain fuel efficiency after removing software used to fake emission results.
A Volkswagen Korea official declined to comment on the ministry’s decision, saying that it will “wait until the results of its planned investigation come out.”