VW jetta TDI US-spec

Dieselgate is not over and done with in South Korea, where the authorities will file criminal complaints against five former and current executives at Volkswagen’s local unit, plus fine the company 37.3 billion won (RM142.5 million) for false advertising on vehicle emissions, according to Reuters.

The fine by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is a record for false advertising in South Korea, and it follows the suspension of most of VW’s sales in the country since August. FTC said it would ask prosecutors to investigate execs including André Konsbruck, currently VP of sales for the Americas at VW unit Audi.

FTC said VW made “false, exaggerated or deceptive” claims in the advertisements, with punishments ranging from jail terms of up to two years or fines of up to 150 million won. VW advertised its cars as environmentally friendly vehicles that met pollution standards although they were equipped with devices designed to deceive government tests, the regulator said.

Local unit Audi Volkswagen Korea (AVK) said it had not been formally notified of the regulator’s decision. “AVK is committed to rebuilding trust with the authorities and with customers and other stakeholders in Korea,” it said in a statement.

This is not the first South Korean action against VW over Dieselgate. The country had already fined the German carmaker 17.8 billion won (RM67.9 million) for emissions cheating, and arrested one local VW executive on accusations including fabrication of documents and violation air quality laws.

The August sales suspension halted the German giant’s strong growth in South Korea, a market dominated by Hyundai-Kia. It’s a relatively small market for VW, but imported marques such as Audi and Bentley are in demand among wealthy Koreans and both brands enjoy good sales there.