Hyundai, Kia flag $2.9 billion earnings hit from quality costs

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SEOUL — Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors said on Monday that their third-quarter earnings would reflect quality-related costs amounting to a combined 3.36 trillion won ($2.94 billion).

The costs would include additional provision expenses related to the South Korean automakers’ “Theta” engines, the companies said in separate regulatory filings.

Hyundai Motor said a cost of 2.1 trillion won will be reflected in its earnings, while Kia Motors flagged an earnings hit of 1.26 trillion won. They did not provide further details.

U.S. safety regulators in 2017 launched an investigation into the recall of nearly 1.7 million vehicles by Hyundai and Kia over an engine defect that increases the risk of a crash. The engines involved were fitted in Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe vehicles in the U.S., and Kia Optima, Sorento and Sportage models, all of which share the powertrain.

A South Korean whistleblower, who was a former quality official at Hyundai, reported concerns in 2016 to NHTSA, which has started probing whether their recalls covered enough vehicles and were conducted in a timely manner.

Hyundai was being investigated by U.S. prosecutors over whether vehicle recalls were conducted properly, Reuters reported in November 2018.

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