(Adds details on fix, VW comments and background)
SEOUL, Jan 12 (Reuters) - South Korea said on Thursday it has approved Volkswagen’s plan to fix 27,000 Tiguan sports utility vehicles to ensure they comply with emissions standards, after previously rejecting the German automaker’s proposals three times.
Government tests showed the proposed fix to remove software that cheats emissions tests did not affect fuel economy or performance, the environment ministry said in a statement.
The vehicles comprising two Tiguan variants were among the 125,522 vehicles South Korea ordered Volkswagen to recall in November 2015 after it admitted to cheating emissions tests around the world.
Plans to fix the remaining 99,000 vehicles will be reviewed, the ministry said.
South Korea has taken a tough line on Volkswagen, slapping it with a record fine, suspending sales and on Wednesday indicting seven current and former executives and employees in the wake of the emissions-test cheating.
Volkswagen’s sales in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy slumped to their first annual decline in 12 years in 2016 as a result of the sales suspension.
The carmaker has also recently received approvals from U.S. and German authorities for vehicle fixes.
In the United States, Volkswagen on Wednesday agreed to pay the largest ever U.S. criminal fine levied on an automaker to settle charges that it conspired for nearly 10 years to cheat on diesel emission tests.
U.S. prosecutors also charged six current and former senior Volkswagen executives for their roles in the scheme. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Stephen Coates)