[THE INVESTOR] Audi Volkswagen Korea on May 18 said it has tapped two technical compliance directors in anticipation of restarting business in the country following the diesel scandal that halted sales of most of its cars last year.
The German automaker named Johann Hegel and Martin Bahr as technical compliance directors of the Korean unit, starting on May 1. The appointment of two directors, who held positions in the engine development and vehicle testing at the German headquarters, is expected to improve the certification process and strengthen discussion with the local government and headquarters, the automaker said.
Johann Hegel (left) and Martin Bahr
“With their expertise we will establish a thorough technical compliance system which will be an industry benchmark,” Marcus Hellmann, managing director of Audi Volkswagen Korea said in a statement. “In addition to this, the process for homologation will be accelerated.”
Hegel, 48, will oversee the whole-vehicle homologation at the local unit. At the German headquarters, he was responsible for technical market analysis and country-specific testing of complete vehicles. Between 2005 and 2008, he was in charge of the development and rollout of various Group systems in VW America as head of group systems portfolio.
Bahr, 41, will focus on powertrain homologation at the Korean unit. He has been involved in various projects at the VW headquarters, including development and testing of diesel vehicles. His past roles include government relations in Germany.
The new appointments come as Audi VW Korea is gearing up to resume domestic sales. It has applied for recertification of three Audi models -- S3, RS7 and A8L -- at the Environment Ministry, and is awaiting approval.
The local unit is also considering introducing the latest model of popular Tiguan SUV in the market.
In August, the ministry revoked certification and halted sales of 32 models of Audi, VW and Bentley vehicles, in addition to imposing hefty fines for manipulating emissions and noise level test results, to win sales approval.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)