Punishing VW’s fraud

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Punishing VW’s fraud

Korea has embarked on punitive action against Audi Volkswagen Korea for the illegalities it committed to sell cars in the country. The government plans to take the strongest possible administrative action based on the findings of an extensive prosecution probe that discovered the German carmaker falsified documents and test results to pass national inspections.

The Ministry of Environment said it will hold a hearing on July 22 to give the German automaker a chance to speak for itself. It will then decide whether to cancel the company’s license and impose a sales ban on 79 variants of 32 models under the Audi Volkswagen label within the month.

The carmaker will come under separate scrutiny by the Fair Trade Commission for false and exaggerated advertising.

Volkswagen repeatedly lied, avoided responsibility and disregarded government demands after it admitted to cheating and fixing emissions test results for diesel cars in the United States and elsewhere last year. Even as it was accused of cheating, it went on selling the irregular cars and failed to meet government requests for recall procedures.

According to the ministry and prosecution, 32 out of 70 cars that the automaker sold in Korea over the last 10 years had been approved through test fixing. A total of 79,000 units, or one out of four cars that it sold here, were illegitimate. It had been liberal with its illegal activity in Korea and yet refused to come up with a compensation plan while offering to pay nearly $10.3 billion to U.S. drivers to settle claims by regulators there.

The Korean government warned that it will punish Volkswagen. Its actions must be resolute to send the strong message that a company violating local rules and regulations and disrespecting local consumers can be ousted from the market.

Although authorities have said the administrative actions are aimed at the carmaker and won’t affect consumers, prices of Volkswagen cars have plunged in the secondhand market and the vehicles hardly sell.

The government must show its will to protect the rights and interests of consumers so that no company can dream of cheating local consumers.

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