[THE INVESTOR] The Korean government has launched an investigation into some Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold here, following similar action by German authorities over allegations that it manipulated emissions in its diesel vehicles.
The Environment Ministry on July 14 said it believes that there are around 48 different types of vehicles with problematic engines equipped with so-called “emissions cheating software.” The authorities are gathering information to find out how many units of affected cars were sold in the country.
The probe arrives after German media reported the Germany’s prosecution is examining the possible use of defeat software in Mercedes-Benz vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. The vehicles in question are fitted with Daimler’s OM 642 and OM 651 engines with over a million cars sold worldwide, including in Europe and the US.
Mercedes-Benz E Class
“The matter is still under investigation in Germany. We will carefully watch the situation and fully cooperate with the ministry’s investigation in the matter,” a spokesperson from Mercedes-Benz Korea told The Investor, while declining to comment on specifics.
If the claim that Mercedes-Benz used a “defeat device” similar to that of Volkswagen turns out to be true, the ministry plans to sue the local unit and order a recall of affected vehicles. It will also be a blow to Mercedes-Benz Korea that has enjoyed enormous sales success recently.
Mercedes-Benz sold 37,723 units in the first half of this year, up 54 percent on-year, to become the No. 1 imported car seller in the country. The Korean market is German luxury brand’s fifth-largest market after China, US, Germany and UK.
Industry watchers are concerned the results can tarnish the luxury carmaker in the country and further affect sales of diesel vehicles like it did after the VW scandal.
Last year, the Environment Ministry revoked certification and halted sales of 80 models of Audi, VW and Bentley vehicles, as well as imposed hefty fines on the automaker, after it found that the carmaker installed a cheating device to manipulate emissions and noise level tests.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com)