SEOUL, April 12 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor’s recent decision to recall around 170,000 cars of five different models in its motherland due to manufacturing defects found in its Theta 2 engine was prompted by an insider, recent reports have revealed.
A great level of attention is being paid to whistleblower Kim Gwang-ho in the South Korean media, a former department head at Hyundai Motor Company who is thought to have been orchestrating the exposure of engine problems from inside the company.
The information about Kim came to light during an investigation into the claims surrounding the defective engine, which was launched after Kim reported 32 suspected cases of engine problems to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) last year.
Of the 32 cases, 11 were deliberated by a committee responsible for assessing manufacturing defects, with four cases facing recalls while seven others required the company to offer its clients free repair.
Fifteen of the cases brought to light by Kim will face further monitoring for manufacturing defects from the MOLIT.
Since joining the carmaker in 1991, Kim worked in various departments for 25 years, including research, engine quality control and sales, until last year when he decided to leak several interim reports containing sensitive content to the likes of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. and the South Korean media.
Hyundai officials denied one of several accusations made by Kim that the company tried to cover up the same engine problems in South Korea that caused last year’s large-scale recall in America, saying, “2015’s recall in the U.S. was due to a problem caused during the manufacturing process at our American plants, which has nothing to do with cars produced in South Korea.”
Kim, who leaked information that prompted Hyundai’s latest recall in South Korea, was fired last November for violating the company’s security policy.
Amid growing speculation that legal battles are expected to be waged between the two parties, Hyundai is facing an additional four cases put forward by the government which could result in more recalls, all of which were prompted by an insider report leaked by Kim.
Following a recall of 470,000 of its Sonata vehicles in the U.S. last year, Hyundai’s additional recall in South Korea is likely to put a damper on its sales performance in the second quarter.