VW defrauded South Korean car buyers, lawsuit alleges


A class-action lawsuit filed Friday in the United States accused Volkswagen of defrauding South Korean owners of “tainted” VW and Audi cars, after the embattled German carmaker admitted cheating on diesel emissions.

The suit in federal court in Los Angeles seeks to represent South Koreans who bought an estimated 125,000 VW and Audi models equipped with software meant to give misleading results in emissions tests.

The class action was filed by two US law firms that have already filed six lawsuits on behalf of what they estimate are 483,000 US carbuyers.

The US plaintiffs’ firms, Hagens Berman and Quinn Emanuel, are working in the South Korean case with Seoul-based Barun Law.

“VW perpetrated a global fraud with global victims,” Hagens Berman managing partner Steve Berman said. “South Koreans believed VW’s clean diesel lies and bought these vehicles in droves.”

Volkswagen last month admitted to manipulating emissions devices on 11 million cars worldwide, setting off a management shakeup and an avalanche of criminal investigations and lawsuits in what could become the most expensive scandal in car industry history.

“This action is the first in the nation arising from the scandal filed in the interest of foreign consumers,” the two US law firms said.

The lawsuit alleges, in part, that some of the cars sold in South Korea were manufactured in the United States, and that advertising produced in the US was used in the South Korean market.