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

Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto

This came after a tip off from a whistleblower.

It is the first time the South Korean government have ordered a compulsory vehicle recall due to the flaws flagged up on 12 different vehicles.

KIA Motors chose not to invest in Tamil Nadu purely due to an internal policy of not establishing its factories where its sister concern Hyundai Motors has a production facility, clarified the Tamil Nadu government quoting a communication from KIA Motors.

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.

Hyundai and Kia have already incurred heavy losses from recalling cars equipped with defective Theta 2 engines. The transport ministry later asked the automakers to recall the vehicles over eight of the 32 defects.

The move marks the first compulsory recall ordered by the transport ministry for Hyundai and Kia, which had resisted an earlier request for a voluntary recall, and gives fresh credence to allegations made by Kim Gwang-ho, a Hyundai engineer with 26 years at the company.

Responding to media reports alleging that corrupt practises in allocation of land had led KIA Motors to shift to Andhra Pradesh, its said "the whole story is totally baseless and done with an intention only to malign the Government". The 55-year-old, who had worked at the company for over 25 years, told the press his conscience wouldn't allow him to let people travel in vehicles he knew to be faulty.

Hyundai and Kia together form the world's fifth-largest carmaker by sales. According to five local finished vehicle makers including Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors, Ssangyong Motor on Monday, their combined sales of SUVs amounted to 34,379 units last month, down by 18.9 percent from a year ago when the figure had reached 42,405 units.

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