For the second time this year, prosecutors have launched a raid on Hyundai and Kia Motors. The move is aimed at finding additional points of suspicion over the cover-up of production defects, including Theta II engine, and the alleged violation of recall rules.
According to an official of Hyundai Motor Group on June 25, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office searched for Hyundai and Kia headquarters in Yangjae-dong, Seoul, the Finance and Economy headquarters and Namyang Research Institute in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
Earlier on Feb. 20, prosecutors also raided Hyundai and Kia's quality headquarters. At that time, the prosecution conducted a search and seizure to secure data to determine whether Hyundai and Kia were involved in the violation of recall rules filed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and civic groups.
The prosecution has decided to search Hyundai and Kia Motors this time for additional evidence following their investigation in February in connection with the cover-up of defects and violation of recall rules, a prosecution official said.
In May 2017, the ministry ordered the forced recall of 238,000 cars from 12 models in connection with five manufacturing defects of Hyundai and Kia, including the Theta II engine, and asked the prosecution to investigate the alleged intentional cover-up of the defects. Theta II engine is an engine used in the flagship models produced by Hyundai and Kia, including the Grandeur, Sonata and K5.
Civic group YMCA also filed a complaint in 2017 against Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo on charges of violating the Automobile Management Act and fraud under the Specific Economic Crimes-weighted Punishment Act in connection with the defects of Theta II engine.
The YMCA claimed that since 2010, Hyundai Motor has already failed to take proper measures even though it was aware of possible defects in the engine through customer complaints and other channels, causing damage to consumers.
Defect inspections of Hyundai and Kia's Theta II engine and others are also underway in the United States. The U.S. District Public Prosecutor's Office in southern New York has been working with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since last year to investigate the cause of defects in the Theta II engine and whether it is appropriate to recall the car.