(Yicai Global) June 21 -- South Korea has ordered Hyundai Motor Co. [KRX:005380] and affiliate Kia Motor Corp. [KRX:000270] to recall 12 vehicle models in the country due to design defects, but the same models have not been recalled in China, Legal Weekly reported.
South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport ordered the recall of 238,000 cars which have five design flaws, affecting a total of 12 models, Yonhap News Agency reported on June 12.
A Legal Weekly journalist visited a Dongfeng Yueda Kia dealer in Beijing on June 15, where after-sales staff said that the store had received no notice to recall the models in question. On June 19, the reporter called the Chinese customer service centers for Kia and Hyundai, with both saying no recall notice had been received.
"Hyundai, Kia and all other automakers must treat Chinese consumers equally when recalling vehicles," said Cui Dongshu, secretary of the China Passenger Car Association.
Staff at the Dongfeng Yueda Kia dealer told the journalist that even if Kia issues a recall notice, Dongfeng Yueda Kia will not recall vehicles outside of their three- or five-year guarantee, or if they have been driven further than 100,000 kilometers.
"If vehicles bought by consumers are within the scope of recall but outside of their warranty, the owner must bear the costs," they added.
Cui was shocked by the statement. He believes that whether or not a car is within its guarantee period, if it is recalled, the manufacturer should handle the costs. "If foreign auto makers recall certain models due to defects, and such vehicles are still in use, the manufacturer should ensure they are recalled," he said.
"The validity of a guarantee should not affect whether a vehicle is recalled," said Su Hui, an official with the China Automobile Dealers Association. "As long as the vehicles are being used, and have defects that render is suitable for recall, they should be repaired in all markets."
The recall in question relates to a problem that could harm the personal safety of consumers, he added, saying that it is illegal if vehicles recalled in the home country are not also recalled in overseas markets. It breaches two Chinese regulations that require auto makers to recall defective auto products that they made or imported.