By Jhoo Dong-chan
Audi Volkswagen Korea, the German carmaker's subsidiary here, asked for the government to approve sales of the Audi S3 high-performance sports sedan.
It is the first time Audi has applied for certification of its vehicle model here since they faced a sales ban last year in the aftermath of the global emissions-rigging scandal.
According to an Audi Volkswagen Korea official, it has submitted related documents to the Ministry of Environment.
"Audi Volkswagen Korea is trying to get certification as soon as related documents are prepared," the official said. "We will ask for the government's green light for the remaining models as soon as possible."
The Audi S3 is a high-performance sports sedan powered by a 2.0-liter engine. It produces a maximum of 300 horsepower and can accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.9 seconds.
The model was also one of 32 Audi vehicle models that the environment ministry halted sales of last year after the German auto maker was found to have cheated on emissions data.
Audi Volkswagen Korea applied to the Ministry of Environment mid-February for certification of three types of the luxury brand Bentley. It took about a month to gain the go-ahead for the Flying Spur V8, Continental GT V8 and Continental GT Convertible.
The local company has been closely discussing with its German headquarters to secure units of the three Bentley models to resume sales quickly.
It was the first time a Volkswagen affiliate brand has received approval for its vehicles in Korea since the so-called "diesel gate" scandal surfaced in September 2015.
Audi Volkswagen Korea seems to aim at restarting its sales operation here in earnest by the end of this year.
On top of the Audi S3 and Bentley models, Audi Volkswagen Korea is also expected to apply for sales approval of the new Tiguan sports utility vehicle (SUV) this month.
"The Tiguan SUV was the most popular model among all imported vehicle models," an industry insider said.
"I think Volkswagen and its affiliate brands will finally get off the ground along with the Tiguan's sales launch."
Due to the government's sales ban on vehicle models of Volkswagen affiliate brands, no Volkswagen vehicles have been sold here in the first quarter this year while sales of Audi vehicles fell by 83 percent from the previous year.