The Korea Times said the number of vehicles recalled for defects is likely to exceed one million for the first time this year.

The newspaper cited South Korea’s Ministry of Construction and Transportation saying that 983,324 defective vehicles have been brought to repair centres so far this year, just 16,000 units short of the one million mark, and that the government is currently conducting inspections on several other models.

The number of recalled vehicles has doubled in just two years since the number surpassed 500,000 for the first time in 2000. Of the vehicles serviced this year, 34 domestic models accounted for 979,663 units while 35 imported models made up the remaining 3,661.

In the past 10 years, 178 foreign or domestic models totaling 2,484,729 vehicles have been recalled. The number of recalled units was 152,007 in 1995, 111,330 units in 1999 and 552,254 in 2000. Car makers or dealers took 566,332 vehicles to service centres last year.

The Korea Times said the surge in the number of recalls is due to the government’s stern policy on traffic safety and carmakers’ improved attitude to calling back defective vehicles. Recalls used to be viewed as an admission that a product was of poor quality, but recently manufacturers have begun to regard it as part of their after sales service.

The MOCT plans to encourage still wider application of the defect repair service and the number of recalls is likely to continue to increase.

The government has recently revised a related law, scrapping the prior approval system for new vehicle models and replacing it with a self-check system for car makers, the report said.