SEOUL: Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp plan to recall tens of thousands of vehicles in South Korea and an “unidentified number” in the United States due to engine issues.
The two car companies will recall 171,348 vehicles in South Korea because of an engine defect that is likely to “hamper safe driving,” the South Korean transport ministry said on Friday.
The South Korean automakers have also submitted plans to the US authorities to recall an unidentified number of vehicles in the United States over a “similar” engine issue, a spokeswoman at the South Korean duo said, saying that the plans are subject to a approval by US authorities.
Yonhap News Agency said that the US recall, which is currently under discussions with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would reach some 1.3 million vehicles, which will be close to the duo’s annual US sales.
The recall may fuel quality concerns about Hyundai vehicles in Korea, which helped push its domestic market share to a record-low last year and bodes ill for the company already struggling with poor US and Chinese sales.
The recall in South Korea covers Hyundai’s Sonata, Grandeur sedans and Kia’s K5, K7 and Sportage models equipped with a 2-liter or 2.4-liter Theta 2 gasoline engine produced before August 2013.
The ministry said metal debris in crankshafts could cause engine damage, leading to possible engine stalling.
Hyundai will replace a defective engine with a new one after inspection. The recall will start on May 22.
In 2015, Hyundai Motor said it would recall 470,000 Sonata sedans in the United States to replace faulty engine parts, sparking questions of safety back home.
But Hyundai and Kia said that engines produced at domestic factories were not defective, but extended the warranty period for five Theta 2-equipped models in South Korea.