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17 May 2017, 01:02 | Vickie Mathis
South Korea ordered Hyundai and Kia on Friday to recall 240,000 vehicles to fix five defects initially raised by a whistleblower, in the country's first compulsory recall for a domestic carmaker.
The move by the ministry came after a former Hyundai employee raised concerns about defects which affected 12 different vehicle models. The transport ministry later asked the automakers to recall the vehicles over eight of the 32 defects. His information earlier led to a voluntary recall in Korea of some 171,000 vehicles equipped with the Theta II engine.
The total vehicle recall number of Kia and Hyundai models now stand at 1.5 million in both South Korea and the United States combined. The models include some of the carmakers' most popular ones - the Sonata, the Genesis and the Santa Fe.
Hyundai and Kia argued that the defects did not endanger drivers or passengers, citing an article in Korea's Motor Vehicle Management Act that stipulates manufacturers immediately report and rectify defects "hampering safe operation" of vehicles.
Hyundai and Kia have now accepted the government's recall order.
All the 12 models were found to have issues with vacuum pipes, fuel hoses, parking brake light issues and a number of other faulty parts. While Hyundai's sister company didn't reveal the cars it plans to launch in 2019, we believe a compact sedan and a compact SUV will be the first ones to be rolled out from the Andhra Pradesh plant.
The Transport Ministry said Friday it also asked prosecutors to investigate if South Korea's largest auto group intentionally covered up the defects that could compromise safety.
"We will continue to do our best to review all cases from the perspective of customers to enhance trust and satisfaction", Hyundai Motor said.
Hyundai conducted the North American recall voluntarily, saying it was inspecting the engines for metal debris in the crankcase caused by a manufacturing process defect that has been corrected.
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