SEOUL (Bloomberg) -- Kia Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Jeong Sung Eun resigned on Sept. 3 to take responsibility for a recent recall of four models, a company spokesman said.
President Lee Hyoung Keun will replace him.
Jeong stepped down after Kia issued a series of recalls worldwide, Michael Choo, a company spokesman, said by phone. Lee was appointed vice chairman, Kia said in a separate statement today.
The resignation highlights increased sensitivity among automakers to quality problems after Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest carmaker, recalled more than 8 million vehicles in the past year for problems related to unintended acceleration. Kia's action was swift and appropriate, said Chae Hee Guen, a Seoul-based analyst at Meritz Securities Co.
South Korea's second-biggest carmaker said in a statement Monday it has recalled about 85,900 vehicles worldwide because of an electrical wiring problem that can cause fires.
“Jeong resigning is a preemptive action,” Chae said. “Quality is a top priority for Kia and Hyundai Motor Co. management. They don't want to tarnish their image.”
In the United States, about 35,000 Souls and Sorentos from the 2010 and 2011 model years were recalled Sept. 2. Kia Motors America said faulty wiring harnesses could short and cause a fire.
Jeong was a former president of Kia, in charge of the production division.
Internet news provider MoneyToday reported the resignation earlier.
The company will also recall 18,147 Sorento, Borego and Soul models in China because of problems with circuit boards, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its Web site Monday.