South Korea recalls Hyundai cars, asks probe on cover-up

Auto makers Hyundai and Kia have been ordered to recall around 240,000 cars by the South Korean government.

Korean regulators order the recall of 240,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles, rejecting the automakers' claim the cars' flaws are not significant enough to warrant a recall.

On Friday, Hyundai and Kia said in a joint statement they "accept the administrative order", adding: "There have been no reported injuries or accidents from the cited issues". On May 12, the Ministry ordered the companies to make corrections while also asking Prosecutors to investigate allegations that the companies covered up defects - allegations that the Ministry believes are plausible.

The whistleblower, ex-Hyundai employee Kim Gwang-ho, raised concerns about defects affecting 12 different models on sale in the nation.

In response to the recall order, Hyundai and Kia said in a joint statement that they accept the decision and will take all necessary steps to fix or replace faulty parts in the affected models as early as possible.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed. "It is reiterated that Kia Motors chose not to set up industry in TN only due to their internal policy of not establishing a new unit in the same state where Hyundai is functioning", the government said.

Hyundai and Kia have already incurred heavy losses from recalling cars equipped with defective Theta 2 engines.

The five alleged defects include brake vacuum lines for Avante, wheel lug nuts for Mohave, parking brake alert signals for Sonata and Genesis, engine control canisters for Genesis and Equus and fuel lines for Santa Fe, Sorento and Carnival. "We have not received any voluntary recall plan from the automaker", the official said. The affected models are said to have several issues including faulty parts.

It is generally believed Kim also complained to NHTSA, the USA auto-safety regulator, which ordered a massive recall of 1.2 million vehicles in the US and Canada that were equipped with Theta II engines.

Both Hyundai and Kia refused to voluntarily act, they said any problems which exist won't compromise safety.

  • Wendy Palmer