The Korea Herald reports that Renault, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology and Samsung are considering quitting the Korean auto industry body KAMA over its policy line on diesel cars which has led to the government approving diesel-engined cars for sale in South Korea.

The report says that top executives from the three member firms said yesterday that they will seriously consider quitting the Korean Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (KAMA), unless the association’s pro-diesel recommendation to the government is cancelled.

Eerlier this month KAMA advocated the approval of the local sales of diesel-powered automobiles in order to help upgrade the competitiveness of the Korean auto industry.

“The diesel-engine emission standards now enforced by the Korean government are excessively rigorous, thereby deterring the competitiveness of the nation’s auto industry,” said the statement. “Local automakers have different stances on the issue, but seem to share the view that the nation’s diesel-engine regulations will have to be eased to the international standards.”

GMDAT, Renault Samsung Motors, and SsangYong Motor have since said that the statement is partial to the interests of Hyundai and KIA alone.

According to the Herald, they are seeking a withdrawal of the statement and are planning to issue an anti-diesel recommendation to the Korean government shortly.

The report adds that the three carmakers currently have no engine for the EURO-III standards that will be applied to diesel-fuelled passenger cars until 2006.