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South Korea fines Nissan for false advertising on fuel economy

Crackdown follows Toyota penalty for deception ads on safety rating

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission says Nissan posted false information that the Qashqai crossover sport utility vehicle met Euro 6 emissions standards.   © Reuters

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- South Korea's government imposed a 900 million won ($803,356) fine on Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co. and its South Korean branch Nissan Korea Co. on Wednesday for false advertising.

The move by the Fair Trade Commission came a day after it slapped Toyota Motor Korea Co. with an 817 million won fine for deceptively advertising the safety rating of a sport utility vehicle.

The commission said Nissan and Nissan Korea Co. violated the country's fair labeling and advertising act by exaggerating the fuel economy of vehicles sold in South Korea and falsely claiming them to be environment-friendly.

It said that when Nissan Korea sold the Infiniti Q50 2.2d sedan between February and November 2014, the actual fuel consumption was 14.6 kilometers per liter when it was described in the catalog and other promotional materials as being 15.1 km per liter.

The company was prosecuted last year for forging documents regarding the fuel economy of this same vehicle and submitting them to related organizations.

In Wednesday's statement, the Fair Trade Commission also said Nissan and Nissan Korea posted false information on their websites that the Qashqai crossover sport utility vehicle meets Euro 6 standards for exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants.

The Environment Ministry in 2016 ordered Nissan Korea to recall 824 units of this same diesel vehicle for violating emission regulations, fined it 340 million won for fabricating test results and filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office seeking a probe.

Nissan Korea at the time denied any wrongdoing, saying it follows local laws and regulations and was doing its utmost to meet even stricter standards.

In response to the latest complaints, Nissan Korea said that the company is taking the matter very seriously and would release an official statement later.

The commission on Tuesday said that it had fined Toyota Motor Korea Co., the local subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., 817 million for deceptive advertising of its RAV4 model SUV in South Korea.

The company had advertised that the RAV4 had earned the Top Safety Pick award from the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while importing a different version into South Korea that lacked a safety feature that helped it secure the top rating in the United States.

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