Date
8 December 2016
Nissan’s Infiniti Q50 is one of 10 models being investigated by South Korean authorities in connection with false roadworthiness certificates. Photo: Bloomberg
Nissan’s Infiniti Q50 is one of 10 models being investigated by South Korean authorities in connection with false roadworthiness certificates. Photo: Bloomberg

Nissan, BMW, Porsche face South Korea sales ban for cheating

South Korea is planning to ban sales sales of some cars made by Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and two German auto makers — BMW AG and Porsche AG — after it found the companies cheated to make their vehicles roadworthy.

The government said an investigation into more than a dozen foreign brands found that the three auto makers, while obtaining government approval for some of their cars, submitted documents that had already been used for similar models, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The government had widened its probe of certifications to more than a dozen foreign auto makers after banning the sale of almost all Volkswagen AG cars in the country

A senior official said a total of 10 models, including the Infiniti Q50 sedan and Qashqai sport-utility vehicles from Nissan, BMW’s X5M SUV and Porsche’s Macan S diesel cars, were suspected of using fabricated documents to get certifications.

“We’ll give the companies until the middle of next month to clarify their positions. After that, the government plans to revoke the certifications, ban sales of their cars and ask prosecutors to further investigate the case,” Hong Dong-kon, a government ministry official, told a news conference.

The ministry plans to levy a combined 6.5 billion won (US$5.6 million) in fines on the three auto makers for the fabrication of documents on some 4,350 cars, he said.

Officials at Nissan and Porsche said the companies have found “errors” in their certification documents and decided to voluntarily suspend sales of affected cars.

“We take this matter seriously. We will fully cooperate with the ministry,” said a Nissan Korea spokeswoman.

A representative of BMW Korea said the company would explain its position during a government hearing next month and has no plan to stop the sale of X5M SUVs until a final ruling is out.

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