VW’s dealers can send back bad cars

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VW’s dealers can send back bad cars

Volkswagen Korea will allow its dealers to return cars, as local customers shun the brand after the company admitted diesel models were engineered to cheat during emissions tests. The company will refund the money the dealers paid.

“The decision was made since our dealers were having troubles in sales [due to the scandal],” said a spokesman for Volkswagen Korea on Sunday. “The models equipped with a diesel engine [that was designed to cheat on emissions tests], such as the Passat 2.0 TDI and other 2015 models with a Euro 5 diesel engine, will be returned without any conditions.”

The models with the problematic EA 189 diesel engines are the Volkswagen Golf, Polo, Jetta, Tiguan, Beetle, CC and Audi A4, A5, A6 2.0 TDI, Q3 and Q5.

The company said the decision was made in order to help local Volkswagen dealers make up for losses, including Meister Motors, Klasse Auto and GS Mbiz.

“We worried that our dealers may decide not to sell our cars anymore in the future and also wanted to improve a situation in which the dealers are making losses even though they didn’t do anything wrong,” a company spokesman said.

After the scandal was revealed in September, sales for Volkswagen in Korea have been falling. According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, only 2,901 units of Volkswagen cars were sold last month, a drop of 7.8 percent from August, when the company sold 3,145 units.

Overall sales for imported cars increased by an average of 12 percent during the same period, especially after the government lowered the individual consumption tax on luxury goods including cars.

The company didn’t say how much inventory for the affected models are held by its dealers. It also isn’t sure yet how many cars will be returned.

Regarding refitting cars that have already been sold, Volkswagen and Audi said they are preparing a technical method to fix the car that won’t hurt the vehicles’ overall performance, including fuel efficiency, which was one of the biggest concerns for customers.

The company said the repair work will be done for free but hasn’t announced any specific schedule for the refitting.

BY LEE SOO-KI, KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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