South Korea expands emissions investigation beyond VW

Mercedes-Benz, BMW may be among 23 the targets.

South Korea may represent the most daunting hurdle when it comes to European automakers' diesel exports because of the fallout from the Volkswagen emissions scandal. South Korea regulators are expanding their probe into both the emissions and noise-level testing by non-Korean automakers, Bloomberg News says. The investigation indicates that the country believes Volkswagen wasn't alone in its willingness to try to cheat the system, .

The country's investigation will cover about two-dozen non-South Korean automakers which collectively make 110 diesel models, and the results of the probe will be announced within three months. No details on which automakers are included in the investigation were disclosed, though VW, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all sell diesel models in the country. A Mercedes-Benz spokesman said the company hadn't received any notices from South Korean regulators, Bloomberg News says, adding that it received no response from BMW.

In South Korea, where imports account for about 15 percent of new vehicles sold, the government appears to be taking a hard-line stance after barring sales of 80 Volkswagen models shortly after VW decided on its own to suspend sales in the country late last month. The government also fined Volkswagen about $16 million – compared to the $15 billion hit VW is taking as part of a settlement with US regulators – and was expected at the time to recall about 79,000 vehicles. Additionally, the South Korean government in May said it would fine Nissan about $280,000 for allegedly installing emissions-cheating devices in the UK-produced Qashqai crossover vehicle.

The country is also looking to cut emissions by targeting electric-vehicle sales to account for as much as 30 percent of light-duty vehicle sales by 2020.

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