Hyundai to extend warranty for KoreansHyundai Motor and sister company Kia Motors are extending warranties for cars in Korea running on its problematic Theta II engine, vehicles that were already previously subject to recalls in the United States, Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday.
Warranties on cars with the 2.4-liter Theta II gasoline direct injection engine or 2.0-liter turbo gasoline direct-injection engine will be extended from five years or 100,000 kilometers (62,137 miles) to 10 years or 190,000 kilometers.
The models include Hyundai Motor’s YF Sonata and Grandeur, and Kia Motors’ K5, K7 and Sportage.
The move comes after the top Korean automaker’s reputation was tarnished in its home country for granting recalls and compensation only to U.S. customers while the same engines were also running on Korean roads.
In the United States, there were reports of the Theta II engine used in 2011 and 2012 YF Sonatas suddenly stalling and making strange sounds, resulting in the recall of 470,000 cars last September.
“Hyundai has determined that metal debris may have been generated from factory machining operations as part of the manufacturing of the engine crankshaft during the subject production period,” Hyundai Motor America wrote in a safety recall report submitted to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As a remedy, the automaker performed inspections and replaced engines while extending the warranty.
The news became viral in Korea after an engineer from Hyundai Motor leaked information to media outlets toward the end of last month that there had been discrimination against Korean owners of the same model.
Adding fuel to the fire, the U.S. District Court in Northern California revealed that the automaker had settled an agreement on an expanded compensation package to offer free inspection, repairs and extended warranties for about 885,000 Sonatas manufactured between 2011 and 2014.
The company has maintained throughout the fracas that there was no discrimination and that the recall did not take place in Korea because local factories operate with different production settings.
“Hyundai and Kia Motors decided to extend warranties in Korea as well to strengthen customer service in the local market,” the company said in a statement, explaining that the problem with the engine parts occurred at Hyundai’s Alabama engine factory.
Shares of Hyundai Motor closed at 136,500 won ($121.49) on Wednesday, up 1.49 percent from the previous trading day.
Kia Motors closed up 0.83 percent at 42,400 won.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]