The massive scandal that has taken Volkswagen AG by storm has also spread into Asia, where South Korea on Tuesday announced a probe into three of the automaker’s diesel-powered autos.
Volkswagen AG was on Friday accused by the US Environmental Protection Agency of cheating on emissions testing when diesel powered cars are involved and the automaker over the weekend admitted to the allegations as the chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn publicly apologized for breaching the consumer’s trust. On Monday, the market cap of the company was partially wiped out after shares plunged by almost 20 percent as the US regulators announced the penalties could be of up to $18 billion. Media reports are also pointing out now towards a criminal investigation started by the US Department of Justice, with several VW and Audi models involved – the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat.
Now the South Korean authorities have also decided to investigate 4,000 to 5,000 Jetta, Golf and Audi A3 models manufactured in 2014 and 2015, said Park Pan-kyu, a deputy director at South Korea’s environment ministry for Reuters. “If South Korean authorities find problems in the VW diesel cars, the probe could be expanded to all German diesel cars,” he added.
Meanwhile, German competitors Daimler and BMW claimed the accusations would not be applicable to their automobiles. The European Commission also added it maintained an open contact line with both the carmaker and US officials, but has refrained from saying if any of the group’s vehicles also breached European emissions laws.