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Hyundai Chief Technology Officer Quits Due to Recalls

Seoul-based maker makes changes to improve quality.

by on Nov.12, 2013

The Hyundai Elantra was subject to recall this year due to faulty brake switches.

After series of recalls that tarnished the reputation of Hyundai Motor Co., Kwon Moon Sik, the automaker’s chief technology officer, resigned yesterday.

In addition to his resignation, two other executives at the Seoul-based company were reassigned. Hyundai did not say who will replace Kwon.

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“The latest personnel change shows our firm commitment to quality management and reaffirms our will to continuously improve R&D competitiveness,” Hyundai said in a statement.

The South Korean maker has suffered through a series of high profile recalls, including one affecting 1.7 million vehicles in the United States for malfunctioning stop-lamp switches.

That number jumped to more than 1.8 million last week when Hyundai said last week that it would expand its recall in the United States of Genesis sedans to address a potential brake issue, raising the total to nearly 150,000 vehicles in the United States and South Korea.

In the U.S., Hyundai previously had tried to address the issue with a “service campaign” but decided a recall was needed to make sure all affected vehicles were fixed.

The automaker is preparing to launch a redesigned Genesis sedan in South Korea starting late this month.

(Hyundai recalls Genesis sedans for brake issue. For more, Click Here.)

The U.S. recall related to stop-lamp switches that may malfunction and cause brake lights to not illuminate, the cruise control to not turn off and other faults that could raise the risk of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The U.S.-based recall cost Hyundai $84 million in the first quarter this year, the company said in April.

(Click Here to read about Hyundai’s recalls this year.)

The recalls changed the momentum the automaker has built over the last decade aimed at allaying consumer fears about quality. It started with the company’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its engines starting in 1998 and culminated in the Hyundai Elantra winning the 2012 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2012.

When combined with its sister company, Kia Motors, it is the world’s fifth-largest automaker, according to Bloomberg.

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One Response to “Hyundai Chief Technology Officer Quits Due to Recalls”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    This is an odd move but a somewhat typical Asian reaction to a serious embarrassment. Unless the tech chief was some how responsible for a faulty design that he should have known was faulty, this seems more like a supplier or engineering issue. There always has to be a scapegoat vs. accountability when these massively expensive recalls occur.