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Ex-Hyundai, Kia executives indicted over delayed engine recall

The prosecution on Wednesday indicted former executives of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors on charges of delaying recall processes in Korea for 18 months, though they were allegedly aware of engine defects.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, three former executives who were responsible of product quality between 2015 and 2017 were indicted on charges of violating the Motor Vehicle Management Act.

The companies were aware of problems such as engine stalls, connecting rods wearing out and other issues when they recalled vehicles with Theta 2 engines in the US in September 2015, prosecutors said. Even though they were aware of such cases, executives didn’t recall products with similar problems in South Korea and started recalling products 18 months later in April 2017. 


The Vehicle Management Act in South Korea requires auto manufacturers to disclose any defects they discover without any delay and conduct corrective measures. Violators face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of 100 million won, according to the law. 

Hyundai and Kia, meanwhile, expressed regret, citing ambiguity in the law.

“We express regret over the Korean Prosecutor’s decision to indict the company on the alleged violation of the Motor Vehicle Management Act. The Act has been deemed unclear and broad in its recall procedures, causing confusion to both manufacturers and consumers, and questions have been raised over its constitutionality,” said a Hyundai-Kia official.

“Hyundai and Kia consider safety as the top priority for our customers, and will continue to offer products and services of the highest quality.” 

By Cho Chung-un (