Chung Sung-eun, vice chairman and chief executive of South Korea's second largest automaker, quit Friday, according to company spokesman Michael Choo.
"His resignation comes in the light of the recent global recall issued by Kia Motors," Choo said, without elaborating.
Kia is the sister company to Hyundai Motor. Together they form Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, the world's fifth largest auto company.
Chung's decision to resign contrasts with the management decisions made at Japan's No. 1 automaker, Toyota Motor (TM), which saw its reputation for quality and safety wither in recent months after recalls of about 10 million cars worldwide to fix an array of problems, mostly related to unintended acceleration.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo asked Chung to step down in order to take responsibility for the recalls, the Associated Press reported. Neither Choo nor Hyundai Motor spokeswoman Song Meeyoung could confirm the report.
Last week, Kia recalled about 100,000 cars for defective wiring that controls mood lighting, including 35,000 Kia Sorento and Soul models sold in the U.S. Defective soldering may short out and possibly result in a fire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
Also last month, federal safety investigators said they were beginning an investigation into a report of steering problems in a 2010 Soul model. The complaint claims steering components broke apart resulting in a complete loss of steering.