At a time when Hyundai and Kia Motors have already been struggling with sales in key markets like United States, Canada and South Korea, the automakers will now soon be recalling nearly 1.5 million vehicles over engine issues. This recall will set back the companies by a few hundred million dollars. Moreover, the quality concerns have surfaced at a time when both Hyundai and Kia have been witnessing a sharp drop in sales in China along with sluggish demand being reported from the United States and South Korea.
In terms of numbers, the companies in question will be recalling 1.19 million cars and sport utility vehicles in the United States, 114,187 in Canada and 171,348 in South Korea due to an engine issue that increases the risk of a crash. The South Korean companies have decided to announce the recall with respect to observation made by safety regulators in those respective countries. The recall in the US involves Hyundai's Sonata and Santa Fe and Kia's Optima, Sorento and the Sportage. In South Korea, it includes Hyundai's Sonata, Grandeur sedans and Kia's K5, K7 and Sportage models equipped with a 2-liter or 2.4-liter Theta 2 gasoline engine produced before August 2013. It is believed that the metal debris in crankshafts might cause engine damage, thereby eventually leading up to possible loss of motive power.
The recall will begin in South Korea from May 22 and only after the inspection of the affected engine, will it be replaced. This is not the first time that Hyundai and Kia have identified issues with internally manufactured Theta engines. Back in 2015, Hyundai had recalled 470,000 Sonata sedans in the United States to replace faulty engine parts. At the same time, to address rising concerns in its home market of South Korea, the automaker extended the warranty period for five Theta 2-equipped models to ensure that vehicles in its home market are not affected.