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(Yonhap Editorial) Hyundai-Kia recall should serve as chance for better quality
SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. recently announced they are recalling some 1.87 million cars in the United States to fix brake light switch and air bag problems.

   The announcement involves five Hyundai models and six Kia ones manufactured between 2007-2011. Of the vehicles, 1.68 million units are for defective brake-light switches and 190,000 for defective air bags.

   The Hyundai brake light switch recall includes model year 2007-09 Accents and Tucsons, 2007-10 Elantras, 2007-11 Santa Fes, 2008-09 Veracruzes, 2010-11 Genesis Coupes and 2011 Sonatas.

   The Kia brake light recall includes 2007-2010 Rondos and Sportages, 2007-11 Sorentos, 2007 Sedonas, 2010-11 Souls and 2011 Optimas.

   Hyundai will also recall 190,000 2011-13 Elantras for possible air bag problems.

   According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a faulty brake light switch "may cause the brake lights to not illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed or may cause an inability to deactivate the cruise control by depressing the brake pedal."

   The agency also said that during deployment of a side-curtain air bag, a support bracket attached to the headliner can be displaced if it has been previously dislodged, which may pose a risk of injury during a side-impact collision.

   Hyundai and its affiliate Kia said that the free-of-charge recall will begin by June, when they expect to secure enough parts to replace the faulty ones.

   The massive recall comes just about a month after the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group celebrated surpassing the 8 million mark in its combined sales since its entry into the U.S. auto market 27 years ago.

   Moreover, the recall was announced as fallout from an uproar over the carmakers' overstated gas mileage in November has yet to subside, although the company apologized and agreed to reimburse owners for their fuel costs.

   The recall looks somewhat grave considering its scale, the largest the carmakers have ever announced, with a possibility of similar recalls in other countries.

   Fortunately, Hyundai and Kia reportedly decided on the recall voluntarily as soon as several complaints had been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The group has actively pioneered their overseas markets thus far in order to establish their presence as a global carmaker, and yielded positive outcomes in recent years.

   Regrettably, the massive recall can damage the carmakers' efforts.

   However, the crisis can turn into an opportunity for the carmakers to heighten their global image should they keep consumer confidence by quickly and effectively responding to the emergency.
Group chairman Chung Mong-koo vowed to upgrade the group's global brand image through quality-first management at a regular Kia shareholders' meeting late last month.

   It is hoped the recall will serve as an opportunity for the group to reopen its eyes to the importance of quality.