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South Korea accuses Nissan of cheating on diesel emissions tests

Volkswagen has kickstarted an investigation into diesel vehicles that shows no signs of stopping.

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These days, even having a diesel vehicle in your lineup almost guarantees you an allegation of emissions-cheating in some form or another.

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When Volkswagen admitted to willfully deceiving emissions tests around the world using a specifically engineered piece of software known as a defeat device, the floodgates were opened. What's followed is a series of investigations and allegations that have swept the globe, covering multiple automakers. Now Nissan appears to have been swept up in the torrent as South Korea accuses it of cheating.

According to The New York Times, South Korean officials claim that the Japanese automaker manipulated its emissions on the diesel variant of the Nissan Qashqai, a crossover that resembles the US market's Nissan Rogue. Nissan hasn't sold a load of this variant by any means -- the allegation covers just 814 vehicles in South Korea.

"Nissan does not manipulate data related to our vehicles," the company said in an emailed statement. "Nissan has not and does not employ illegal defeat or cheat devices in any of the cars that we make. Although the conclusions reached by the Korean authorities are inconsistent with those of other regulators, Nissan will carefully assess and consider appropriate next steps."

In addition to recalling the affected vehicles, South Korean officials have ordered Nissan to pay a fine equivalent to about $280,000 and to suspend further Qashqai sales. South Korea's environmental ministry has also requested that prosecutors bring criminal charges against the head of Nissan's Korean operations. This investigation started as a result of -- you guessed it -- Volkswagen's diesel malfeasance.