[EDITORIALS]Make recalls quickly, loudly

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[EDITORIALS]Make recalls quickly, loudly

The government ordered the Hyundai and Kia motor companies to recall some of their passenger cars, even though the two carmakers had tried to keep quiet about defects that they had earlier discovered.

Kia Motors discovered defects in its Optima model, powered by liquefied petroleum gas, but did not announce a recall publicly. Hyundai Motor Company, a parent company of Kia Motors, also did not voluntarily recall its EF Sonata model, again powered by liquefied petroleum gas. Therefore, the government issued compulsory recalls for the two models.

Hyundai Motor will now have to recall more than 100,000 cars. The company repaired the same model car with defects free of charge three years ago, but the same problem has recurred. Unofficially, the firm began repairing the defective cars in September - but only on demand.

The current law stipulates that carmakers must inform the government of its plans to recall a model within 30 days of the date the defect was discovered. The law also states that the company should publicly notify car owners of the recall. Defects are natural problems when producing cars with thousands of components. Since a car is a vehicle that transports human lives, the recall system is aimed to make manufacturers repair the defects immediately and publicly. Hyundai and Kia said they have been repairing cars with problems case by case without making any recalls public. By doing so, the companies have put many drivers into potentially dangerous situations.

As of now, more than 13 million cars are registered in Korea, of which 9 million are passenger vehicles. One out of 5.35 people, or one out of 1.78 households, owns a passenger car. As the number of cars increases, the possibility of recall cases will automatically follow suit. Hyundai's and Kia's cases show that the companies are still avoiding making a recall notice public. Once defects are discovered, carmakers should recall their products immediately - and publicly. This should never be a decision to be mulled over. An immediate recall will improve our nation's automobile industry and allow the carmakers to win trust from their customers.

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