Kia Motors not to invest in Tamil Nadu due to internal policy

The transport ministry of South Korea has ordered a compulsory vehicle recall of 240,000 cars of Hyundai and Kia Motors, following a tip-off from a whistleblower raising concerns over auto safety. This came after a tip off from a whistleblower. 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 recall.

About a fortnight ago, Kia Motors announced its official India debut.

The models under scrutiny include the Hyundai i30 hatchback, Sonata midsize sedan, Genesis and Kia's Mohave and Carnival.

All the 12 models were found to have issues with vacuum pipes, fuel hoses, parking brake light issues and a number of other faulty parts.

In a statement issued here, the government said the Kia Motors chose not to set up industry in Tamil Nadu only due to their internal policy of not establishing a new unit in the same state where Hyundai was already functioning.

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Hyundai Motor India now has two manufacturing facilities at Irungattukottai, SIPCOT Industrial Park, producing several models across segments.

The whistleblower, ex-Hyundai employee Kim Gwang-ho, raised concerns about defects affecting 12 different models on sale in the nation.

Noting that the company undertook a "feasibility study" to set up plant outside Korea, the release quoting KIA Motors CEO and President, Han-Woo Park said he expressed "regret" for not able to consider Tamil Nadu "due to business needs and requirements of the company".

Kim Gwang-ho had flown to the USA a year ago to address these issues with American authorities, and that led to the voluntary recall of 1.5 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles in North American and South Korea, due to a problem that could lead engines to stall.

The whistleblower, Kim Gwang-ho, told the BBC he had made a decision to expose what was happening at the firm, because he could not, in good faith, allow passengers to travel in vehicles he knew to be faulty.

  • Ronnie Bowen