Volkswagen Korea is being lashed out due to a new Touareg model because its powertrain is based on EURO 5 standard. The EURO 5 was introduced in 2009 and already ceased in Europe. Current standard there is EURO 6. Korea will also implement EURO 6 in September 2015 for all new models.
Apparently VW Korea have lingered on EURO 5 powertrain for a few reasons. First, economic consideration. Meeting EURO 6 standard entails a cost hike of some 1 million won due to requirement of additional catalysts, then the car price being pushed up, while deteriorating market competitiveness. Second, speediness. The stricter regulations on emissions, noise, fuel efficiency, etc. in Korea may be eluded with EURO 5 standard as the 2011 certification will be viable as it is until September this year. They witnessed the arduous works assumed by Porsche Korea for certifying a new model Cayenne of the same engine type. Porsche endured a delayed certification for three months. The same case was for Audi A6, which was fined for the default of exaggerated fuel efficiency last year. All those happenings are of none other than 3.0 liter diesel engines that commonly used by VW group.
Of course, there seems to be many such cases of using same powertrain for new models. Hyundai’s Sonata and Kia’s Carnival are of the same cases. Toyota is no exception as existing powertrain is used for a completely new model. Industrialists say it to be a trend. They explain that the cycle for the development and modification of a new powertrain rather coincides with the cycle for the release of a new car model. It might be of the phenomenon caused by modularization of cars. The same engine is shared among several or even tens of models or versions as a new type of powertrain may not be developed every time.
However, the VW Korea’s Touareg is of a different story. In Europe a EURO 6 powertrain was already applied for new models, while in Korea the old EURO 5 powertrain still used. Some insinuate it to be ‘a stock clearance’.
The problem seems to be related with Korea’s policy for environment-friendly vehicle standard. Introduction of EURO 6 in Korea was delayed compared with in the EU. As as result, the EURO 5-powertrain cars have been overflown from EU to Korea. The same happening occurred in 2009 when the EURO 5 was implemented. The same car model was sold with two types of powertrains – one with EURO 4 for a several month period, and then afterwards with a EURO 5 certification. The EURO 4 cars that were dispelled from the overseas might be on sale in Korea. The harm was only on the Korean consumers. They should bear a so-called ‘Environment Improvement Surcharge’ for the EURO 4 cars, amounting to several tens of thousand won per quarter.
A proper policy may allure a new technology in the environmental area. European countries implemented strong environmental regulations, and so auto makers have been endeavoring to meet the requirements. However, Korea has been late for EURO 6. Last year the Environment Improvement Surcharge was lifted for an alternative measures, but to fail. Korean cars are now ready to introduce EURO 6 car models, which can be compared with European premium brands that have already met the EURO 6 since 2013.
From 2015 all new models should meet EURO 6 in Korea. The existing models are allowed of EURO 5 until September 2015. Some may think what matters with EURO 5 and EURO 6, but who will dare to buy the car with an engine and transmission that will demise in eight months. Let alone any environmental concern, who will pay 77,200,000 to 97,500,000 won for that!