After consumer complaints over quality issues in its home market of Korea and a string of recalls there, in the U.S. and other countries. Hyundai Motor Group’s president for research and development, Kwon Moon-sik and two other executives in charge of engineering and electronics have resigned. The shakeup comes as the automaker prepares some important new vehicle launches.
The Hyundai group’s chairman, Chung Mong-koo, son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung, has a reputation for firing (and rehiring) executives and he is also known for stressing quality. Chung is seen as responsible for changing the reputation of Hyundai from being seen as a maker of cheap, poorly made automobiles.
“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 executives resigned to “take responsibility for a series of quality issues.” Replacements have not been named.
Last week Hyundai expanded its U.S. recall of the Genesis sedan to fix a potential problem with the brakes. So far almost 150,000 Genesis cars in the U.S. and Korea have been recalled. The recall notice comes as Hyundai is getting ready to launch the next generation Genesis in Korea later this month.
In April, Hyundai and Kia recalled more than 1.8 million vehicles in the United States because of a faulty brake switch, followed by a similar recall in South Korea, the largest in at least a decade there. Korean consumer have also complained of water leaks in Santa Fe SUVs and Elantra compatc sedans.