Volkswagen says fudged emissions data were result of “documentary errors”

Posted on : 2016-07-26 17:59 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Government has already revoked certification for 79 models and will make final decision next month
Volkswagen Audi cars are stuck at a pre-delivery inspection site in Pyeongtaek
Volkswagen Audi cars are stuck at a pre-delivery inspection site in Pyeongtaek

In a hearing before South Korea’s Ministry of Environment related to alleged emissions tampering, Audi Volkswagen Korea continued to explain its apparent tampering as being due to “documentary errors.” But the Ministry is planning to ban the sale of implicated Volkswagen vehicles as originally planned out of concern that the scandal could compromise the entire automobile certification system.

On July 25, a closed-door hearing was held at the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) in Incheon about the manipulation of documents filed to certify Volkswagen vehicles. In attendance at the hearing were Johannes Thammer, head of Audi Volkswagen Korea, and Jeong Jae-gyun, the company’s vice president.

“We provided an adequate explanation of the matters in question and asked for lenient treatment. We will cooperate with the Ministry of Environment and the National Institute of Environmental Research in regard to the remaining issues and try to find a solution,” Thammer and Jeong told reporters after the hearing.

On July 12, the Ministry of Environment officially announced its plans to revoke the certification for 79 models of Audi and Volkswagen vehicles in connection with allegations that Volkswagen falsified documents related to emissions and noise.

The hearing on Monday lasted for about one hour and 10 minutes, with around 10 people in attendance, including attorneys from a large law firm that is representing the automaker.

Volkswagen reportedly acknowledged that errors were made in the process of drafting the documents needed to certify the vehicles in question. But it denied that it was guilty of tampering with emissions and asked for lenience from the Ministry.

Nevertheless, the government is expected to revoke certification for the vehicles in question as planned.

“Volkswagen rehashed its previous explanations, but we believe that the illegal actions that have already been confirmed represent a grave threat that could undermine the entire certification system,” said Kim Jeong-su, who is in charge of transportation and environmental research at the National Institute of Environmental Research

On Monday, Volkswagen suspended sales contracts and new vehicle registration for the 79 models whose certification will be revoked and whose sale will be banned by the punitive action that the government has promised.

Based on Monday‘s hearing, the Ministry of Environment is planning to make the final decision about these administrative measures by the beginning of August. If the government does indeed decide to take these measures, Volkswagen is reportedly considering the option of filing a lawsuit to push the government to reverse its decision.

By Hong Dae-seon, staff reporter

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