Whistleblower sparks Hyundai and Kia recall of 240,000 cars

Whistleblower sparks Hyundai and Kia recall of 240,000 cars

The South Korean government has ordered carmakers Hyundai and Kia Motors to recall about 240,000 cars, after a tip off from a whistleblower.

The ex-Hyundai employee raised concern about defects which affected 12 different car models.

It is the first time the country's government has issued a compulsory vehicle recall.

Hyundai and Kia had refused to act voluntarily, saying any problems which did exist did not compromise safety.

Kia is an affiliate of Hyundai, and officials are asking the country's prosecutor to look for any evidence of a cover up at the carmakers.


The models affected include Hyundai's i30 hatchback, its Sonata midsize sedan, the luxury Genesis and Kia's Mohave as well as its Carnival minivan. These models and others were found to have issues with vacuum pipes, fuel hoses, parking brake light issues and several other faulty parts.

The planned recalls will add to the 1.5 million cars which Hyundai and Kia offered to fix last month in South Korea and the US over possible engine stalling.

Whistleblowing is rare in South Korea, and rarer still when the country's big family run conglomerates - or chaebols as they are known - are involved. The corporate culture and obeisance to the top bosses means that very few speak out of turn.

Whistleblower sparks Hyundai and Kia recall of 240,000 cars

But they do exist. Last month I met Kim Gwang-ho, the 55-year-old man behind this specific Hyundai recall. He told me he'd decided to expose what was happening at the firm, because he couldn't - in good faith - allow passengers to travel in vehicles he knew to be faulty.

Mr Kim had worked at Hyundai for more than 25 years, and it was obvious to me that he cared deeply for the firm and was very proud of the work that he'd been involved in.

But he also pointed out that his decision to speak out was calculated. He was nearing retirement, and didn't have as much to lose as his younger colleagues.

A job in a chaebol is often seen as the only path to success in South Korea. And because getting one can be extremely competitive, many employees end up just toeing the line.

But Mr Kim's story, though, seems to have a positive ending. Just this month, Hyundai Motor dropped its lawsuit against him, reinstated him to his old job, and reimbursed him for the lost years of employment.

It was what South Korea's Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission ruled years ago, but it took Hyundai until now, perhaps amidst the changing political environment, to heed it.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Remember Coronation Street's Maxine Peacock? This is what Tracy Shaw has been up to leaving the ITV soap

Remember Coronation Street's Maxine Peacock? This is what Tracy Shaw has been up to leaving..

27-Jul, 14:10

It's been 14 years since Ashley Peacock's fiery wife Maxine was murdered...

Judge in Uber-Waymo suit says Google co-founder Sergey Brin 'better show up'

Judge in Uber-Waymo suit says Google co-founder Sergey Brin 'better show up'..

27-Jul, 14:40

Google co-founder Sergey Brin after riding in a driverless car at Google...

Legoland pirate stunt show performer injured in fall

Legoland pirate stunt show performer injured in fall..

27-Jul, 14:01

A stunt show at Legoland has been shut down after a performer was injured...

Michelle Keegan larks around with co-star on set of Our Girl

Michelle Keegan larks around with co-star on set of Our Girl..

27-Jul, 08:40

She has the gruelling task of playing an army officer in BBC drama Our...

McConnell delays health care vote while McCain recuperates from surgery

McConnell delays health care vote while McCain recuperates from surgery..

16-Jul, 01:56

The U.S. Senate will delay its consideration of healthcare legislation...

Take Good Care of The Fridge Episode 116

Take Good Care of The Fridge Episode 116..

30-Jan, 22:31

The following Take Good Care of The Fridge Episode 116 English Sub has...

Flynn's lawyer told Trump team about lobbying during transition

Flynn's lawyer told Trump team about lobbying during transition..

10-Mar, 15:54

A lawyer for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn contacted an attorney for the...

'Dick Van Dyke Show' Creator on Casting Mary Tyler Moore

'Dick Van Dyke Show' Creator on Casting Mary Tyler Moore..

26-Jan, 15:12

Carl Reiner, creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," remembers the day Mary...