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FTC Wallops Audi Volkswagen Korea With $32 Million Fine for False Advertising

Recurrently ranked as one of the top 10 markets for diesel cars, South Korea isn’t too happy about the whole Dieselgate thingy. After many fines and an arrested executive, Audi Volkswagen Korea has recently received a fine from Korea's Fair Trade Commission.
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37.3 billion won is the quantum, translating to $32.07 million at current exchange rates. As Korea Times reports, the penalty is aimed at Audi Volkswagen Korea’s false advertisements on Dieselgate-affected cars equipped with Euro 5 engines. According to the antitrust agency, that’s the largest fine ever imposed on a corporation in South Korea for false advertising. What’s more, the FTC filed complaints against top execs.

The record fine applies to television and print ads promising unrealistic fuel economy, emissions, and performance figures. It is believed that Audi Volkswagen Korea ran the dishonest ads from December 2007 to November 2015, promising eco-friendly Audi and Volkswagen vehicles to the South Korean consumers instead of the emission-spewing junks they actually are.

"AVK [Audi Volkswagen Korea] ran false advertisements to promote the sale of its controversial diesel cars," declared an FTC official. "The ads falsely claimed the vehicles were environment-friendly and met emissions and other standards. The German automaker intentionally deceived Korean consumers.”

It’s rather clear, then, that the Dieselgate fiasco is far from over for the Volkswagen Group. Heck, this mess-up convinced the manufacturer to focus on SUVs and EVs more than ever. The financial burden brought by Dieselgate also affects car brands unrelated to the emissions issue. Take Porsche Cars North America as a prime example, a company that intends to sell roughly 1,500 Cayenne 3.0 V6 TDI vehicles as used cars. But only after they're fixed.

Be that as it may, these $32 million in South Korea are just the tip of the iceberg for the group. As a brief refresher, VW agreed to pay the mind-boggling sum of $14.7 billion over the 2.0 TDI issue in the U.S. And good golly, I’m betting a tenner more ludicrous numbers are in the offing for 2017.

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