Korea Widens Emission Test Probe to All Foreign Car Brands

  • Environment ministry investigating 110 diesel vehicle models
  • South Korea has barred most Volkswagen, Audi models from sale

South Korea expanded an investigation into the fabrication of emission and noise-level test results to all foreign car brands after fining Volkswagen AG for violations.

The environment ministry last week started a probe on 23 foreign automakers involving 110 diesel models, Hong Dong Kon, a director at the ministry, said by phone. The results of the investigation will be announced in two to three months, Hong said.

Automakers and component suppliers worldwide are facing increased scrutiny following a spate of scandals at companies including Takata Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. Earlier this month, South Korea blocked sales of 80 VW models and fined the company 17.8 billion won ($16 million) because the carmaker fabricated documents related to emissions and noise-level tests.

Imported cars accounted for about 15 percent of the market in South Korea as of June, and the most popular choices include diesel models made by VW, BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz. The Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association hasn’t received details of the investigation, the group said.

A spokesman for Mercedes-Benz Korea said the automaker hasn’t received a notice from the environment ministry but would cooperate with the investigation if there’s a request. Calls to BMW Korea’s spokesman weren’t answered.

It may take longer than the typical three months for VW to regain the certification required to restart sales as thorough inspections have to be carried out, the ministry has said.

Watch Next: The Long Rise and Rapid Fall of Volkswagen

The Long Rise and Rapid Fall of Volkswagen

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE