South Korea cracks down on German luxury trio Mercedes, Audi, BMW. Here is why

  • A fine of 20.7 billion won has been imposed on Mercedes while BMW has been fined 15.7 billion won and a six billion won penalty on Audi.
File photo used for representational purpose. (Getty Images via AFP)
File photo used for representational purpose.

South Korea has announced that it will fine Germany luxury car makers Mercedes, Audi and BMW, alleging that these companies had colluded to manipulate emission levels from their cars in the country. To be imposed by South Korea's antitust regulator, the combined fine is in the range of 42.3 billion won or approximately $33.48 million.

According to a Reuters report, a fine of 20.7 billion won has been imposed on Mercedes while BMW has been fined 15.7 billion won and a six billion won penalty on Audi.

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Mercedes had previously - last year - been fined 20.2 billion won on charges of false advertising related to gas emissions of its range of diesel models. The company now says it has complied with Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) directions entirely. Referring to an outcome of a similar probe by the European Commission, Mercedes further said that it won't have to pay a fine in South Korea. "The case related to the same set of facts which has been subject to the European Commission's proceedings and where Mercedes-Benz acted as a leniency applicant and did not have to pay a fine," a company spokesperson said, as per Reuters. “At no point were agreements or an exchange of information on prices, volumes or market sharing part of the investigation."

Volkswagen and BMW had been fined 875 million euros in 2021 after being charged of using special technology to misinterpret emission levels from its diesel engines. Mercedes-Benz, then referred to as Daimler, was also part of the controversy although not fined.

First Published Date: 13 Feb 2023, 15:49 PM IST
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