Hyundai and Kia to recall a record 2 million cars

Posted on 4 Apr 2013 by Tim Brown

South Korea's largest car maker Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors planned to recall more than 2 million vehicles in South Korea and the US for stop-lamp defects.

Hyundai will recall about 1.1 million vehicles in the US due to the electronic defects that can prevent brake lights from illuminating and the cruise control from turning off. Kia will recall more than 600,000 cars for the same fault.

The recall stems from the stop-lamp defect included Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata and Tucson made by Hyundai between 2007 and 2011, along with Optima, Rondo, Soul and Sportage produced by Kia during the same period.

Separately, Hyundai will recall more than 180,000 units of the Elantra, the company’s best-selling model in the United States, due to airbag problems.

Hyundai  has also issued a recall for around 110,000 vehicles sold in South Korea, including Avantes made between July 2009 and March 2010 as well as Santa Fes produced between June 2010 and June 2011.

The number of Kia vehicles subject to the recall in South Korea was about 50,000, including Souls manufactured from June 2010 to June 2011 and Sorentos from October 2010 to April 2011.

The largest recall in the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group’s history came around five months after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged Hyundai and Kia with overstating fuel mileage of around 900,000 vehicles sold in the United States during the 2011-13 model years.

The recall comes just days after Hyundai announced a 30% increase in US sales for March 2013 compared with February. “March felt just great,” said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of national sales. “We definitely benefitted from better inventories of Elantra thanks to the addition of the third shift at our Alabama plant, improved weather conditions in our important Northern markets and more robust retail activity reflecting a steady recovery in consumer confidence.”

Hyundai increased its share of the European new car market to 3.8% in March, according to figures released by European motor industry body, ACEA.  Hyundai registrations rose by 1.4% to 31,753 units compared  to the same period last year, while the overall market in February fell by 10.2%.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented: “Although we do not anticipate continuous growth this year, we are satisfied with our performance so far in 2013.  Our focus is to maintain our 3.5% share of the European market, while working hard on our long term projects to develop our  brand image and increase customer loyalty by enhancing the Hyundai  experience.

“Achieving these goals will lay firm foundations for future Hyundai growth in Europe from 2014 onwards, by which time we expect the European car market to be showing signs of improvement.”

The Hyundai plant in Turkey is currently undergoing a 475m euro investment to increase its annual capacity from 120,000 to 200,000 cars a year.  The company’s European headquarters are also undergoing expansion, while a 5.5m euro test centre located next to the famous Nürburgring race track in Germany will allow the quality and driving performance of Hyundai’s Europe-designed vehicles to be further improved.