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Federal Regulators to Investigate Nearly 3 Million Hyundai and Kia Vehicles for Fire Hazard

Hyundai and Kia

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened up a new investigation this week into fires in five Hyundai and Kia vehicle models following reports of thousands of vehicle fires that resulted in more than 100 injuries and at least one death. According to an NPR news report, NHTSA announced that it has launched the two investigations encompassing nearly 3 million vehicles in response to a petition filed by the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group.

What Vehicles Are Involved?

The cars included in the new investigations’ scope include Hyundai’s 2011-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe, Kia’s 2011-2014 Optima and Sorento and Kia’s 2012-2015 Soul. According to NHTSA reports, South Korean-based automakers have received about 3,125 reports of fires not caused by a collision. The agency’s files show one documented death linked to this auto defect.

Federal safety regulators say the probe will evaluate the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defects related to the fires. In June 2018, the center asked the agency to examine the Optima, Sorento, Sonata, and Santa Fe vehicles. Then, in the next month, the Soul was added to the list of problematic vehicles. The group has also asked Congress to investigate these fires.

Kia Fire in Southern California

Barely a day after NHTSA announced this investigation, Los Angeles resident Jessica Hernandez said her 2015 Kia Forte erupted in flames as she, her mother, 16-year-old son, and boyfriend were driving from Manhattan Beach to Lynwood. Hernandez said she noticed other drivers waving at her as she was driving on the freeway.

Her car stalled and then smoke began to pour in through the air conditioning vent. They could all get out of the car safely before it fully became engulfed in flames. But the family is clearly shaken and has been left terrified over their experience. However, Hernandez’s Forte is not included in NHTSA’s investigation, which was announced this week.

Time for a Comprehensive Recall

Both Hyundai and Kia have dragged their feet for way too long. We’ve seen too many reports in the media about drivers and their passengers having close calls with these vehicles spontaneously erupting into flames. NHTSA, along with the automakers, needs to be expeditious in examining all vehicles that have these issues, recalling them, and repairing them. Too many lives hang in the balance here.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to these Hyundai and Kia vehicle fires, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.


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California Personal Injury Blog