Mercedez-Benz fined 77.6 billion won for faking emissions

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Mercedez-Benz fined 77.6 billion won for faking emissions

The Ministry of Environment announced Wednesday it will levy its biggest fine ever against Mercedes-Benz Korea, slapping the German carmaker with a 77.6 billion won ($63 million) penalty after determining it illegally used software to falsify its vehicles’ nitrogen oxide emissions.

 
The ministry also said it plans to recall 40,381 diesel vehicles sold by brands Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Porsche between 2012 and 2018 that included the software, and will pursue criminal charges against the three companies. The ministry also said it will fine Porsche and Nissan of 1 billion won and 900 million won, respectively.
 
Mercedes-Benz Korea said in a statement Wednesday it disagreed with the ministry’s decision, suggesting “technical and legal grounds” for using the technology in question and vowing to appeal the fine.
 
The ministry also said it would this month cancel the certification for all 14 diesel-powered models in which the software was found.
 
Among those models, 12 were Euro 6 models from Mercedes-Benz while Nissan and Porsche were responsible for one Euro 5 model, each.  
 
The findings followed a series of tests conducted from June 2018 through April of this year in which the ministry checked actual emissions on the road and analyzed electronic signals from the engine control units.
 
The ministry began looking into the issue after the German government accused Mercedes-Benz in June 2018 of manipulating the exhaust control to fake emission tests. The carmaker was found guilty of the charges by the German government back in August 2018.
 
Nissan and Porsche models were also included in the ministry’s investigation, as they used the same control logic as Mercedes-Benz’s models. Both 
companies had previously been found to have faked emissions.  
 
The 14 vehicles were found to emit nitrogen oxides at levels 1.5 times to 13.7 times the limit for certification, the ministry claimed.
 
Selective catalytic reduction and exhaust gas recirculation systems were altered with software to slow down their performance after a certain point, the ministry claimed. This allegedly caused increased nitrogen oxide emissions on the road compared to when it underwent government tests indoors.
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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