Keeping mum about discrimination

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Keeping mum about discrimination


Hyundai Motor is quick with their PR. Last week, it made ten press releases, “Pre-order for Genesis G80 Sports,” “Additional 5,000 Cars at Korea Sale Festa Promotion Price,” “5 billion won donation in typhoon damage restoration” and “Special Fall Promotion on Commercial Vehicles.” However, the press release that the media has been waiting for didn’t arrive yet. We want to hear Hyundai’s official position on the discriminatory recall of the vehicles in the domestic market.

Allegations raised by a Hyundai Motor engineer last month shook the automobile industry. He informed media that Hyundai Motor recalled 470,000 YF Sonata model cars produced in the United States between 2011 and 2014 due to engine failure, but cars with the same engine sold in Korea were not recalled when the defect was also verified.

According to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Hyundai Motor on Oct. 9 reached a settlement with the U.S. customers who raised a lawsuit regarding engine defect on the YF Sonata. Hyundai promised free inspections and an extension of warranty to 885,000 owners of the model and agreed to pay the repair and rental car costs to customers who have already fixed the car on their expense. In the U.S., Hyundai Motor is offering compensation in addition to the recall.

How about Korea? Hyundai does not respond. A Hyundai Motor insider admitted that the cars produced in Korea use the same engine as the YF Sonata recalled in the U.S., but the engine defect was found only in the cars made in the U.S. plant. He claimed that the defect rate in Korea was considerably lower.

Whenever discrimination in the domestic market becomes a concern, Hyundai Motor has insisted that there was no discrimination. But in this, the recall issue, its response is that the cars sold in Korea are different from the ones sold abroad.

Hyundai Motor is a company that made Korea one of the top 5 global carmakers. But its success was only possible because of the people’s support and love for Hyundai cars. Hyundai needs to come clean on the discrimination allegation. As a global company, it must officially state whether the cars produced and sold in Korea and abroad are the same or different. Only then will it maintain the trust of customers.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 10, Page 29

*The author is an industrial news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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