South Korean carmaker Hyundai is facing a backlash in India after a tweet from the official account of its partner in Pakistan supported the "struggle for freedom" in Kashmir.
The row erupted after a handle by the name Hyundai Pakistan Official tweeted in solidarity to "remember the sacrifices of Kashmiri brothers" on February 5. Its sister concern Kia Motors also called for "freedom of Kashmir" on various social media handles.
The automaker, which controls the second-largest market share in India, drew flak from social media users who said that the statement issued by Hyundai Motor India after the incident did not offer any apology.
"Hyundai Motor India has been committed to the Indian market for more than 25 years now and we stand firmly for our strong ethos of respecting nationalism," the Indian unit of the automobile manufacturer shared on Twitter.
Calling the social media post by its Pakistani partner as "unsolicited", Hyundai Motor India said it is "offending our unparalleled commitment and service to this great country".
The company further said it has a "zero tolerance policy towards insensitive communication and we strongly condemn any such view".
But the statement did precious little to calm agitated netizens in India. Even though all these posts have now been deleted by Hyundai Pakistan, the company is facing the ire of Indians who have called for a boycott of these car brands.
Ashwani Mahajan, co-convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said the Indian unit of Hyundai did not even acknowledge that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi urged the maker of popular 'Creta' SUV to not mince words and apologise unequivocally.
The controversy also led to some people tweeting that they were going to cancel their car bookings from Hyundai India.
Twitter users also alleged that the Hyundai India twitter account was blocking people who questioned their support to the Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Hyundai Motor India is the second largest carmaker in India after market leader Maruti Suzuki. It sold 35,140 passenger vehicles in January 2022 compared with 49,364 units in the year-ago period, according to data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA). The company’s market share stood at 13.6% in January 2022 compared with 17.17% in January 2021.
Kia Motors India sold 9,710 units in the first month of this year. Its market share stood at 3.76% in January 2021.
Last month, Hyundai Motor was among the 10 companies which submitted bids under India's ₹18,000 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) battery.