SEOUL May 12 South Korea's transport ministry
said on Friday it had ordered the recall of 240,000 vehicles
made by Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors
due to five safety defects flagged by a
whistleblower last year.
The ministry also asked the prosecutor to investigate
whether or not the automakers allegedly covered up the defects,
which affect 12 models, including the Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe
This is the first time ever that the ministry ordered a
compulsory recall of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, and comes after
the automakers had rejected an earlier order for a voluntarily
If conducted, the recalls will add to the 1.5 million
vehicles that Hyundai and Kia last month offered to recall in
South Korea and the United States over possible engine stalling
- a defect which was also flagged by 26-year-old Hyundai
engineer Kim Gwang-ho who last year had reported a total of 32
defects to the vehicle safety regulator.
The transport ministry later asked the automakers to recall
the vehicles over eight of the 32 defects.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miral Fahmy)