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Audi VW to add 8 EV models in S. Korea by 2023

All News 11:46 December 11, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- Audi Volkswagen Korea Group said Friday it will launch eight all-electric models in South Korea by 2023 to boost sales and absorb growing local demand for zero-emission cars.

The German carmaker launched its first pure electric e-tron SUV in July to prop up sales in the "extremely important" Korean market despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Audi Volkswagen plans to introduce eight electric models, including the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 in 2021 and the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV in 2022, in the next three years, Audi Volkswagen Korea Managing Director Rene Koneberg said in an online press conference.

This photo taken Dec. 11, 2020, and provided by Audi Volkswagen Korea Group shows the group's Managing Director Rene Koneberg delivering an online briefing on the company's business plans in South Korea for the next three years. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Audi Volkswagen has managed the emissions cheating scandal very well and now will focus on promoting electrified models in the coming years to further improve its sales in South Korea, he said.

The company expects sales to more than double to 42,000 units this year compared with last year, helped by new models, such as the Tiguan SUV and the Arteon sedan.

"This year, we launched the first electric model e-tron in Korea as the future of the auto industry will change dramatically. We will make necessary investments to continue to grow in Korea," said Christian Dahlheim, director general in charge of sales at Volkswagen Group.

Audi Volkswagen Korea has struggled with weak sales in recent years due to the impact of the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal that began in September 2015, when the United States discovered the German carmaker cheated on its local diesel emissions tests.

In July 2016, the group "voluntarily" stopped selling its vehicles here as the Seoul government announced it would ban the sale of all Audi and Volkswagen cars and impose heavy fines for emissions cheating.

Audi Volkswagen Korea, which sells vehicles under four brands -- Audi, Volkswagen, Lamborghini and Bentley -- resumed sales in Korea in early 2018 after suspending normal operations in 2016 following the emissions scandal.

Volkswagen Korea's sales plunged 45 percent to 8,510 vehicles in 2019 from 15,390 units a year earlier. But its sales appear to be improving this year helped by new models.

From January to November, the four brands' sales more than doubled to 37,824 autos from 15,607 units in the same period of last year, according to the Korean Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.

This photo, taken July 1, 2020, and provided by Audi Korea, shows the Audi e-tron 55 quattro SUV during a launch event in Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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