SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — The government will seek punitive measures against South Korean units of Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis for manipulating emissions control systems in diesel vehicles, officials said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Environment announced Mercedes-Benz Korea and Stellantis Korea were found to have tampered with pollution mitigation devices so they would perform at lower levels in driving conditions that are different than during certification tests.
The rigging resulted in the cars emitting about eight times more nitrogen oxide gas than the certification level, the ministry said.
Such irregularities affected 2,508 Mercedes-Benz cars in four models and 2,246 Stellantis cars in two models sold in the country, the ministry said.
The ministry revoked import certifications for those models and will impose fines, estimated to be 4.3 billion won (US$3.64 million) for Mercedes-Benz Korea and 1.2 billion won for Stellantis Korea, according to officials.
The authorities plan to file criminal complaints against the two companies.
The ministry will also order corrective measures, and the companies have to submit plans to fix problems within 45 days after the order is issued.
They were previously punished for the same crime, involving 12 Mercedes-Benz models from 2018 to 2020 and two Stellantis models in 2018.
“The Ministry of Environment has detected illegal manipulation in a total of 190,000 cars in 58 models since 2015 and has taken administrative measures and filed criminal complaints,” Kim Seung-hee, a senior official of atmospheric environment policy at the ministry, told reporters.
“The ministry has completed a series of emissions rigging investigations but will continue to examine and crack down on similar illegal acts,” the official said.
The six models involved are G350d, E350d, E350d 4matic and CLS350d 4matic from Mercedes-Benz, and Jeep Cherokee and Fiat Fremont from Stellantis.