Audi Volkswagen steps up efforts to resume sales in S. Korea

SEOUL-- Audi Volkswagen Korea Ltd., a global sales unit of Audi AG, is speeding up preparations to resume sales in South Korea within this year, Seoul officials said Thursday.

On July 25 last year, Audi Volkswagen Korea, which was selling passenger cars under marques such as Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porshe and Volkswagen, voluntarily stopped selling its vehicles in the country.

Back then, the Seoul government was about to ban the sale of almost all Audi and Volkswagen cars while imposing heavy fines on the German carmaker as it admitted last year of having falsified the U.S. emissions tests of some of its diesel-powered cars.

To resume vehicle sales in Asia's fourth-biggest economy, the German carmaker has stepped up efforts by obtaining certification for three models -- Audi Q7 35 TDI Quattro, 45 TDI Quattro diesel SUV and Audi R8 gasoline sports car -- from the environment ministry this week. It has also received recertification for the Audi A8L 60 TFSI Quattro, RS7 4.0 TFSI Quattro and RS7 Plus high-performance cars.

Audi Volkswagen Korea confirmed the ministry's acceptance of its certification requests, without elaborating on the timetable for the restart of sales here.

"But all the models have yet to register their specifications and fuel efficiency with the (South Korean) government," an Audi Volkswagen spokeswoman said over the phone.

The remaining process involving specifications registration and fuel efficiency certification does not take much time as the carmaker can send the related information to the transport ministry and the Korea Energy Agency, respectively, Kim Ki-hwan, who is in charge of vehicle specifications registration at the transport ministry, said by phone.

"Once the carmaker finishes the remaining process, they can immediately resume sales here," he said.

Meanwhile, the environment ministry said a more sophisticated process will be needed to allow the German company to resume sales of Volkswagen's Tiguan SUV as it carried the emissions cheating software that triggered the so-called dieselgate in 2015.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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