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Seoul summons VW over 'cheating' emissions tests

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South Korean officials summoned Volkswagen representatives to discuss emissions tests after the German auto giant was accused of cheating on US air pollution standards, the Environment Ministry said on Tuesday.

[SEOUL] South Korean officials summoned Volkswagen representatives to discuss emissions tests after the German auto giant was accused of cheating on US air pollution standards, the Environment Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We've called in Volkswagen representatives and engineers to the ministry for a meeting on Wednesday afternoon," Deputy Director Park Pan Kyu of the ministry told AFP.

"We will start conducting tests no later than next month and announce tests results by the end of November," he said.

Mr Park said it was too early to say what kind of punitive measures the government could take against the firm until the test results become available.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the Volkswagen had been fitting diesel vehicles in the US with software that turns on full pollution controls only when the car is undergoing official emissions testing.

As a result, the cars emit greater-than-allowed quantities of pollution linked to smog and various health problems.

Of the five models equipped with test-cheating software in the United States, four have been imported to South Korea - the Golf, Audi A3, Jetta and Beetle.

About 59,000 of those models are on the road in South Korea now, Park said.

VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn issued an apology and said the group had ordered an external investigation into the matter, adding that it took the EPA findings "very seriously." The alleged violations affect nearly half a million vehicles and could result in fines totalling as much as US$18 billion.

AFP