South Korea's transport ministry said on Friday it had ordered the recall of 240,000 vehicles made by Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors due to five safety defects flagged by a whistleblower a year ago. It's the first time the ministry has imposed a compulsory vehicle recall.
Initially, Hyundai and Kia had refused to accept the forced recall but later announced they would comply. 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 ex-Hyundai employee raised concern about defects which affected 12 different vehicle models.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.
They added there had been no reports of injuries or accidents due to the problems which include defects in parking brake warning lights, and denied that there had been any cover-up.
Models affected are Hyundai's i30 hatchback, its Sonata midsize sedan, the Genesis and Kia's Mohave as well as its Carnival minivan.
We wrote about the recall earlier this week - Hyundai and Kia were fighting the government's decree that the two brands proceed with a voluntary recall.
In March and April, the ministry had notified companies of its decision to recall vehicles that may be affected, but Hyundai and Kia raised objections to the "unacceptable" decision. Its sister company Kia Motors who doesn't have new models except for compact hybrid SUV Niro also saw its total SUV sales fall 24.5 percent from 16,908 units to 12,770 units.
This is the first whistleblower case to affect South Korea's automotive industry, and Kim Gwang-ho has identified 32 problems, of which this recall addresses five. When allegations have been made about vehicle defects, the two companies have been quicker to make excuses and take internal correction measures than to come clean about the facts and issue a recall, critics say.