By In-Soo Nam
SEOUL–Volkswagen AG is suspending sales of its cars implicated in an emissions scandal in South Korea, in effect stopping all its marketing activities in the country.
In a recent letter to local dealers, Audi Volkswagen Korea Co., the Korean unit of the German auto maker, said it will stop delivering 79 models of 34 vehicle types starting Monday.
“This decision doesn’t mean that Volkswagen is pulling out of Korea, which is a very important market to us. We’ll reapply certification of our cars if the government revokes it. The process may take several months,” a Korean representative of Volkswagen said Friday.
The move comes as Seoul’s environment ministry plans to revoke the certification of 79 vehicle models, including the Golf, Jetta, Tiguan, Audi A3, A6, made by Volkswagen and its premium Audi brand after prosecutors found that it had fabricated documents on emissions and noise-level tests.
In a related move, prosecutors last week indicted an executive at Volkswagen’s Korean unit on charges of filing more than a hundred falsified emission documents and noise reports for cars sold in Korea.
In November, the South Korean government ordered Volkswagen Korea to recall more than 125,000 diesel-powered cars sold in the country after it found the company installed emissions-cheating software in its vehicles. It also fined the company 14.1 billion won ($12.3 million).
Volkswagen was subject to legal action in South Korea and other countries after it said in September that it falsified U.S. emissions tests on some diesel-powered cars.