3 foreign cars face sales ban

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3 foreign cars face sales ban

The government on Monday technically banned 10 imported car models manufactured by three foreign automakers in Korea.

The Ministry of Environment said Nissan, BMW and Porsche falsified certification documents. Ten models, including Nissan’s Infiniti Q50, BMW’s X5M and Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo, are subject to decertification as of Monday. Drivers cannot register decertified models so the decertification is technically the same as a ban. The automakers face fines that reach a combined 7.17 billion won ($5.94 million). The amount is 3 percent of sales that the automakers have earned from selling 4,523 units that were certified through falsified documents.

“We held a public hearing after we found three foreign automakers that violated the law by providing falsified certification documents, and decided to decertify them and levy fines,” said Hong Dong-kon, a director at the Environment Ministry.

Nissan faces 3.2 billion won in fines, Porsche would have to pay 3.6 billion won and BMW faces fines of 370 million won.

Last year, the Environment Ministry began investigations on imported brands in the local market after an emissions scandal in which Volkswagen was found to have manipulated its emissions and fuel efficiency paperwork.

Nissan submitted paperwork that indicated some of its vehicles were certified in Japan but the ministry said the automaker didn’t test in Japan. Nissan has admitted providing falsified documents but asked for favorable arrangements as its vehicles meet emissions requirements. The Korean government rejected the request.

“We also have decided to file a suit against Nissan Korea to the Korean court for providing falsified documents,” Hong added.

BMW Korea asked for the government to certify its X5M model by testing its X6M model, which has similar features, at a public hearing held last month, and argued that it didn’t provide falsified documents intentionally. BMW was first caught last year for using test data of its X6M model on its X5M certification documentation. The Korean government decided not to sue BMW Korea since the two models are almost identical.

Porsche Korea acknowledged it provided falsified documents in November, and didn’t participate in the public hearing. The Environment Ministry said it is not filing a suit against Porsche since they also voluntarily reported their faults to Korean prosecutors.

BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]
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