Prosecutors have raided Hyundai Motor Group over the allegations that it has covered up the defects of its Theta 2 engine. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office sent prosecutors and investigators to the quality headquarters of Hyundai and Kia Motors in Seoul on Feb. 20 to conduct a search and seizure.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) and the YMCA, a civic group, accused Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo in 2017 on charges of violating the Automobile Management Act and fraud under the Specific Economic Crime Arbitration Act. Theta 2 engine is a component that will be used in major models of Hyundai and Kia such as Grandeur, Sonata and K5.
At that time, the MOLIT announced that it would recall 171,348 Hyundai vehicles from the five different models including Grandeur (HG), Sonata (YF), K7 (VG), K5 (TF) and Sportage (SL) that were produced before August 2013.
"Hyundai Motor has recognized the possibility of flaws in its Theta 2 engine through customer complaints and media reports since 2010," the YMCA said.
It is suspected that Hyundai Motor Group has internally recognized the defects of its Theta 2 engine, but has concealed them until further investigation by the authorities, delaying proper follow-up measures such as recall.
Hyundai Motor is currently on the investigation list of the U.S. prosecutors regarding the adequacy of recalling the Theta 2 engine. Hyundai Motor recalled 1.66 million vehicles equipped with the Theta 2 engine in the U.S. in 2015 and 2017, citing engine noise, vibration and the stall phenomenon while driving.