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

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

South Korea's transport ministry has ordered automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.to recall 240,000 cars after a whistle-blower raised concerns about defects in twelve models made by the two automakers.

The recall was brought about by the actions of a whistle-blowing engineer who worked for Hyundai, Kim Gwang-ho.

The latest move by the ministry and the automakers came after a hearing held earlier this week, following the first-ever refusal by a local automotive company to accept a government recall order.

Hyundai and Kia together form the world's fifth-largest auto maker by sales.

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. 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.

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The ministry is also asking prosecutors to investigate whether the companies had tried to cover up the five safety flaws that led to the recall.

Regarding the question of whether it had knowingly covered up the defects, it said, "We make decisions on recalls and any other necessary customer protection steps in compliance with regulators around the world as well as our internal procedures".

"Moreover, Hyundai Motors (major shareholder in Kia Motors) has announced additional investment in its existing unit at SIPCOT Irungattukottai Industrial Park to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore", the statement said.

Kim also flew to the United States a year ago to report safety lapses to authorities there and the automakers have since issued a voluntary recall for a combined 1.5 million vehicles in North America and in South Korea over a defect that could cause engines to stall.

Hyundai and Kia initially rejected the recall, saying that the defects did not affect safety.

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