VW Korea submits new plan for recall in late April

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VW Korea submits new plan for recall in late April

Beginning in late April, Volkswagen Korea will finally start recalling vehicles affected by its emissions scandal that were sold in Korea, according to industry sources on Thursday.

The recall has been delayed by the Seoul government, which rejected an initial plan for not being detailed enough.

On Wednesday, the German carmaker submitted revised plans to the Ministry of Environment, which included a recall of around 125,000 vehicles equipped with so-called defeat device software designed to manipulate emissions test results.

Plans were first submitted Jan. 6.

Under the latest deal, the recall will be carried out “in phases” starting with some models from “late April at the earliest,” Volkswagen Korea said. The carmaker claims removing the emissions-rigging devices will not compromise fuel efficiency and driving performance while meeting environmental guidelines set by the government.

Cars with the 2.0-liter EA189 engines will take 30 minutes to fully upgrade the software, which fixes the issue. Those with 1.6-liter EA189 engines will take about an hour because they need new hardware as well as the software upgrade, the company said.

The company’s first plan was supposed to elaborate on two key issues: the cause of the problem and ways to fix the cars in question. But the actual document contained only a single sentence about the cause. In response, the ministry on Jan. 14 ordered the automaker to submit a revision.

The ministry also filed lawsuits against Volkswagen Korea’s managing director, Johannes Thammer, and Terence Bryce Johnson, an executive from Volkswagen Group’s headquarters in Germany, in January over the scandal and for not submitting a complete recall plan.

The investigation over the recall intensified in February because of the delay in the plans. Investigators from the Seoul Prosecutors’ Office combed the automaker’s Korean headquarters in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, with a seizure and search warrant on Feb. 19. Five days later, it banned three board members, including Thammer, from leaving the country.

“In the new recall plan we have submitted, we have included the cause of the emissions issues, the scope of the cars subject to the recall and also measures to fix the problem,” the company said in a statement.

Volkswagen Group was first accused of cheating during emissions tests of its diesel vehicles in the United States in September last year, which led to a recall of 480,000 cars.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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