New Delhi: South Korea’s Hyundai Motor expressed regret Tuesday for an ‘unauthorised’ tweet by its Pakistani partner on Kashmir. Hyundai has got the offending post deleted, but not before it faced calls for a boycott of its cars. The Indian government also curtly told the car company to be more forceful in its unequivocal apology.
Tweets from accounts linked to Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Corp expressing solidarity with separate Kashmir kicked up a row on Sunday. The South Korean firm on that day responded and said it has ‘zero-tolerance policy towards insensitive communication and we strongly condemn any such view’.
But, as the furore refused to die down and the government stepped in, Hyundai issued a statement Tuesday. It said ‘deeply regretting any offence caused to the people of India by this unofficial social media activity’.
Hyundai Motor Company, it said, ‘does not comment on political or religious issues in any specific region’. “Therefore, it is clearly against Hyundai Motor’s policy that the independently-owned distributor in Pakistan made unauthorised Kashmir-related social media posts from their own accounts,” the company said. It added it has ensured that the offensive tweets are deleted.
The issue figured Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government has asked Hyundai Motors to be more forceful in its unequivocal apology.
“This issue has been taken up both with the government there and the company concerned,” Goyal said. “They (Hyundai) have already issued a clarification yesterday (Tuesday). We have also asked them to be more forceful in their unequivocal apology on this issue,” Goyal added.
A Twitter account of a Hyundai dealer in Pakistan with handle @hyundaiPakistanOfficial had posted a message supporting Kashmir Solidarity Day. It backed what it called as ‘struggle for freedom’.
#BoycottHyundai were among the top trends Monday on Twitter in India. Tweeteratis called for dumping the second-largest carmaker in the country for Tata Motors.
Officials of Hyundai stressed that the company has been investing in India for many decades. It ‘remains strongly committed to Indian customers’, the company in the statement said. “We deeply regret any offence caused to the people of India by this unofficial social media activity,” Hyundai further stated.
The company further said once the situation was brought to its attention, it made the distributor acutely aware of the ‘inappropriateness of the action’.
“We have since taken measures to ensure the distributor which misused the Hyundai brand identity. We have put in place processes to prevent a future recurrence,” the statement said.
On the other hand the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that it expects Hyundai to take appropriate action to properly address these issues
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is present in over 200 countries with more than 1.2 lakh employees.