VW will halt sales starting on July 25, the same day that its officials are to sit down with the South Korean environmental ministry, which will likely punish the German company. The Wall Street Journal reports that Korea's response to the situation will likely come in the form of an outright sales ban on Volkswagen products by revoking certifications on 79 different models based on 34 different vehicle types. Affected models include the VW Golf, Jetta, and Tiguan and the Audi A3 and A6, the WSJ reports.
Essentially, it looks like VW is merely trying to get out ahead of the South Korean government. If the revocation goes through, it'd likely lead to fines and a relatively large recall of around 79,000 vehicles, the WSJ reports. Despite the dreary forecast, Volkswagen reaffirmed its commitment to the South Korean market.
"This decision doesn't mean that Volkswagen is pulling out of Korea, which is a very important market to us," a Korean rep for the company said in a statement. "We'll reapply for certification of our cars if the government revokes it. The process may take several months."
While Volkswagen's diesel emissions testing scandal is part of the problem, South Korea is taking a harder line than a lot of other countries. Authorities indicted a Volkswagen exec on charges of submitting falsified emissions documents and noise tests last week, while separately, Korea's trade watchdog is considering criminal charges against execs, according to the WSJ.
Banning VW Group sales in South Korea isn't quite as dramatic as if the company stopped sales in China, the United States, or Germany, but it's still going to sting. VW Group products (including Bentley) represented around a third of European cars imported by South Korea last year.