NHTSA: Gives $ 24 Million to Informer Who Revealed Problems in 1.6 Million Hyundai and Kia Cars

NHTSA has announced that it will give $ 24 million – the maximum allowed under US law – to Kim Gwang-ho, a former Hyundai employee, who revealed to him that Hyundai and Kia had withheld details of engine problems from regulators. 1.6 million of their cars.

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This is the first time NHTSA has made such a claim, with Steven Cliff, NHTSA Deputy Managing Director, stating:

Whistleblowers play a crucial role in bringing information to NHTSA about serious security issues that companies keep secret. This information is critical to public safety and we are committed to rewarding those who provide such information.

Kim revealed to NHTSA in 2016 that Hyundai had failed to address a design flaw related to Theta II (GDI) 2.0- and 2.4-liter direct-injection gasoline engines, and made them prone to fire. Kim was fired in November 2016 for allegedly leaking information to the media and later rehired by Hyundai following a decision by a South Korean government agency under whistleblower protection laws.

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Citing an internal report from Hyundai’s quality strategy team to the company’s management, Kim told NHTSA that the Korean company was not taking enough action to address an engine problem that increased the risk of accidents.

NHTSA found that Hyundai and Kia had delayed recalling the affected cars and that the automakers had provided inaccurate information about the problems and the seriousness of the issue.

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Of the $ 81 million the companies paid in fines, NHTSA was legally entitled to give up to 30% to the whistleblower who disclosed important information that resulted in fines of more than $ 1 million. So Kim Gwang-ho is now richer by $ 24 million.

I am pleased to have been fairly compensated for the risks I took to protect the owners of these defective cars and I am grateful that the US legal system has a plan to make this possible. I hope my report leads to real safety improvements, both at Hyundai and across the industry,

said Kim Gwang-ho.


Source: Autoblog.gr by www.autoblog.gr.

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